This morning, at 5:30am, fifty campaigners against fracking left an early Christmas present at the entrance gates to the IGas exploratory drilling site at Barton Moss – a highly symbolic 17 metre, 1.5 tonne wind turbine blade.
The huge windmill blade came complete with a red Christmas bow and blocked the entrance causing disruption to the site until workmen managed to shift it a few feet to one side.
Late this morning the blade was being guarded by two police cars and around eight officers, one of whom told the Salford Star that structure was now `crime scene evidence'.
Sandra, one of the people who put the blade in place, said "We've delivered this early Christmas gift to IGas to remind them that we don't need damaging, risky and polluting energy sources like oil and gas to power the UK.
"The Government and the big energy companies are planning to build a new wave of gas-fired power stations, partly fed by thousands of fracking wells across the British countryside" she added "This would lock us into using this expensive and dirty fossil fuel for decades to come, trapping us in a future of spiralling energy prices and disastrous floods, storms and droughts as climate change kicks in.
"Meanwhile" she explained "a shift to properly insulated homes powered by clean, community-owned or publicly-controlled renewable energy would rescue millions from fuel poverty, prevent thousands of winter deaths and give us all a decent chance at avoiding runaway climate change."
Local resident, Pearl Hopkins, was thrilled that the daring campaigners had sent the present… "I didn't know today's action was going to happen but I'm very glad it did" she said "It's great that people are coming from all over the country to support us at Barton Moss - and with creative blockades like this one.
"Local people have tried using all the official channels to object to this scheme, but the Council and IGas seem determined to brush our concerns under the carpet and carry on regardless" she added "We'd like renewable energy for the future - not the destruction of our towns and countryside with thousands of drill sites."
The present brought much joy to the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp this morning, with campaigners having their photos taken with the blade and bemused police officers.
Rachel Thompson of Frack Free Greater Manchester which is also campaigning against fracking said: "The Government's plan to increase our reliance on gas - including fracked gas - would lead to higher energy bills and more pollution. The only reason they're going down this path is because of the power and influence of the big energy companies.
"The Big Six can make far bigger profits from fossil fuels than from clean energy or home insulation schemes, which is why they're using their cosy relationship with Government to block renewable alternatives and keep us all burning their expensive gas" she added "That's why we all need to stand up for a fairer, cleaner, more democratic energy system without the Big Six profiteers in charge."
The giant windmill blade was a very symbolic gesture from pro-renewable groups, which have vowed to keep up their incredibly imaginative campaign against fracking in Salford.
See also previous Salford Star articles…
* Police target elderly, pregnant and disabled at Barton Moss - click here
* Salford Rally Tells Labour Party To Get Off The Fracking Fence - click here