Campaigners from the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp brought their roadshow to Salford Precinct this afternoon, with protest songs from Darren Nesbit, speakers urging a frack-free Salford and girls giving out free hugs to passers by.
Hundreds of shoppers signed anti-fracking petitions and many said that they would be at the Salford Solidarity Day tomorrow (see below). The local support shown to the campaign was in stark contrast with elements of the national media, which has been running articles stating that few people in Salford have been involved in the campaign.
Sharon Connelly from Seedley arrived at the event with a bag full of warm clothes for the Camp…
"They said they were getting soaked so I've brought down some scarves and warm woollies" she told the Salford Star "I do support the campaign, that's why I'm here, and the people I know support it too. I don't know any non-supporters.
"I've never been on any demonstrations or been involved in any protests but I think I will now" she added "I feel strongly and I'll be going to the demonstration tomorrow…"
Lana from Littleton Road agreed that lots of Salford people support the Camp as well as her… "Definitely, we have to live here" she explained "Fracking will poison the water, it's not good for the children, and they just don't need to frack."
Meanwhile, Maureen Drinkwater who was on the Precinct shopping, actually lives on the corner of Barton Moss Road, scene of all the protests and police activity.
"It's like being a prisoner" she explained "If you go out you've got to be careful because you can't get back. The last ten weeks have been horrendous – to pick the grandkids up from school we have to go via Leigh because of the traffic."
Maureen supports the campaigners 100%... "They're lovely" she said "I think people in Salford don't know what's going on, even people in Irlam don't know, they think everyone is going to get cheap fuel which is absolute rubbish. I think a ground full of poison isn't the answer, what are we going to leave our grandkids? Nothing. They're going to ruin the Moss and the food chain."
The petitioning at the event was organised by Manchester Friends of the Earth and its co-ordinator Pete Abel said: "Local people are rightly concerned about the risk fracking will place on their communities and environment. The Government's new licensing round means potentially every borough of Greater Manchester could be licensed for future fracking.
"Instead of risky shale gas or coal bed methane" he added "we need investment in clean renewable energy which could create thousands of jobs for Greater Manchester."
In another show of Salford solidarity today, the Deli-Lama Cafe on Bexley Square has offered free meals for any Barton Moss campaigners passing on their way to court hearings...
Salford Solidarity Day
Sunday 12th January
Meets at Salford City Stadium at 12:30 for a walk to the site on Barton Moss Road, off Liverpool Road (next right turn after Barton Airport) where there will be a rally at around 1:30pm
For anyone who missed signing the petition at Salford Shopping Centre this afternoon, it can be signed online at Salford Council's website – click here
Photos by Steven Speed