Saturday, 22 October 2016

Protests over Barclay's ownership of fracking company



Lancaster anti-fracking campaigners are so angry that Barclay's Bank is financing fracking in Yorkshire through its subsidiary company Third Energy that they joined with visiting activist group Reclaim the Power on Friday lunchtime to protest peacefully (if somewhat noisily) outside Barclay's Lancaster branch with banners, leaflets and a mobile sound system to draw attention to the bank's climate-destructive activities.

Barclay's-owned Third Energy has recently obtained permission to carry out extreme shale gas fracking in the agricultural heart of the Vale of Pickering in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Both Third Energy and Lancashire would-be-fracking company Cuadrilla are majority owned through paperwork based in the Cayman Islands offshore tax haven.

The protest was the precursor to a national week of protest to run from 24 - 29 October, against Barclay's investment in extreme fossil fuel extraction. The protest week is planned by Friends of the Earth, People & Planet, Frack Free Ryedale, SumOfUs and 350.org. You can find out more about it at www.foe.co.uk/blog/why-im-taking-action-october.

Voted worst current account provider
They want customers of Barclay's to switch banks to a different company. And not just because last year Barclays was ranked as the UK’s worst current account provider for the third time in a row.

Barclays was one of the three major banks named in a 2016 banktracking analysis report as the world's leading financiers for extreme oil and gas projects described as economically disastrous and having inflicted severe damage on communities, ecosystems, and the climate.

It's not the first time the bank has faced trouble for its antisocial activities. In 2012 it was sentenced to fines totalling $450 million for fraudulently colluding in rigging the Libor rates over 9 years. The banks involved earned hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, in wrongful profits as a result of artificially inflating Libor rates on the first day of each month during the complaint period.

It was estimated in the US that at least 100,000 people lost thousands of dollars due to the banks' unlawful activity, with many people holding sub-prime mortgages losing their homes. Losses to municipalities through this manipulation of the rates were estimated at $4billion.

Crying on the way to the bank?
While members of the Lancaster public were broadly supportive of the protest group's aims, in particular County Councillor for Morecambe South Darren Clifford, who was passing and stopped to offer encouragement, bank staff appeared to be less so, with one customer reporting that the leaflet handed to her on the way in had been snatched out of her hand by a member of staff once inside.

Another customer said 'At the end of the day, they're just too big and we're too small'. But not everyone is crying on the way to the bank.

National Gathering in Lancaster
Reclaim the Power are holding their National Gathering in Lancaster  tomorrow (Saturday) at the Marsh Community Centre. High on their agenda will be planning, training and development of co-ordinated campaign infrastructure to make it impossible for companies such as Third Energy and Cuadrilla to carry out their work.

They are looking at developing resistance across the board; not only at preventing work from being carried out at the sites but also by targeting suppliers and contractors involved with the fracking companies and their associates.

Other wings of the campaign will be supporting electoral candidates who are realistic about climate change and committed to developing sustainable energy resources,  raising awareness of the processes and consequences involved in extreme shale gas extraction, promoting artistic and creative events and activities and more.

United Against Fracking National Rally on 12 November in Manchester

Supported by the TUC, the United Against Fracking national rally will consist of a march, guest speakers, music and much more.  Coaches are being arranged from a variety of destinations and more details on speakers, sponsors and organisations taking part will emerge daily, To find out more, visit the event facebook page or http://frackfreelancashire.org/events/.

People interested in learning more about the campaign can contact Frack Free Lancashire and Frack Free Ryedale online through facebook or via their websites.

2 comments:

Chris White said...

I can't help but notice that lately more and more newspapers are taking an interest in the protest. For five years we've been fighting this highly toxic and dangerously unsupervised industry. The powers that be continue to keep the true dangers of fracking quiet while removing and replacing legislation to smooth its way on the sly frequently using the practice of late Friday afternoon sittings to sneak amendments through. The tide seems to finally be turning though. While The Guardian has been the only mainstream paper to openly address all the issues of the fracking threat, political, financial and ecological, more online news sources have been joining the call to closely examine or ban this insane goldrush that is the biggest threat to life in the UK since the leaks at the Sellafield nuclear power station in the 70's. (And it's a race for fool's gold as the geo surveys simply aren't being borne out where test drilling has been attempted). One could argue that the multiple toxins (some of which the government have even allowed the industry to keep secret) pose a greater threat as they include radioactive waste too. We are used to a lethargic response to offenses by the powerful but the way the public have rapidly risen to oppose this one is heartening and encouraging. We are the ones who will suffer first in the middle of the country where the shale stretches in a broad band from the east coast to the west and, when it became clear that our recourse to law had been severely curtailed, we made it clear that we would move heaven and earth to peacefully oppose and defeat it. We seem to have reached a kind of tipping point but given recent events, we are only stepping up action across the country. Soon the other 'red top' newspapers and even the broadsheets will have to acknowledge the cry that is going up right across the UK against this vile business.

Gaynor said...

Anyone who wants to join us in a follow on protest Saturday 29th 12.00 onwards. Contact gaynz1@icloud.com or just turn up, we will be pleased to see you.