Anti-fracking campaigners to celebrate release of 'Fracking three' at rally

Campaigners at a previous rally at Maple Farm
Campaigners at a previous rally at Maple Farm

Anti-fracking campaigners have been buoyed by the release of three jailed protesters ahead of a rally at Preston New Road on Saturday.

Frack Free Lancashire is to host a National Climate Crisis Rally at Maple Farm from 11am. Among the speakers will be the Green Party’s Baroness Jenny Jones; Friends of the Earth chief executive, Craig Bennett; Liberal Democrat MP, Tim Farron and former special representative for climate change at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, John Ashton.

Organisers said entertainment and food will be available at what aims to be a family-friendly event which will culminate with a visit to Cuadrilla’s fracking site itself.

A spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire said that following the dramatic quashing of the Frack Free Three case in the High Court, the anti-fracking movement has been strengthened with support from across the globe, and the group is delighted to welcome the three men back to the community that they bravely stood up for.

Soil scientist Simon Blevins, 26, from Sheffield, and teacher Richard Roberts, 36, of London, were both jailed for 16 months, while piano restorer Rich Loizou, 31, from Devon, was given 15 months. But Appeal Court judges overturned the sentencing saying it was "manifestly excessive" and released them from Preston Prison.

She said: “We are looking forward to the event on Saturday, where we will welcome our friends and colleagues from across the country to stand with our community now fracking has reportedly begun.

"The event has been buoyed by the amazing news that our friends’ appeal in the High Court was successful and they have since been freed from HMP Preston.”