In recent environmental news, Lancashire councillors voted to reject all forms of fracking at Preston New Road, after having received legal advice stating that they can reject applications for fracking.
Given the Conservative government's encouragement of fracking, especially without consultation from local people/local authorities, or respect to even basic property rights , this is an important and strong victory, which I believe will inspire a string of other victories against shale gas extraction.
What does it mean for the campaign against fracking?
1. Petitioning and lobbying councillors as well as MPs, MEPs etc. will work if the issue is strong enough and strongly felt enough within one's community. Large numbers of people are strongly opposed to fracking, and this was demonstrated in Fylde in the most recent general election when anti-fracking campaigner Mike Hill polled over 5000 votes in an otherwise very safe Conservative seat. Wherever fracking operations threaten we, the people, anywhere in Britain, we need to get everyone on board to stop them-councillors, MPs, or ordinary people.
2. Environmental damage and neglect has real consequences which people do actually consider. Fracking operations in many parts of the USA have contaminated water, contributed to substantial rises in cancer rates, ruin arable land nearby, and could potentially cause dangerous earthquakes in nearby communities. Blackpool actually experienced such a small earthquake in recent memory without fracking having come into effect, and worse could happen just about anywhere where fracking ventures.
3. We can all resist fracking and shale gas operations if we try hard enough, no matter what the Conservatives try to push through to promote it. Fracking has been defeated in many other places as well, and many nations (e.g. France) outlaw fracking of any type. We need to make sure that we resist divide and rule by organising to support renewable energy (even if the method of generation is not always so visually pleasing), by making sure as many people as possible are aware of how dangerous fracking is and how little benefit it will actually bring to the UK, and by resisting fracking as much as is possible.