BY RUTH HAYHURST ON SEPTEMBER 29, 2017
A Lancashire businessman who had been threatened with arrest for sounding his car horn in support of anti-fracking protesters led a convoy of hooting motorists past Cuadrilla’s shale gas site this morning.
Twenty-eight other cars followed Brian Morrison, honking their horns continuously as they drove past the site at Little Plumpton near Blackpool.
None of the drivers were arrested, although but Mr Morrison said police followed him home and warned him not to organise another convoy.
But he vowed to make the protest a regular event and said he expected more drivers would take part next time.
Mr Morrison made front page news in Blackpool last week when he was told he would be arrested unless he promised to stop sounding his horn on his daily journeys past the fracking protests. He refused and made a formal complaint.
This morning he told a rally outside the Preston New Road site:
“If you are driving towards a group of people you can beep your horn as a message of warning.”
Mr Morrison said he made his complaint against the police officer who threatened to arrest him because she gave colleagues outside the shale gas site a thumbs up and received a round of applause from them.
He urged opponents of fracking:
“Keep beeping your horn. Contact me. Let’s get this convoy regular and stop everything. I am not stopping.
“I am waiting to be arrested. Arrested for what? I am letting you officers know I am coming.”
Today’s rally included people from Northern Ireland, Manchester and Lancaster, along with members of Quakers, Friends of the Earth and local Labour groups.
Miranda Cox, a member of Kirkham Town Council and the community liaison group for Preston New Road, said the world was at a tipping point:
“The fact that we’re having to stand here and put our lives on hold to fight and to resist this industry tells me that there is still some hope, that people are waking up and people will resist and will do what they can for our planet.
“We need to act and we need to take people with us on that journey and wake them up. We need to consider where we’re going in our lifestyles, what life choices we are making and how we are going to encourage this government … and put pressure on any future government to look at policies regarding the use of fossil fuels. There really are sustainable alternatives out there.”
Nick Danby, of Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG), said:
“I am absolutely convinced that we are going to win this battle. We have just got to be patient.”
He said opponents of fracking were awaiting the outcome of a legal challenge in the Court of Appeal to ministerial approval of planning permission for Preston New Road. They were also opposing the Ineos injunction against disruption caused by protests at sites across the country.
“We have to fight on all these fronts. But ultimately we will win.”
Barbara Richardson, of Frack Free Lancashire, said opponents of Cuadrilla’s operations had to maintain their presence outside the Preston New Road site:
“We have to be here and get out numbers up. Let’s show [Francis] Egan [Cuadrilla’s chief executive] we will be here as long as he is.”