Saturday, 25 February 2017

Day 38 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 38 in the Cuadrilla House... and the good people were all over the place from Maple Farm (just next to World of Water Blackpool.) to the site entrance and beyond; a busy but primarily happy scene on the breezy, blue sky, sunshine day. The glorious East Lancs. Clarion Choir enchanted the roadside with superb singing and as is the new normal... very little work was done on Cuadrilla's site and traffic was lighter going in. Pools of Storm Doris outpourings were evident along with mud and muck she tossed about overnight that clung to wheels and roadside. Some Protectors attempted to stall trucks further down the road and the slow-walks inside the work area continued for the few trucks that did arrive. PUPs (Pop Up Protests) happened beautifully in Manchester and Bolton and as a movement - we moved in a stronger direction together. Meanwhile at Maple Farm, short Nanas were attempting to build a marquee with a bendy pole and vague instruction from the previous owner, involving a tennis ball and two screws.

So I only managed to be at the site bit of PNR for the great singing bit and then had to head down to be useless at building a tall thing. Thankfully some lovely Protectors visiting after their PUP in Manchester, were tall and others from the camp of equally helpful heights, joined us and much like an Amish community - a structure was made :) The portaloos arrived, tables were laid out to manage refreshments and lots of people did their bit to make preparations for the big Don’t Frack Lancs - National Rally in the morning. Miranda Cox stayed up at the site entrance of PNR and so her take is better informed and follows. See you on the roadside Monday?

View from Miranda:

[Day 38
Lots of lovely people joined the roadside protest today with sunshine and a calmer mood.

Many of us were bouyed by the news that shares in one of the major investors plummeted overnight and another pop up protest was applying pressure on another supplier.

Lorries are still being escorted onto site and the police presence is huge. We had some new faces today, and they were dismayed at the high levels of police, especially the sight of seeing one protector being contained by six.

The routine of seeing escort vehicles head up to the motorway junction, followed by the mustering of security at the gate and the awareness that at this point we will be surrounded by hi vis uniforms, is becoming ingrained. The air becomes charged, we shift from foot to foot, we watch. Those souls wanting to and being able to take a different approach run, and challenge, overpowered by police numbers.

Back home we read untruths and alternative versions of events in the media. I am aware without regular and consistent eye witnesses, without video evidence, everything could be played out very differently. As it is the media is so pro industry, failing to engage with the issues and so keen to perpetuate the easy myths.

Tomorrow brings the national day of action, already embroiled in claim and counter claim. The fact the industry is attempting to paint this as a threat tells me they are rattled.

We hope to see you tomorrow. X]
*Highlights of the day - the unity, the sinking share price of AJ Lucas (financing Cuadrilla), the increased number of Protectors in the neighbourhood, the enthusiasm for the rally and the blue sky <3 span="">

*Image thanks to Barbara Richardson - Roseacre Awareness Group - RAG

Friday, 24 February 2017

Criminal Behavior on Preston New Road...

Dear Fylde Police,

I read that you are trying to reassure the community in the vicinity of Preston New Road, that you will be on hand at tomorrow's Don’t Frack Lancs - National Rally - and although I agree your concern over potential danger and criminal behavior on Preston New Road - it is NOT the residents and visitors you should be worried about.

Our government rewrote the law so that fracking could go ahead without informing landowners it was occurring under their properties, our government overruled local democracy by overturning our council's rejection of Cuadrilla's plans for Preston New Road, our government and Cuadrilla are ignoring the fact that work should not be happening until after the outstanding legal challenges are heard... if the challenges are successful, Cuadrilla would have to undo all that it has done; amazing confidence! Why is it that they can feel this confident that the law will rule in their favour?

They have recklessly handled the traffic on PNR with fences too far out (leaving no room for emergency vehicles to pass), stalled 3 ambulances, ran over workers, reversed down this busy road with road sweepers, accessed the site from the incorrect direction on countless occasions, exited the site from the centre, directly into the single lane of traffic and so much more - but you are concerned about the activities of residents and visitors who are concerned?

Priorities need attention.

Is there a process by which the police can raise concerns over the harm being done to local residents over the past 6 years by Cuadrilla? Many have suffered ill-health from the worry that they would set up camp and bring ugly vehicles, noise and disruption to the area and now that this is happening - some are being forced to move (when they can sell - which is getting harder) or having to turn to activism in the hope of finding justice - how can you, the police of Lancashire, help the residents to feel safe from the threat Cuadrilla brings?

Day 37 in the Cuadrilla House...

For those aware of the share price discussions about AJ LUcas (key to Cuadrilla finance) ... was excited when it plunged to .33 cents after the third supplier pulled out... ecstatic right now as despite efforts to get it upward, AJ Lucas has flopped down to an unattractive (to investors and share holders) .30 cents! What with this and the lovely gallons of water thrown at the site today by Protector Storm Doris... it's been a fine finish :)  I couldn't be at the roadside today but huge thanks to Miranda Cox who was and who blogged day 37 for us x<3 span="">


Miranda's view in her words: 

DAY 37
This is a very difficult blog to write tonight, as the day has been fractured.

Storm Doris has wrecked her wrath across the land, almost as if she has taken our collective anger and frustration, whipped it into a tempest of rain and powerful gusts that have soaked us, taken us off our feet and tanned our faces.

The storm has also turned the PNR site into pools of water banked by rich mud, further churned by heavy machinery.

I arrived later on site, delayed literally cooking up a plan with a fellow roadside protestor, for what we hope will be a treat for the campers, who have endured all weathers to help the people of Fylde. 

On arrival I was joined by others who had been out since morning and were soaked and freezing. They told of further heavy policing and an arrest.

We were as few in numbers as the police were great in theirs. Three riot vans near the entrance and a car, protecting a field of mud and heavy machinery, as protectors arrived and departed in ripples.

The wind threatened to cast us into the road as security guards battled to hold the fencing up and hang onto their hard hats. Several chases ensued as hats clattered down the road.

Having seen no vehicles, I left site believing my time could be used to prepare for Saturday, to answer queries and follow up on some long standing issues. 

I understand from various live feeds and messages that protectors continued to attend the site, and also attempt to slow vehicles down the road. Each time the lorries were escorted by the police and protectors surrounded.

There has been a dedicated protector presence each day since work began in early January. It's hard going for everyone. The weather affects some of us in different ways. What I find personally harder than the elements is the constant feeling of "shouting in a void".

Every action sends the industry running, seeking more police and tougher reactions. Every letter to our MPs that fail to answer basic questions, every complaint made to planning and highways about blatant safety and traffic issues that is dismissed, every failure to answer why a protector has been arrested....This all feeds the tempest.

Our roar is as diverse as those roaring, but it will have to be heard.

Saturday's forecast may be damp, but this is a chance for us to reflect, regroup, share hopes and ....Who knows....It's a very fluid situation on PNR... Certainly more fluid than the sticky red ground.]

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Day 36 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 36 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people took time to flourish in the brief moments of sunshine and to connect and share information about the rather huge National Rally this Saturday. We saw lessening activity on site and only a handful of trucks came, each escorted at speed by police escort and slow walked each time by a Protector for 15 mins; including a calm, peaceful and prayerful stand at the truck-side by a member of our Quakers Religious Society of Friends community. It’s clear that the site is set to sluggish at the moment with much idling. There are so many ways available to a diverse and creative movement, to take this industry down and we are at our best when we become more than the sum of our parts; I saw a lot of that today both at the roadside and online where much was shaken, stirred and shifted. Sometimes the unexpected extra challenges we face in this unpredictable struggle – strengthen our bonds and improve our nimbleness ;) The return of semi-naked Garstang cyclist was uplifting – all the more so because we sought the laughter and joy it brought into this often grey backdrop. We each have our way and EVERY act counts in some way to nourish some part of the whole of us x

Half-Naked Garstang Cyclist returns...
So our movement hey… the most intriguing, inspiring and infuriating thing I know. Sometimes we’re broken, damaged, fuelled with anger at the pain of this… but much much more often, we’re driven, empowered, fuelled with obligation to our young and united in the goal – even if not in the methods to attain it. We’re stuck together, whether we like it or not and we need every one we can get – if we are to succeed; issues arise, tempers fray, some may even be paid to rip and rear us apart with division but…

…When we most need each other to pull together… the very vast majority do so with gusto and surprisingly effective results come. I see in posts, messages, photos and emails relating to theDon’t Frack Lancs - National Rally this Saturday, that mock drill rigs are being crafted to a standard that would earn a Blue Peter Badge; newspaper adverts have been designed, written and paid for; letters to residents of the community have been sent/received and are full of warmth and politeness; online mailouts to huge mailing lists by Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland38 Degrees and Greenpeace UK have gone out; those with a spiritual connection to the earth are finding the most hypnotically beautiful music and chants for a blessing of the land and water; soups are being cooked and cakes baked; shopping for refreshments is done even without knowing truly how many we will be on the day; some know to become stewards for car-parking that got arranged to cope with over 100 vehicles and as for the coaches… they’re being booked, filled and financed to come from across the country. I do see a storm brewing over trestle tables – but hey, we can’t be perfect lol!

Where does this all go from here and how do we get what we NEED (ban on fracking) remains an emerging story – writing itself moment by moment at the side of a road in Lancashire, behind screens online across the world and in our own personal worlds too. I wondered today about what the final number will be on the final ‘Day ? in the Cuadrilla House… “ – then I thought about that old movie “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” and shuddered just a little. See you tomorrow? x

Protector at the roadside, Miranda Cox shares the day from her perspective :)

My thoughts on day 36.
After the anxiety and skirmishes of yesterday, PNR was much calmer. A lot of supporters arrived throughout the day and the hedges continue to be decorated with yellow ribbons and soft toys.
Those who witnessed yesterday first hand discussed the effects it had upon them. Many new to protest were still shaken, trying to comprehend policing tactics. More seasoned protectors were able to assist with this process by recalling events on other demonstrations.
All of us are in agreement that we'd all much rather live our lives differently, without the fracking spectre hovering constantly in our thoughts and troubled sleep, but we all have resolved to see this out, to find a way to rid our land of this nightmare. The view over the road to the site, pulls at everyone of us. Amid the story sharing and bonding there is often humour and laughter, but as our eyes meet the sight of the fencing and the muddy destruction beyond the smiles fade and our resolution grows. There is unanimous frustration at the way the trucks speed onto site escorted by police and this for now niggles away at as we are vastly outnumbered and it seems unheard.
With Saturday's family event almost upon us we are excited for a huge show of strength. We will not be fracked.]

*Moving moment of the day – realising that the Quaker Protector at the truck delay, was in deep prayer throughout.

*Literally laugh out loud bit of the day… seeing semi-naked Garstang cyclist coming up PNR declaring love in just his cycle shorts and a lampshade for a hat – fellow Protector at the roadside remarked: “Lot of shady characters about.”. The return trip down the hill saw semi-naked Garstang cyclist without his lampshade and without his cycle shorts… thankfully for all concerned, he kept his underwear on… perhaps to keep off the chill <3 span="">

*Image thanks to John Hobson

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Day 35 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 35 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people are tired but tragically stuck with a task that cannot be delegated – the protection of air and water. The day though started brilliantly with news of falling share prices, dismay of investors and the withdrawal of services to Cuadrilla by another supplier – thanks to amazing work at this morning’s POP (Pop Up Protest) in Wigan. Some of us brought toys from the children of our community, to recognise what we stand to Protect and we laid these along the entrance at the feet of staff – more on that later. No lock-ons today but lots of activity at the entrance with some preventing the exit of vehicles and only succeeding really in bringing a massive police response and minutes of delay for exiting drivers – arrests too that occurred after I left. The 15-minute slow-walks happened – differently though as there’s no work-lane anymore; the delay happened in the entrance-way to the site. Any delay is a good delay and the opportunity was taken – especially as they can’t ‘stack’ trucks with so little entrance and no work-lane. One Protector at a time crossed over to stand with the truck for the 15 minutes – 4 lots of delay happened whilst I was there. I can’t be certain of the number but think less than 8 trucks got in today. 

So the diversity that we are as people in the role of Protectors, means our approaches vary and sometimes the overlaps are sharp. Today some brought teddy bears and dolls from the children of our community, in order to lay them across the entrance of the Cuadrilla site. Other Protectors also had actions at the entrance (delaying exits) and this brought a huge police presence that impacted the ‘teddy protest’ in the most ridiculous way. We had laid the toys in a line and as the last was peacefully and gently laid in centre – we were surrounded by police and a kettle formed. I got out before it sealed around me. Meanwhile, security guards gathered the toys and said they had done so as thought they might get crushed… which rather missed the point of the action. We placed the toys in the hedge facing the site (where the ribbons are), to remind them what it is that makes us un-stoppable – this is not a choice, it’s an inescapable obligation. Some in the kettle were deeply shaken by the experience – this blend of experienced activist and newly arrived residents… is often like oil and water – although the moments where it’s like milk and honey are reasons to hope. Our actions can complement as well as clash – the PUPs being a brilliant example of one group positively impacting the work of another.

The need to protect so much of our country that is licensed, means there are not enough ‘experienced activists’ to go round and we are going to have to grow within communities if we are to succeed. It is so difficult though for those not used to the chaos, the noise, the anger, aggression and risks of a protest – to find their place in it… yet every day the residents com, give it their best amidst the new of it and ARE becoming ‘experienced activists’. This influx is forcing change as each individual brings their own ways, limitations, expertise and determination; impacting the movement – and each other. It’s often messy, frustrating and infuriating – but it’s NOT FRACKING so it’s not the worst that can happen and we can’t prevent it from happening – without each other. I truly believe – what we learn here, we grow from. I always needed more patience…

Today’s PUP in Wigan took less than two hours and resulted in the supplier ,CHR Plant (WN4 0BW) agreeing to withdraw their machinery from the site at PNR and to no longer provide services to Cuadrilla – they also wished us luck in what we are doing. Wow. Some from Frack Free Wigan, Leigh and Makerfield who were at the PUP and talks with the company, joined us at the roadside for the day and it was great to be able to sincerely thank them and tell them that the result was even more than they knew… as share prices took another hit. I know I’ve said before but it really is ONLY us that is working to stop this industry and so all reactions by them – are caused by our actions. Three supplier pull-outs in a fortnight clearly makes them jump :)

Plans for Saturday’s Don’t Frack Lancs - National Rally are looking impressive and numbers high – seems that parking, stage, PA, refreshments and running orders are sorted along with coaches… and the press is asking for times so we can expect coverage. If you’re coming, it’s asked if you could bring a red rose for Lancashire as part of an action on the day. Meanwhile, back to the ever-changing scene at the roadside in the morning… see you tomorrow? X

*Moment to remember… looking across to see Miranda glaring at the site whilst stroking the white cat toy she’d brought and seeing scenes from Austin Powers in my head.

*Photo thanks to Cheryl Atkinson

Monday, 20 February 2017

Day 34 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 34 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people spent most of the day amidst an 8-Protector lock-on that prevented any deliveries (until early evening after arrests and once most had gone home). Vans of police, police in vans, vans, police and other police vehicles cluttered the road – unlike the protectors who had safely tucked into the fencing onto what would be pavement area – if it wasn’t being the entrance to Cuadrilla’s site. Vehicles passed easily and without much notice for the first few hours, then as the ‘Protestor Removal Team’ arrived, the entire road was closed. Police said this was to get everyone who wasn’t locked-on, across the road to the other side. Seemed a bit dramatic. Meanwhile just behind this dramatic scene, the real crime goes on without any police attention to the destruction it brings that will make 8 little humans on a fence, look like a picnic in the park. The diggers moved dirt from one side to the other idly – as if passing time more than achieving anything and the impatience of the site staff was clear in faces and mood. I had to leave just before the last 2 Protectors were ‘removed’ so don’t have first-hand knowledge of what followed. Other feeds are carrying info that all 8 arrested and later, a further incident in the dark that resulted in arrest. I haven’t followed this up yet as just in. Massive thanks to Protectors at Ellesmere Port today taking action against supplier Morgans <3 span="">

So lock-ons… this peaceful, non-violent direct-action tactic is used to prevent construction or operation of industries like fracking, from being able to do harm. When watching livestreams and seeing images, it looks far from peaceful but worth noting that it’s only when being removed that things get louder and more worrying. Sometimes even the cutting of the lock-on apparatus can be done without drama. The effect of lock-ons is obvious as they prevent work continuing and so in the scheme of what we aim for – today was a ‘success’. In my heart and my mind though – it was a day that still echoes the shouting, verbal abuse, raised tempers, tension and torn feelings – I GET our rage, I feel it too… but increasing anger creates an ugliness that makes it harder and harder for many to endure. This alien landscape is populated by people fulfilling roles that pit them against each other and how we each handle these conflicts – is very different. An exhausting day that made me think of war zones… that if we think this tension every day is hard – I can’t bear to imagine the suffering of families amidst daily conflict and wonder at the damage that is irreparably done to each of them having to be in a heightened state of anxiety and alertness for so long.

Tomorrow some at the roadside have decided to bring reminders of our children’s say in all this and will be placing small toys and dolls around the area and along the entrance-way. Symbolism of the way this industry is crushing the chances for our young to have a safe future where clean air and water are normal and crops grow in these fields of Lancashire – not drill rigs.

…Tomorrow… every time I’ve written that word these past 34 days – has been as unclear as the bottom of a mucky pond, on a dull mucky day – you never know what will come to the surface when stirred. See you tomorrow? x
Another perspective from today at the roadside with Miranda Cox’s view:

[Day 34. I awoke to the news of another lock on and arrived at the site to see cheerful faces amid the tension of security staff and workers. There were plenty of protestors along the path and once we were happy everyone was comfortable and had sufficient food and water the morning slipped into its usual pattern. This is the pattern of passing cars, honking horns, hand gestures of various kinds and friendly chatter from protectors. Then mid morning the Protestor Removal Team arrived, their vehicles shielding those on the ground from our view, and yet nothing happened. The road was closed for a while, heightening our anxiety as we foresaw the coming inaccurate headlines. Then a mass of police drafted in from across the region, added to the ominous mood. As protectors suggested repeatedly the road be reopened, it was done so safely and the cutters began their afternoon's work. The air was full of drilling, and birdsong. At one point a large flock of swans flew over quite low, reminding us all of the wonderful eco system we have and wish to protect. After a lock on lasting almost 10 hours the eight protectors were cut free. Immediately those of us remaining roadside sensed a mood shift from the site as a mass of orange coated security gathered. Within minutes of the PRT vehicles leaving we were surrounded by police and vans moved to secure the site. Three large wagons sped in convoy and the gates locked behind. Subsequent live streaming showed a ninth protector brutally treated and arrested after dark. Four vehicles in total entered after the direct action. Who knows what we awake to tomorrow....What I do know is this is not over]
*Highlight of the day… the lack of work done on site and the wonderful solidarity action with the PUP at Ellesmere Port <3 span="">

*Photo thanks to Ros Wills x

Friday, 17 February 2017

Day 33 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 33 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people witnessed quite a lot more moments of tranquility than is usual. Little work was done and all senior staff seemed absent until later in the afternoon… important meetings about the state (shambles) of affairs. Fantastic PUP (Pop Up Protest) at AE Yates of Bolton from Bolton Against Fracking and Left Unity Bolton – massive thanks for this hugely effective act x Protectors were already slow-walking a truck just ahead of the work lane when we arrived, a large police presence accompanied them and it appeared as if they were joining in (now wouldn’t that be nice?). We completed three more slow walks inside the work lane and of course, the sweeper. That was it really for arrivals. Work on site consisted of dirt moving to make a mountain of brown that was feasted on by happy birds and the creation of the verge (where the old lay-by used to be). Done with lots of burning, hammering and digging about with sticks. We rose and fell in number with the tide of our availability and it was, if possible to be… a day that felt good. This good feeling may also have had a lot to do with the shaky, nervous, falling down share prices for AJ Lucas in Australia – key shareholder of Cuadrilla with tons invested since 2007 - no return on investment yet and loans due with interest to Chinese investor Kerogen. It’s the little things that make big things fall that make me smile :)

Protectors doing what they can for the cause x

So it was a day of reflection too for all of us who feel battered and bruised by this happening that goes on happening and there is healing that comes with this. The sun shone brilliantly, most faces wore smiles and the honks of support have never been so constant. There was a calm amidst the storm and we had time for planning. We plan on Tuesday to bring our small toys and dolls from the children of our community – sacrifices for the hedge and other things that will mean the absent little voices are part of our roar too.

Plans for the HUGE Don’t Frack Lancs - National Rally are coming together and volunteers for stewarding and catering coming forward. Friends of the Earth are doing a tremendous job pulling together the things we need in order to make this great and Frack Off (UK) are taking care of the mammoth task of sorting transport and subsidising it for visitors from across the entire country. Yesterday saw a call for support from Green Party of England and Wales‘s Caroline Lucas and today, from Producer of GASLAND Josh Fox – Standing Rock are sharing posts about our Rally as are Protectors in Australia, the Netherlands and Canada. The world watches the life of our roadside in Lancashire. Meanwhile, Cuadrilla twists and turns in antici……pation ;)

I come away today knowing we get to them… get under their skin and make them itch themselves raw as they try to get rid of us. We’re pulling their strings and pushing their buttons in ways they’ve not been pulled and pushed before and there’s more… much more to come. Their share prices slump, we know we made it so – their tempers flare in frustration at the lack of productivity, we know we caused it – they spend larger amounts to buy security – we know we made them pay. The certainty in these statements is borne of the fact that there is no-one else here but us… making a mighty unpredictable fuss in all sorts of unpredictable ways and places. And there’s always more to come because for us, this is not done till we stop them – there is no other exit point.

I watched a livestream from the site before I got there today and it was informed, engaging and told a moving story. The Protector who often films and comments through the dramatic events and is by nature of this, often in situations where conflict dictates the content of the images and words. This morning though he spoke calmly through his reasons for doing what he does and once he’d done so, in a deeply human and honest way – you got it. It made such sense and the urgency he felt and acted with, was clear… at that point, site staff pushed the fencing out to where he was and within the moment, it was back to the anger in voice and image… an anger that now though, seemed so much more justified. He raged at the fence because just beyond it – the absurdity of destruction by digger unfolds.

Our evolving unity within this movement of many parts, comes genuinely from the heart of each Protector. We may not see eye-to-eye but will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the known target that threatens us all equally. See you Monday? <3 span="">


Happy to say the view from Miranda makes a come-back today - her perspective from the roadside follows:

[ Well it's now day 33....and it seems barely possible the spring air and bird song now accompany our roadside protest. I, like everyone I talk to, awake each day wondering if protectors are safe and wondering what force will be brought into the fray.

This was somewhat tempered today by the sound of raucous car horns, shouts of support ( of course the occasional abuse remains) and the sight of the mass of yellow ribbons tied into the hedge. On arrival, I could sense some tension between police, protectors and site staff ; not surprising given the events yesterday, but on the whole the mood was somewhat lighter.

What is happening in the fields opposite us is depressing. Every truck full of aggregate, every scoopful of earth lifted tears at us. We take any light moment with which we are presented...however absurd, because this whole situation is surreal.

Thanks to everyone who shows up for however long they can manage, thanks for all the support, thanks for food and other donations, thanks to those who choose direct action, thanks to those making calls, those live streaming, those reporting issues and those making posters..

Whatever anyone is doing is amazing. We are all of us contributing something positive....countering the negative inhuman events on the fracking site. There is much to come.... ]


*Chuckle of the day: great music was playing and a Protector was swaying on the recently christened little traffic island – Paradise Island – at the centre of Paradise is the pole of the streetlight. She danced about it and a passer-by… leaned out of his car window and donated £20 lol! We trust this was actually for the on-going campaign – although… !

Before You Came (You Will Not Take Our Flowers)

A truly moving song about events at the roadside and our Valentines Day there <3

Day 32 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 32 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people had a day that started with a 6-Protector lock-on that resulted in arrests, a hospitalisation and scenes of aggression and anger, with heavy policing. Rage is vile but it exists because this site grows more ugly each day and we each find our way to deal with what this brings out of us. I was away from the roadside for most of the day so not able to properly blog this – there is a lot of coverage on other Protector feeds and livestreams that will fill in the blanks. Also today another PUP (Pop Up Protest) this time in Ellesmere thanks to Ellesmere Port Frack Free – so grateful for the solidarity <3 span="">According to those on site, 7 trucks got through today but only two were slow walked – the others delayed by the lock-on.

So in the brief time I got to the roadside today, I came away with huge sadness from the encounters I had there… many who come to Protect this place, have never experienced anything like this and never expected to. There’s fresh shock too that comes with the growing awareness that WE are all we have, to stop this clearly dangerous industry - there is no-one else to turn to but ourselves. None of the agencies are fighting for us, our Council is neutered, our government sold us and any systems of checks and balances or overriding concern for safety – are clearly a fantasy. I see in strained faces that lives are being fractured as worlds of ‘normality’ collide with these raw truths. There is no turning back either, no ‘out door’ because once you know, you can’t unknow and once you see the flaws, the whole mess starts to show itself for the shambles of a system of government that it is.

Day in, day out at the roadside, the evidence of the corrupted system is played out before our eyes. Revelations that our ‘democracy’ …isn’t democratic, fair or just and lacks the wisdom and impartiality required to keep us and our children safe. When you first come to all this realisation, it’s hard to know how to be in this new, sharp reality where what’s to be expected, isn’t anymore. Preston New Road is an all-too-real, unfamiliar landscape that throws so much new our way – every minute of each day we are at the roadside. Amidst the people broken by realisations… are others at different stages of their personal anger at this – people with shattered lives, trying to get control and make this stop.

To all who Protect, huge appreciation & respect <3 span=""> See you tomorrow? X

*Highlight of the (very brief) day: Dawn and the children clearly on overdrive as the throaty horn held tone for three drive-bys in about 10 minutes. Great pictures by the children held at the windows x

*Interesting visitor: A friendly Stirling University student studying this industry who came to ask intelligent questions at the roadside.

*No picture of today as I was mostly away but the one I've used came in as a result of the meetings and work today for 25 Feb 2017 Don’t Frack Lancs - National Rally... oooo it is looking BIG :)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Day 31 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 31 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were in short supply for the morning but grew with the turning of the day. Early solidarity actions in Bolton courtesy of Bolton Against Fracking (thank you <3 span=""> ) at AE Yates was the welcome news on arrival and for us at the roadside, a slow day for trucks with two before we arrived that were slow-walked by Protectors from the camp and a further 7 slow-walked inside the work lane… others may have come after we left but for now, life dictates 9-3 for those with responsibilities for little people. Bright day till early afternoon when drizzle and grey replaced sun but the wind was low and the temperature less chilled :) The atmosphere upped and downed less, the music played, plans were laid and decisions made… as the vast movement that we are, pools its ideas to craft a way to end this industry.

So no violent confrontations or shouting meant the mood was so much better and this matters to our energy and commitment – we’re not naive though and know that soon, a crossroads will face us and different ways will mean different challenges and concerns. For now though, I cling tight to days like this when humanity just shines through, laughter features and warm kindness abounds. We had a lovely addition of smiley happy children today who decorated the hedge at our roadside with woolly items and more bows. Some of us made the effort with ‘Paradise Island’ (the newly arrived traffic island) christening it with chalk and decorating with little frack off stickers, flowers and ribbon as well as finding good use for its traffic cones as holder for signs. As Dawn and the children honked mightily and brandished fresh drawings of support from the car... I heard site staff remark "Not that noise again!" - she does hold that throaty horn down for the entire duration of the road lol!

We’re informed that the much delayed removal of works-lane – will now happen next Monday… so at least 2 weeks behind schedule after just 31 days of work. This means a change in how we delay the trucks and there’s much discussion on how we do this. Each Protector will make their own decision as autonomous activists – chatting helps to establish the pros and cons of the options – especially in consideration of the unfolding of plans for other happenings. The PUPs (Pop Up Protests) though continue and we all hope… become a constant feature of fracking protests – removing suppliers and denting progress in the most effective of ways. I’ve mentioned before that in 6 years although Protectors HAVE delayed this industry from ANY production, each site DID get built and no amount of locking on or slow-walking stopped it from happening. What was achieved though was huge cost to the industry and loss of faith by investors – now though a greater impact with masses more people and different tactics will be needed if this industry is to finally be stopped dead. It’s like all the picador moves are done and the beast bleeds … we’re close to crippling it financially and a final push could make all the difference.

The Unions (all but the gas workers one) stand against fracking and are supporting our event on 25 Feb 2017 - Don’t Frack Lancs - National Rally - along with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace UKGreen Party of England and WalesThe Labour Party, frack-free groups from across the country, activist collectives and others …for us at the roadside, the day marks the start of more change. For those coming, there is transport planning and funding available, just email: or visit the website.  Lots of activists will be in the North on the weekend of 25 Feb – so worth planning to meet up here after other events are finished – we’re here every day and there is likely room at the camp or check with local groups for crash space.;)

No Miranda view today so that’s it for now. See you tomorrow?

*Happy point of the day: christening Paradise Island and making it more 'us' 

;)*Image of 'Paradise Island' courtesy of Ros Wills x

*Best find of the day: Rose & Jamie from Friends of the Earth along with their film maker, catching up on events and helping promote the Rally on 25 Feb x

Day 30 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 30 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people grow impatient for the end to come for this site, this draining demand on our lives and this vile industry’s threat to our country. Grateful though for the incredible and ongoing solidarity shown by other activists and again today, Bolton Against Fracking for another ‘PUP’ (Pop Up Protest) at contractor AE YAtes of Bolton. The success we saw last week – the withdrawal of agreements to supply the frackers - shows the brilliant impact this tactic can have. Since this tactic started though, suppliers are having to react and today's trucks were masked; made anonymous by stuck-on black bin liners and *masking tape. (*masking tape does not work on embossed letters). The scene grows more absurd by the day as the harms are guided through and the honour to challenge this – held back. Some beauty and heart came to the site today with Helen who brought sweet scented little flower bouquets with ‘thank you’ notes for the Protectors… we attached them to the fencing and tried to make some joy amidst the rage.

So the days pass and the road under construction grows a route to the area where the pad is planned to be and we each in our own ways, act to prevent this. Today trucks were slow-walked and entrances and exits to the site blocked by the bodies of Protectors. Trucks were followed and one stripped of its mask. I wondered how they felt when they covered the name of their company and had to hide from the shame of what they do - and the repercussions we assure them it will bring? AE Yates of Bolton were again gifted the presence of Protectors this morning in order to hinder their business and facilitation of this industry with it.

We will not stop and every new challenge is faced because for every threat and angle to attack it, there is a Protector who will find a way. Sometimes our actions feel small but the effect of them, ripples through stock markets, board rooms, chat forums of investors and in the offices of potential and existing suppliers. Ripples don’t do drama though and so without a bang or a crash – the days can feel ineffective. Then I go to the forums to read what investors say about what's going on with AJ Lucas (key Australian company behind Cuadrilla)… those on the forums believe in fracking, dislike Protectors and are currently struggling to decide whether shares worth having – especially with payback on loans due:

From the Investor Forum in AUstralia - comments by shareholders watching us and Cuadrilla:
[The dilution and debt service are hurting small investors like us big time and so that is my gripe. While I agree the protesters are thick in their rationale and thin in their member numbers it is clear that things can get out of hands because they are desperate got nothing to lose and extreme in their view and resolve. Just look at their despicable tactic by intimidating Caudrilla local suppliers. I believe these nuisances intrusion will and have slowed down the progress of site building. ]

[I don't see how any long term holders can be positive about their experience in holding AJ Lucas. Sorry but there were plenty of rigs operational in the best parts of the Eagle Ford and Bakken during 2015 . Many companies were not just drilling out (and completing) undeveloped sweet spots but infill drilling - i.e. not adding new reserves , just expensively producing existing reserves faster to increase cash flow to service debt to avoid breaching banking/bond covenants .]

[UK shale investment is either ball of steel or fool courage. Like any pioneering industry it is high risk high return stake. I believe the drive down on AJL share price is to shake out the weaker holders ..I too am making a large loss. And even more so with upcoming dilution and missed opportunity.. Regarding Kerogen (loan to AJ Lucas) they are in my view the unknown factor. But in my view they seem to be committed to see it through because they holding AJL by the ball with the interest loan secured by AJL asset (presumably Caudrilla asset as security against the loan).]

[I'm based in the UK and it is a crying shame that spineless politicians at national and local level have done virtually everything possible to slow this down. Needless to say I've lost a large proportion of my investment due to them .]

[Centrica, Riverstone and others haven't spent the time, been frustrated by project delays, or spent millions of dollars just to be left at the alter.]

What we have been doing as a frack free movement for 6 years, has meant Cuadrilla has only ever spend their investors’ cash and has NEVER returned their trust with a functioning gas production site. Each of us intend on keeping it this way… as the chap in the forum post above said of us – we have nothing to lose (well aside from our health, our sleep and our time – but the future and our children are worth so much more than those things). Wrote late tonight because today despite its moments of beauty, was another that included outright rage, shouting and verbal assault… though never from staff on site or police.

Fellow Protector from the roadside Miranda Cox has her view of the day up next – to give balance and perspective. See you tomorrow?

View from Miranda:
[My thoughts on day 30.
This is very personal. Reflection after a day on the roadside protest sometimes is cathartic, soothing the anger and frustration, helping to process events in a way that enables me to carry on. Tonight's reflection isn't so. I'm reviewing photos and other people's videos and my frustration isn't lessening. More and more I am realising it's down to us, the protectors in all our forms, documenting traffic breaches, calling out safety issues time and time again. It's not just enough for us to say we said NO, our council said NO, we now have to show strength daily in whatever form of protest we individually choose, we also have to have the heightened awareness to document and call out every issue we see. Live streaming, videoing and photography of the detail is all building a picture, a picture of a growing resistance and growing anger. It's also revealing the seeming collusion at worse, or at least the inability, from authorities to take action. Private citizens would not be allowed to cover registration plates or drive dangerously. Private citizens are not it seems permitted to protest without huge police presence.

This resistance will continue. Each of us will do what we can and what we are comfortable doing.

I am grateful to the protector who lay down in the road today and was joined by others. They successfully halted vehicles leaving, this blocking those wanting to enter site for one and a half hours. I am also grateful to the keen sighted protector who saw a vehicle attempt to enter the site contravening the traffic plan, resulting in a number of protectors running to demand it be sent around (another delay). I am grateful for the regular live streamer who caught two HGVS with registration plates covered. I am grateful to the two young people who turned up to find out more, and who are wanting to engage people in the resistance. I am grateful to those looking at the land and history of this place, who see it for more than just a field. I am grateful for those enduring cold up at camp. I am grateful for every visit from a councillor. I am grateful for every single person who is here who finds whatever motivation from within to make a stand and say ENOUGH.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring, there may be irritation, shouting and sadness, but there will be also a lot of laughter, debate and possible dancing.]

*Highlight visual of the day: Helen with a beautiful basket of flowers and much welcome smile and kindness.

*Best sound of the day: Dawn’s new super-loud car horn and twice as loud little passengers