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Following the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s weekend visit, media focus on Blackpool’s fracking site has further intensified.
Longstanding protesters welcomed the support of Green Party co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley.
Demonstrators held Cuadrilla at bay for six years prior to the government riding “coach and horses” and “imposing will on the local community” by granting the company licence to frack. Home Secretary Amber Rudd overturned the local council’s decision, claiming the decision was one too great for Lancashire to make itself and Cuadrilla’s ambitions were inspired by ‘the national interest’. However, fuel extracted from the site is to be traded on the open market and will be primarily owned by outside interests and offshore companies.
The Lancashire town continues to fight against what Cuadrilla head Francis Egan plans to become “the biggest gasfield in Europe”. Actions of protesters have contributed towards Cuadrilla taking measures to stymie losses.
During a speech to the crowd, Lucas made time to speak directly to the local police force that have come under scrutiny following alleged incidents of heavy handedness, including reports of protesters being tipped out of wheelchairs:
So sad to be up against the interests of the local community and environment… you know that… ultimately all of us are responsible for the actions we take and I think history will look back to see how each individual did.
Lucas praised the Blackpool protesters, saying:
You are on the frontline of the climate change battle, fighting against air pollution, soil pollution, health concerns, the huge amount of climate chaos that fracking is going to bring. Government and corporations like Cuadrella want to keep all the power to themselves, the future of our energy security lies with community energy – energy that we’re all in control of – from the wind and the waves and the sun.
A report published last week announced how for the first time, offshore wind power is now a cheaper alternative to nuclear.
Prominent anti-fracking activist Tina Louise Rothery – Green Party candidate for Tatton – stressed how crucial it is that the Blackpool protest succeeds:
We need to win here or else we sacrifice the country. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have a moratorium on the practice. It is only in England and only because of the Conservatives.
It is exclusively Tory councils that have given the go-ahead to frack – once more demonstrating the party’s policy of prioritising big-business profit over the welfare of the British public.
Victory in Blackpool would send a clear message to the government that people power will prevail.
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