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« Enviro-mental - Josh 279 | Main | The greens and government »

Fracking off target

Earlier today I came across a tweet from Frack Off, referring to a new site they had occupied at Davyhulme, just 1 km or so away from the Barton Moss site.



A perusal of the Frack Off Twitter timeline reveals a couple more tweets relating to the same site:



The postcode referred to in the second of these can be seen on Google Maps, with the occupied site readily identified as the bare ground on the other side of the motorway.

So, another fracking site "defended" by the doughty ecowarriors of Frack Off eh?

Not quite. A report in the Manchester Evening News from 2012 suggests that the site has another purpose entirely:

[An] environmental permit has been granted for Peel Energy Ltd to operate Barton Renewable Energy Plant, a biomass combustion plant on the Davyhulme site near Barton Bridge.

And if you refer to the Peel Energy website, you can see that the Barton Renewable Energy Plant site is indeed the same one referred to in the Frack Off tweets. In other words, the megaminds at Frack Off seem to have managed to occupy a site earmarked for a renewable energy plant.


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Reader Comments (39)

It keeps them happy though

Jun 25, 2014 at 8:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Bio-mass? Like the "satanic mass" but for eco-pagans?

Jun 25, 2014 at 8:44 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

These protester types are not known for being the sharpest tools in the shed.

Jun 25, 2014 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterGary Turner

Perhaps we could send them a picture of Uncle Putin! I am sure he will be happy with them.

Jun 25, 2014 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

I'll guarantee that a drilling company would leave a drill pad much cleaner than this bunch of unwashed hippies.

Jun 25, 2014 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPathway

It would be funny if they were unaware of the situation.....but I can assure you that they are aware and that these people are not nearly as clueless as you would like to think they are.

Jun 25, 2014 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Sshht!!! Don't tell 'em.

Jun 25, 2014 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Perhaps they are coming to their senses? Protesting against pointless renewable wood burning polluting energy production?


Jun 25, 2014 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Don't they have jobs to go to?
And if they don't have jobs are they available for work?

Jun 25, 2014 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Quiz of the day:-

In photo 1, how many items manufactured from petrochemical derivatives are visible?

Jun 25, 2014 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

I had noted the tweets but thought they were just occupying it because it was close to where the radioactive water from Cuadrilla was "dumped" in the Manchester ship canal. I hadn't bothered to actually check that the they were protesting against another "fracking" site. Well done in finding out the truth.

The protesters don't have much in the way of intelligence. They previously have "occupied" a petrol station by attaching themselves to the pumps when it became clear very early on that they were at the wrong place.

They also follow Ian R Crane as an expert. He is an ex oil executive so they believe he knows his stuff. But Ian is also a 911 truther, and believes in many other conspiracies and weirdness. So much so that he is listed on the RationalWiki -

Another expert they believe in is Mike Hill who is an electrician in the oil & gas industry who has recently written a letter about geology (something he knows nothing about) in a medical journal (The Lancet). Doctors against fracking? Mike cares nothing about stopping drilling as his company sells equipment to companies like Cuadrilla so is dependent on drilling taking place. So why has he sided with the anti frackers? Because his equipment is used to meet regulations so he calls for more regulations. So the anti frackers are using another expert who doesn't really help their cause.

Jun 25, 2014 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

From what I can tell from various websites google sent me to about this project the campaigners are occupying roughly the correct location. The proposed site for drilling is next to the M60 and is part of the land that forms a vaguely triangular plot near the line of cypress trees in the second image.

The proposed site for the renewable energy plant is a forested area by the canal which is clearly marked on the Peel Energy site location page linked to in the post. (The bit the protesters appear to be occupying is to the south east of that.) I wonder if the trees will be the first things to be incinerated...

Jun 25, 2014 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

First. a letter to Brezhnev,

now, a postcard from Putin?

Jun 26, 2014 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterRightwinggit

Perhaps they located the site by tomtom.

Jun 26, 2014 at 1:19 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

@ Gareth
Jun 25, 2014 at 11:35 PM

I think that you may find that the line of trees in the second image are a type of polar tree, probably Lombardy Poplar. They are used extensively for screening, and wind and sound breaks. They are fairly fast growing and make excellent firewood.

Cypress have a much more compact and dense look to them, even when very tall.

Jun 26, 2014 at 6:59 AM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

my guess is that, as in protests in the olden days, most of these dirty hippies come to anti-fracking protests to score drugs and get laid.....

Jun 26, 2014 at 7:00 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

The activities of people like these actually meet a need that has nothing to do with environmentalism; that is just the excuse. They are displaced persons who don't feel comfortable in normal society who, nevertheless, need to satisfy the basic human requirement to have a sense of belonging. Corporations like Greenpeace merely exploit the gullibility of these people and use them as noise machines. In the late 70s/early 80s it was the 'Peace Women' outside Greenham Common and Molesworth that were in the news. Same characters, different rallying cry but, again, useful to certain interests.

Jun 26, 2014 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

It does pong a bit round there quite often due to a treatment plant nearby, it can get a bit ripe in the summer

Jun 26, 2014 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

How can they afford to spend time away from work, protesting?

Jun 26, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Although these protesters tend to be anti-capitalist you can buy "Frack Off!" T-shirts. I'm surprised they have not tried to change the lyrics of Fank Zappa's song "Freak Out!" to "Frack Off!"

Jun 26, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Pretty sure you've got thins wrong, I'm afraid. Manchester Evening News reports this and notes one of the objections is its proximity to the 'controversial' biomass plant.

They seem to be camping on the other side of the canal and the motorway from the location os the proposed biomass plant.


Jun 26, 2014 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon

I have asked several "Green" organisations if they can name an activist who has a job in the productive economy and so far none have been able to. Looking at online descriptions they are invariably employed in government "environmental" jobs, "social" work or suchlike parasitic makework jobs. I assume they get special leave for stuff like this.

Jun 26, 2014 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Do you notice the tremendous presence of plastics in the camp photos? Plastic chairs, synthetic tents, plastic bags and water bottles--these people are excellent customers of the petro-chemical industry.

Jun 26, 2014 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterramspace

My God - there are hundreds - well, dozens.... er.... several..... ok, a few of them....

'Spect their 'rentamob' pals will be along soon, though...

Jun 26, 2014 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

" I'm surprised they have not tried to change the lyrics of Fank Zappa's song "Freak Out!" to "Frack Off!"
If Frank were still with us, he'd come after them with a pitchfork if they tried.

He was a political conservative who hated hippies.

His 1968 album,"We're Only in it for the Money" typified his views on spongers. He later said of it: "hippies were pretty stupid. [...] the people involved in [youth] processes [...] are very sensitive to criticism. They always take themselves too seriously. So anybody who impugns the process, whether it's a peace march or love beads or whatever it is – that person is the enemy and must be dealt with severely. So we came under a lot of criticism, because we dared to suggest that perhaps what was going on was really stupid."[2]

Prescient words.

Jun 26, 2014 at 1:49 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Canadian based Sun News has produced two excellent programs on fracking. The first covers the process in great detail in a manner easily understood by a lay person.

The second describes the benefits from the perspective of the community.

Good watching!

Jun 26, 2014 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

They obviously weren't lucky getting tickets for Glastonbury this weekend. But they can share the rain if the Met can be trusted on the shortterm forecast.

Jun 26, 2014 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterLjh

I love what they've done with the place.

Jun 26, 2014 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

@ljh, A few people such as Tina Rothery were lucky recipients of free tickets courtesy of Greenpeace. Yet another waste of member's donations to allow some people to enjoy themselves at a music festival.

Jun 26, 2014 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

Yes, I was wondering when they would get where "bio-mass" really comes from...sounds green. Is usually quite another colour.

Jun 26, 2014 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligulaJones

Dave McGowan, in his book "Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon - Laurel Canyon, covert ops & the dark heart of the hippy dream" had Frank Zapper down as a pro-military autocrat who didn't really resonate with the counterculture; his father was a Chemical Weapons specialist with a top security clearance at Edgewood Arsenal near Baltimore.

The book paints a picture of a "controlled oppersition", a manufactured musically inspired "hippy" movement set up to usurp the anti-war protesters of the time.

There are paralells with the green movement, as a controlled oppersition IMO.

Jun 26, 2014 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

This is the application for the CBM site -

Still, the #GreeniesAreStupid for campaigning against straightforward drilling right next to a water treatment plant, or a sewage works to you and me.

Jun 26, 2014 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

Simon said:

Pretty sure you've got thins wrong, I'm afraid. Manchester Evening News reports this and notes one of the objections is its proximity to the 'controversial' biomass plant.

They seem to be camping on the other side of the canal and the motorway from the location os the proposed biomass plant.

If the biomass plant is controversial I wonder what they think about the poop furnace next door. United Utilities can dispose of waste industrial water at the Davyhulme site so there is almost no better place to be drilling if drilling might produce polluted waste water.

On the aerial photo in the first link I think the biomass plant will be to the right of the canal where there is a small forested area and the protesters are camping to the right of that. The line of poplar trees (thanks tom0mason) visible in one of the tweeted photos has a break in it. There is a line of poplar trees visible on google maps that is south east of the canal and perpendicular to the M60 that has a similar break in it.

Jun 26, 2014 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Oy, Frosty, citing conspiracy theories about Uncle Frank ("had Frank Zapper down as a pro-military autocrat who didn't really resonate with the counterculture; his father was a Chemical Weapons specialist with a top security clearance at Edgewood Arsenal near Baltimore.

The book paints a picture of a "controlled oppersition", a manufactured musically inspired "hippy" movement set up to usurp the anti-war protesters of the time.

There are paralells with the green movement, as a controlled oppersition IMO.") is drinking the Kool-Aid.

Zappa (note spelling) never made any secret of his political views. I saw him on a political panel show once where he was the lone - and very well informed and articulate - voice of conservatism against about four left-wingers. He was a fierce defender of people's right to dissent and be different - being hardly a poster child for conventional dress and lifestyle himself.

But to suggest that he had any political clout in a music business which was overwhelmingly supportive of all the things he opposed (being a hippie, not working for a living, drugs, dismantling the defence forces etc) is laughable.

Jun 27, 2014 at 1:37 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Johanna: He's not suggesting he had "political clout" in the traditional sense. "What if the entire youth culture of the 1960's was created not as a grass-roots challenge to the status quo, but as a cynical exercise in discrediting and marginalizing the budding anti-war movement and creating a fake oppersition that could be easily controlled and led astray? And what if the harrasment these folks were subjected to was largely a staged-managed show designed to give the leaders of the counterculture some much-needed 'street cred'?

The hippy/flower child movement was not synonymous with the anti-war movement. As time passed there was overlap between the two movements. Mass media outlets did their very best to portray the flower power generation as torch bearers for the anti-war movement - After all, a rag tag band of unwashed, drug fueled long-hairs sporting flowers and peace symbols was far easier to marginalize than, say, a bunch of respected collage professors and their concerned students. The reality, however, is that the anti-war movement was already well underway before the first aspiring 'hippy' arived in Laurel Canyon. The first Vietnam War 'teach-in' was held on the campus of the University of Mitchigan in March of 1965. The first organised walk on Washinton occurred just a few weeks later. Needless to say, there were no hippies in attendance at either event. That "problem" would soon be rectified. And the anti-war crows - those who were serious about ending the bloodshed in Vietnam, anyway - would be non too appreciative.

As Barry Miles has written in his book "Hippie", there were some hippies involved int he anti-war protests, "particularly after the police riot in Chicago in 1968 when so many people got injured, but on the whole the movement activists looked on hippies with distain".

Peter Coyote, narrating on the documentary "Hippies" on the History Channel, added that, "some on the left even theorized that the hippies were the end result of a plot by the CIA to neutralize the anti-war movement with LSD, turning potential protestors into self-absorbed naval-gazers"

Abbie Hoffman once described the scene as he remembered it thusly: "There were all these activists, you know, Berkeley radicals, White Panthers... all trying to stop the war and change things for the better. Then we got flooded with all these "flower children" who were into drugs and sex. Where the hell did the hippies comes from?!"

As it turned out, they came, initially at least, from a rather private, isolated, largely self contained neighborhood in Los Angeles known as Laurel Canyon."

I can't do the subject justice in a blog post, I recomend the book, he makes a strong case IMO.

If you are familiar with "climate camp" and how they took over "Occupy" in London, and elsewhere, you may see the parallels between the hippes and the greens I was refering too.

Jun 27, 2014 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Thanks for responding Frosty. While I don't agree with some of these theories (and hands off FZ!) the book sounds interesting - I'll keep an eye out for it.

Jun 27, 2014 at 11:20 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

They're camping in a ditch?

Jun 27, 2014 at 7:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterbobmark

Bobmark, when it rains, they'll claim cAGW Refugee status?

Jul 5, 2014 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterClunking Fist

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