DGR UK members have just come back from a weekend at the Balcombe Community Protection Camp. The camp has been there since July 25th. We have massive respect for all those there now or who have been there at any time. It is a front line camp on both sides of the verge of a busy B road, with a train line close by and the noisy fracking rig 50 metres from the camp. People at the camp are attempting to blockade each truck that comes in with a police line in between them and the trucks, moving them along.
Cuadrilla’s exploratary drilling licence expires at the end of the Saturday 28th September. Cuadrilla have stated that they will apply for planning permission to measure flow rates so clearly plan to continue at the site.
There is huge local support for the camp. A survey done before the drilling started interviewed about 600 of the approximate 770 households and found that 85% did not want shale gas exploration in the village. Balcombe residents regularly visit the camp and donate supplies to support it.
There is a heavy police presence by the entrance to the fracking rig site. Police patrol along the whole stretch of the B road where the camp is located. The large numbers of police and their vehicles give the camp a militarised feel. The kitchen tent is one side of the entrance to the fracking site, with the camps outside communal seating area on the other side. People at the camp are noting all the vehicles that enter and leave the site. Being sat next to between eight and ten police officers at any time is not a relaxing experience.
A DGR UK member was part of the group that set up Reclaim the Power camp on farmland near the Balcombe Community Protection Camp that ran from August 16th-21st. From Sunday 18th August there was 48 hours of direct action against the energy firm Cuadrilla, targeting its exploratory drill site in the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, its headquarters in Lichfield, and the offices of its PR company Bell Pottinger in London. The same DGR UK member also took part in the action at Cuadrilla’s headquarters in Liltchfield, north of Birmingham.
For more information about Fracking techniques see the DGR UK post on it.
The next UK fracking site will Barton Moss near Salford by IGas Energy Plc from mid October. For more information see the local campaign facebook group, article in the local paper and information about the site on the IGas website.