Its time to put Fracking on Trial

The appeal for the first fracking rig occupation in Lancashire in November 2011 starts on Wednesday 8th May and is scheduled to last till Friday 10th May at Liverpool Crown Court.

Two protesters who were convicted of aggravated trespass last year are appealing; asserting stopping fracking is necessary in the context of run-away climate change and the damage it will cause the environment and local communities. Defendants will also be challenging the ‘lawfulness’ of the destructive process.

The defendants will be backed up by evidence from experts on the consequences of climate change and unconventional gas extraction (fracking), including water contamination, air pollution, severe health risks, earthquakes etc. The defence aim to totally rebuke industry claims that fracking is a harmless ‘environmentally friendly’ way to extract fossil fuel… and instead put the industry on trial.


Protesters stormed the gas rig in Banks, Lancashire on 2nd Nov 2011, with one team climbing the derrick (drill) and a second team scaling the pipe handling system, occupying the rig for a day and decorating the slimy machinery with anti-fracking banners while they were at it.

The occupation of the rig was timed to coincide with an industry sponsored “Shale Gas Environmental Summit” in London, a farcical event where industry and government regulators meet to collaborate on greenwashing PR to cover up the damage done by the fossil fuel industry.

The rig occupation also coincided with the release of a report by Cuadrilla admitting that the hydraulic fracturing of its first well had caused several earthquakes.

Since fracking came to the UK there have been mobilisations of local community groups and environmental activists across the country rising up against the industry. Including another occupation of the site in December 2011 [1] and a blockade at PR Marriot Drilling in Chesterfield, where the rig was being serviced in June 2012. [2]


Halting the burning of even more fossil fuels is essential at a time when the planet is heating up exponentially. Compared to 100 years ago the climate is 0.75 degrees hotter and in 2012 the International Energy Agency warned we are on a trajectory for average temperatures to rise by 6 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years. [3] Meanwhile the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is expected to smash through 400 parts per million (ppm) this month (pre-industrial levels were 280 ppm). [4]

For the younger generation this means the world will become largely uninhabitable in their lifetime, certainly for their kids, if emissions are not cut. The immediate period, now, is regarded as a tipping point and despite a lot of rhetoric about ‘tackling climate change’ from governments, financial institutions and industries alike, in recent years we have seen the highest emissions ever. [5]

Extracting resources on this scale to feed the industrial system is destroying the environment that our lives depend on.

As conventional oil and gas production peaks, government and industries continue to steam roll ahead developing destructive practices that will provide profitable new markets to line their pockets.

Fracking is part of a recent boom in more extreme methods of extraction, described as ‘unconventional energy sources’; Tar Sands, Mountain Top Removal, Deep Water Drilling, Coal Bed Methane, Underground Coal Gasification and Nuclear expansion.

Extractive industries notoriously deny damaging the environment and negatively effecting humans, animals or the environment. However there is a long history of these industries causing wide-scale destruction, and also long history of cover ups.

Its time to put fracking on trial!

You can keep up to date with proceedings on Twitter @frack_off or #frackingontrial, on Facebook or at (available soon).







Posted on: May 7, 2013