Posted by: westlancashirerecord | July 22, 2017

Kale Not Shale

Dozens of farmers and growers from across the UK have demonstrated outside the Cuadrilla fracking site in Lancashire against shale gas exploration. The field was leased to energy firm Cuadrilla by farmer Allan Wensley, who says he has no regrets. The rally was organised by “Reclaim the Power” whose activities were intended to shut operations on the site for the day.

The demonstration was to oppose the effect of shale gas exploration on agriculture. Mr Wensley’s actions have incensed other farmers. Dairy farmer Andy Pemberton, who runs Lytham’s oldest dairy farm, Melanie Fryer, a small-scale producer on a traditional Dale farm, and a representative from the Landworkers’ Alliance gave speeches at the protest.

And Alan Schofield, a local organic producer who’s been farming in Pilling, Lancashire, for the past 35 years, was among those protesting. “As a Lancashire vegetable farmer whose livelihood depends on the health and well-being of our soils, I am shocked that this development has been allowed,” he said. “The good people of Lancashire said no to this development, only to be overturned by central government. We are not just fighting an unwanted and highly polluting industry, the whole of our democratic process is at stake”.

Liz Humphrey, from the Landworkers Alliance, added “The fracking industry’s international legacy in the US and Australia to date is the permanent contamination of fertile land and critical water supplies. “Livestock are often the first to suffer the effects of air and water pollution, and the standard response to the devastation of herds is denial rather than compensation”. The protest is part of a “Rolling Resistance” month of action, organised by local campaigners and Reclaim the Power, aiming to disrupt work at Cuadrilla’s site every day in July. A new survey by YouGov has shown 66% of Lancashire residents oppose fracking near their homes.

The rally, with music, dancing, food and speeches, closed the Preston New Road site for most of the day. Fracking opponents came from as far as away as Torquay and Somerset. Many were organised for a long day at the roadside, with picnic chairs, sandwiches, suncream and umbrellas . West Lancashire will be fracked in due course, licences are in place.

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