Quantcast

UK Direct Action Shuts Down Fracking Company Headquarters, PR Firm and Well Site

Energy

No Dash For Gas

By Emma Hughes

Today, anti-fracking protestors from Reclaim the Power have targeted Cuadrilla at locations across the United Kingdom, shutting down their headquarters in Lichfield, their PR company in London and the Balcombe drill site. Campaigners condemned violent policing at the gates of the drill site, where police charged, shoved and kettled a group that included children, people in wheelchairs, pensioners, journalists and Member of Parliament (MP) Caroline Lucas.

 

“This an outrageously aggressive response to a day of principled civil disobedience," said protestor Ewa Jasiewicz, who was at the kettle. "All of our actions have safety, dignity and respect at their core. Cuadrilla and the government were desperate to discredit fracking opponents. We offered them no aggression, so they are creating it themselves.”

Actions began at 8 a.m., when the central London headquarters of Bell Pottinger, the PR company behind Cuadrilla’s controversial fracking operation in Sussex, were blocked by six activists using superglue and reinforced arm tubes. Another activist climbed the building and unfurled a banner reading: BELL POTTINGER—FRACKING LIARS. The campaigners used a sound system to play an undercover recording in which a Bell Pottinger spin doctor admits the company’s pro-fracking PR offensive "sounds like utter f###ing bulls###."

"Bell Pottinger has been responsible for a sustained campaign of corporate misinformation, but they were caught out by a secret recording that shows they don’t even believe their own spin," said Kerry Fenton of Richmond, who superglued herself to the Bell Pottinger headquarters. "This morning we’re stopping their staff from reaching their desks in the hope that for one day at least Bell Pottinger won’t be able to mislead the British public about fracking. In truth it’s polluting, expensive and dangerous."

By 9 a.m., 20 protestors had shut down Cuadrilla’s headquarters in Lichfield blockading it with their bodies. Three people got inside and held a floor of the building by using U-locks to occupy eight work stations. The entire floor was cleared of staff.

"Cuadrilla have imposed their dirty energy on the community of Balcombe, and so we have brought our camp from Balcombe to their headquarters," said Debby Petersen, who is taking part in the action. "We need to reclaim our energy system from the hands of corporations that will frack our countryside, crash our climate targets and send fuel bills through the roof."

Twenty minutes later, activists placed a wind turbine blade on the roof of the constituency office of Balcombe MP and Cabinet member Francis Maude. Maude was targeted for his pro-fracking views. He appointed Cuadrilla chairman John Browne as an unelected member of the cabinet office in 2010.

At 10:25 a.m., five activists, three of whom are disabled, blocked the main gate to Cuadrilla’s drill site at Balcombe using U-locks, superglue and a wheelchair. They were surrounded by another blockading line, and a larger group of activists blocked the surrounding road. The action was organized by Disabled People Against the Cuts.

Meanwhile, a double-decker bus with children from the camp toured the area with the slogan “Don’t Frack with Our Future” emblazoned on the side of the vehicle.

The campaigners encouraged supporters to flood Cuadrilla’s inquiries phone line with calls “letting them know that if they try and frack in our towns we’ll stand up to them.” This is just one day of action taken as part of the growing UK anti-fracking movement.

“We are standing with the community rejecting the government’s energy policy which is devastating many different communities in many different ways," said Andy Greene from Disabled People Against the Cuts. "This policy is driving many poor and disabled people into fuel poverty. It punishes them for the mistakes of others and gives the energy companies a free hand on the tiller of public money.”

At the march for a Frack Free Future, an estimated two thousand people marched to the drill site in Balcombe.

“Because we have here a travesty of democracy and we’ve tried every democratic path to use, the only choice we have left is direct action," said Balcombe resident Douglas Wragg, earlier in the week. "I’ve been living here for 20 years and I would never have imagined myself being involved in protest. But you either lie down and let Cuadrilla ride roughshod over you, or take direct action.”

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING pages for more related news on this topic.

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tim P. Whitby / 21st Century Fox / Getty Images

The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.

Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.

The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
A protest march against the Line 3 pipeline in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18, 2018. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Collin Rees

We know that people power can stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, because we've proved it over and over again — and recently we've had two more big wins.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Scientists released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction, but it was largely ignored by the corporate news media. Danny Perez Photography / Flickr / CC

By Julia Conley

Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Read More Show Less
DoneGood

By Cullen Schwarz

Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

Summer is fast approaching, which means it's time to stock up on sunscreen to ward off the harmful effects of sun exposure. Not all sunscreens are created equally, however.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images

The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.

Read More Show Less
Flooding in Winfield, Missouri this month. Jonathan Rehg / Getty Images

President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.

"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Reed Hoffmann / Getty Images

Violent tornadoes tore through Missouri Wednesday night, killing three and causing "extensive damage" to the state's capital of Jefferson City, The New York Times reported.

"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."

Read More Show Less