Green Party leader visits Upton protest camp to highlight region’s battle against fracking

 

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Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, and Peter Cranie, the North West Green Party’s European election candidate, will visit the protest camp at Upton, near Chester, to highlight the Green Party’s opposition to fracking for shale gas and the extraction of coal bed methane.

Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader, has been a vocal opponent of fracking, visiting the protest camp in Balcombe, Sussex, last summer and visiting Barton Moss in Salford earlier this year. She said:

“Coalition government ministers have a fervent belief that fracking can solve all of our problems, from fuel poverty to manufacturing decline, from energy security to unemployment. Lib Dem Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Davey is hell-bent on supporting extreme energy, boasting that he “loves” shale gas. This fervour is misguided – the evidence shows that fracking won’t bring down energy bills and is not a solution to climate change.

She continued: “Rather than locking us into a future of fossil fuel dependence the government should be doubling its efforts to reduce energy use through home insulation and supporting the creation of renewable, clean and safe energy. Residents in Upton are right to oppose extreme energy and I’m here today to show my support for their campaign.”

Peter Cranie, the North West Green Party’s European election candidate, is campaigning to be the region’s first Green Party MEP. The Green Party is the only major political party opposed to fracking and this is a central message of his campaign.

He said:  “I’m pleased to be visiting Upton to hear more about local people’s concerns about extracting coal bed methane gas and to back their campaign. We’ve seen that there’s huge opposition to fracking for shale gas and extracting coal bed methane across the north west. A recent poll revealed 74% of Britons oppose plans to allow drilling under their homes without permission. People are right to be concerned.”

He continued: “Fracking isn’t going to bring down fuel bills or help us tackle climate change and it brings with it the risk of water and air pollution. Unlike the other political parties, the Green Party is against fracking. We’re working hard on this issue in Europe and the UK – asking the difficult questions, challenging the government and pushing for a complete ban on fracking, like in France.”

He concluded: “In parliament we have an outspoken Green MP, Caroline Lucas, who protested peacefully against fracking, was arrested and subsequently found not guilty. She stands up for the vast majority of people who either oppose fracking or are not convinced by it. The Greens will stand with local residents in opposition to fracking. Labour, UKIP, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives all support this unsustainable and harmful dash for gas. If you want an elected representative to stand up against fracking in Upton, then you need to elect at least one anti-fracking Euro MP by voting Green on the 22nd May.”

The Green Party is the fourth largest group in the European Parliament with 58 MEPs, working on issues as diverse as workers’ rights, energy, transport, fishing, international development, environmental protection and employment. Peter Cranie lost out on a seat in the European Parliament by just 0.3% of the vote in 2009 and instead the British National Party’s leader, Nick Griffin, became the region’s MEP. The Greens are hoping to break through on May 22nd.

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Stop HS2 Now!

62399036_peter_cranie_high1Peter Cranie, the North West Green Party’s European election candidate,said: “High Speed 2 is not, as Sir David Higgins has suggested, “vital for the future of the country”. It should be described for what it is, a £50 billion railway to get business travellers to London a little bit quicker. It won’t improve our bus services and it won’t connect up our local rail networks. We need support for sustainable travel and a sustainable economy in the North West, not unsustainable spending to help funnel more money down to London.”

“The Greens want efficient, reliable, affordable and integrated public transport here in the North West. Investing in regional transport would ensure that more people would be able to travel on public transport, reducing carbon emissions, air pollution and congestion. It’s a shame that the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems seem convinced that HS2 must happen. This is a real “white elephant” project which must be stopped.”

GREENS URGE POLICE TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT AT BARTON MOSS

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Peter Cranie, the North West Green Party’s European election candidate,  urged Greater Manchester police to exercise restraint at  protests at the Barton Moss anti-fracking protest camp.. Peter Cranie, the Green Party’s lead candiate, took  part in the protest on Sunday 12 January, along with Green Party members from across the north west.

Peter Cranie has previously written to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester highlighting his concerns over the policing of the anti-fracking protest at Barton Moss, Salford. He is concerned about the heavy-handedness of police officers towards protestors, including the unnecessary arrest of a fellow North West Green Party European election candidate, Laura Bannister, from Manchester. Earlier this week eleven anti-fracking protestors were aquitted of obstructing the highway at similar protests in Balcombe, West Sussex.

Peter Cranie said: “This protest will show the strength of opposition to fracking in Greater Manchester and across the north west. People are travelling from all over the UK to send a strong warning to the government that they can’t just impose fracking on local communities. Fracking won’t bring down energy prices or create many jobs, and it won’t help tackle climate change. Instead what’s desperately needed is investment in home insulation and renewable energy. Fracking will increase traffic, deplete water supplies and could pollute our air and water. The Green Party’s message is clear; we don’t need it and we don’t want it – there are much better solutions to our energy crisis.”

He continued: “The anti-fracking demonstrations at Barton Moss have been over-policed and police have been too heavy-handed. One of our European election candidates, Laura Bannister, was arrested simply for walking too slowly and in the last few days police have unnecessarily threatened an 82 year old Green Party member with arrest. The recent aquittal of people demonstrating against fracking in Balcombe suggests that those taking part in peaceful protest are not breaking the law.”

The cost of the policing operation at Barton Moss is not yet known, but the North West Green Party believes that significantly fewer police officers could be deployed. In a letter sent last month to the Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, Mr Cranie called on him to re-direct his reources to the local community in Salford, rather than the protection of a profitable private company. He urged Mr Lloyd to ensure the drilling company, IGas, contributes to its own security costs, rather than relying on the tax-payer to fund the police operation.