As people from all over came to the Mad Frackers Tea Party at the Barton Community Protection Camp yesterday, the main discussion was about the earthquakes that hit north Texas this week around the town of Azle…
"The citizens are concerned" said Azle Assistant City Manager Lawrence Bryant at a city council meeting "They should be. If it's a man-made cause, it would be nice to know."
Meanwhile, University of Texas earthquake researcher, Cliff Frolich, added that "it certainly looks very possible that the earthquakes are related to injection wells."
Scary stuff. And it's against this background that more and more eco-protectors are heading to Barton, including an increasing number of local residents like Adele Finney, whose kids were busy making banners and placards at yesterday's party…
"I live about six fields that way and this is going to affect my life" she said "I'm going to feel that drill going round, I know my house is going to shake, it shook during the gas blast, it shook during the earthquakes that we had in 2006 and I don't want to feel that."
…"And we don't want the birdies and squirrels to go away" added her daughter.
Indeed residents are braced for the eco-destruction of their area – with fracking a real possibility, Port Salford and its hundreds of trucks about to descend and developments going up around what was the Salford Community Stadium, now renamed the AJ Bell Stadium…
"We haven't got any money so we've spent a lot of time on the Moss teaching our children about nature and coming here for walks and a breath of fresh air" Adele explained "All this is going to spoil our environment. We have a very large population of herons near here, they're going to go and we're going to lose that.
"Peel Holdings own everything around here" she added nodding that the company is a byword for economic exploitation of its land "They don't take into consideration how much it's going to impact on residents lives. Salford Reds is already making the Barton stretch a car park all hours of the day. Port Salford is about to happen… we've only just got fish back in the Ship Canal and it will contaminate the water the fish are swimming in. And over at Davyhulme they're going to put up another drilling site – how much is it going to take to fracture all this land?
"I've got a problem with this" she said "I'd like to know more information. As a resident I should have been given this information, as should other residents. We don't want fracking in this area and locally this camp has got a lot of support."
While at the moment IGas is stating it's only intention is the `exploratory drilling' for coal bed methane for which it has a licence, no-one here is under any illusions that the ultimate aim is fracking for shale gas (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
Indeed, people were arriving showing their support with gifts of everything from toilet rolls to food. And, as the afternoon wore on, a party atmosphere soon developed with kids playing games, scoffing cakes and biscuits and creating huge painted banners to decorate the camp.
The nasty atmosphere of the past week, that saw arrests at Barton as IGas drilling equipment arrived, was nowhere to be seen as police kept away and a new banner was displayed on main road outside the camp urging local people to join…
"I'm here to make people aware that even a small number of local residents turning up can have the same kind of impact that we did when we stopped the peat extraction a few years ago" said Irlam resident Jackie Anderson "It's extremely important that if we believe in saving the environment from the fracking destruction that's going to happen everybody has to come together. And we can stop this right now."
* The Campaign Against Climate Change trade union group has called a Day of Solidarity for next Sunday, 8th December at 12:30. They are asking for people to bring banners and meet at the junction of Liverpool Rd and Barton Moss Rd, just past Barton Aerodrome.