Day 2 in the Cuadrilla House... and the good people gathered to find our way in the dance between us and the big bad trucks.
So today was fascinating, sad, wet, hopeful, worrying, sometimes humorous and the start of a learning curve without end I suspect!
The traffic lights to help Cuadrilla build the frack site are operational 9:30-3 each weekday and 9:30-12:30 Saturdays - so this will be our 'working pattern' for the foreseeable future and today was our first go at it. When I woke up this morning though, I was so very very upset at the realisation of all that lies ahead – but it is what it is and we are bound by obligation to our young to ensure their safety – no way off this road.
We gathered from 1pm without a real plan - just to show solidarity after yesterday's unexpected decision. Nobody said anything about slow-walking trucks - so it hadn't crossed my mind till I got there and a truck was still and some were in front of it. Maybe 100 or so gathered on the verges - amazing for one-day's notice and soggy weather (huge thanks to all) mostly locals, including 2 Councillors and a few wonderful others from out-of-town.
The road is by virtue of the temporary lights, single-lane and hellishly busy with traffic backed up and commuters angry with Cuadrilla for disruption. We need to be sure it is always clear that it is them - not US who are causing the traffic problems. Those who were in front of the truck were within the designated works-traffic lane and so NOT the cause of traffic issues... until one or two spilled out a little and ALL traffic was stopped. This is bad for us as commuters will imagine we made them late... we agreed areas with police that did not inhibit our job of slowing this industry but let traffic pass safely and journeys resumed along with truck slowing.
Cuadrilla’s latest security team (from www.cecetv.co.uk) were the usual caliber – no manners, no people skills and just a bit thuggish. I mentioned we’d be slow walking and one brutish chap sniggered that he’d ‘make us run’. I asked the police to get him off the line as his behaviour was threatening and inappropriate… they spoke to him and he was less in sight and quiet.
The police (however you feel about them) are supposed to maintain a safe place even in protest conditions and are therefore at our service as much as anyone. Our right to peaceful, non-violent action is afforded in our human rights. The police here in Lancashire have meetings every 2 months or so with the local residents’ groups and it is amicable and over 6-years, meant they got to witness our peaceful determination and be subjected to Cuadrilla’s rude behaviour. We know that things are different; this bit was never going to be a picnic and what will come will not be what has been …sad though and it will help if we remain the righteous in this – because we are.
I think today was all exemplary behaviour by our protectors; those on the verges sang, got honks of support and were witness to those across the road in the works-traffic lane who were slowing truck progress. Our first attempt and despite another incident with security where a young man came across to the truck and security pounced on him and claimed he was trying to mount the truck… the action went quite smoothly.
By staying off the real thoroughfare (single lane main traffic bit) we were not causing problems or issues with safety and if we can do this on the slip-road part where vehicles enter the Cuadrilla site to their left, we can delay entry in this short area… not the length we had at Balcombe or Barton Moss, just a smidgen of road but do-able. The aim of truck slow-walking is to slow progress, cost time and money (workers are happy as on overtime) and thereby make clear to INVESTORS that this industry is trouble and WILL be resisted at every turn. Investor press quotes UK public shale gas opposition as a key reason investors are deterred… yay Investor Removal Team <3 span="">3>
Was great to meet some from Bolton today, where the works truck came from (AE Yates of Bolton) and as we’ve been musing – it would be good to let supply companies like them know that there is no social license and by affiliating with this industry, they too are threatening our communities. Hope that the work is just not worth it and they back off and find nicer customers.
Back to the site tomorrow to see how that all pans out and due to meet with police at some point about how this unfolds – I asked that they bear in mind that it is not about Cuadrilla’s right to work – but about our human right as residents to non-violently protest.
Planning a nice tea tent next week that can serve cold protectors if we can wrangle it.
Just got out the thermals as outside-time seems a bit of a certainty for a while xxx