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THE BATTLE FOR BALCOMBE: PEOPLE OF SUSSEX DECLARE CLIMATE EMERGENCY
An emergency vehicle, staffed by four women and two men, is blocking the entrance of Cuadrilla’s fracking site. The group, supported by local residents, are preventing unconventional oil and gas exploration, to reduce emissions and highlight the climate emergency we are all facing.
Two protesters climbed on top of the fire engine to release a banner that reads: “WE <3 BALCOMBE. LOCK THE GATE” before locking their ankles to the fire engine’s ladder. The remaining four used bicycle locks and arm-tubes to secure themselves in the fire engine’s cab. The brakes to the fire engine were also locked down rendering it immovable. The protest is expected to last beyond the weekend.
82% of Balcombe residents oppose fracking. But the government continues to support it with generous tax breaks and lax regulation. George Osborne, whose father in law is a gas lobbyist, has positioned Britain "at the forefront of the shale gas revolution". There are now few ways local people can legally oppose onshore oil and gas.
Ian, 52, one of the protestors from Sussex, says “I love my county and I don’t want to see it industrialised. The government is ignoring local people and the realities of climate change. As oil and gas reserves dwindle this Government is acting like an addict in its relentless search for more fossil fuels. We should invest in renewables now – giving them the same tax breaks and planning overhaul that fracking enjoys....”
Protests at the Cuadrilla site in Balcombe are now entering their 8th day, as local community groups unite to oppose the destruction of their village and countryside. Cyclists from across the country are expected to converge on the site this Saturday in support of Balcombe.