23 August 2017

Merseyside Green Party members joined other regional Greens in Monday's Protest at Preston New Road Fracking Site in Lancashire.


After the very succesful Reclaim The Power's Rolling Resistance campaign against fracking ending on 31 July,  various NW Green Party members (including Tina Rothery and Gina Dowding) have now establishlished Mondays as 'Green Mondays', in order to prevent last month's successful efforts from simply fading away.  



The first Green Monday saw former Green Leader Natalie Bennett in attendance for the day.  Co-leader Caroline Lucas and Deputy Leader Amelia Womack will be the there in forthcoming Monday's.


In June 2015, Lancashire County Council rejected Cuadrilla’s fracking applications. Yet, in October 2016, this was overturned by the Tory government, following an appeal by Cuadrilla. This was despite government promises, before the 2015 general election, to leave such matters to local councils.  


 Fracking and Preston New Road
This fracking site is, in many ways, a test case: if Cuadrilla is successful there, then fracking is likely to be quickly rolled out all over the country. Hence the protests here are important to all of us - and to our planet as a whole. Some of the methods used to frustrate Cuadrilla’s plans have been both innovative and successful.



Use and pollution of water
One of the biggest environmental problems with fracking is the use of water. In order to get gas out of impermeable shale rock, the rock has to be fractured, in order to get at the methane gas. This requires massive amounts of water - a single frack requires 5-10 Olympic-size swimming pools. In US, farmers have to bid against the oil and gas industry for water. In the UK, there are at present no rules to stop fracking companies from draining a region’s supplies in times of drought.

In all, up to 40% of the water used comes back up as contaminated sludge - which contains heavy metals and radioactive elements.  In addition, a University of Aberdeen study shows that the shale in Lancashire has extremely high levels of selenium, molybdenum and arsenic.

Air pollution
Overall, based on experiences elsewhere, it is calculated that fracking will increase local air pollution levels by 30%. To start with, construction work, and especially drilling, on fracking sites produces dangerous pollutants such as ozone, hydrocarbons & silica. All of these lead to lung diseases.

However, there is also increased air pollution arising from the much heavier road traffic. To bring in the massive amounts of water fracking needs, and to take away the contaminated waste-water, requires between 1000-4000 tanker movements per frack – often through residential areas. With normally between 10-60 wells per site, and 100s of sites planned in Lancashire alone, that means millions of tanker movements.


Limiting global warming
In addition to local concerns, the important thing about shale gas and oil is that they are fossil fuels. In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, the vast majority of Earth System and climate scientists agree that at least 80% of what fossil fuels still remain in the ground need to stay there. 


Please join us if you can!

For those using public transport, the nearest station is Kirkham-and-Wesham: from there, cross over the road outside the station and catch the #61 bus, which takes about 15 minutes. There is a bus stop very close to the fracking site. Alternatively, you could take a bike and cycle from Kirkham-and-Wesham station, which also takes about 15 minutes.

For those coming by car, the best route for getting there is as follows: Come off the M55 @ Jnc 4, onto the A583, signed Preston/Kirkham. Free parking is available at: Maple Farm Nursery Garden, Moss House Lane (off Preston New Road), PR4 3PE - Tel: 01772- 685166. The farm is less than a 20-minute walk from the fracking site.