MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) – British anti-fracking protesters are getting creative in their fight against a network of lobbying groups supported by the United Kingdom’s shale gas extraction industry.
Activists super-glued their hands to the main door of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in Blackpool this week. Other protesters brought major traffic disruption to Swansea after blockading a new university building.
In Salford, anti-fracking campaigners hung a banner from a city bridge to remind people of the 884,000 gallons of radioactive water dumped into the Manchester Ship Canal from a single fracking operation, which was cut short because of earthquakes in the area, purportedly caused by the fracking operations.
Peaceful protests also took place in London, Manchester and Leeds.
Last Sunday, a mass rally on the promenade in Blackpool attracted hundreds of marchers with a giant ‘Cuadzilla’ puppet monster, mocking Cuadrilla Resources, which is developing a fracking site in the area.
The No Dash For Gas anti-fracking group alone staged 13 protests around the United Kingdom this week. The group’s Reclaim the Power protest camp set up at the proposed drilling site on Preston New Road, near Blackpool, and ran for six days (August 14-20).
Reclaim the Power campaigners said they were reacting to a British government report detailing the impact of shale gas exploration on rural communities. In the version of the report released last week, 63 sections had been deleted, according to the campaigners. The missing sections allegedly included analysis related to falling house prices and failing rural services.
The protesters were also angered by the recent appointment of pro-fracking lobbyist Sir Phillip Dilley as head of the British Environment Agency. Dilley, appointed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, is the ex-chairman of Arup, a partner of Cuadrilla, one of the largest shale exploration companies in the United Kingdom.
Cuadrilla’s applications for shale gas drilling test sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood have received over 14,000 objections. Fracking licenses may sometimes be pushed through too quickly, as 125 ministers reportedly have financial ties with the companies, while billions of pounds have been granted to them in tax breaks and subsidies.
In response to the government’s disregard for public opinion, anti-fracking campaigners across the United Kingdom started organizing protests highlighting the level of corruption and disregard for environmental welfare.
Campaigners are determined to continue the protests, according to Ashley Grey, a member of No Dash For Gas.
“We will continue for as long as we can to defeat this, because we want to protect our countryside and we want safe, clean, cheap energy for everyone and we want a political system that serves everybody not just the corporate elite,” Grey told RIA Novosti on Monday.