Matt Bonner reports how activists from Reclaim the Power targeted thirteen companies, government departments and academics who stand to profit from the industry
Hundreds of activists and campaigners have spent the last seven days occupying a field in Blackpool for Reclaim The Power, an anti-fracking action camp organised by No Dash For Gas. The site, where energy firm Cuadrilla has applied to hydraulically fracture for shale gas, was occupied a week before by a small group of local Lancashire mothers and grandmothers in protest of the fuel extraction process that threatens clean water and the local environment.
Reclaim The Power joined the campaign last Thursday, which fast became a fully functioning festival for social, environmental and economic justice and culminated in a march and a day of actions and protests. A highly organised set of marquees and tents powered in-part by a wind power generator, the camp included compost toilets and two vegan kitchens, and ran five days of workshops on the dangers of fracking, climate change and fuel poverty as well as direct action training and legal advice.
On Monday, to spread awareness of the potential dangers of fracking, the newly formed community carried out a series of actions including an occupation and demonstration at the Cuadrilla HQ in Blackpool and their PR company in Manchester, and a 'die-in' at HSBC Blackpool for their financial links to the fracking industry. Meanwhile at Swansea University a group chained themselves to barrels and shut down construction of a new building for it's affiliations with Cuadrilla and BP. In London, a group super-glued themselves to the doors at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs while another blockaded the IGas HQ.
The protests come after Lancashire County Council received a record 40,000 objections to any potential fracking. Earlier this month the government censored a report into the impact of shale gas drilling on house prices and pressure on local services. Residence in Lancashire have been fighting the threat of fracking for four years but with a looming amendment to the Trespass Bill that would permit energy companies to drill on private land regardless of owner's permission, nationwide resistance is growing.
Matt is a campaigner and graphic designer based in London.