www.hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk     Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
The Long Man of Wilmington

The Long Man of Wilmington with a new message.

Frack off!

Hastings local residents have launched their new campaign, Don’t Frack With Sussex, to challenge the climate change strategy of the Rt Hon Amber Rudd, their MP and Secretary of State for Climate Change and Energy. Zelly Restorick reports.

A few days ago I heard about local group Don’t Frack With Sussex, who will be organising creative actions to prevent fracking – and I wrote an introductory article. Here is a follow-up.

Long Man of Wilmington Frack Off

The Don’t Frack With Sussex team.

Tell us about your latest action:

“Don’t Frack With Sussex, a group of Hastings residents from across the political divide, has delivered an ambitious creative protest at ancient Sussex landmark, the Long Man of Wilmington, to challenge energy and climate change minister Amber Rudd’s short-term policies which include earmarking fracking sites in Sussex and National Parks.

“Temporary lines and wording using white sheets were added by four members of the group to the iconic site in Sussex’s South Downs National Park to create the image of the Long Man holding up a banner spelling out ‘Frack Off!’.  The monument itself, made from white concrete blocks, was not touched in the process and the team were on standby throughout the intervention. The group delivered the action in the early hours of Friday morning to catch commuter traffic on the A27 and those on trains between Eastbourne and Brighton.”

“Social entrepreneur and mother of two, Janey Moffatt from St Leonards, said:
Our message to Amber Rudd, our local MP, is “Stop backing fracking, start being green”. Wherever fracking has taken place, there have been problems for communities and wildlife, from contaminated water to polluted air, from earthquakes to eyesore wells. We don’t want that here in Sussex – or anywhere for that matter’.

“Advertising executive and father, Mike Laloë, said: I’m no scientist, but like a lot of other people in the area I can see that the idea of tackling climate change by cutting renewable energy and dragging more fossil fuel out of the ground is comical. Fracking is a short-sighted strategy. The Long Man has been there for time immemorial and he agrees! ”

“City accountant Mark Thomas from Hastings said: Amber Rudd goes on about reducing bills for hardworking families… well, we’re all hardworking people and we want clean, safe, renewable energy.’

“Local artist Beccy Mccray said: ‘There are far better options – we’ve got wind, we’ve got tidal. This is the sunniest area of the UK. How about investing into putting solar panels on hospitals? On every school? On every supermarket, rather than dirty fracking in our ancient parklands? These solar solutions are genuine propositions for our area.’

LONG MAN OF WILMINGTON 'FRACK OFF"

Long Man of Wilmington “Frack Off!”

You’ve started a petition:

“The group has launched a petition on Change.org and has vowed to increase the pressure on Amber Rudd in the run-up to crunch UN climate change talks in Paris starting 30 November 30.”

What makes you and the others believe that non-violent action works and can make a difference?

“If deployed thoughtfully, creative actions can bring about real shifts in the balance of power. Art can enrich activism, making it more compelling and sustainable. The blending of art and politics is not new but we really wanted to try and utilise the things that we, as a group, do best to put our message across – we truly believe that using your own creative power to take action can inspire positive change at a grass-roots level, raising awareness of environmental issues and social ideals.

We wanted to create an attention-grabbing image that used creativity, humour and the power of social media to drive people towards our petition and get our polemic into the media – and this tactic seems to have worked for us so far. The goal is to gather evidence of the large amount of local support we have for investment into renewables instead of dirty fracking – not just in Sussex but everywhere – and present this evidence to Amber Rudd before she heads to Paris to represent the UK in the climate change talks starting 30 November 2015.”

What’s happening with fracking in nature sites and SSSIs?

“Earlier this year, the Government’s U-turn on its promise to exclude fracking from Britain’s most important nature sites caused outrage. In January Amber Rudd, the energy and climate change secretary, told MPs: ‘We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks [and] sites of special scientific interest [SSSIs]’.

“In February, however, Rudd stated: ‘In the case of AONBs [areas of outstanding natural beauty] and national parks, given their size and dispersion, it might not be practical to guarantee that fracking will not take place under them in all cases without unduly constraining the industry’. The Government were then forced to admit that fracking would take place in national parks in ‘exceptional circumstances,’ but critics say the definition as to what those are is unclear.

“In July the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published draft regulations on shale gas extraction that fly in the face of Rudd’s seemingly-steadfast statement from January. The rules appear to suggest that fracking companies should be free to frack under national parks, groundwater supplies and SSSIs, as long as they drill deep enough outside these supposedly-protected locations before drilling sideways underneath them.

“Worse still, test drilling in SSSIs could become totally fair game under the DECC guidelines, provided companies like Cuadrilla or iGas move their rigs to the outer edges of the parks or aquifers before they start squirting chemicals underneath them.

“A recent study by Friends of the Earth Europe and Food & Water Europe claims the EU’s non-binding guidelines on shale gas exploration are “weak”, rely too heavily on self-monitoring by the oil industry and fail to protect the environment and health of citizens.”

Long Man of Wilmington "Frack Off!"

Long Man of Wilmington “Frack Off!”

What is the government doing about renewables?

“The UK has pledged to source 20% of our energy from renewables by 2020, but the latest EU data shows Britain has not even managed half that. Despite being expected to continue the pro-renewables strategy of her predecessor, Ed Davey, Amber Rudd has controversially scrapped renewable energy subsidies, cutting solar power by 87% and giving her full support to shale gas exploration in the UK. The Government give approximately £1.3 billion of tax exemptions and subsidies to oil and gas industries each year and has found £14.8 billion in credit guarantees to fund a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

“Are these the actions of the “greenest government ever”? Tell Amber Rudd to stop backing fracking before she represents us at the climate change talks next month in Paris, and start working towards clean, green, low carbon solutions NOW!”

Contact details : dontfrackwithsussex@gmail.com
Facebook.com/dontfrackwithsussex, @dontfracksussex

EPK download: stills and footage.

YouTube Making of video. 

 

Posted 19:49 Saturday, Oct 24, 2015 In: Energy Wise


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