Solidarity with the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp!
About 60 people have been camped at Barton Moss on the outskirts of Salford (a city and metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester) where energy company IGas started testing for shale gas in November. IGas is 20 per cent owned by Calgary-based Nexen Inc.
The Guardian reports, “Since November anti-fracking groups have gathered in protest, setting up an encampment of tents and old caravans and disrupting work at the site, with police making a series of arrests for public order offences. About 60 protesters have repeatedly sat or laid in the road, stopping lorries going to and from the site.” Last Tuesday, BBC reported, “Peel Investments [the owner of the land] was granted possession of the camp on Monday and the eviction had been due to take place at midday…. [But] fracking protesters have won a late legal bid to avoid eviction from a camp near a test drilling site in Salford.”
There have also been some wonderfully creative actions against fracking at Barton Moss. In mid-December, the Guardian reported, “Anti-fracking protesters near Manchester dumped a huge wind turbine blade at the entrance to drilling site temporarily blocking access to the heavily fortified area…. Fifty campaigners, some dressed in Santa hats, put the 1.5-tonne, 17-metre long blade in place at around 5.30am and wrapped it in a big red bow.”
And there has been police violence against the activists. On February 16, the Ecologist reported, “After the District Judge had declared Barton Moss Road a public footpath, and the successful blockade of the IGas delivery lorries on [February 13], today came the brutal backlash from Greater Manchester Police and its Tactical Aid Unit.” By March 3, the BBC had reported, “An independent panel examining how police deal with major protests and demonstrations in Greater Manchester has been set up. It follows a number of confrontations involving protestors and Greater Manchester Police at Barton Moss.”
The Daily Mail adds that there have been other major protests against fracking in the UK. It reports, “Large scale anti-fracking protests in Balcombe, West Sussex last summer went on for weeks and cost the police force more than £3m. More than 80 people, opposed to Cuadrilla Resources’ exploratory oil drilling operation, were arrested in angry confrontations at the site. In January Cuadrilla said it was to scrap plans to use fracking near the village because rock already contained natural fractures.”
Groups opposing fracking testing at Barton Moss include the Barton Moss camp, Frack Free Greater Manchester, Friends of the Earth, the Green Party, Manchester People’s Assembly, No Dash for Gas, and the Campaign Against Climate Change.
The Council of Canadians expresses its full solidarity with these groups.
It is expected that IGas will conclude its exploratory drilling at the end of this month.