Archive for September, 2011

Camp Frack

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Camp Frack, for me, began on Friday morning; I got a lorry stuck in the mud; shifted what felt like hundreds of tables and chairs; tried to put up marquees which were missing guy ropes and central beams and all in the pouring rain. But at least I hadn’t spent the previous day and night driving around the country to collect all this stuff like some fellow ‘slaccers’ had! But Camp Frack was worth this effort a hundred times over – easily. Fracking releases methane (25 times more damaging than C02), poisons water supplies, pollutes the air causing respiratory problems and has been linked to earthquakes. There is no place for it in the ‘energy mix’.

Like many people I hadn’t heard of fracking until relatively recently. Not really a surprise considering even people living within a couple of miles radius of a Fracking test site (owned by Cuadrilla Resources) knew nothing about it either until a massive drilling rig appeared. There was a notice from the planning department, just one I think, it was placed on a telegraph pole (field side not road side) halfway up a private road.

So I went to Camp Frack to learn more about this extreme form of energy; show support for local people opposing it and network with others to build a strong, effective campaign. I think anyone that was there would say the weekend was a complete success; I definitely achieved my aims.

Camp Frack was a very well thought out event; Saturday morning consisted of a welcome meeting first thing then a variety of workshops ran till mid-afternoon. There were workshops on Fracking, films, introduction to direct action; using social networking sites for campaigning, banner making; the list goes on… Late afternoon was the highlight for me; there was a meeting which saw Camp Frack split into three groups to look at a national campaign against fracking, local campaigns and direct action. This felt really smart; good co-ordinated strategic work! The smaller groups had over an hour together before re-joining as a whole and feeding back. Obviously I can’t reveal the ins and outs of these meetings, but I can tell you that I don’t think the fracking industry stands a chance against us!

To keep the momentum from these discussions, lots of working groups were set up and arranged to re-convene the following day to create some plans of action. But the main focus on Sunday was the protest march. Numerous banners were created to show Cuadrilla what we thought of them; one of the biggest at 8 metres by 1.5 metres and probably the least subtle simply read: ‘Frack Off’. The March set off straight after lunch and local campaign group REAF (Ribble Esturary Against Fracking) led the way. There was much enthusiastic chanting, one young woman on the megaphone had us all shouting (with as much attitude as gangsta rappers) ‘Cuadrilla, Mark Miller, toxic water spiller (Mark Miller is CEO of Cuadrilla).

It was a shame we couldn’t go right up to the drilling rigg, but as there is no public right of way and the general feeling was to stay on the right side of the law (for now at least) we settled for stopping half a mile from the rigg. The rig is surrounded by flat agricultural land so the press could still get their shots, 150 beautiful protestors in the foreground, ugly drilling rig placed undemocratically in the background. On the walk back to camp it was great to see most of the stationary cars winding down their windows to take some information on fracking, that made the demo even more worthwhile. We returned to camp to be fed (as we had been all weekend) by the 1 in 12 club from Leeds; my impression of them was great vegan food, lovely smiles and very hardworking!

And this brings us abruptly to the end of Camp Frack. After a short but productive two days, tat down began. Cobbled together marquees are a lot easier to take down than they are to put up; there were many people that stayed around to help carry the ‘hundreds’ of tables and chairs, the sun shone and our lorry went nowhere near the soggy grass.

In the days that followed Camp Frack Cuadrilla Resources have been on the PR offensive. They are looking for investment and have announced they want to drill 400 – 800 wells in the UK. I say, louder than ever, Frack off!

Further information on fracking can be found at: