Anti-fracking campaigners demonstrate in Rivington
ACTIVISTS flocked to Rivington Hall Barn on New Year’s Day to take their opposition to fracking to new heights.
Bolton demonstrators were among the crowds voicing opposition to the “unsustainable” government-backed drive to drill for shale gas.
Members of Bolton Against Fracking, The Green Party, Friends of the Earth and Bolton Diggers were among the crowds who walked up the hill at the barn at 12.30pm on January 1.
On New Year’s Eve, the government announced that two-thirds of England is at risk of being opened up to fracking. The controversial drilling technique entails drilling deep under the land’s surface to release trapped gas and oil from shale rock. Bolton Against Fracking wants the government to follow France’s example and completely ban the process. It claims the UK government is too close to the major energy companies for that to happen.
Energy minister Michael Fallon argues shale gas exploration could bring growth, jobs and energy security to the UK, as well as a cut to household fuel bills.
Dennis Collins and Alwynne Cartmell, both from Little Lever, were among those protesting at Rivington Hall Barn.
Mr Collins said: “There are quite a few of us turning out today and our numbers are growing as more people want to raise awareness about this issue.
“This is about the future of our country and making people aware of this unsustainable plan.
“The hill at Rivington gives us views of so much lovely countryside it seemed appropriate as virtually the whole of the north of England is open to fracking.
“We want the government to step in and put a stop to this, like they have in France, but that seems unlikely when we have a government with such strong connections to the energy companies.”
Mr Collins said he first felt passionately opposed to fracking after he saw the film Gas Land, which outlined the negative effects fracking has had in the US.
“We started up when we found out it might start near Blackpool,” added Mr Collins.
“It is the fact that they are dumping toxic chemicals in the earth without a second thought.”
The New Year’s Day demonstrations followed Bolton Friends of the Earth protesting outside the Bolton Town Hall in October Bolton North East MP David Crausby said: “We’re only 30 to 40 miles away from Blackpool, and you think of the other towns nearby, such as Preston. You would worry if more sites in the North West are targeted.”
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