1 April 2016News

Campaigners bring drilling rig to Westminster

Photo: Greenpeace

On 9 February, Greenpeace installed a realistic-looking 10-metre fracking rig and drill in Parliament Square, London, to ‘bring the local impacts of fracking to the heart of democracy’. The rig gave off a bio ethanol flame every hour, speakers broadcast the sounds of drilling and lorries, and a two-metre-high illuminated road sign gave drivers and passers-by anti-fracking messages (many of them sent in by Greenpeace supporters by social media).


1 April 2016News

Cases dropped against 20 anti-fracking protestors

More bad news for Manchester police over their handling of the Barton Moss anti-fracking ‘Community Protection Camp’, (November 2013 – April 2014).

In early February, the crown prosecution service (CPS) dropped charges against 20 anti-fracking ‘protectors’ following the acquittal of John Wasilewski and David Cohen on 22 January, according to Netpol, the police monitoring group. (20 more cases were under review.)

District judge Sanders said he was not sure that either…

26 May 2015Feature

Social movements should take heed of social psychology, argues Kelvin Mason

Borras and Holt community protection camp. Photo: Kelvin Mason

The newly-elected Conservative government is set to follow through on David Cameron’s infamous 2014 pledge to go ‘all out for fracking’. They will also cancel subsidies for new onshore wind turbines. Allowing free-market dogma to dictate ecocide rather than plan a sustainable energy future, this government is contemptuous of the greatest moral challenge of our age, climate change.

So dire is the impact of human…

31 March 2015News

Ceredigion council becomes first Welsh ‘frack-free’ local authority

Elements of a campaign by Frack Free Wales came together in January when Ceredigion council voted to become the first ‘frack-free’ local authority in Wales.

Fracking is shorthand for ‘hydraulic fracturing’ for oil or gas, underground coal gasification, and coal-bed methane, all of which threaten Wales.

None of these fuels exist in Ceredigion, however. The council’s decision reflected its commitment to moving away from all fossil fuels, which drive climate change.…

1 February 2015News

Wales is ready to take on the extreme energy industry, reports Kelvin Mason.

Eviction of Borras and Holt Community Protection Camp. Photo: Dave Ellison

In January 2014, Westminster prime minister David Cameron announced that his government was ‘going all out for fracking’. (Fracking is the high-pressure hydraulic fracturing of shale rock deep underground to extract natural gas or other fossil fuels.) As an inducement to local authorities, councils were allowed to keep 100% of business rates from shale gas sites.

Defying public opinion, the government also…

21 July 2014News in Brief

Sussex police placed spies in the anti-fracking camp at Balcombe, Sussex, last year, and used ‘electronic interception’, in order to discover activists’ plans – which they then shared with the drilling company, Cuadrilla.

This was revealed by a police technology blunder at the end of June (trying to cover up a sentence in a Word document that was released under the Freedom of Information Act).

The 126 arrests made by Sussex police during Balcombe days of action resulted…

21 July 2014News

Giant red dragon gathers signatures in Aberystwyth

Co-ordinated by Friends of the Earth Cymru, 5 July was a ‘Wales Against Fracking’ day of action.

Across Wales, groups mounted events to gather signatures on a petition to the Welsh government for a moratorium on extreme energy. Many communities in Wales are threatened by fracking, underground coal-gasification or coal-bed methane extraction.

Extreme energy keeps us hooked on the fossil fuels that drive climate change, risks contaminating water, and diverts investment…

9 June 2014Feature

Peace News brings together environmental activists for a transatlantic round table

‘We have little mini-successes and we celebrate them because we need to; otherwise we’ll go stark raving mad,’ New York activist Maura Stephens said during a Peace News round-table discussion via video chat on 17 April.

During the conversation, two US and two British anti-fracking activists compared how their movements have organised, and brainstormed tactics for fighting ‘hydraulic fracturing’ for oil and gas in the future.

Stephens thinks organisers need to reflect on what is…

9 June 2014Resource

Citizens from around the world have demonstrated against powerful governments and industries to say ‘no’ to fracking. Some have been met with success, others disappoint, and many more with on-going struggle. Peace News brought together four activists on 17 April 2014 – two from the UK and two from the US -- to learn about how they have organised, what they have learned and what is next for their movements.

Vera Scroggins – Citizen Gas Tours, Pennsylvania,…

30 April 2014Feature

A Q&A on fracking with Laura Bannister, Green Party candidate for the European parliament 

‘I think fracking is entirely the wrong direction for UK energy policy, and I feel that if we act now we can prevent the establishment of a fracking industry in this country,’ Laura Bannister said.


Bannister is a European election candidate from Manchester and Salford, an area currently being exploratory drilled for natural gas. She has been a member of the…

3 April 2014Feature

Manchesters’ new front line in the struggle against extreme energy

An industrial truck creeps down the road towards the gate, held up by 35 slowly-walking individuals. It could take up to two hours for the driver to arrive with equipment necessary to keep operations moving at IGas Energy’s Barton Moss fracking site just to the west of Manchester.

‘That happens every day. That’s happening right now, as we speak,’ Robbie Gillet of Frack Free Greater Manchester said in an interview, with sounds of a…

18 February 2014News

On 9 January, a three-day trial in Brighton resulted in acquittals for 10 people arrested for blockading the drilling site near Balcombe on 26 July. This was the first of over 20 trials arising out of protests against energy giant Cuadrilla’s attempts to drill for oil and gas near the West Sussex village.

All 10 were acquitted of ‘obstruction of the highway’. Defence lawyers argued that as the B2036 London Road at Balcombe was closed to…

25 September 2012News in Brief

On 7 September, two Bristol-based anti-fracking protesters were found not guilty of aggravated trespass, but a third was convicted of failing to leave as soon as practicable, at the Cuadrilla Resource’s test drilling rig beside the Ribble estuary in Lancashire. The three had shut down the gas-extraction operation for 13 hours on 1 December 2011.

During the trial it was established that Cuadrilla had been drilling for two months longer than allowed at the time of arrests.

28 August 2012News in Brief

On 17 July, four members of “Frack Off”, which campaigns against fracking for shale gas, were found guilty by Preston magistrates’ court of ‘disrupting lawful activity’, and sentenced to two years’ conditional discharges with £750 costs each.

During the four-day trial, expert witnesses testified to the threat to the global climate and human health posed by the expansion of fracking.

The four had occupied the Cuadrilla Resources drilling rig off Lancashire for 11 hours last…

1 September 2011News in Brief

17-18 September, campaigners will pitch near Blackpool for Camp Frack, a climate camp-style effort to burst the bubble of hydraulic gas fracking in the UK. Two activists scaled Blackpool Tower in August to drop a banner announcing a new anti-fracking website, Fracking is a dangerous and highly polluting form of gas extraction which is banned in France.