For immediate release: Wednesday 24th January 2018
PRESTON, UK – Three generations of the same family charged in relation to protesting against Cuadrilla’s controversial fracking site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, have been found guilty today.
A 73-year old grandmother, her son and granddaughter made headlines last year when they were among seven people who carried out a “lock-on” protest action at Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool in Lancashire in July 2017.
During the protest under the banner of Families Against Fracking, the group locked their arms into reinforced box-mounted tubes to block access to the site and raise awareness of the dangers of fracking to water, land, health and the climate. The action was part of the ‘Rolling Resistance’, a month of action at the Lancashire fracking site coordinated by the grassroots network Reclaim the Power.
Today the seven members of the protest were found guilty of obstructing the highway at Preston Magistrates Court. They were given a six-month conditional discharge plus costs.
In her ruling, the magistrate noted the group’s “deep integrity” and “strong moral compass” in taking their action against a fracking project overwhelmingly rejected by the local community.
The trial followed more than 300 arrests made at the Cuadrilla site last year in a mass mobilisation of the local community and civil society against the project, which was rejected for planning permission by the local County Council – only for it to be overturned by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid.
Gillian Kelly, 73, born and raised in the area, said:
“Today’s ruling went against us but we feel proud of our actions and on the right side of history. We hope we may have inspired others to take a stand against fracking in whichever way they can.”
Her son Sebastian Kelly said: “Public opinion is increasingly set against fracking and more and more people are becoming inspired to join the campaign against it. Our action taught me that we really can change things, and I believe that we really can stop fracking in its tracks.”
Granddaughter Megan Kelly, 20: “I felt apprehensive taking the action we did – but a little anxiety is nothing compared to the disastrous climate change that fracking and other fossil fuel use threatens.”
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- Photosof the trial here:https://www.flickr.com/gp/reclaimthepower2015/93Hq5e
- Video of the Families Against Fracking action:
- The action took place on 12th July 2017 and was part of the ‘Rolling Resistance’, a month of action at the Preston New Road fracking site coordinated by Reclaim the Power in July 2018. Reclaim the Power is a voluntary, grassroots direct action network that works for environmental, social and economic justice https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/fracking/
- Defendants in the trial were: Gillian Kelly, Sebastian Kelly, Megan Kelly, Paul Martyn, Molly Hopkinshaw, Beatrice Patrick, Toby Fairlove. Grandmother Gillian Kelly hails from the Pilling area of the Fylde. She went on to teach at Layton Convent School in Blackpool and the family later lived in Knott End.
- Gillian Kelly’s comments in the lead-up to the trial:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/19/grandmother-fracking-activist-protest-destructive-industry-landscape