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Oct 09 2016

PRESS RELEASE: What have you got to hide, frackers?

Fracktivists take to the streets as Fracking industry sneak into Manchester for conference

Activists from Frack Free Greater Manchester, Manchester Friends of the Earth and Manchester Greenpeace have called a demonstration outside a secret fracking industry conference [1] this Tuesday.

The purpose of the peaceful protest is to remind the fracking industry that they have no social license to operate in the UK, five days after the Secretary of State for Communities, Sajid Javid, took the unprecedented step of greenlighting Cuadrillas application to hydraulically fracture wells at Preston New Road, overturning Lancashire County Councils decision to deny the application. Meanwhile, a further application at Roseacre Wood, also called in by the Secretary of State for Communities, awaits a similar fate. [2]

This is no longer a battle against fracking, its a battle for our democratic rights,” says Jenny Ross of Frack Free Greater Manchester. If central government set a precedent that any local decision they dont like they can simply overturn, then where will that end? Government is supposed to amplify the voices of local people, not ignore them.”

For the government to disenfranchise the people of Lancashire by pretending this decision is of national importance is a meritless pretence. The reality is, the day after our government ratified the Paris agreement they forced fracking on an unwilling public breaking their own pledges on localism and climate change within the space of 24 hours [3].”

Fracking remains highly unpopular with the British public with the last DECC poll showing that 81% of the UK population were against it, instead favouring a shift to renewable energy [4].

Shale Gas applications across the UK have been heavily opposed with objections to fracking weighing in at around 99%, where applications to frack have been made [5].

The UK Shale Gas summit follows a UKOOG fracking summit held in Manchester last Julywhere activists outside vastly outnumbered the delegates within. This time, the industry are attempting to lock the gate on protest as CEOs from American and Candian oil companies fly in to find how they can get their most out of their UK fracking licenses.

In a bid to silence the voices of opposition, the industry have gone to the lengths of holding the summit at an undisclosed location on 10th and 11th October 2016. Delegates will only be informed of the location at 8AM on Tuesday morning. However, Frack Free Greater Manchester is confident it will be able to locate the event for the protest and have said they will stage a rally outside at midday.

The majority of fracking licenses fall over the north of the England, and resistance has been growing amongst our elected representatives: last June 17 North West MPs and MEPs wrote a letter to central government expressing serious concerns about the risks fracking poses to our health and our environment [6]; and Frack Free Greater Manchester has also discovered that on 10 February 2016 Councillor Kate Chappell, Executive Member for the Environment of Manchester City Council, wrote to the then Local Government Minister, Greg Clark MP, to formally object to proposals to take planning decisions out of the hands of local planning authorities for shale gas wells [7].

Martin Porter of the Manchester Greenpeace Network saidDavid Cameron said fracking must start by end of 2014 [8] but theres still no gas coming out of the ground. Every community threated by shale gas has revolted, and Lancashire is no exception.

Currently 0% of our power comes from fracking and 25% from wind and solar. Greenpeace has shown that figure could be 80% by 2030 [9]. If the government is serious about keeping the lights on it should invest in clean, green and popular renewable energy, which does not threaten our health, our climate or our democracy.

ENDS

PRESS CONTACTS

Judy Paskell 07952 343755

Martin Porter 07546 230225

PRESS IMAGES

Attached Lancashire reacts to the news on local democracy, please credit Frack Free Greater Manchester

The demo will be using the hashtag #secretshale

EDITORS NOTES

[1] UK Shale Gas Summit Manchester: http://www.esgos.eu/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/planningapplicationscalledindecisionsandrecoveredappeals

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/07/frackingukclimatetargetsrulesstricter

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/28/uksupportforfrackinghitsnewlow

[5] The planning applications for Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood in Lancs received over 33,000 letters of objection with only 400 in favour (98.8% said no). Third Energys plans for fracking at Kirby Misperton in Ryedalewhich was greenlighted by the Toryled North Yorkshire County Councilreceived 4,375 objection and only 36 in favour (99.2% said no), and in Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire iGass plans to frack at Misson received 2,623 objections and only 6 in favour (99.8% said no) – the application is yet to be decided on by Notts County Council

[6] NW MPs and MEPs call for halt to fracking: http://frackfreelancashire.org.uk/cms/?p=944

[7] Letter to Greg Clark MP dated 16/02/2016 (attached)

[8] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2589417/FrackingstartendyearsaysCameronPMwantsBritainreducedependenceRussiangas.html

[9] Greenpeace 2030 energy scenario: http://www.demandenergyequality.org/2030-energyscenario.html

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