Judy from Frack Free Greater Manchester gives us a quick update from the United Against Fracking II conference in Leeds on 29th October:
Fifty to sixty activists from Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, and as far away as Cornwall met in Leeds at a gathering organised by Friends of the Earth and Frack Free Leeds.
There were reports from Preston New Road (PNR) and Kirby Misperton (KM): lock ons and other intrepid actions continue; increasing numbers are coming to regular events such as Green Mondays and Women’s White Wednesdays at PNR; and there were appeals to support solidarity events at KM last Saturday 4th and this coming Saturday 11th at PNR to get still greater numbers of people involved.
There were workshops on dealing with the media, legal and planning issues. I attended an excellent workshop on how to talk to people about fracking, where one activist role played the CEO of Cuadrilla and another managed to wear him down with arguments about the pollution of water for his golf course and the blocking of country roads by multiple lorries which would cramp his style when driving his sports car! This was of course tongue in cheek but illustrates that you have to start from people’s existing concerns. The prospects for your own, your children’s and grandchildren’s health and general wellbeing seems a good starting point for many people!
Martin Empson attended a workshop on trade unions and one suggestion to come out of that was to write a leaflet for workers in the fracking industry.
At a workshop on national strategy we discussed a Declaration against fracking written by activists in Yorkshire which could be used to knock on doors in affected communities and others, to get organisations on board and also a possible national demonstration to hand the signed declarations in at Westminster.