Anti-fracking activists from Reclaim the Power staged a protest outside the Charlotte Street, Manchester, offices of Political Planning Services (PPS), the controversial PR firm currently representing Cuadrilla. The offices had been closed in apparent anticipation of a potential protest.

Six protesters dressed in toxic hazard suits talked to to passers-by and office workers who share the PPS building about the environmental dangers of fracking, fuel poverty, and the government’s recent report, showing that a reliance on fossil fuels would lead to a rise in domestic fuel bills over the next four decades, in contrast to a focus on sustainable energy, which would lead to lower bills. They held banners displaying a range of slogans: “PPS: It’s a Fracking Whitewash”, “Community Support Manufactured On Demand”, “Toxic Waste Disappears Beneath Your Shoes” and “Taking The PPS”.

PPS have been accused of bugging private council meetings, forging letters from residents in support of developments and using “trickery, deceit and manipulation” to secure planning permissions. PPS was awarded the PR Week award for Issues and Crisis management for supporting Cuadrilla following the earthquakes caused by their exploratory shale gas drilling in the Blackpool area in 2011.

As part of last year’s day of action, Bell Pottinger was also targeted by activists. In March 2013 they have dropped Cuadrilla as client due to their poor environmental reputation.

Activist Annabelle Williams lives in the Mendips in Somerset, which is threatened by UK Methane’s applications to frack. She said:

“We need to move away from the use of fossil fuels. 80% of known conventional reserves need to remain in the ground in order to reduce the likelihood of runaway catastrophic climate change. There is no place for extreme energy extraction projects like fracking.”

Activist Katie Roberts said: “PPS are the go-to PR firm for manufacturing consent for dangerous energy developments in the UK. Fracking threatens local water, land and health, and it feeds our dependency on dirty fossil fuels. That’s why Cuadrilla needs the help of low down and dirty PR fighters like PPS to push forward toxic fracking projects in communities which don’t want them.”

Notes to editors:
[1] Bell Pottinger targeted by Reclaim the Power in 2013.

[2] Bell Pottinger dropped by Cuadrilla.

[3] PPS accused of “trickery, deceit and manipulation”.