Fracking is back in the news and the site that is now being occupied is a field in Fylde – a district East of Blackpool. A few hundred protestors have arrived and are refusing to move. The camp has been named “No Dash for Gas – Reclaim The Power” and is targeting sites that the energy firm Cuadrilla is hoping to work on and carry out drilling work. Reports have been made that this is going to last for 6 days, but it is likely that it will last a lot longer.
In a statement from campaigner Inga Wilde, people have been told“Blackpool is the first location for fracking in the UK………….we’d like to stop fracking here and fracking everywhere else in the country.”
This is not the first time that this this group have been involved in an attempt to stop Cuadrilla carrying out drilling tests and the last time they did it, it was in West Sussex. On that occasion there were a number of arrests for various offences and Blackpool police are concerned that the same thing may happen at their site. The protests cost West Sussex police £4m and this is another concern for the Lancashire force.
Cuadrilla also have concerns and do not believe that the locals in Fylde are behind the protestors, but they are turning up none the less. There are even stories that the owner of the land that is being occupied is not happy and a Cuadrilla spokesman said “We understand the landowner is in the process of instructing lawyers to commence legal proceedings to recover possession of his land.”
As of yesterday – August 14th – activists began arriving and over the weekend it is expected that the number will rise to more than 1000. It is not expected to be the normal sort of disruptive process, as workshops are planned and there are discussion groups set up.
When asked about what they knew about the protest and what they were intending to do a spokesperson said
“….the police will seek to work with protesters and local residents with the aim of ensuring any event is safe and peaceful.”
The two parties are expected to be at a stalemate for the next few months as there is still the matter of planning permission for the applications put in by Cuadrilla. Cuadrilla the council and police would prefer the residents to engage in this process but at the moment it seems that some are going to do all they can to make things difficult.