Image Credit: Mark Matthews
Members of Extinction Rebellion York, alongside other members from around the country, blocked the entrance to Cuadrilla’s Hydraulic Fracturing Exploration Site at Preston New Road outside Blackpool. The group were protesting the government’s inaction towards stopping fossil fuel exploration, such as fracking, which perpetuate the current climate emergency.
According to Extinction Rebellion York, to alleviate disastrous climate change we must leave 80 per cent of existing fossil fuel reserves (gas, oil and coal) in the ground. However, as protests such as this highlight, the government still support and turn a blind eye to corporations such as Cuadrilla, who actively strive to remove gas reserves from the ground. The company in question is attempting to open up a new gas field that will reportedly span across the North of England.
Speaking to the Guardian, a spokesperson from Cuadrilla said: “We have no objection to peaceful, law-abiding protest whilst recognising that our neighbours, motorists using the busy road and our staff and contractors should also be able to go about their business without disruption, inconvenience or intimidation.”
The spokesperson additionally stated that shale gas (the gas extracted through fracking) “could be a very important resource for Lancashire and the UK and, whilst hydraulic fracturing is currently suspended, we would like to continue with our work to prove this”.
Extinction Rebellion York are not the only group that has been protesting against fracking - they stand with other groups and communities who have also been fighting against the fracking industry, some of whom have been given suspended prison sentences for doing so.
The group wants the government to act against exploits such as fracking, and do so with the urgency and speed in which the current climate emergency demands. The UK government declared a climate and environment emergency back at the beginning of May this year, and plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. However, groups such as Extinction Rebellion York seem to think this is not urgent enough, and that the government must move to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, and that an immediate ban on fossil fuel exploration, such as fracking, would be a good first step towards achieving this.
Mark Matthews, coordinator of Extinction Rebellion York, said: “As a site that has been operational, Preston New Road represents everything wrong with how our current energy system and economic model operates. It also represents government hypocrisy over sustainability as shown by their desire to loosen fracking regulations and support the industry.
“This has all been despite strong opposition from all local communities affected by it. Any sustainable future cannot include fracking and it must be banned immediately, with all sites dismantled as soon as possible"
Extinction Rebellion York, who meet every Tuesday at 7:30pm at Spark York, plan to continue protesting against the government’s inaction against climate change during the upcoming planned International Rebellion protest, which will take place on Monday 7 October in London.