Environmental campaign group No Dash for Gas is organising a protest against energy firm Cuadrilla’s plans to drill for shale gas in the area, with hundreds expected to attend. The organisation will be holding an action camp near Blackpool from August 14 – 20.
The group will run a Reclaim the Power camp at an exact location not yet revealed. Around 1,000 protesters from across the UK are expected to take part. Along with direct action, the camp will feature workshops and training sessions.
No Dash for Gas explains the camp will be launched because of public concern over the environmental and social impact of shale gas extraction in the area.
“Reclaim the Power is coming to Lancashire to support community resistance to fracking. Our government pretends gas is a clean fuel, but we cannot afford drilling for any new fossil fuels if our children are to have a chance for a safe climate and sustainable future,” said Hannah Jones, from Reclaim the Power.
“Gas will only make the climate more unstable, the energy companies richer, and the rest of us poorer. We need affordable, democratically controlled, renewable energy now.”
A number of business owners around Blackpool have voiced their concerns over the planned protests.
The North West Energy Task Force is a group of local businesses in Blackpool in favour of fracking as a way to encourage the local economy.
The group is worried about the impact of protests on tourism in the area and said on their website, “It would be better if concerned citizens channelled their frustrations through our well-established democratic institutions instead of causing unnecessary and unwanted disruption to local communities in Lancashire.”
In May, Cuadrilla submitted a planning application to Lancashire County Council to drill for shale gas at up to four sites in the county. The council said it would respond within 16 weeks.
Hydraulic fracking, or more commonly, fracking, is the process of blasting rocks with water and chemicals to release natural gas or oil contained within them. The practice is controversial and has been linked to risks of earthquakes and water contamination.
Cuadrilla has commented on the plans, saying there was plenty of time for people to voice their concerns throughout the planning process.
When Cuadrilla, backed by British Gas owner Centrica, announced plans to drill an oil site in Balcombe, Sussex there was also a huge backlash. The county saw a blockade from No Dash for Gas along with determined protests. Several activists were arrested.
The company later dropped plans for fracking at the Sussex site, due to exploratory drilling revealing that the target rock was naturally fractured.
Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli
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