No Dash for Gas announce mass ‘swoop’ on Cuadrilla

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Hundreds of climate and anti-cuts activists are planning to ‘swoop’ on a secret site in the Balcombe area where shale oil and gas company Cuadrilla is engaged in exploratory drilling. Swoop participants will meet at Balcombe Train Station at 1pm on Friday August 16th before moving en-masse to take the site. The five day action camp taking place there – named Reclaim the Power – will run from August 16-21 and involve ‘mass, audacious and creative acts of civil disobedience’. [1] Cuadrilla has a six week concession in the Sussex village to drill for shale oil, but 85% of Balcombe residents oppose the drilling. Over 45 local groups opposing fracking have sprung up around the country in response to requests by Cuadrilla and other companies to drill in their area. [2] Balcombe is widely regarded as the frontline in the government’s dash to frack the UK for fossil fuels. The group spearheading the swoop – No Dash for Gas – shut down EDF’s West Burton power station in Nottinghamshire last October. 21 activists occupied the site and lived up two chimneys for a week, in protest over what they describe as climate chaos and escalated fuel poverty if the government’s ‘dash for gas’ goes ahead. [3] The protest prevented over 23,000 tons of carbon emissions and resulted in EDF suing the group for £5million – a suit dropped after just three weeks due to massive public outcry including a petition signed by 64,000 people. Now the group is mounting an ambitious action camp with a coalition of organisations including UKUncut, Disabled People Against the Cuts, the Greater London Pensioners Association, Campaign Against Climate Change, and Fuel Poverty Action. The Reclaim the Power camp at Balcombe will see participants engage in workshops covering extreme energy, Just Transition and work, resisting government cuts and solidarity with communities on the front-lines of climate change. The camp will also include a full day’s ‘direct action training’ where participants will plan a number of ‘missions’ together before engaging in 48 hours of action against Cuadrilla. Sharon James of No Dash for Gas said: ‘Our event is called Reclaim the Power and that’s exactly what we need to do. We need to reclaim our energy system out of the hands of corporations that will frack our countryside, crash our climate targets and send fuel bills through the roof. We want democratically controlled, renewable energy. Our action will echo the local community in showing Cuadrilla that fracking is unwanted, unsafe and unnecessary.’ She went on to say: ‘Fossil fuels are not the answer to our energy gap. Social, economic and climate justice movements can and will unite to stand with affected communities to resist this undemocratic activity. We urge Cuadrilla to stop drilling, get out of Balcombe and drop fracking, fast.’ Ken Savage, aged 91, of The Greater London Pensioners Association said: ‘We lend our full support to and stand solidly with Reclaim the Power. Many pensioners dread the winter where many of us cannot afford the heating and are seeing our friends pass away un-necessarily. 7000 people died last year – many of them pensioners – because they couldn’t afford to keep warm. Many of us see climate change as a real threat to our grandchildren. We want to see a change in this country’s energy policy which takes climate change seriously, makes the change to safe and sustainable power and which serves human need and not corporate greed. We will be present at the camp and look forward to taking part in this important event and protest’. Ends [1] [2] [3] Contact No Dash for Gas Media Team 07447 027112 Email: Twitter: @nodashforgas
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