The End of 2016, the Start of 2017, the Struggle Continues

By January 1, 2017 blog No Comments

After what seems to have been a quiet year locally, I think most of our attention at least towards the end of 2016 was spent in supporting or showing solidarity with communities elsewhere in the UK who have not been given the luxury of ‘down-time’; I guess its seasonal at least, to have a look at what is coming up in 2017, and to remind ourselves that we haven’t been let off the hook, we have simply had breathing space.

We are still waiting for Igas and Ineos to put in their new planning applications on our doorsteps, this is the time for the community to unite and post in their objections to any proposals that come through. In the mean time, keep vigilant and checking for new planning applications that appear on the council website. (A ‘how to’ guide can be found here).

It is timely to remind ourselves that Friends of the Earth are planning to hold a  day of free Power Up training with Naomi Luhde-Thompson, Planning Specialist at Friends of the Earth. in Northwich on January 28th 2017 so feel free to book yourself onto this full day.

The info on the site says –

“Get clued up and empower yourself to win campaigns through the planning system.

The day is aimed at giving you and your community an introduction to the local planning systems and skills necessary to win successful campaigns against local development that is socially and environmentally degrading – including fracking.

An understanding of planning is one of the most important tools you can have as a campaigner.

The day will focus on:

  • Our rights under the planning system
  • The planning system – Its strengths and its flaws
  • How to influence planning decisions.”

Towards the end of February the consultation period for the proposed quarry in Cheshire to extract silica sand for the fracking industry comes to an end, so we need to keep our eyes on what happens with that, there may be some more information coming out about that in the meantime, so as usual its a case of keeping our eyes open. With fracking having now been given the go-ahead in both Lancashire and Kirby Misperton, Yorkshire, and a government decision on a third site, also in the Fylde expected soon, there will be an industry demand for the silica sand, it would be an awful shame on Cheshire if we are the ones who enable these areas to be fracked.

On February 15th 2017 we have the very last trial resulting from the eviction of Upton Community Protection Camp

Issy was arrested and charged with resisting/obstructing an enforcement officer during the eviction of Upton Community Protection Camp in January 2016. Whilst the trials for everyone else charged in connection with the eviction were held in October 2016, Issy (who had not long given birth to a baby daughter) was unable to stand trial for health reasons and so had her case re-scheduled. Please come along and show your support for for a very valued member of the  camp

A regular and long term member of the camp, back in July 2014, Issy represented the camp at Dee106.3FM Local Heroes awards ceremony- AND WON!

Upton Camp held off the drilling company for 21 months, it is important that as many of us as possible are at the court hearing to show support for the defendants.

All this will entail is being at the court with her in the public gallery, so that she knows she hasn’t been forgotten. This is not an occasion for banners, simply emotional support and presence to mark the end of this part of our collective history.

Wirral Magistrates Court, Chester Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 5HW

more details can be found at https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/courts/wirral-magistrates-court

Following on from this, in 2017 we will see the Judicial review of the extension on PEDL 189 (Chester)

This is a result of all our communities coming together, little happens in isolation. The premise of this challenge is that the (various) drilling companies have not fulfilled their commitments as laid out in the terms of their PEDL licence for Chester.

As we know, the proposed drill site in Duttons Lane, Upton, was occupied for almost 2 years, stopping the drill from gaining access from April 2014 onwards. Without the continued and ongoing support for the camp from the local community and further afield, this action would not have been anywhere near as effective.

As a result of the drill being blocked from Chester right up to the end of the planning application and PEDL period, Igas now find themselves in the position of not fulfilling their minimum requirements, which has enabled Mr Dean to seek a judicial review of the extension to their license.

If successful, it could mean that Chester becomes frack free, and is a perfect example of community action, in seemingly uncoordinated events, but all with one common goal, we have all worked together to achieve a hopefully brilliant outcome.

This is another reason to support Issy in her court trial in February, and an excellent example of how all our actions, no matter how seemingly small the time, are multiplied into something much bigger when we act together for a common goal. Without people on the camp, without people supporting the camp, sharing news, carrying water, attending demos, lobbying the council, etc etc etc we would not be in the position we are now. Well done to everybody who has contributed even a little of their time and effort to get us all the way to 2017 and remaining frack free.

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