UK - Fracking
Barton Moss, just outside of Manchester in the United Kingdom, is now clearly linked in the public mind with anti-fracking protests.
In Autumn of 2013, local residents were shocked to find out that a company, IGas, had been given a 25-year permission to explore and extract methane gas from the coal seams underneath their community, and that they would start drilling imminently.
Extracting coal bed methane and shale gas are highly risky activities for the environment, health and the climate.
Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide so, depending on how much methane is released during extraction, fracked gas could be as dangerous to the climate as coal.
In resistance to this dangerous development, groups from diverse backgrounds – including trade unionists, environmentalists, and local resident groups – have banded together to stop the expansion of fracking, using a variety of tactics.
Energy type: Gas (fracking)
Project: Barton Moss
Funders: IGas is a plc and investors include local authority pension funds via the Henderson group. Backing for the industry also includes the UK Government via tax-breaks
Climate impacts: Risks locking in a new fossil-fuel base for the economy.
Local impacts: Potential destruction of mosslands, wildlife sanctuaries, local air and water quality.
Resistance: Direct action to limit access to exploration sites; resident-organised campaigns to convince the council to ban fracking.
The frontline of the struggle is the Barton Moss Protection Camp – from the camp defenders of the climate carry out daily marches and delay the trucks delivering chemicals and equipment onto the site.
The camp has already withstood damaging storms; rebuilding twice over the winter, and is supported by local residents bringing food and supplies.
Local residents have also responded by surveying the neighbourhood and instigating petitions that show huge opposition to fracking in the area, in a move that is putting pressure on the local council to ban the dangerous practice.
They are also now looking to develop a community energy project in the area so that local people can have a stake in the energy they produce and use.
Helen Rimmer, an activist with Friends of the Earth engaged in the local struggle said, ‘the UK Government is ignoring the well-founded concerns of affected communities and pursuing a reckless dash for gas for the benefit of those who will make huge profits from fracking. But the inspiring movement being built around Barton Moss and other fracking frontlines shows the power that communities have when they come together, and will pave the way for a new energy future based on clean community-owned renewables not dirty fossil fuels.’