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Fracking Rally as PNR gets TUC anti-fracking support

Chris Satori

About 150 people took part in the Big Noise Against Fracking rally at Maple Farm last Saturday.  Participants, many trades union members and a large contingent who travelled together from Lancaster, marched along Preston New Road to demonstrate at the gates of the Cuadrilla fracking site. 

The event was hosted by Frack Free Greater Manchester, The Campaign against Climate Change Trades Union Group and Tina Rothery and the Lancashire anti-fracking Nanas. Speaking in her role as the Vice President of the National Education Union, (formerly the NUT), Hilary Chuter addressed the rally and confirmed the Union's national and local opposition to fracking and its commitment to climate change measures.  She expressed the particular concern teachers have for the welfare and future of the children and young people in their care and the need to protect their futures and their environment. 

She was particularly concerned that in local schools, teachers and children had been instructed that they were not allowed to talk about fracking. She said: 'Our schools and colleges need to be places where children are learning about climate change, and the dangers of fossil fuels and the part that fracking plays. 

"They also need to be learning the skills to enable them to develop alternative technologies. Our young people, when they leave schools and colleges need to be able to get jobs. They need real jobs - they need real climate jobs, long term jobs, not like these short-term fracking jobs like we've got just up the road at the moment. "

She noted that the Campaign Against Climater Change had published a report outlining the climate change strategy that would produce a million jobs, analysing in detail the potential for development of the jobs that would help the UK become energy sustainable and free from its terminally destructive fossil fuel dependency. 

Other speakers included Clara Paillard (President, Culture Section, PCS union), Don Naylor, Stockport Unison, Tina Rothery, Lancashire anti-fracking nanas, Stephen Hall from Unite, Michael McKrell from the UCU and a representative from the Campaign against Climate Change.

The rally and march was very well received by local activists and residents, with plenty of supportive hoots from passing traffic - since drivers were threatened with arrest (!) by the increasingly Cuadrilla-directed police presence, for merely tooting their horns in support of the anti-fracking campaigners, giving them a friendly toot has become ever more popular. 

Cuadrilla: repeated breaches of Environmental Permits

Last month, Spinwatch reported that Cuadrilla had breached their environmental permits and have been censured by the Environment Agency for failing to store drilling waste adequately and safely - they had stored and transported the toxic liquid in open skips, which were filmed being transported along public highways leaking a trail of waste. 

The same week, DeSmog detailed Freedom of Information requests, which revealed Cuadrilla have managed to take the wrong turning into their Preston New Road fracking site, 115 times in only three months of operations. The A583 already has dangerous road sections, with accident blackspots. By Cuadrilla flaunting the traffic management plan when not always necessary, they are endangering all road users and the local community.

Last week, Spinwatch reported another set of breaches where Cuadrilla released silt-contaminated water from their operations which ended up in a tributary of Carr Bridge Brook.

Roseacre Wood Inquiry

The Public Inquiry into Cuadrilla's proposals to frack at Roseacre Wood is due to reopen with new planning inspector Melvyn Middleton, on 10 April 2018 at Blackpool Football Club. The final decision will rest with the Secretary of State, currently Sajid Javid (but who knows what further governmental chaos will ensue between now and then). Cuadrilla haven't yet revealed their revised traffic plan. Given their breeches of their plan at Preston New Road, that have become so habitual that the Police don't just turn a blind eye, but assist in carrrying them out, they view this exercise as a mere formality. We understand that, if or when they do publish their revised plan, there will be a consultation about it prior to the inquiry.