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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 29th October 2017
KeithL KeithL is offline
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To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

Just received an email from Greenpeace, saying that a group of ten people who peacefully protested about fracking being started their doorstep, so to speak, are being hauled before the courts.

The local council (Lancs CC) voted against Cuadrilla being allowed to drill at Preston New Road - and the government promptly overturned the council's vote. The consequence was that the group of people felt that their only recourse was peaceful protest. Now they are facing trial. Exactly what for isn't stated.

I thought we had a right to peaceful protest in the UK; maybe I'm wrong! Or is this a new order appearing, where we aren't to be allowed to protest, peacefully or otherwise? I find this a worrying development.
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Old 29th October 2017
DerekW DerekW is offline
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

depends on how you define peaceful, in Greenpeace terminology peaceful is never peaceful.
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Old 29th October 2017
Petrochemist Petrochemist is offline
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

There are lawful ways of protesting peacefully, and illegal ways. If their 'peaceful protest' involved trespass & vandalism then I'm not surprised they're being taken to court. Such acts are commonly done by Greenpeace to try & get their way even if it means a risk to the health of workers or local pollution...

The fact that the charges are not being disclosed suggests the knowledge would not support the slant on things those telling you about it want.

A quick google gives some more details https://www.theguardian.com/environm...camp-cuadrilla & https://www.desmog.uk/2017/07/11/thr...-fracking-site
The protesters were clearly deliberately obstructing access & the road outside the plant, locking themselves to the gates etc. Something that has apparently been going on for some time with increasing tension.
Those being charged with 'obstruction of the highway' were apparently lying in the road for 3 hours. I gather the obstruction is appropriate if you refuse to move on when asked by the police (even if just setting up a tripod).
Hopefully the courts will manage to come to an unbiased verdict after hearing the full tale from both sides.
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Old 29th October 2017
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

It looks peaceful enough to me. Judge for yourselves:

Incidentally, I am NOT a Greenpeace member, and have no particular axe to grind regarding fracking at the moment, since it is nowhere near my area. Yet.

There is more information here:http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/ne...test-1-8691317

It wasn't a Greenpeace organized protest, and most of the protestors weren't Greenpeace members.
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Old 29th October 2017
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

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Originally Posted by Johnheatingman View Post
Keith, I make no comment regarding the fracking issue or the rights and wrongs of protest. The people protesting on Preston New Road have been at the site for months now. The police are there 24/7 in large numbers with relays of vehicles going back and forth for shift changes and one assumes, refreshments and toilet breaks. The whole operation must be costing somebody a small fortune and despite the protesters, the fracking has actually been underway for some time now.

The only thing the protesters seem to be achieving now by their continued actions is causing disruption to motorists ( speed limits down 20 ) and racking up an enormous cost for someone.

If charges have been filed, I can only assume it is for either disruptive behaviour or obstruction. They are camped out on both sides of the road, stand in the middle of the road ( "A" Road ) with placards , posters and banners etc. and could possibly be considered a danger to themselves and or passing vehicles.

I could understand the protests before the fracking began but now it's in full swing it seems rather futile.

John
Interesting to see how it develops. I think the issue is a sore point because the council was overruled by government- as has happened on some solar farm sites, for example. When people feel ignored, they get frustrated and hit out in whatever way they can.
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Old 29th October 2017
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

It seems to me that fracking is a problematic process for a number of reasons:

- It further propagates the use of fossil fuels and their impact on global warming

- The process of extraction involves some messy industrial processing that is bound to cause local pollution, noise and disruption to local residents

- The process of allowing fracking seems heavily central government-led with little real democratic attention being paid to locals

We would be better off investing our industrial efforts in reducing the use of fossil fuels; things like renewable energy, battery technology, improved rail (esp between cities rather than to/from London), electric vehicles, safer cycling, ...

I clearly don't know the details of this, but we have a good record in the UK of people disobeying the law when the law is being used unreasonably. I suspect this is another example.
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Old 29th October 2017
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

For me, this issue isn't that of fracking per se, but of the local council denying the fracking company permission to drill, whereupon central government comes down on the side of the fracking company and overrules the local council. This is far from the only issue like this.

A few years back, there was a big row in Norfolk over a proposed rubbish incinerator, which became a war between the two (Tory) councils of West Norfolk and the County Council. It went on and on, despite protests from locals, supported by West Norfolk Council about the inevitable impact on local traffic, with nearly 900 trucks a day on an unsuitable road; and grit and ash from the incinerator - dangerous to health - blowing over towns in West Norfolk. Ultimately, NCC took the case to Eric Pickles. Both sides put the case, and he came down on the side of WNC. The upshot was that it came out that the county council had signed a deal that committed them to pay the American incinerator maker IIRC 30 million from local taxes if the deal fell through.

I have also supported a protest committee in a Norfolk village that decided to fight a solar farm proposal. That issue became very nasty indeed, with local people intimidated in various ways, presumably by the company, but they didn't give up. Finally, the local council for the second time agreed with the protestors, and would not give consent. It was touch and go whether the solar farm company took it to government; they didn't in the event, and appear to have given up. But there are other instances where local people and councils have been overruled by government, and the contractor given the go-ahead.

I think it is utterly wrong that local people should feel driven to protesting, whether legally or illegally. What bothers me - and even more in the light of comment already on this thread - is that the protesters have felt the need to go on for a protracted period, and only now are being prosecuted.

Central government says that it wants local people to be consulted on many things; but when the local people don't give the required answer, they are simply overruled. That isn't democracy. The same has applied locally in our nearest town, regarding two issues: building on land owned by the town and the building of thousands of houses in the town. Local people have protested against both, quite vehemently. In the first case, they won against the town council. In the second case, they were ignored.

One of the reasons why people voted to leave the EU is that they feel powerless, ignored, and disenchanted with both local and central government. This does not augur well for our democracy and democratic processes into the future. If it continues, things will only get worse. And if that happens, I feel deep concern for the future of our country.
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Old 29th October 2017
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

The UK has to frack and produce gas to prove that we can do it. This will help keep the global price of gas down as the major suppliers eg OPEC will have to produce gas at cheaper price than we can produce by fracking.

If you can remember the fuel price hikes in the 70s when OPEC was just about the sole supplier, we were taken to the cleaners re fuel costs. Speed restrictions were brought in to conserve fuel, ration certificates were printed and issued just in case we ran out.

So we have to frack to prove we can, this is even more important because of brexit the country has to become self sufficient in raw materials otherwise you young ones will have a very mean life.
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Old 30th October 2017
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

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The UK has to frack and produce gas to prove that we can do it.
I thought the discussion was about people being able to decide they didn't want that in their own areas and then being overruled by the government. The same government who were preaching "localism" very recently.

I'm sure if you can convince your neighbours it is a good idea then you could have some fracking in your own back yard.
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Old 30th October 2017
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

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I'm sure if you can convince your neighbours it is a good idea then you could have some fracking in your own back yard.
You don't have 'mineral rights' in your back garden!

Jim
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Old 30th October 2017
DerekW DerekW is offline
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

I think I live in a fracking area, definitely living in a oil well area. Just a pity that percentage of the yield does not go into the local councils coffers so that we could have more facilities (perhaps labelled with sign indicating that this is a benefit derived from the oil / fracking industry).
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Old 30th October 2017
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

HMG or the State
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Old 31st October 2017
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

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I guess that means an Englishman's home is no longer his Castle! ( if indeed it ever was ). So who does own the mineral rights to land I've bought and paid for ?

John
To the best of my knowledge, Cuadrilla is registered in the BVI. So who does their drilling benefit? Probably some of our top few percent of very rich investors; almost certainly not HMRC, and definitely not you or I. IMV. The government will take any flak going from protestors, and Cuadrilla - as we can see on one of the YouTube clips - hides behind "what is legal". True democracy in action?
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Old 31st October 2017
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

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I guess that means an Englishman's home is no longer his Castle! ( if indeed it ever was ). So who does own the mineral rights to land I've bought and paid for ?
The Crown, I believe. You don't even have the right to extract gravel from your garden!

(I think it was John Paul Getty who said "The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not the mineral rights thereof.")

Jim
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Old 31st October 2017
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Re: To protest or not to protest - that is the dilemma

I'm just grateful I live in a National Park!
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