Last Thursday, three Herefordians travelled up to the ”desolate north” and put themselves, along with 200 others from all over the country, on the front of the fracking line at Preston New Road in Lancashire. This is where energy company Cuadrilla are trying to erect the first drill to frack for unconventional gas and oil in the U.K. for 7 years.
The last attempt, 1.5 miles down the road towards Blackpool, ended in failure when it produced an earthquake. David Straker, John Perkins and Rick Guest spent the night at neighbouring Maple Farm, before showing early morning solidarity at the fracking site with local people including councillors, grandparents, shopkeepers and farmers.
In 2016, Lancashire county council’s decision not to allow Cuadrilla to frack was overturned by the communities minister, Sajid Javid. Rick Guest (aka Gandalf), who walked from Hereford to London last year in protest at the government’s decision to allow fracking in the Wye Valley AONB at Symonds Yat said, “We were there because fracking is a national issue affecting us all. It is totally unnecessary, risks damaging precious water supplies and devastating the local environment. It also produces a fossil fuel which we all know will contribute to the runaway climate change we are experiencing. As for drilling so close to a known earthquake zone, it’s unbelievable. No wonder the locals are up in arms. I wonder if Jesse Norman or Bill Wiggin would welcome a fracking rig next door to them! What happens here is vitally important to the future of fracking in the UK. All eyes are on Preston Road. We will be back!”
The photo is with William Hawk, a member of the Lakota tribe who protested at Standing Rock in the Dakota heartland over the oil pipeline.