Monday, 19 September 2016

What would you do Ma'am?

Dear Editors,

Please find below, an open letter to Her Majesty, The Queen, as the latest press release from Lancashire Nanas and residents against fracking, from Lancashire. The letter has also been sent by post to Buckingham Palace. This press release is part one of a two-part action that will culminate in a peaceful presence at Buckingham Palace on 27th September 2016.

PRESS RELEASE                         19th September 2016

Your Royal Highness,

An important note before you read on: I am writing this as a fellow grandmother and would ask that you consider my question from your obligation to defend your young and with your heart, rather than your crown.

We are a group of UK citizens who feel increasingly shut out of the decision that is soon to be made on shale gas extraction in Lancashire. It is a basic tenet of democracy that power should remain as close as possible to the people and not be concentrated in the hands of a few.

We have seen democracy in action in Lancashire, where the people said 'No' to fracking and both their borough and county councils agreed with them, and in their turn said 'No' to Cuadrilla's planning applications to frack two sites in rural Fylde, Lancashire [1].

Cuadrilla appealed and a public inquiry was held earlier this year at which we – the residents – spent three weeks giving evidence. The planning inspector's report has subsequently been submitted to Sajid Javid MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who will make a decision at the beginning of October.

The decision to refuse planning permission for fracking in Lancashire was local democracy in action. However, the government’s support for shale means that the power has been passed from Lancashire's elected representatives to the hands of a few, who are interested in aiding the interests of big business, rather than the interests and health of the residents of Lancashire [2].

This is not democracy.

During the last five years we have spent a considerable amount of time, energy and money pursuing every democratic opening available to us. We have:

  • Held public meetings to gauge opinion & share information                              
  • Helped create groups to discuss the hundreds of peer-reviewed studies           
  • Provided residents’ feedback to councillors                                                                     
  • Engaged with and provided MPs with feedback on residents' concerns about the effects of fracking so close to residential areas                                                   
  • Engaged with government ministers over residents' concerns                           
  • Attended industry information events in order to discover/understand their plans and what they might mean for residents                                                                        
  • Created petitions and obtained thousands of signatures which were delivered to County Halls and Downing Street                                                                         
  • Organised and attended peaceful demonstrations locally and nationally                      
  • Took peaceful, direct and non-violent direct action                                
  • Co-operated with NGOs to put pressure on central government                                                
  • Given evidence at the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on the Economic Impact on UK Energy Policy of Shale Gas and Oil                                                             
  • Attended and gave evidence at Lancashire County Council Development and Control meetings on planning                                                                                                   
  • Attended and gave evidence at the three-week long Public Inquiry                     
  • Contacted Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with an invitation to visit proposed sites and meet residents (not accepted)               
  • Sought help from our Monarch (this action)                                            

We have exhausted every democratic channel. We are desperate.

What would you do, Ma'am?

Yours sincerely,

Nanas & Residents


For immediate release.

Notes to Editors: