Action is definitely more fulfilling – well said!
The recent decision by the government to override Lancashire County Council’s decision to deny planning permission for fracking on the Fylde had an effect on the community outside of the dreadful environmental issues. As a result of the decision made by the government Lancashire County Council will be asked to contribute to the costs of the enquiry held earlier this year. There is speculation that the amount will be in the region of £330,000. Given the authority’s already straitened circumstances after having to deal with the austerity measures of successive governments, this is money that the County Council can ill afford.
The government’s action has effectively added insult to injury in that the money that the Council is expected to pay out in costs could far better have been spent on the people of Lancashire. One instance immediately springs to mind, is that the money could have been spent on improving flood defences. Flooding in some areas of the county has been the worst in the country. Extreme weather conditions have been the cause of the flooding and the extreme weather conditions are occurring because of climate destabilisation caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Shale gas is a fossil fuel and the burning of it will only increase climate destabilisation and consequent flooding. The irony of the situation is that the government is effectively making the council pay out money so that shale gas companies can further endanger the lives and properties of people living in Lancashire. Are we happy that our money, the money essentially belonging to the people of Lancashire, is spent in such a way? Most of us would undoubtedly like the money to be spent in a more constructive way.
Money and the making of it is, of course, the driving force behind the industry. Are we, the people, happy that certain banks are investing our money in the shale gas industry and therefore further encouraging the development of fracking? Next week, on Friday, 28th October 2016, supporters of KELFF (Keep East Lancashire Frack Free) will be in Rawtenstall, appropriately enough in Bank Street, speaking to members of the public about the dangers of fracking. They will be handing out literature and asking people to consider with whom they bank. For instance, it is well known that Barclays Bank owns a 97% share of the gas company Third Energy which is the company currently trying to establish fracking in North Yorkshire. Taking the funding away from the fracking companies is one way of ensuring that fracking is not begun in Lancashire or anywhere else.
Francis Egan, the CEO of Cuadrilla, the company hoping to start drilling at the site on the Fylde, has been quoted as saying that the decision to approve fracking in Lancashire was ‘perfectly democratic’ although the reasoning behind his statement is not apparent. The word democracy comes from the Greek : “δημοκρατία” and in Greek means the ‘rule of the commoners’. A duty to promote democracy is fundamental to our education system and forms part of our ‘British Values’. Through the County Council the people, the commoners, had their say and they said that they did not want fracking in the County. Through local councils, petitions, blogs and websites the people are continuing to have their say. They are saying that they do not want fracking in Lancashire, in the UK or anywhere in the world and their voices are in the majority. Therefore, Francis Egan saying that the decision was democratic is untenable. More importantly, overriding the County Council does not say much for the government’s idea of democracy and begs the question as to what form of democracy is being taught in our schools and colleges.
However, we are not defeated. The one thing the people can do is decide where and how their money is spent. Come along to the KELFF stall on Friday 28th October, 2016 between 11.30am and 1.30pm and talk about the measures we can take to carry on the fight against fracking.
If you are unable to join us on Friday 28th October 2016, you may be interested in coming along to Hippings Vale Community Centre, Harvey Street in Oswaldtwistle at 3.00pm on Sunday 6th November 2016. There will be a film called Groundswell Rising and talk by the filmmaker Mark Lichty from Pennsylvania about Fracking – introduced by Gayzer Frackman and time for Q and A’s.
Hope you can join us and please share.
October 18th, 2016
There are many stories to this campaign and mine is from a Quaker and spiritual activist perspective. I first heard about fracking after the earthquake on the Fylde and local activism got started there. I used to visit New Horizons in St Annes and Ian R Crane came to speak and shared a lot of information about the oil and gas industry as he used to work for Schlumberger. Some of the misinformation that has been put around by the pro-frackers has been related to the wells we already have in the UK (prior to the recent test wells since 2010) which were for conventional extraction methods and not the unconventional method of fracturing the shale.
The threat to our countryside by this extractive industry has woken up all kinds of people who intuitively know that this is so wrong and are getting connected with others of like mind. When our ground water is threatened as well as more air pollution from methane and toxic chemicals, noise and light pollution which will affect everyone living close to well sites then it is no wonder that there is no social licence! Governments must think that we are stupid if we would put up with this insanity of living in a gas field! Everywhere that has had this forced upon them on other continents have warned us not to let it happen. One well opens the door to thousands as that is what is required to make this industry work. My first taste of activism was at Barton Moss in Salford and I went to support the camp and also when there were deliveries. I did a few slow walks in front of the trucks down the public country lane to the site, one time holding a mirror to the police behind, to watch for any action. The solidarity days were inspirational too.
For the last two years I had a wonderful adventure with the Nanas and latterly have been focusing my energy more locally.
The indigenous peoples of North America have recently come together to prevent the North Dakota oil pipeline being constructed through sacred lands and have had worldwide support for their cause.
It is so important that people of faith take their stewardship of the earth seriously and Quakers have shown an example of divestment by being the first religious group to divest substantial funds from fossil fuel investments. Many thanks to Sunniva Taylor for her Quaker work for sustainability as a Programme Manager for Quaker Peace and Social Witness and coming to talk to Pendle Hill Area Meeting on Climate Justice and Divestment at my local Meeting House. It was unfortunate that it clashed with the solidarity day Lancashire Responds at Preston New Road, near the site that has been given the go ahead. We took pictures in support and shared on social media.
This month Friends of the Earth have a campaign from October 24-29 to #StopBarclaysFracking due to their 97% ownership of Third Energy in Yorkshire who were given permission to frack an old conventional well at Kirby Misperton. It is the system that is corrupt which allows lobbying by vested interests to destroy the earth for their own self interest.
So it does need people to mobilise and talk to one another again to support the community against the Goliath of corporate power. They won at Balcombe in the summer of 2013 and since then the mobilisation of the anti-fracking movement and the general public has come to discover the true state of democracy.
So with the overturn of local democracy by the Tory government in the Cuadrilla appeal and with more coming out about who has influenced the Secretary of State, we need more than ever to get organised. Local groups are coming together and people are inspiring one another. It feels a lot better than doing nothing about protecting the land for future generations! The spirit of humanity will shine through all this adversity I feel sure, if we connect through our hearts and learn to trust our intuition more.
If you want more information on fracking with updated links, I set up a website for my local group Keep East Lancashire Frack Free
We deal in facts Mr Egan and cronies so let’s tell it like it is!
For those of you not in the know or deliberately abstaining from the joke that is our national news service, today the Lords of the land (via their Westminster mouthpiece) overturned Lancashire County Council’s planning decision to reject Fracking.
Honestly, my biggest reaction at this news is for the community of people who’ve worked so hard to first educate themselves, then expend a ridiculous amount of energy informing others, marching, singing, campaigning, drumming, researching, leafleting, camping (!) , drawing, writing, cataloging, stall-manning, door-knocking and endless conversations with others along the way… and all the usual human mess that comes with being part of a wider movement of diverse people.
You are all brilliant and that camaraderie is the silver lining of this total farce.
That and people realizing and accepting that #Democracy is just a bullshit word.
Love to all my friends who are absorbing this news and preparing…
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As the date for the announcement by the secretary of state Sajid Javid on allowing the start of fracked gas production on the Fylde draws near, rumours abound that the announcement will be made dur…