Attempts to bring fracker Caudrilla back to Lancashire met with protestsby Dave Sewell
Hundreds of people protested outside Preston Town Hall on Tuesday of this week as Lancashire County Council considered whether to bring fracking back to the region.
Councillors were discussing whether to allow fracking firm Cuadrilla to drill for shale gas at two locations.
This would be the first fracking operation to take place in Britain since 2011.
Fracking operations stopped when a Cuadrilla company rig in Lancashire was shut down after it was found that it caused earthquakes.
Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, a method mainly used to extract shale gas.
High volumes of water laced with abrasive sand and chemicals are blasted into horizontal fractures deep underground.
Bosses insist it is safe but fracking wells often rupture and can leak deadly chemicals into the soil and water.
The Tories have a lot riding on the Lancashire decision. They want to follow the US, where a boom in fracking has helped make it a major gas and oil producer.
But the dangers of fracking are much better known now—and Britain’s shale gas reserves are much closer to major population centres.
Protests have taken place wherever wells have been dug to explore for shale gas.
There have also been mass demonstrations in Manchester and in Balcombe, West Sussex. And Lancashire itself has seen sustained campaigning by a number of groups.
Protesters held a die-in in the street and tied a yellow ribbon around the county hall. A same sex couple even brought their “anti-fracking wedding” to the protest.
Council planning officers have recommended to allow drilling at the Preston New Road site.
But their fracking recommendations have been defied before in light of public pressure. A decision was expected this week.
Climate campaigners lobby MPs
Some 9,000 people from across Britain came to parliament in central London on Wednesday of last week to lobby their MPs for action against climate change.
The lobby was called by the Climate Coalition.
It is a broad alliance including charities, churches, trade unions and the Campaign against Climate Change.
On the eve of the pope’s speech about climate change, it aimed to build political pressure in the run-
up to international talks in Paris in December.
The Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, left wing Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn and prospective Tory candidate for London mayor Zac Goldsmith were among the MPs taking part.
Lucas said, “A lot of people have said how disappointed they were that climate change didn’t feature more highly in the election campaign.
“This shows how much people care about the issue.”
For more information on the Campaign Against Climate Change go to campaigncc.org
the socialist worker