Barton Moss Day 22: Wed 18 December

Big Orange Bus and police

Big Bus Blockade

Another unexpected arrival. A big orange bus appears to have mysteriously broken down, blocking the entrance to the fracking site. What next?

Five brave Barton Moss Protectors are locked to a BIG ORANGE BUS preventing access to IGas’ site.

* One locked to the steering wheel and accelerator
* One locked underneath
* One locked to the roof-skylight
* One locked to the back door by the neck
* One locked to front door by the leg

The blockade lasted for six hours until the afternoon, after police eviction teams removed the Defenders.  iGas’ drilling rig arrived to site later in the day – having been significantly delayed.

The action is part of the growing opposition to fracking and in reaction to the Governments announcement yesterday of a new licensing round for onshore oil and gas which will now cover over 60% of the UK and will include the whole of Greater Manchester.

Stephen Lockwood who lives at the Barton Moss Protection Camp said, “Fracking is highly dangerous. The government is actively promoting it despite overwhelming opposition from the local communities it’s being imposed upon. Not only are they allowing the oil and gas companies to ride roughshod over the democratic process, environment and legally binding climate change targets, they are now giving them tax breaks whilst they do so.”

He continued, “Many powerful government figures have financially declared interests in the oil and gas industry and are ignoring the will of the people. It’s up to all of us to call them to account and stop these toxic developments.”

Ministers have also published draft legislation for tax breaks for fracking companies – while confirming the industry will offer financial incentives of £100,000 per well to persuade people to accept fracking in their local area.

Local resident, 82 year old Anne Power said, “What are the government thinking? How can they think that covering the whole of Greater Manchester with fracking rigs is a good idea. The industry themselves have admitted that they are struggling in the face of public opposition yet the government continue to think they can force this on us.”

She continued, “I have been delighted to see the resurgence of the community spirit in Salford and in fact, all over the country but what has this country come to when our younger generation are forced into taking such drastic action in order to protect their communities?”

The land on which IGas plan to drill is leased from corporate giant Peel Holdings who own vast swathes of land in the area, including the Manchester Ship Canal and a number of ports and airports. Peel Holdings, the empire of billionaire John Whittaker[3], has several pockets of land leased for drilling in the Manchester area including another a site in Trafford for which IGas also has planning permission. Peel look to be tied up with the future of unconventional gas in the North West where they have been securing parcels of land for fracking development in recent months.