SYFF! at Preston New Road Fracking Site
On a cool July 14th morning, Kate, Kathy and I set off to join the direct action at Preston New Road, Lancashire, the site of Cuadrilla’s planned fracking operation. This is the site that had originally been refused planning permission by the local council only to see that overruled by the government. A 5.30 am start ensured we were there for a hearty breakfast of sausage egg and beans!
The action was scheduled for 10 am-6 pm so we knew it would be a long day, but the action had started before we arrived on the site as some protesters had attached themselves to old cars outside the gate in an attempt to form a barrier. This proved an effective obstacle for an hour or two and, fortunately, there were no arrests.
The event was well coordinated. There were speakers from the Trades Union movement, divestment groups and green jobs. One of the most inspiring talks was from an American Indian, William Hawke, who told us of his own experience of direct action in the USA. His talk was clear and spoke to the heart, and he held the crowd in his thrall when he sang a traditional song to the spirits.
As well as speakers, we shared food and experiences, sang songs and Kate and Kathy enjoyed a session of disco Yoga. I was happy to hold the banner during this activity!
We had gone to Lancashire on this day primarily to support the action. However, because it was a divestment themed day, we had hoped to network with other divestment groups. We were not disappointed as we met up with our friends Jane and Chayley from West Yorkshire and divesters from Camden. As our first experience of direct action, the day was one of enjoyable camaraderie and we would certainly go again and would urge others to do the same. It is so important to stand in solidarity with campaigners from other areas as we may need their support at some point.