Dutch visitors lend backing to fracking protest

Dutch Friends of the Earth protesters at Preston New Road
Dutch Friends of the Earth protesters at Preston New Road
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Campaigners who successfully battled to stop fracking in the Netherlands travelled to the Fylde coast to lend their support to protestors fighting to stop a controversial drilling site being built.

The Netherlands delegation visited the Cuadrilla fracking site at Preston New Road to offer support to local demonstrators as they marked six years of battling fracking.

Dutch campaigners say they successfully achieved a moratorium on fracking, stopping Cuadrilla’s plans to frack in the Netherlands.

Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: “We are visiting your beautiful corner of England in Lancashire today because together we can beat fossil fuels, and fracking companies like Cuadrilla.

“Friends of the Earth groups across Europe stand in solidarity with communities in Lancashire and support the struggle to keep the United Kingdom and Europe frack-free.”

Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, said: “Fracking companies can be beaten – we have banned this process in the Netherlands.

“Wherever companies want to do this, and it doesn’t matter if it is England, the US or Australia, people come together to oppose it, just like here in Lancashire and we think people have been so brave.”

The visit proved a rallying cry to local campaigners.

Friends of the Earth’s Polly Steiner, has been involved in the protests at Preston New Road.

She said: “The shale industry have really placed Lancashire in their sights, but rather than see a shale ‘revolution’, local community campaigners, joined by businesses, trade unions, as well as many others have opposed the industry and been successful in holding them at bay.

“It is really encouraging to meet other people who have succeeded, while in Lancashire we continue the campaign to stop fracking, because of the risks it poses to people, the countryside and to the climate.”

A number of high profile protests have been staged at Preston New Road since Cuadrilla began work on its drilling site.

The road has been closed several times to ensure the safety of those involved in the protests and workers on the site.

Actions taken have included slow walks and protesters mounting vehicles trying to access the site.

The protests have been repeatedly criticised by groups supporting the fracking industry.

Cuadrilla, which is building the rig at Preston New Road, says it has invested millions of pounds in Lancashire over the past 12 months including job creation.