Saturday, 20 September 2014

People's Climate March Tomorrow...

In earlier days when less was known about unconventional energy techniques like 'fracking' and few were aware there was threat to notice, our local Residents' Action on Fylde Fracking and the few other groups across the country, were holding public meetings anywhere and everywhere possible.

It was an awful thing to do,
Truly awful

You would take a room of blissfully unaware but curious people who were wondering
…and then you gave them the facts of the processes involved in fracking and there would be silence, then there would be disbelief and at last, anger.

I referred to what we were doing as the bringing of the  ‘Unwelcome Gift


We only brought truth
But once you knew it
Once you realised the implications
You couldn’t UNknow it
You couldn’t walk away and pretend it was probably going to be ok really

The risks were too obvious once you knew the how and the who of this
And so there you had it… the gift of truth and knowledge
And no-one was going to feel like thanking you for it

I see the beautiful faces of everyone who became active along the way… amidst ever growing crowds of those who continue to receive the unwelcome gift and swell our numbers.

I see them apparently tireless at event after event
But it isn’t really a tirelessness that keeps us going

We ARE tired – pretty near exhaustion at times
But we are driven by a force  more powerful than anything else on earth

--We are protecting our young-- 

…and when that’s what you’re doing – there is no way to stop, no exit door and no end until the threat ceases to be.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------


Tomorrow...

The People's Climate March is likely happening somewhere near most people - for us here in the North of England it's the People's Climate March Manchester + Lobby of Labour Conference that most I know are heading to.

Will it matter? Will it have impact? Yes. 

It will have impact on us and on those who need to feel the solidarity and sense the growth of awareness... and as it's coming up to election time - even those in politics are going to have to pay attention.  #PeoplesClimate

Friday, 29 August 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Nanas in Manchester High Court

Nanas Gain High Profile Support From Michael Mansfield QC

Ahead of a High Court appearance in Manchester that lead to a temporary injunction on anti-fracking campaigners from occupying a field in Lancashire, the ‘Nanas’ received a message of support from Michael Mansfield QC:
“You have the spirit
You have the courage
You lead the way
We are all guardians of our planet and some of us show the rest that action speaks louder than words.
Before its too late.
You represent the human conscience
And I will sit with you today albeit some distance down the M62 engaged elsewhere!”
MICHAEL MANSFIELD

Today’s appearance in court saw the Nanas and their Solicitor Simon Pook face a six plus Cuadrilla legal team at the first hearing of the case brought by Cuadrilla and named landowners for possession of the field under consideration for shale gas development and  various claims for damages. Simon Pook informed the Judge that the site had already been vacated by the Nanas. Further the Nanas and their legal team required time to assimilate the details of the charges against them. The Judge subsequently decided after much careful deliberation which lasted most of the day, that the Nanas did indeed need more time to look at evidence.  Most of it was addressed to persons unknown ranging from people on social media to named groups of unknown persons, meaning THE WORLD!

Documents stated that a total of 10 landowners were seeking injunction and three of them from one family seeking possession against the campaigners, who had vacated the site after the three week occupation. The Judge ruled that only the landowners of the occupied field would be granted a possession order as a matter of formality as the field had already been vacated and a temporary injunction would be in place until the date of the next hearing on October 8th 2014.

Cuadrilla’s other demands were refused due to significant concerns that they disproportionately infringed Human Rights.

Campaigners, primarily consisting of parents and grandparents from Lancashire stated there had been insufficient time to understand the documents as they were served just before the bank holiday. The  application in parts was oppressive and infringed significant Human Rights. Campaigners had been camped on a field in Little Plumpton that is currently under planning consideration for development of access roads and a drill pad where energy firm Cuadrilla hopes to exploit shale gas.

A group of fifty supporters gathered outside the Court to cheer on the Nanas.

Julie Daniels one of the ‘Nanas’ and a resident of Blackpool where Cuadrilla aims to extract shale gas said:
“We are happy that the Judge granted the adjournment we requested as it provides  the time required to look more closely into the claims made in documents presented to the court. The 10 Claimants turned out to be three families listed individually but from only three addresses, a clear ploy by Cuadrilla’s team to try to make it appear that there was more opposition than really existed.

“We know from visiting neighbours, seeing signs objecting to fracking on so many properties and by the noise from the cars that beeped their horns in support of our action that villagers are deeply distressed about Cuadrilla’s plans. Three weeks of Nanas and tent pegs is a very minor inconvenience especially when compared to what this landowner and Cuadrilla have planned; industrialisation of the fields, constant noise and traffic, illumination, risks to air and water quality, increased seismicity, potential harm to the health of people, pets and livestock nearby and much more.

If Cuadrilla’s applications[1] were to be successful, it would see the Fylde Peninsula host the largest UK fracking tests to date. Each of the sites require 2 years of works, 20,000 truck movements, the use of 9 million gallons of water per well and the production of 5.6 million gallons of radioactive waste[2].

The applications are on-course for being the most unpopular in British planning history with 14,000 objections already registered with weeks to go until the consultation process ends[3]

[2] http://frack-off.org.uk/new-lancashire-threat-cuadrillas-fracking-plans/
[3] http://rt.com/uk/180256-fracking-protest-camp-lancashire/

Photographs
Manchester personality Bez with some of the campaigning Nanas




Notes to editor
Lancashire nanas set up camp - http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/15/blackpool-anti-fracking-camp-im-here-for-my-10-grandchildren

Cuadrilla statement on possession order – http://www.itv.com/news/granada/story/2014-08-22/anti-fracking-protesters-face-legal-action/

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Headscarves, Section 6's & solidarity in a field...


Three weeks ago 25 everyday people (primarily parents and grandparents) gathered in a dining room at 3am, equipped with Section 6 Squatting Notices and 144 Disclaimers... yellow headscarves, aprons, curlers and dedication to stopping fracking - before it ever gets a hold in this country.

We did this knowing that we would be occupying a field that was currently under a planning application for access roads to facilitate Cuadrilla's proposed shale gas operation. I suppose we also knew there was a chance this would end up in court at some point... that point starts tomorrow at Manchester High Court.



Elsewhere in the UK, land had been held, trucks had been stalled and protection camps had stood their ground against the harshest of policing. The shale gas industry though ploughs on and continues its government-supported drive to frack; regardless of known risks to vital air and water and regardless of public opposition.

This camp though, the 'Nana Camp' was born of a different strategy: 

-We wanted to ensure opposition was clearly apparent BEFORE planning applications are granted - so that the Council and investors in the shale gas industry, would realise that this is what is happening before the drill tried to touch soil... should that drill come, then this trickle will become a flood.

-We wanted to ensure that neighbours were well aware of how close they lived to a bothersome site - our presence alerted many initially through concern and then to realisation - that if they were worried about the impact of Nanas and others in a field for three weeks - what the hell would it be like with a full fracking operation for years?

-We wanted to keep the conversation and momentum going and play our part in the vast sharing of information being done by anti-fracking groups across the UK and the rest of the world.



Field of determination, good in-tent-ion and warm appreciation...
We did what we set out to do... raise local awareness of the location defined in planning and engaged with so very many supporters... plus let Cuadrilla know they will at EVERY stage be challenged.
We hope too that we can grow what we started and that more *Nanas (*type of person who cares for future generations... more a Nana-Type person than an age or gender thing as clearly and beautifully shown by Nana-Fluffy  ) will also make a stand in their communities.



Today we said our goodbye to the field on Preston New Road at PR4 3PE - where countless cars beeped support (and must have so irked the land owner), where my great-nephew learned to ride a bike, where mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and others, became ever more determined to protect this precious community (and others) from the intrusion, danger and massive impact of a shale gas operation.


A lovely man from nearby was helping us ensure the field was shiny and clean yesterday and said what good work we had done but that in the end we are up against the government and big business... indicating they were powerful adversaries. I reminded him that there is NOTHING in nature more powerfully determined and unstoppable as a mother protecting her young.





Monday, 25 August 2014

Nana Press Release:

For Immediate Release




Fracking Company Accused of ‘Dirty Tricks’ as Lancashire Nanas Vow Fight-back’

Shale gas operator, Cuadrilla has been accused of using ‘dirty tricks’ by a group of Lancashire Grandparents, after serving them with court papers over a land-dispute. The campaigners , made up of local Lancashire residents and primarily grandmothers and mothers say that Cuadrilla is 
using the opportunity to gain a widespread injunction – which would cover every proposed fracking site in the region and a local landmark, Lytham Windmill - not only against them, but all Lancashire-based campaign groups and national and international campaign groups including No Dash for Gas, Frack Off and Britain and Ireland Frack Free.

In addition to the injunction, the fracking company is also seeking to evict the 'Nanas' from Preston New Road Community Protection Camp, a resident-run blockade situated on land earmarked for fracking near Little Plumpton, on the Fylde Peninsula. The camp was set up to start August 7th and run for three weeks in order to raise public awareness in the region and show uninformed neighbours exactly where the drill site and access roads would be located if Cuadrilla gets planning permission. The residents of the camp site are voluntarily bringing the camp to an end by Wednesday, August 27th as was planned from the start.

The case is due to be heard at Manchester High Court on Thursday 28th August.

Tina Rothery one of the ‘Nanas’ and a resident of Blackpool where Cuadrilla aims to extract shale gas said:
When we occupied the field, we did so in order to highlight a land-use dispute. This is agricultural land in a well-populated area and not suitable for heavy industry on this scale.
‘The fact that Cuadrilla is taking us to court the day after we are due to have left is absurd, and can only be because they want to inhibit our right to protest in the future.  To deliver the paperwork just before a bank holiday, thus not allowing sufficient time to arrange a lawyer by the deadline for evidence on Tuesday 26th  is a dirty trick.’

She continued,
‘This is pure hypocrisy from Cuadrilla, a company that will benefit from a change in trespass laws to allow drilling under our homes. If they are allowed to do this in Lancashire it would have repercussions for people defending their communities throughout the country.  The result here will affect every other anti-fracking campaign in the UK and we know that people are and will continue to  unite with us.’

The eviction attempt targets one of two sites that Cuadrilla is currently  attempting to gain planning permission for via Lancashire County Council. The applications[1], if successful, would see the Fylde Peninsula host the largest UK fracking tests to date. Each of the sites require 2 years of works, 20,000 truck movements, the use of 9 million gallons of water per well and the production of 5.6 million gallons of radioactive waste[2].

The applications are on-course for being the most unpopular in British planning history with 14,000 objections already registered with weeks to go until the consultation process ends[3]
This is not the first time a company has tried to get a wide ranging injunction against a number of campaign groups, in 2007, British Airways Authority suffered a humiliating public backlash when it tried to injunct campaign groups from setting up a climate camp near Heathrow Airport.
Rachel Thompson from No Dash for Gas, a group which held its annual, week-long Reclaim the Power camp on the same site, said,

The UK has a long and proud history of direct action, can you imagine if a private company were able to take legal action to stop the suffragettes?’

‘This is the second time we have been subject to anti-democratic legal action by this billion pound industry, EDF were forced to back down from their attempted £5 million law suit against 21 of us, last year. People in Lancashire and all over the country have clearly shown we will not allow fracking and they now insist on clean, renewable energy.  This legal action is a last grasp attempt by a dying industry that has failed to gain the required social license and refuses to know when it has been beaten.’

[2] http://frack-off.org.uk/new-lancashire-threat-cuadrillas-fracking-plans/
[3] http://rt.com/uk/180256-fracking-protest-camp-lancashire/
Photographs
Nanas set up camp in Lancashire - http://www.frackfreelancashire.org.uk/
Flickr Reclaim the power Day of Action - https://www.flickr.com/photos/126933393@N02/sets/72157646175344150/
List of groups from legal paperwork -
Injunction from windmill -
Notes to editor
Lancashire nanas set up camp - http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/15/blackpool-anti-fracking-camp-im-here-for-my-10-grandchildren
Cuadrilla statement on possession order – http://www.itv.com/news/granada/story/2014-08-22/anti-fracking-protesters-face-legal-action/
Heathrow airport attempted injunction - http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2007/jul/27/climatechange

EDF drop law suit against 21 campaigners - http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/mar/13/edf-lawsuit-environmental-activists-backlash




Saturday, 23 August 2014

Nananonymous... Occupiers?

lol this image combining an Anonymous mask with a 'nana head-scarf'
got me thinking:



...seems in some ways that resistance to many issues is morphing into a hybrid of general agreement that our current system of government is failing on so many levels and is now positively dangerous. We know that the corporations have more say within our system of government than we do - even over matters as deadly serious in their implication as to risk the health of our children and the ability of our air and water to sustain us.

What fracking has revealed is that the energy sector has too much influence and we have too little... just as the banks did in 2008 when WE bailed THEM out (no-one is bailing us out of this austerity crisis, this energy crisis, this education crisis, this healthcare crisis etc).

A vote every few years is of little point if the party in office make important, life-changing decisions without consulting the people. The vote that we get seems to mean less and less as the corporate influence grows stronger and laws are put in place to facilitate profit creation and hinder protest. At election time we are provided with promises - maybe a signed contract to live up to them would be a better idea?

Our lovely ‪#‎NanaGate‬ occupation of a field that started 5am 7th August 2014 was done to bring attention to an immediate threat to our children and grandchildren from the shale gas industry... not 'professional activists' (although my sister Julie Daniels and I had taken our first ever activist stand at Occupy London in October 2011 because of the absurdity of the continued bank bail outs and austerity measures implemented in part because of them) - the Nanas hope to appeal to people who do not consider themselves 'activists' but who are equally frustrated and concerned at the lack of justice, transparency and honesty by the government.

Now is the time maybe to consider what an 'activist' is... my personal definition is that it is someone who saw an injustice/wrong/threat or other thing of concern and acted on that concern. Simple. Acting on concerns can mean signing a petition, objecting to planning, lobbying an MP, getting your Councillors to raise issues, taking tea with the neighbours to share issues, involving others in your community to raise awareness... or it can involve stepping inside a building and drawing attention to the occupants that are behaving unfairly, dishonestly or in a corrupt way. From the black woman who sat on the white-only seat on a bus - we KNOW that we often need to use our physical bodies in some way to draw the attention of those who are not as aware.

There is a huge bonus to becoming active and being an 'activist' in this way and that is the self-empowerment that comes... meaning that we start to drive our lives - rather than simply going along for the ride (down roads we would personally NEVER choose).

 xxx

Friday, 22 August 2014

Tent Pegs Vs. Drill Rigs

Tent Pegs Vs. Drill Rigs...

So Cuadrilla want to get down and dirty with the Nanas and are saying stuff like this in a press release just out today:

[Local farmers, with the support and participation of Cuadrilla, have today served a claim for possession against trespassers who have been illegally occupying farming land at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton since 7 August. This trespass formed a base for Reclaim the Power’s protest activity against the use of natural gas and against the planning applications that Cuadrilla has submitted to Lancashire County Council to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas at two sites in Lancashire. The land occupied by protestors is not one of Cuadrilla’s proposed exploration well sites.

The claim details the detrimental impact that the illegal trespass has had on the affected farmer’s business and on his family. This includes denying the dairy cattle the grazing they need as the occupation has taken over a third of the farm’s grazing land and resulted in lower milk yields.

The claimants have also asked the court to consider imposing injunctions so that no future trespass can take place on farmland at and surrounding Cuardrilla’s proposed shale gas exploration sites.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla said:

“As with all the recent so-called ‘direct action’ by protestors, this illegal occupation of farmland, damaging a local farmer’s business and causing stress to his family should not be tolerated. Whilst we accept the right to peaceful protest, this and other recent actions by protestors have been far from peaceful. This is why we are joining with local farmers to start legal proceedings that we hope will prevent this kind of activity in the future.”

ENDS]


The reply from us is this:
A reply from those occupying the land to cause this land-use dispute:

Tent Pegs vs. Drill Rigs

[Local farmers, with the support and participation of the protest camp on the site proposed as an access road for shale gas traffic on Preston New Road, have today launched an investigation into the former and common use of the field they are currently occupying in order to challenge how the land is used in the future. The claim of trespass is seen by the local Lancashire protesters as understandable but adds that they are there to protect the fields belonging to the farmer from industrialisation and his neighbours from the potential impacts of that industrialisation. The farmer had claimed to neighbours his land was not leased to Cuadrilla but 'compulsarily purchased'.

Tina Rothery a local resident and part of the camp said:
"This is agricultural land in a well-populated area and entirely unsuitable for the the shale gas industry. We are here to draw attention to the location, its close proximity to the retirement housing at Carr Bridge and the potential impact it could have on the surrounding community; many of whom were enitrely unaware of the location until we came and signposted it."

"We would debate the claims that the farmer relies on this land for grazing as it is currently under a planning request with Lancashire County Council for development of access roads as part of Cuadrilla's nearby rig site. The farmer is clearly not concerned about the harms that will come with that activity and we hardly feel a few tent pegs have done anywhere near the damage he will see when Cuadrilla have use of the land"

The protest camp has been in place since 7th August and was started as part of a three-week occupation. The protesters are set to be off-site by 27th August.

The protesters have raised concerns that the legal right to peaceful protest is being denied by the further actions proposed by Cuadrilla to ask the court to impose injunctions on the disputed land.

Tina added:
“As with all the recent local activity by Cuadrilla, we see their actions as opportunist and corrupt; they are deceiving the local community into believing our three-week occupation of a field can cause anywhere near the distress that a shale gas operation will do to not just this farmer but his very worried neighbours.”


ENDS]

Thursday, 7 August 2014

This morning...

BREAKING/CURRENT -  PRESS RELEASE 7 August 2014 – 5:05am:

Lancashire Grandmas and Mums Occupy Proposed Fracking Field

At 5am a team of around 25 grandmothers, mothers and others from the Blackpool area set up a protection camp in a field earmarked for development by shale gas industry operators Cuadrilla. Stating that they had over the past three years, tried all lawful methods available to them to stop ‘fracking’ and it was now a matter of necessity.  Cuadrilla has applied for planning permission for access roads on the field off Preston New Road to enable the building of the drilling rig; if Lancashire County Council (LCC) grants permission. 

A few hours later some 5000 objection letters to the planning application were handed into the council offices in Preston by others from the Frack Free Lancashire coalition of local anti-fracking groups. A spokesperson said a further 10,000 would be delivered over the coming weeks.

Today’s action comes exactly one week before another event by national group ‘Reclaim the Power’ who plan to bring over 1000 people to camp somewhere (not yet confirmed) in the Blackpool area in order to support local groups. The Reclaim the Power camp will run 14-20 August, holding workshops and training as well as a day of direct action targeting Cuadrilla and its partners.

A spokesperson from the group said: “There has been massive growth in resistance here in Lancashire as well as across the UK and despite this, our government continues to push for fracking.  We have done our research, spoken to those living in places across the world where fracking has already caused untold harm and come to the conclusion that this is an industry we will not have near our families. We don’t do this lightly, it is an awful thing to have to do but it is now a matter of self-defence.”

When asked how long they intended to stay, the spokesperson said: “We wanted to be sure that whilst LCC considers the Cuadrilla request, that they consider what we want too, as mothers and grandmothers who worry for the safety of the next generations as well as our own. We will have a week to further raise awareness and will be offering tea and cake to visitors as well as a wealth of important and honest information about what living in a shale gas area would be like. Then we will join with the Reclaim the Power camp in their actions. We have no defined end-date and are using a ‘Section 6’ to hold the space we have taken (as security guards have done on behalf of Cuadrilla just a few fields away – setting the precedent) as well as a ‘144 Disclaimer’ to ensure we continue to act within the law.”

Others in the group include those from Garstang Against Fracking, Frack Free Fylde, Fleetwood Folk Say No To Fracking, Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking, Longridge Against Fracking, Keep East Lancashire Frack Free, Thornton Unites against Fylde Fracking, Frack Free Blackpool, Frack Free Creators – Knitting Nannas Lancashire as well as residents from nearby the proposed site.
Some of those participating had this to say when asked what led them to being a part of this action:

Karen a Fylde resident:
“I was excited by the thought of jobs and prosperity coming to Blackpool until I learned about the short-term nature of shale gas and I came to see we were being sold a con about "lower energy prices", "energy security", "long-term employment". We are being sold a brief boom and bust, with nasty long-term consequences. We need permanent solutions to our energy supply and use, not this get-rich-quick then get-the-hell-out industry.”

Tina of Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking:
“The shale gas industry and Cuadrilla in particular have not acted honestly in their dealings with our community and are not to be trusted with the health and well-being of our children. We  do not want them here and so are gathering to make sure we are heard and we are calling others to help us amplify this.  As air and water do not recognize county boundaries, the defence is for everybody in the UK.”

Anjie of Fleetwood Folk Say No Fracking:
“This isn’t the wide open planes of anywhere, it’s heavily populated Lancashire; this industry has been banned in many places across the world including Europe – what do they know that our government isn’t listening to?”

Ros of Fleetwood Folk Say No to Fracking:
“I feel very strongly about the health impacts and that they’re wanting to pump toxic chemicals into the earth and bring up radioactive matter. I do not want to live in an industrial wasteland where air and water are at risk.”

Ginette of Fleetwood Folk Say No Fracking:
“I vividly remember the earthquake of 2011 that I thought was an explosion. Since then I have found out the real reason it happened and it needs to be stopped.”

Hilary of Keep East Lancashire Frack Free:
“There’s a lot of reasons to be here and do this. Basically we’ve taken this situation for too long and enough is enough. We need to protect our communities and they are being misled by this industry and the government.”

Janice of Longridge Against Fracking:
“I’d like to quote Socrates: ‘When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the user’ – we’ve seen that happen in the media, from the authorities, from the government and the industry; now our backs are against the wall and we’re claiming self defence.”

Becky of Frack Free Creators – Knitting Nannas Lancashire:
“My family alerted me to the proposed shale industry coming to Blackpool. Having done my own research and attending some public meetings, I feel there are better alternatives for our future.”

Julie of Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking:
“I learned that 1 well in every 6 fails on installation and that 50% fail in 5 years and over time, all wells fail so I get the distinct feeling that we could be sitting on a time bomb.”

Gayzer of Frack Free Fylde:
“I’ll do what it takes to protect our kids. Ask yourself this question: Can something that turns fresh water into toxic waste be a good thing?”

Cheryl of Fleetwood Folk Say No Fracking:
“I want to see my children and future grandchildren enjoying a safe and clean environment. I feel even more strongly about it as my daughter Mica is also actively involved in researching and opposing this; I am proud of her.”

Mica (Cheryl’s daughter) from Fleetwood:
“I teach English in China and have first-hand  experience of industrialization and the devastating effects it has. I don’t want England to get like China is where you can’t get water from the tap and have to buy bottled water.”

Bex of Fleetwood Folk Say No Fracking:
“I grew up here on the Fylde Coast, my children grew up here and no-one is listening – I need my grandchildren to now be able to grow up in a clean, safe environment. This is my oblication as a grandmother.”

Mark of Garstang Against Fracking:
“Nobody asked our opinion on this industry. Councillors and Government are acting without the consensus of the groundswell of public opinion here Lancashire.”

ENDS