Monday August 19th 2013
Reclaim the Power camp in Balcombe 07747027112 or 07746339931
Photos and video available from firstname.lastname@example.org
FRACKING PROTESTERS BLOCKADE BELL POTTINGER HQ
Campaigners from the Reclaim the Power camp at Balcombe are this morning blockading the central London headquarters of Bell Pottinger (address: 6th Floor, Holborn Gate, 330 High Holborn London WC1V 7QD) – the PR company behind Cuadrilla’s controversial fracking operation in Sussex.
At 8am six activists superglued themselves to the glass door and deployed reinforced arm tubes to prevent access to the Holborn HQ. Another activist has climbed the building and unfurled a banner reading: ‘BELL POTTINGER – FRACKING LIARS’. The campaigners are using a sound system to play an undercover recording in which a Bell Pottinger spin doctor admits the company’s pro-fracking PR offensive ‘sounds like utter fucking bullshit’. (listen – bit.ly/14Z380p)
Bell Pottinger has been retained by Cuadrilla to convince the public that fracking is safe and will bring down fuel bills. But in the secret recording the senior public relations officer admits that the effect of the technology on bills will be ‘basically insignificant’, and adds that Cuadrilla won’t be seeking permission from homeowners to drill under their properties (http://ind.pn/194TLyA).
One of the campaigners who is superglued to the Bell Pottinger headquarters is Kerry Fenton from Richmond. Speaking from the protest she said:
“Bell Pottinger has a long history of representing polluters, arms companies and dictators so it’s entirely appropriate that Cuadrilla reached out to them when they wanted to sell fracking to the British public. Bell Pottinger has been responsible for a sustained campaign of corporate misinformation, but they were caught out by a secret recording that shows they don’t even believe their own spin. This morning we’re stopping their staff reaching their desks in the hope that for one day at least Bell Pottinger won’t be able to mislead the British public about fracking. In truth it’s polluting, expensive and dangerous.”
The undercover recording was made by an environmental campaigner in Balcombe following a public meeting at which the Bell Pottinger flunky spoke.
The pro-fracking PR offensive has suffered multiple stumbles since the issue hit the front pages this summer. Tory peer (and George Osborne’s father-in-law) Lord Howell said shale exploration should be focused on the ‘desolate north’, while Cuadrilla has been lambasted for its high-handed response to local concerns.
Bell Pottinger’s clients include the family of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad and the authoritarian governments of Belarus and Bahrain. The company also represented notorious polluter Trafigura after it caused multiple casualties by dumping toxic waste in the Ivory Coast.