A great battle has begun in Balcombe Sussex. So far, the combat has been peaceful and all sides hope that attitude will continue. On one side is a company called Caudrilla Resources (contact them on 0800 0086 766 or email@example.com), which is hell bent on raping one of the most beautiful parts of Sussex in the pursuit of a fracking operation. On the other is almost the entire local village and everyone everywhere who cares about safe drinking water the avoidance of short-term profits for long term pollution.
Yesterday 250 people blocked Caudrilla Resources from bringing equipment onto the site at Lower Stumble, Balcombe, West Sussex where they wanted to start drilling to locate gas locked into the bedrock for millennia. If this corporation succeeds in this risky venture, the people of Sussex can expect groundwater contamination and all manner of surface contamination, including radioactive elements brought up to ruin our green and pleasant land.
Personally, I’m proud to work for the bus company which carried people from Brighton to Balcombe to join the protest ~ The Big Lemon ~ using recycled waste cooking oil converted into biodiesel so that the carbon footprint of its fuel is zero.
Politically, the government’s approval of this crazy venture is proof positive of the Conservative Party’s certain belief that they cannot win another general election. After all, they haven’t won one since 1992, UKIP seems very likely to split their natural constituency and their policies are clearly not working. Clearly, they are attacking the working class with a crash and burn strategy in the expectation that in their five years of power their friends, who own the commanding heights of the economy, will walk away with enormous, untouchable profits.
Yesterday 15 trucks were expected to bring crucial drilling equipment to the site. Not one got through. What began as a last ditch protest is morphing into a full scale occupation, called the #GreatGasGala. You can follow crucial updates via @Frack_Off. If you want to get physically involved and you live in Brighton, you can get on another Big Lemon bus at 7:00am outside the RBS building by the Old Steine or travel there under your own steam!
The protesters request that you bring essentials such as food, water, and appropriate clothing/sun protection. Picnics, cakes, tea-making facilities, friends, banners, games, music, instruments, knitting (yellow and black – gasfield free community colours!), blankets, chairs, tables, gazebos, small tents, plastic cutlery/plates. In particular they request that you avoid bringing alcohol, drugs, and anything which could be construed as a weapon, glass etc.
Cuadrilla are mired in planning issues in Lancashire where their first test well triggered an earthquake. Their planned test well at Balcombe would be just the beginning of a tidal wave of destruction, sweeping across the South East. The licence blocks held by Cuadrilla and Celtique Energie in Sussex could see thousands of wells drilled and fracked, plus associated pipelines, compressor stations and processing plants.
For more information on what licences to kill the Sussex countryside have been granted check out Frack Off‘s website. If you want to join the human barricades at Balcombe, here’s a map of where to go. You’ll want to know your legal rights too!
Update: Video of Day 2 of the blockade