28 September 2018
The following resolution was passed unanimously:
“This meeting expresses its sympathy and solidarity with the campaigners against Preston North Road fracking, who have been sent to prison for an excessively long time.”
In July 2017 a convoy of lorries delivering drilling equipment to the Preston New Road fracking site was spontaneously brought to a halt by protestors. Four men took the opportunity to climb up on top of the cabs of the lorries and between them stayed in occupation for four days, supported by supplies from locals.
After a seven-day jury trial at Preston Crown Court, they were found guilty of Public Nuisance. Three received immediate custodial sentences - Roscoe Blevins (26) and Richard Roberts (36) for 16 months and Richard Loizou (31) for 15 months. They can expect to serve half of this time in jail, the rest on licence. Julian Brock (47) received a 12 months suspended custodial sentence (1).
Named the Frack Free Four, the men have become the first in the UK to be jailed for protesting - in effect, political prisoners - since 1932. Simon Blevins, one of the jailed protestors, said: “The real victims will be future generations suffering preventable disasters caused by climate change. Our friends and fellow campaigners outside will continue to fight for a ban on fracking and for a just transition to a renewable and democratically owned energy system”
Greens challenge Energy Secretary after shock revelation from frackers Cuadrilla
Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Jonathan Bartley has today (21 June) sent a letter (below) to Greg Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to highlight the Party’s far-reaching concerns for the safety of the local community in the vicinity of Cuadrilla’s exploratory fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.
The letter follows a meeting between Bartley and two directors from Cuadrilla, where he put questions from the community to them. Bartley is concerned both by the lack of information about emergency plans provided to the residents and by significant questions over whether or not there is even an evacuation plan in the event of a well blow out or other accident.
“We’re calling on the Secretary not to make a decision over whether to grant a licence to frack until the matter has been investigated thoroughly and safety concerns are addressed. The fact that local residents don’t even know if there’s even a proper plan in place for emergencies - let alone evacuation - is deeply concerning.
“It would be completely unacceptable and be playing fast and loose with people’s safety to ignore these issues. The Secretary of State clearly shouldn’t make a decision on whether Cuadrilla should be allowed to frack until these serious questions are answered and the concerns of local people are addressed.”
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