Ellesmere Port to stage major anti-fracking rally

Reporter:

David Triggs

Campaigners will march through Ellesmere Port later this month as part of a major anti-fracking rally.

The United Against Fracking event will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, November 18.

There will be live music, stalls and speeches from four MPs outside the Civic Hall before a march around the town centre.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is due to attend as the key speaker on the subject, and she will be joined by fellow Labour MPs Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port & Neston), Chris Matheson (City of Chester) and Mike Amesbury (Weaver Vale).

The event has been arranged by the Ellesmere Port Frack Free and Frack Free Dee groups, both of which have campaigned to keep fracking – injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks or boreholes to release oil or gas – out of North Cheshire.

The organisers said it will be “a day of coming together”, adding: “This industry threatens your environment and your democracy. Show your concern.”

The protest groups say fracking is bad for the environment due to the chemicals and pressures used, and they also say it would lead to the industrialisation of the countryside. North Cheshire is thought to be a hotbed for shale gas deposits and exploratory tests have taken place in the area in recent years, leading to local protests.

Energy firm IGas has applied for planning permission to flow test their well in Ellesmere Port, and is also in the process of gaining planning permission for an exploration well on Ince Marshes. The marshes have also been targeted by the British Geological Survey as a preferred location for a major research centre where some of the research will look at how shale gas behaves in the ground.

There are also concerns in Runcorn, where Ineos has a major build-up of fracking equipment.

Mr Matheson has previously made his position clear on the issue.

He said: “The majority of people in Chester have made their mind up on fracking and their safety concerns are my number one priority. I won’t support any project that could lead to a green light being given on the extraction of shale gas in Cheshire.”

Mr Madders says putting so much focus on fossil fuels “represents a big step backwards” while Mr Amesbury has labelled fracking “intrusive and destructive”.  

The Conservative Government supports the practice but Labour and other opposition parties are against it, while the Scottish Government has announced a ban on fracking.  

The event on November 18 opens at 1pm with stalls and live music. Speeches start at 2pm, with the march starting at 2.30pm. The event closes at 3.30pm.

Email:

david.triggs@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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