Extinction Rebellion has blocked the entrance to the UK’s only active fracking site in a demonstration against what it called the “burgeoning catastrophe” of global warming.
Protesters from the environmental group gathered outside the shale gas site on Preston New Road, near Blackpool, on Tuesday morning alongside a yellow boat bearing the words: “Planet before profit”.
The energy firm Cuadrilla said its operations were not affected by the protest. The action comes 15 days after the UK’s biggest fracking-related earthquake to date was triggered at the site, causing houses to shake for miles around.
A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion said its latest action was to highlight “the conscious, cynical inaction of the government in response to a climate and ecological emergency”.
They added in a statement: “We will stand with those communities which have tenaciously and peacefully resisted this for years. They have sought to defend against the threat fracking poses to their air and water, their health, their land, including their homes, as demonstrated by the recent tremors.
“There is a yawning chasm between words and deeds. The science is clear: the world must move urgently away from a system of ever-increasing consumption and destruction, totally founded and dependent on fossil fuels.”
Fracking involves pumping water and chemicals into rocks at high pressure to extract shale gas. Fracking in England resumed last year after two tremors – measuring 2.3- and 1.5-magnitude – prompted a seven-year moratorium on the process.
The Conservative government backs fracking as a way to solve the UK’s energy needs and ministers are considering relaxing safeguarding rules that bring an immediate halt to fracking if even a minor tremor of magnitude 0.5 is recorded.
Fracking has been paused at Preston New Road since a 2.9-magnitude tremor was recorded at the site on 26 August – the largest since the 2.3-magnitude quake brought a long halt to the process in 2011.
A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “We have no objection to peaceful, law-abiding protest whilst recognising that our neighbours, motorists using the busy road and our staff and contractors should also be able to go about their business without disruption, inconvenience or intimidation.”
The spokesman added that shale gas “could be a very important resource for Lancashire and the UK and, whilst hydraulic fracturing is currently suspended, we would like to continue with our work to prove this”.
This content was originally published here.