There are lots of good reasons why I travelled north to support the community protests against the frackers at Preston New Road in Lancashire, but climate change is the biggest priority for me. The government has changed the planning rules so it can put a fracking well on your doorstep, in the same way that it can now force Heathrow expansion on the millions of people in west London who will suffer increased noise and pollution. Both fracking and Heathrow expansion are hugely damaging to our climate and the future of our existence on this planet.
Local democracy has been by-passed by the national planning system. Someone in Whitehall can decide to put a fracking well opposite your house and there is nothing your local council, or MP can do to stop them. In circumstances where local people are effectively disenfranchised from having a direct vote on issues that affect them, what choice is left to people but to use non-violent direct action to stop the damage being done.
This is not a green government and they work hand in glove with the most environmentally damaging industries for the sake of profit. While they have refused to create ‘set back’ distances for fracking wells, so that people don’t have the pollution from lorries and the pumps immediately next to their homes, they have said that onshore windfarms will only be supported if they are on remote islands.
It’s hard for me to dial down my fury on this complacent idiocy from the government and I’m in awe of the protectors who have spent weeks and months fighting for the planet.