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Women to protest at Tory party conference

A photograph taken by Ros Willis of Fylde campaigners dressed as suffragettes at the Preston New Road drill site
A photograph taken by Ros Willis of Fylde campaigners dressed as suffragettes at the Preston New Road drill site

Dozens of women will travel from Lancashire to Birmingham for the Conservative Party conference on Monday, to highlight public opposition to fracking and the Government’s controversial plans to fast-track planning for shale gas development.

The women, many of whom live close to Cuadrilla’s site at Preston New Road where fracking is imminent, will be dressed as Suffragettes to mark the 100 year anniversary of some women getting the vote, and will be bearing the message that women did not vote for fracking.

The Government is backing fracking saying it will provide a home-grown gas supply, boost the economy and provide jobs. It has put forward proposals to make drilling for shale gas a "permitted development" under planning rules meaning that planning permission would not be needed for exploration, only for actual fracking.

Natalie Bennett, former leader of the Green Party, will be joining the women. She said: “Conservative MPs and councillors up and down the country are rejecting the plans to make gaining permission for shale gas drilling as easy as for building a shed, and to take fracking decisions away from local authorities.”

Gina Dowding, a Lancashire County Councillor from Lancaster, said: “All the women coming to Birmingham are horrified that four men who were in Preston Court for protesting at Preston New Road last year were sentenced to over a year in prison.

"This heavy sentence for peaceful protest makes us more, not less, determined to make the Government see sense about the need for action on climate change.”