Thursday, 28 August 2014

Headscarves, Section 6's & solidarity in a field...

Three weeks ago 25 everyday people (primarily parents and grandparents) gathered in a dining room at 3am, equipped with Section 6 Squatting Notices and 144 Disclaimers... yellow headscarves, aprons, curlers and dedication to stopping fracking - before it ever gets a hold in this country.

We did this knowing that we would be occupying a field that was currently under a planning application for access roads to facilitate Cuadrilla's proposed shale gas operation. I suppose we also knew there was a chance this would end up in court at some point... that point starts tomorrow at Manchester High Court.

Elsewhere in the UK, land had been held, trucks had been stalled and protection camps had stood their ground against the harshest of policing. The shale gas industry though ploughs on and continues its government-supported drive to frack; regardless of known risks to vital air and water and regardless of public opposition.

This camp though, the 'Nana Camp' was born of a different strategy: 

-We wanted to ensure opposition was clearly apparent BEFORE planning applications are granted - so that the Council and investors in the shale gas industry, would realise that this is what is happening before the drill tried to touch soil... should that drill come, then this trickle will become a flood.

-We wanted to ensure that neighbours were well aware of how close they lived to a bothersome site - our presence alerted many initially through concern and then to realisation - that if they were worried about the impact of Nanas and others in a field for three weeks - what the hell would it be like with a full fracking operation for years?

-We wanted to keep the conversation and momentum going and play our part in the vast sharing of information being done by anti-fracking groups across the UK and the rest of the world.

Field of determination, good in-tent-ion and warm appreciation...
We did what we set out to do... raise local awareness of the location defined in planning and engaged with so very many supporters... plus let Cuadrilla know they will at EVERY stage be challenged.
We hope too that we can grow what we started and that more *Nanas (*type of person who cares for future generations... more a Nana-Type person than an age or gender thing as clearly and beautifully shown by Nana-Fluffy  ) will also make a stand in their communities.

Today we said our goodbye to the field on Preston New Road at PR4 3PE - where countless cars beeped support (and must have so irked the land owner), where my great-nephew learned to ride a bike, where mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and others, became ever more determined to protect this precious community (and others) from the intrusion, danger and massive impact of a shale gas operation.

A lovely man from nearby was helping us ensure the field was shiny and clean yesterday and said what good work we had done but that in the end we are up against the government and big business... indicating they were powerful adversaries. I reminded him that there is NOTHING in nature more powerfully determined and unstoppable as a mother protecting her young.