Green politics, philosophy, history, paganism and a lot of self righteous grandstanding.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The North's Not For Fracking

The Northern Gas Gala got going today.

Those southern softies did it in the July sunshine, but hard northern types do it in the November rain.

Actually there were a considerable number of southern types there today, many of them having camped out by the side of Moss Lane for a couple of weeks in a camp that was totally sorted for baked beans and pasta sauce, but rather lacking in beer and coffee. Not to mention toilet facilities.

The famous Manchester rain was fortunately absent as a motley gang of forty odd souls, no more than a quarter of them journalists, waited for something to actually happen. Judging by the number of cars and vans honking and waving as they drove past on Liverpool road word at got out to some people about what we were up to.

For two hours or so it seemed that Igas weren't going to play along and only the ranks of Police vans lined up at the nearby Salford City rugby ground gave any indication we weren't all just wasting our time.

Eventually the arrival of the jolly coppers of the Police Liaison Team, and the somewhat less charismatic bruisers of the Tactical Assistance Unit in their riot vans indicated that we were about get going. Soon protesters and Police had formed neat little lines and were squaring off.

The day's convoy was not far behind; a lorry load of what looked like junk and another with some sort of pumping equipment, bracketed front and rear by Police vans. Faced with an immovable line of protesters it was soon stopped dead, blocking half the A57.

The TAU were deployed in force now. You wouldn't really mistake any of them for the Laughing Policeman, but they had at least left their Robocop costumes behind and seemed content just to glower and not actually threaten.

A polite instruction from the Police Commander to move was politely ignored and soon both sides were pushing each other.

It was all pretty friendly though. Some people may disagree, but having once met Greater Manchester TAU on a dark country lane I can  vouch that today was friendly.

With more cops than eco-warriors the end result was never in doubt, but with some very mature ladies putting their backs into it the progress of the Police line down Moss Lane was never more than a snail's pace and was at times glacial if not geological. It eventually took the convoy two hours to complete the last quarter mile of its journey.

So that was Day One.

Meanwhile the local residents have been getting themselves organised.

Barton Moss really is the edge of town. On one side is the great Manchester, Salford and Stockport urban conglomeration. On the other it is countryside as far as Warrington. Historically it has the first canal in Britain, the Bridgewater, and also the last, the Manchester Ship Canal. The railway that runs nearby was once used by Stephenson's rocket. Now it is the front line of the new technology of hydraulic fracturing.

Judging by the mood of the packed meeting in the nearby Brookfield Estate I went to last week this is most definitely not welcome.

copywrite Manchester Evening News
My main concern about fracking, as I told the BBC local radio when they interviewed me is Climate Change. But then I don't live next door to a fracking site.

Yet. Their worries were air pollution, noise, traffic and the intrusion of a noisy and dirty industrial process into what is a prime bird watching area.

So this looks like being the next skirmish in a global insurgency against what really must be the last stand of the fossil fuel dinosaurs. France and Bulgaria have already said no and across the country Tory squires and City bean counters are getting worried.

We can win this one.

So if fracking fails, where next for fossil fuels? The dustbin of history I hope.

So come along and help make that happen.

Northern Gas Gala


Anonymous said...

Good on you - sending solidarity from Dartmoor!

Bagladyinstitches said...

There is such a lot of disinfo and missing info on the real impact of hydraulic fracking. Suggest you watch Ian Crane and also the movie The truth behind the dash for gas. Also search for Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and fracking in Queensland. Fracking impacts your daily life - you won't be able to drink water from your tap, bathing in that water will burn you and breathing in methane - a toxic gas - will lead to neurological problems. That's only the start.