Twenty Frack Off activists today blockaded Cuadrilla Resource’s drilling rig at its pound in Chesterfield. They descended on the site at 5am and locked themselves to the gates, preventing the rig from moving to its frack site in Lancashire.
The UK fracker is preparing to re-commence drilling in July.
The blockaded site is owned by PR Marriot, a Cuadrilla contractor. When not drilling the rig is maintained at the site. The people locked onto the gate intend to block work as long as possible.
Activists have named the rig the ‘Lord Browne’ after Cuadrilla CEO and government executive John Browne. Browne has been vocal supporting the fracking industry, despite his apparent conflict of interest as both industry leader and government appointee.
Frack Off aim to highlight the threat posed by a tidal wave of extreme energy extraction methods that are being pushed by the government and a number of mostly US and Australian companies. Companies like Cuadrilla who is developing fracking for shale gas in Lancashire. The action is the beginning of a concerted campaign by people across the country to stop the introduction of these dangerous practices.
>Hydraulic Fracturing, or fracking is a controversial method of natural gas extraction, in which a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is injected into the ground at high pressure, cracking shale rock and releasing the gas. It has been the subject of much contention due to numerous reports linking the method to water contamination, health problems and earthquakes. The industry is in its infancy in the UK, and there are plans for up to 800 wells in Lancashire alone.
Joe Reid, 22, one of those locked to the gate, said: “This prioritising of corporate greed over the interests of people and ecosystems while pretending to care about them, has no better poster child than the Rio+20 Earth Summit that starts on Wednesday.
Twenty years after world leaders met in Rio de Janeiro and promised to address the environmental and social problems afflicting the planet they will meet again, to promise, again, to do something about the now even worse problems we face. As with twenty years ago they have no intention of actually doing anything that would put a check on the system of corporate exploitation that is destroying the ecosystems we rely on. This is why ordinary people must take a stand to stop the destruction if anything is ever going to change.”
Elsie Walker, 27, from Frack Off, said: “The scale of development proposed is being completely ignored. Cuadrilla wants to drill 800 wells in Lancashire alone. They are one company going after one type of gas. There are several companies going after several types of unconventional gas in the UK and all potentially on a similar scale to Cuadrilla. If this goes ahead, we will witness the total industrialisation of the British countryside and the destruction of the land and water on which we depend. We cannot allow this to happen.”
She continued: “The worst thing about this tidal wave of unconventional-gas development is that it doesn’t offer us any solutions. The amount of gas is meagre, vast amounts of fossil-fuel energy is required to get it out and similar projects elsewhere in the world have consistently resulted in environmental catastrophe. We need to face reality and start exploring genuine ways of managing our energy needs in a world where cheap and easy fossil fuels are a thing of the past.”