Contact: 07447 027112RECLAIM THE POWER will be joining the residents of Balcombe in their struggle against Cuadrilla from this Friday 16th August. The Balcombe residents’ two and a half weeks of protest have ramped up pressure on Cuadrilla. The company announced to the BBC yesterday that its exploration site at Balcombe is ‘unlikely to become a full production site’ (1) . The company’s statement shows that they are running scared in advance of this weekend’s camp. But Cuadrilla have not committed to leaving Balcombe and they intend to frack other beautiful parts of Sussex. We see this as a soft deterrent, designed to create doubt and confusion around what Cuadrilla are really doing in Balcombe.
Cuadrilla have a history of being unclear about their intentions in Balcombe. Cuadrilla informed residents in December 2012 that they did not intend to drill at the site, and in May 2013 announced they would be drilling over the summer. The people of Balcombe are already experiencing the impacts of Cuadrilla’s fracking: from trucks continually running down their small country lanes to an absence of wildlife in the previously thriving locality.Reclaim The Power have been invited by the Balcombe community action groups Frack Free Sussex (2) and No Fracking in Balcombe Society (NO FIBS) (3) for a fun, participatory and empowering weekend in Balcombe. We are there to disrupt Cuadrilla’s plans to frack in Balcombe and will be engaging in mass civil disobedience to put further pressure on Cuadrilla on Monday and Tuesday. One member of the parish council has released a statement raising concerns about the camp’s intentions. We have been in contact to reassure the parish council and the wider community that the only people we will be disrupting is Cuadrilla. We already have a constructive relationship with the police and the parish council, using dedicated members of Reclaim The Power as points of liaison, to ensure there is no disruption to the people of Balcombe.
The council gave the go-ahead for Balcombe to be fracked, it is therefore not surprising that they don’t want the protests against it to strengthen. Conversely the local groups set up to oppose fracking, welcome the camp. We are holding a weekend of direct action at the camp to support their struggle.On a national level the government is also running scared. They are rushing through legislation that will stop local councils from having the right to block plans for fracking in their own communities across the UK. (4)
Jamie Kelsey-Fry from Reclaim the Power:
“Cuadrilla are using dirty tricks to mask their real intentions in Balcombe. They have a history of trying to pull the wool over resident’s eyes. For the people of Balcombe such statements are meaningless – they are already experiencing the impacts of Cuadrilla’s fracking. Words such as ‘unlikely’ suggest to us that Cuadrilla have no intention of leaving Balcombe but just want to put off ordinary members of the public from supporting the Reclaim the Power camp and addressing the far wider threat of fracking across the UK.”Leila Deen, Greenpeace Energy Campaigner: “The public pressure is clearly getting to Cuadrilla, but Balcombe deserves clarity. If the company is not going to extract shale there, it owes local residents an assurance and should give details of when it will leave the village, where it’s clearly not wanted.”
Contact: 07447 027112Notes:
2. No Fracking in Balcombe: http://gasdrillinginbalcombe.wordpress.com/
3. Frack Free Sussex: http://frack-off.org.uk/local-group/no-fracking-in-sussex/
5. On Friday 16 August Reclaim the Power will be taking the site by a mass swoop. On Sunday 18 August Balcombe residents and Reclaim the Power will be marching against Cuadrilla. Monday and Tuesday 19 and 20 August will see two days of direct action being taken against Cuadrilla, All details for the Reclaim the Power camp can be found at nodashfrorgas.org.uk