This might seem like a departure from the usual topic of fracking – but is it?
On Saturday 21st January 2017 there was an event held at the Countess of Chester Country Park to plant 3,000 trees as a community woodland.
Councillor Matt Bryan used part of his members budget to purchase the trees, the Mersey Forest kindly added £10,000 to provide the planning, tools and expertise in an area which has been identified and agreed by the Land Trust. This will create much needed wet woodland but not affect any proposed works at Finchett’s Gutter.
This is one of several projects that have come about since the Frack Free campaign started growing in the Frack Free Dee area. The basic premise of the coalition was to raise awareness about fracking and to help set up community groups in areas under threat. Not only is an organised local group the best defense against the fracking industry, once these groups are started up and organised, people become skilled and can organise themselves to tackle other problems within their own community.
Councillor Bryan himself was voted into Cheshire West & Chester council on the back of his part in the frack-free campaign, and this is an initiative that he has set up as a councilor. Also, as I took part in the tree planting, I was actually surprised at how many of the frack-free community had turned up to take part and feel ownership of this part of the community. I know many of the people there from Frack Free Little Stanney, Frack Free Upton, Frack Free Tarvin, Ellesmere Port Frack Free , including myself, had not previously got involved in community projects before. Campaigns such as the Frack Free movement can have a beneficial effect way outside of its immediate area of concern. Being part of a coalition also gives more opportunities to share skills and arrange training days and workshops that, if taken onboard can enhance our lives and the lives of those around us.
On and off through the day there were about 200 people and planted a massive 2000 trees! There must have been between 20-30 people from the frack free groups in the area in attendance today, it was at times like a big reunion!
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