anti- Fracking protesters shut down the country’s only hydrolic fracturing rig - again!

1.12.11

Activists settle in for long-term occupation of toxic new industry which threatens the West Country

The controversial proposed Fracking site in Hesketh Bank, Lancashire was shut down this morning as 8 Bristol cyclists stormed the drilling rig. Three of the climate justice campaigners from Bristol Rising Tide scaled the Cuadrilla Resources equipment with supplies and have declared their intention to stop work for several days.

The drilling rig is the only operation of it's kind working in the country, after a similar exploratory site in Blackpool was shut down in the spring because it induced two earthquakes in the area. [1]

Liz Sparks, a spokesperson for Bristol Rising Tide, explained the potential dangers of fracking in the South West:

“Large parts of Wales, Devon, Somerset and Dorest are potentially under threat from this desperate new technology, which involves extracting the gas in shale rock through Hydraulic Fracturing, (or fracking) [2]. Huge amounts of water mixed with toxic chemicals are forced into the ground at high pressure, a large proportion of which are never recovered. This fluid also leaches arsenic out of rocks, creating a dangerous cocktail that’s difficult to dispose of. In the United states numerous spills of these fluids have contaminated irrigation water, effecting food supplies, and the health of surrounding communities." [3]

The same site was occupied last month by another group- “Frack Off”, and local community resistance across the country is gaining ground. [4]

Paul Williams, who works in a Bristol Library, was among the protestors. He commented:

"People simply aren’t going to stand by and let this crazy extreme sneak into our landscape. We've been inspired by the remarkable work of our neighbours in Wales. Glamorgan county council recently voted unanimously against an application to Frack the area.[5] This decision was influenced by Welsh Water's submission that reserve groundwater sites are at risk of contamination. We can stop this before it starts if we act now. If you want earthquakes, runaway climate change, contaminated water, and a threat to agricultural production then Fracking's the way forward. If you want energy security and more jobs per kilowatt hour, go with renewables [6]. It's a no brainer."

The industry is quick to point to the US experience of fracking, but their safety record there is on increasingly shaky ground. New York State has just instituted a moratorium against fracking, as has Quebec, Canada. France has banned it outright, as has New Jersey in the US. [7]

Twitter: Follow the action on twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/BrisRisingTide (BrisRisingTide)

Photos and videos updated in real-time on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71113300@N08/ (Bristol Rising Tide)

For more info see: www.frack-off.org
And www.risingtide.org.uk/bristol