Fracking isn’t failing just because it’s an absurdly stupid, polluting industry. It’s failing because there’s a strong and growing opposition.
A mass protest at a fracking site in Lancashire endorsed by actor Dame Emma Thompson reached its 54th hour mark yesterday and closed three years and a day after Lancashire County Council voted against fracking at the site.
The event was advertised by anti-fracking network Reclaim the Power as ‘Block Around the Clock’. It was styled as a festival of resistance and took place while the government was considering whether to approve Cuadrilla’s request for permission to start fracking at Preston New Road. As of this date, a decision has not been announced. If permitted, it would be the first commercial fracking in the UK since 2011.
Recently honoured actor Dame Emma Thompson has sent words of encouragement and thanks to campaigners, stating: “The fracking industry has been transformed from a national tsunami threatening to engulf us all to a handful of desperadoes.
"And while even the government has cooled down on a fracking revolution, unfortunately they’re still happy to use their power to protect these polluters against the wishes of the people.
"Fracking isn’t failing just because it’s an absurdly stupid, polluting industry. It’s failing because there’s a strong and growing opposition."
She added: "I can’t guarantee that you’ll ever get the thanks you deserve for what you’re doing, but you’re doing it, and you’re doing it with great courage. So please, please, please, keep doing it”
The actor has been an outspoken critic of the fracking industry for a number of years, and has been a regular visitor to the site where this week’s protest is taking place.
The protest follows widespread local and national opposition to the controversial practice. A continuing campaign by locals has pushed Cuadrilla’s plans to start fracking more than a year behind schedule at Preston New Road.
Latest government statistics show that only 18 percent of the public support fracking, compared to 85 percent for renewables.
Despite this, the government last month announced plans to change planning laws to promote fracking, taking fracking decisions out of the hands of local authorities and allowing drilling to take place without planning applications.
Milo Phillips of Reclaim the Power said: “Our round-the-clock protest shows we’ll be there night and day until fracking is defeated. With the climate crisis more urgent than ever, the last thing we need is new gas infrastructure that will lock us into dirty energy for decades to come.
"A rapid, just transition away from fossil fuels to renewables can create sustainable employment for local people while respecting the planet, unlike fracking.
"Our message today is clear: whatever the bullying and evasion tactics from government and the fracking industry, we’ll be there organising with local communities ensuring it does not go ahead.”
Claire Stephenson, from local group Frack Free Lancashire, said: “Despite the PR bluster that has been continually spun from government and industry, peer-reviewed science has highlighted the inherent dangers associated with fracking.
"Local people voted no to fracking in 2015, but our decision was overturned by the Westminster government, exposing local democracy as a sham."
She added: "We continue to stand in defiant, unwavering opposition to this industry: Cuadrilla has zero social license to operate in our communities and we will continue to peacefully demonstrate that."
The Block Around the Clock protest was followed by an anti-fracking parade on the streets of Blackpool led by local women.
This article is based on a press release from Reclaim the Power.