Christian campaigners have vowed to step up protests at a fracking site in Lancashire after a shale gas exploration company packed up its equipment for Christmas.
Fracking firm Cuadrilla operate the UK’s first horizontal shale gas exploration wells in New Preston Road, Blackpool, where dozens of tremors have been recorded since it began pumping high volumes of water underground in October looking for gas.
Daleen Ten Cate, Missional Discipleship Mentor for the United Reformed Church North West Synod, who, with a team of others, has spent every Friday campaigning at the gates to the site, says protests will continue in the new year.
‘Tremors were registered in the Fylde area within two weeks of the start of the fracking in October,’ she said. ‘Moreover, what really concerns me is the water pollution and health risks associated with fracking.
‘I am a farmer’s daughter from South Africa and from an early age I found God in nature. I was blessed to grow up with nature around me and know I have a responsibility, as a steward of God, to look after mother earth, God’s creation. ‘I have seen first-hand the impact that fracking has had in South Africa, Australia and America and believe the benefits are only economic and only to the companies doing the drilling. Profits never trickle down to the people on the bottom of the social pile, the people who need it the most.’
Working alongside 37 churches, Daleen realised some members of Marton URC, who lived next door to the site, were involved in the anti-fracking campaign and leapt at the chance to join the ‘No Faith in Fracking’ group which consists of Quakers, Catholics and Anglicans.
‘We meet on the last Friday of every month at Preston New Road and welcome people of all faiths and none, who are moved by faith and spirit to express our shared resistance to fracking and our care for earth.’
‘We bring love to the area by holding a silent peace vigil where we pray, sometimes sing a hymn, or listen to a poem or writing that people bring to the circle.
‘We will continue this in the new year when Cuadrilla returns, but pray that it doesn’t just stop for Christmas but doesn’t return at all.’
Pictures: Daleen Ten Cate, right, with Tona Shaw, left, a member of Marton URC