4 December 2013
Manchester and Salford Green Parties are urging local residents to visit the Barton Moss anti-fracking protest camp this Sunday, 8 December.
The camp has been established to raise awareness about the plans of energy company, iGas, to drill for gas and to put pressure on them to withdraw. Camp residents and campaigners have invited people to visit the camp from 12:30 this Sunday to meet campaigners and find out more about the issue.
Following a meeting with local residents on Friday night at Peel Green various groups have said they will take part in the 'open day'. The Green Party will be joined by members from local residents' groups, the Campaign Against Climate Change, Trade Unions including the NUT and Unison and Friends of the Earth.
North West Green Party European elections candidate, Peter Cranie, said: "Green Party members have been very active in the protests against gas drilling at Barton Moss. In fact the Green Party is the only political party to oppose this dash for gas which favours corporate profits at the expense of local people. Many people are desperate to see energy companies lower their prices, but shale gas is risky, difficult and expensive to extract and is not a long term solution to energy prices.”
He continued: "Fracking for gas also seriously undermines our efforts to tackle the climate crisis. The UK has committed to meet our climate change obligations and so we should be directing more money towards community owned renewables, rather than giving tax breaks to corporations wanting to frack on our greenbelt. If shale gas is discovered in this area I very much hope that Salford and Trafford councils will refuse planning permission and leave it in the ground, where it belongs."
He concluded: “I'd urge people living in Manchester and Salford to go along to the protest camp this weekend, to find out more about the campaign and get involved.”
Manchester Green Party's Laura Bannister says:
"In a field in Salford, iGas plan to drill an exploratory gas well thousands of feet into the ground. I've got involved in the campaign against these plans because I'm worried this is the first stage of a process which could lead to the development of 'fracking', a harmful way of extracting gas, in Greater Manchester.
"I joined the Green Party in 2009 when I was just 24. People often think that young people aren't interested in politics, but I could see that the Green Party were a radical, but sensible, alternative to the way things are currently done. I work for the mental health charity, Mind, as a gardening co-ordinator in Tameside, Oldham and Glossop and live Whalley Range.
"Along with other local Green Party members and activists I've been spending time at the Barton Moss protest camp in the last few weeks. It aims to raise awareness of what’s happening, and to put pressure on the company to withdraw.
"People expect me to be strongly opposed to the development of unconventional gas extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), for environmental reasons. But my concern for the environment wasn't the main reason I joined the Green Party. Fundamentally I joined because I would like our society to be more equal. Huge price hikes by the energy companies have hit the poorest hardest. I don't think this new 'dash for gas' is a solution to the problem of rising energy bills. Fracking won't bring down gas prices or household energy bills.
"The developers are profit-making companies, and all the gas that they produce will be sold on the European energy market to the highest bidder. Even if a small increase in supply helped to reduce market prices, we've seen that energy companies rarely pass on these price reductions to consumers. Shale gas in particular is difficult and expensive to extract, and wells will soon run dry. This is not a cheap way to source our gas. Fracking will not solve our energy price crisis, neither in the short-term or the long-term.
"Supporters of fracking argue that it will bring much needed jobs to the region. I believe that we need jobs, and that fracking may bring some work to the region, but there are much better ways we could create jobs. Alternative schemes to deal with the energy crisis, such as insulating homes and installing renewable energy, would create a much larger number of decent jobs. We desperately need investment in these kinds of 'Green jobs' in the North West; not fracking.
"The Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, took part in protests against fracking in Sussex this summer. One of the concerns which the community in Balcombe had was the risk of serious water contamination from fracking. I think they were right to be worried. Fracking involves pumping a solution of highly toxic chemicals deep into the bedrock in order to break it up.
"These chemicals, and the methane gas that's released, can leak into groundwater. In the USA this has meant that people have been able to set light to their drinking water as it comes out of the tap. High concentrations of chemicals like benzene have been found in drinking water and also in the air around fracking sites – this can cause cancers like leukaemia and other serious illnesses. And once our water is contaminated, it would be extremely difficult to clean it up again.
"Ultimately shale gas is a fossil fuel. By drilling wells and installing pipelines, we are committing ourselves to decades of production at a time when the UK has committed to reducing – not increasing – our carbon emissions. Climate change is an extremely serious threat that can't simply be ignored. Shale gas will run out in a few decades’ time, just like oil and coal are running out now. At some point we will have to replace our energy infrastructure with renewable technologies like solar and wind energy. There’s no point putting it off forever – it's time to ditch fossil fuels and begin our green energy future.
"If you want to find out more, come and visit the camp and take part in the protest rally this Sunday, 8 December from 12:30. More info at http://northerngasgala.org.uk/
Gina Dowding was the Green Party Member of the European Parliament for the North West of England. She achieved much for the North West in the short time between July 2019 and February 2020. Gina is now chair of the North West Green party. Three of Gina's reports are listed below.
Click here to view what a Green New Deal for the North West would mean.
Click here to view how a sustainable transport system can help put the Green New Deal into action.
Click here to view what's on the horizon for UK Science, Research & Innovation.
Click here to visit Gina's website for more news about her important work.