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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 December 2013

Fracking comes North...

Paul Gerrard

Fracking has come to the Tories' 'desolate North' - and with it the anti-fracking movement, which is beginning to strike roots in Salford, Greater Manchester.

I-Gas, a 250 million company, has been granted a licence to explore coal bed methane at Barton Moss in Salford. It is common knowledge that if they find methane they will want to 'frack' the shale beneath the coal bed, though for this they would need a further permit from the Labour-run council.

The site adjoins the M62 embankment and is next to an aerodrome and heliport. There are 1,500 homes nearby, with a council estate a couple of hundred yards away. The nearby M60 motorway is regularly clogged with traffic, either commuters or shoppers driving to the giant Trafford Centre two miles away.

From a health and safety point of view this development is insane. This is quite apart from the known health hazards of the 'fracking' process, which involves injecting water at high pressure, unspecified chemicals ('commercial secret') and sand into the shale. It means that dozens of tankers would be carrying clean water to the site, and removing waste water every day, churning up roads and generating noise and dust.

A camp has been set up by veterans of the Balcombe protest in the summer and local activists. Leafleting of nearby estates has begun to bear fruit - 55 mostly local people attended a public meeting organised by anti-fracking groups on 29 November, and next Sunday (8 December) is a solidarity day when trade unionists are invited to support a demo at the camp with banners and pennants.

Last Wednesday (27 November) the attempt to bring drilling equipment up the narrow access road onto the site was delayed as dozens of protestors blocked the road. A couple of hundred could prevent access entirely.

A Socialist Party leaflet with a 'frack off' window poster on the reverse was much appreciated and widely displayed. SP members have been active in pressing the council to provide waste bins at the protest site, getting donations, petitioning in Eccles and Irlam, and mobilising for maximum turnout on the Solidarity Day.

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In The Socialist 4 December 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Corporate Killers!

Boris - it's the system, stupid

SNP's white paper will not deliver decisive change

We need mass house building

Build action to save our NHS!

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

The fight against low pay in the United States


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Kent: Unions and parents unite against all the cuts

Fracking comes North...

Council uses court against Bedroom Tax victims

Support the fightback in Con-Dems' Dickensian Britain


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

London TUSC groups plan for 2014 elections


Socialist Party workplace news

Save our fire service!

Npower job cuts must be fought!

Universities: second coordinated strike over pay

London University: strike by support staff

Support striking St Mungos workers

Civil service union calls for an end to violence in Jobcentres

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Is workfare coming to Morrisons?

Film review: Catching Fire

Why I believe in socialism


 

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