Nationwide response expected at anti-fracking rally in Lancashire

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Opponents of Cuadrilla’s plans to frack for shale gas are expected to travel from across England for a national day of action tomorrow.

They are due to gather at Maple Farm, near the company’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire.

The event has been billed as a family rally with music and speakers. Groups of anti-fracking campaigners are reported to be travelling from Brighton, London, Scarborough, Malton, York, Leicester, Manchester, Oxford, Yeovil and Formby.

The organisers have said they have the support of Preston New Road Action Group, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Reclaim the Power, The Green Party of England and Wales, the Public and Commercial Services Union, the University and College Union and Unison.

Lancashire Police posted a statement on the Fylde Police Facebook page this afternoon:

“We are aware of the national day of anti-fracking action event planned for Saturday (February 25th) at Maple Farm near Preston.

“We will provide an appropriate policing response to the event. Our intention is to ensure a consistent and co-ordinated policing response which balances the rights of people to lawfully protest, together with the rights of the wider public, including local businesses, to go about their lawful activities.

“We aim to prevent, where possible, crime and disorder, but if it does occur we will provide an effective, lawful and proportionate response.

“We’ll make sure there are suitable police resources in the area tomorrow and also to maintain daily business elsewhere in the county.”

Some campaigners have criticised the statement and have called for a “proportionate” deployment of police resources.

Preston New Road site

Blimp balloon released by Preston New Road Action Group on 24 February 2016
A year ago today, the planning inspector at the public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s planning applications visited the then proposed Preston New Road site. Preston New Road Action Group launched a 53m blimp balloon to demonstrate the height of the rig.

On 6 October, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced that he was overruling the refusal of planning permission by Lancashire County Council.

Cuadrilla began work on preparing the site on 5 January 2017 and since then opponents have protested outside the site. More than 20 people have been arrested. Two statutory challenges to Mr Javid’s decision are due to be heard at the High Court in Manchester from 15-17 March 2017.

Preston New Road site on 15 February. Photo: Frack Free Creators Knitting Nannas Lancashire
Event details
Don’t frack Lancs national rally, 11am-2pm, Maple Farm, Preston New Road, Little Plumpton PR4 3PE.

Blessing water and earth at Preston New Road. Water is life event. 2pm-4pm.

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