By Sebastian Kelly, Fracking Organiser for 350.org – firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer is drawing to a close. Meanwhile next week Parliament returns, the autumn term starts, and we gear up for the final intensive weeks of campaigning – the Government’s permitted development consultation closes on 25th October. This then is the perfect moment for a quick look back at what has been achieved, and forward at what’s to come.
The Government announced its proposal – to classify exploratory drilling for shale gas as permitted development under planning law – back in May. Since then we’ve been going all out to send the plan packing.
The campaign has three petitions all to itself! 180,000 have signed with CPRE/38 Degrees, 32,000 at Sum Of Us, and Friends of the Earth’s petition stands at almost 36,000. A grand total of just under a quarter of a million signatories! If you haven’t signed yet, please do, and share as widely as you can with family, friends and via social media.
Across the country people have been contacting and meeting their MPs and councillors, asking them to carry the fight on this issue.
Please do approach your own local MP and councillors if you haven’t already done so. The Guide to Engaging MPs and Councillors tells you all you need to go about this, and the middle 20 mins of our campaign video call, starting around 17 mins in, has brilliant insight and advice on effectively engaging your elected representatives.
The efforts are bearing fruit! Hundreds of elected representatives have signed the open letter to the government calling for the withdrawal of the proposal. Lancashire County Council recently passed a unanimous motion against the proposal, and Derbyshire County Council has come out against it too, declaring the plan a “sad blow to public engagement” should it come to pass.
Stunts like the “silenced voices” actions in Malton, Huddersfield and Northwich, and the wonderful fracking-rig-and-garden-shed outreach event in Leicester have been taking the message to the streets and the media.
And as we head into the crucial last 8 weeks of the Government’s consultation period, Friends of the Earth have launched an online action to help make responding to the consultation easy to do for all.
To turn up the pressure and temperature, we will have a local Week of Action 8 – 14 October when we’re asking everyone to do a campaign stunt or event in their area, aiming to get the maximum attention and media coverage locally.
Get thinking about what you could do in your area, and watch the campaign video call which will get us set up for this big push. More info and resources will also be flagged on the campaign Facebook group and the Let Communities Decide sign up.
Finally a huge thank you to everyone who was weighed in on this campaign so far, the warmest of welcomes to all those newly involved or interested, and looking forward to campaigning with you all over the coming weeks.