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.