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The Druid Way

Investors Advised to Pull Out of Shale Gas Extraction in the UK – Balcombe Latest

September 16th, 2013

Lancashire and Manchester are next up for attempts at fracking, but the saga of Balcombe continues. Today at the High Court in London a Judge ruled that West Sussex County Council’s eviction order that they issued last week in an attempt to remove the protest camp was flawed and ruled that costs are to be paid by them. The case is adjourned until 8th Oct and will then either be withdrawn or dismissed. The camp will remain and similar camps will appear at the igas site in Manchester and at Cuadrilla’s site in Lancashire. Investors – it’s time to take your money out before it’s too late. Fracking is a doomed industry in this country. Read this article for more insight into the almost laughable bungling of Cuadrilla’s first attempt to mess up the countryside:

Balcombe latest: 50 days on: Charlotte Johnson reports on the latest developments at the anti-fracking camp after 50 days of fracking resistance  13 September 2013

Reblogged from:
The Balcombe resistance continues with twists, turns and bizarre developments. Since Reclaim the Power ended, a callout for a 28-day rolling blockade dubbed ‘28 Days Later’ has been answered with a diversity of actions from a tripod in the road, to a local resident locked on to the roof of a tanker, a local environmental scientist handcuffed to the gate, a mass ‘balls to fracking’ football game at the gates and a man locked on to the tow bar of a caravan across the road – all stalling delivery lorries for up to five hours. Over 100 people have been arrested since the drilling began, with police increasingly carrying out snatch arrests and using obscure powers to quell protest.

As well as the Balcombe protesters’ persistence and creativity, fracking firm Cuadrilla has experienced a series of setbacks on the site. Earlier this month it was discovered it had breached its planning permission by exceeding the amount of allowed noise pollution. Balcombe residents complained to local officials of loud drilling noise in the evenings, causing Cuadrilla to temporarily halt its drilling operations to install further sound proofing, but it has continued drilling on the site.

No permission

Earlier this month, Cuadrilla had to withdraw an application to extend its current planning permission. The application was originally filed in July and sought to extend its current planning permission, due to end at the end of September, by six months. However Friends of the Earth pointed out that the company should never have been granted planning permission in the first place, as current regulations require the company to notify landowners if they plan to horizontally drill under their homes. Cuadrilla has also discovered a need to extend its current drill site as it is too small to contain its operations. It further seeks to quell local residents’ fears by removing any reference to potential fracking.

While Cuadrilla plans to submit a new planning application, it will now have to cease operations after 28 September. This means that the fight to stop drilling in Balcombe has been moved back to the local council planning authorities. During a fresh round of consultation, local residents will be able to lodge objections to the proposed planning permission. This is also a major setback for the company as it will further delay its plans by several months.

And in a bizarre twist, it recently emerged that Cuadrilla may not have proper permission to drill the land anyway, as the land ‘owner’ has an agricultural mortgage with Lloyds TSB, who has not given permission for the non-agricultural use of the land. We await updates and confirmation of this situation.

Preparing to evict

Despite Cuadrilla’s drilling permission coming to an end, this week saw West Sussex County Council take the first steps in attempting to evict the Balcombe camp. On Monday, a county official served the camp with an eviction notice. The notice asked that protesters leave by 9am the next morning or the council would be forced to start legal proceedings against them. Earlier today the camp received a legal notice from the High Court for immediate possession, though protestors are contesting the short notice – Monday – of a court appearance that prevents effective preparation of a defence case. In a press release, the council said it was concerned by the increase in the number of blockades on the road and cited road safety as its reason for asking the protestors to leave.

Sussex Police also released a statement that same day, stating that a Section 14 order would be in place from 10am the following morning. A newly formed protest area would be set up across the road from the site to facilitate protests. Anyone found to be protesting outside that area would be subject to arrest. Many felt that this was possibly a backhanded way for the council to attempt to clear the camp. However the camp is still in existence, with the people in the camp defiant that they will stay. The council are now going through the appropriate legal channels to obtain a possession order which will allow the camp to be cleared. Much of the camp’s infrastructure is still in place, people are still camping outside the drilling site on the verges, and they are still standing in the road to slow the delivery lorries.

After 28 September, Cuadrilla plans to leave Balcombe and return to Lancashire to continue its drilling operations there. London-based company iGas is also scheduled to start drilling in Manchester within the coming months. Campaigners have vowed to replicate the Balcombe protest camp in any area of the country that is being threatened with unconventional fossil fuel extraction. It looks like we’ll see a very busy autumn full of anti-fracking action.

Charlotte Johnson     read article at Red Pepper

Sacred Activism and the Great Midwife Warrior Lover Force

September 11th, 2013

a_harveyThe Awen Forum in Stroud hosted Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, last Sunday. A camera caught part of his presentation in which he evoked the Great Midwife Warrior Lover Force, which he states with great passion, can help you kick serious ass!

UK Gagging Law Proposed

September 9th, 2013

You might have heard about the “gagging law” currently being voted on by MPs. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s really bad news. If it goes through, it will have a chilling effect on British democracy and on our right to speak up on the issues that matter to us.

Basically, the law slashes the spending limits on campaigning for the year before any election. Campaigns that have impact don’t cost the earth, but they aren’t free.

Community groups, charities and campaigning organisations would all be hit. Election time is when ordinary people have the most influence on our politicians. On the big issues of the day – whether or not to go to war, the future of our NHS, the environment, welfare, immigration, etc. – we’d all be gagged.

The problem is that this law has come out of nowhere and not many people have heard what’s going on. If we’re going to defeat it, we need to get the word out further. If every single person who’s ever joined a local campaign group or taken action with their favourite charity knew that they could be stopped from doing that again, the outcry could explode.

Here’s a simple five minute video you can watch for more information. Can you take a look, and then help get the word out by passing it on to your friends and family?


September 6th, 2013

FROM The Warrior’s Call FB page:

28 September –  12 noon at Market Cross, Glastonbury High Street, BA6 9HJ – Join  over a thousand Pagans and like-minded folk in a ritual to protect Albion from fracking. Or hold your own ritual at the same time along with others all over the world. (Locate a local ritual here.  If you are setting up your own ritual, then please add it to this e-map to help with promotion.) This ‘Warrior’s Call’ is an international upsurge of deeply held spiritual love for this land. It is not a ‘protest’. It is something far, far deeper. Around the World on the 28th of September, rituals (both large and small) will be held to protect these sacred islands from harm. Although we all come from many different pagan paths, on that day we will speak with one voice. Read more on The Warrior’s Call FB page

The Pagan anti-fracking movement in historical context

September 4th, 2013
Dr John Dee, 1608. Portrait by unknown artist in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Dr John Dee, 1608. Portrait by unknown artist in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Great post from the Barefoot Anthropologist:

Unconventional gas extraction, glossed by activists and journalists alike under the umbrella-term of fracking, is currently dominating UK green politics. Despite assurances from both industry and government that fracking is safe, even vital; many people remain dubious about the prospect. Reports of significant environmental damage and lacklustre economic benefits from parts of the world where the technology is commonplace are informing a growing grassroots movement against its presence in the UK. The fact that Caroline Lucas, an MP for the Green Party, has been arrested for protesting against exploratory drilling at Balcombe in Sussex indicates not only the scale of the police crackdown, but also the importance of what is becoming a keynote issue in British politics.

One community that has been particularly vocal in opposing unconventional gas extraction has been Britain’s Pagans. Although – as with any political issue – there is a spectrum of views within the Pagan community, a great many Pagans are involved in protesting against fracking where it occurs, and in raising awareness about the risks amongst the general population. While the Church of England has voiced naïve hopes that the technology will address fuel poverty and has compared the anti-fracking movement to controversy over the MMR vaccine (while using the dash for gas to enrich itself), a number of Pagan leaders – from Philip Carr-Gomm to Starhawk – have come out against the practice. And, on 28th September, a Pagan ritual centred on Glastonbury Tor will be taking place, dedicated to raising a web of power that will protect the island of Britain from all hydraulic fracturing. Currently, over 1300 people have agreed to attend this event, dubbed The Warriors’ Call.

Such protective rituals are nothing new in British history. Tacitus tells us of the druids’ last stand on the isle of Angelsey, holy women yelling curses across the Menai Straits at the approaching Roman legions. Medieval romance brought us the image of Merlin the conjuror, defending the realm with wise counsel and spellcraft; after Nimue imprisoned Merlin, Camelot fell soon after. In the 17th Century it was claimed that John Dee, an Elizabethan wizard, conjured a great storm that helped break up the Spanish Armada. Even if these latter two examples are fanciful myth, rather than historical fact – their antiquity shows that the idea of magickal wards being erected by the adepts in defence of the nation has been around for centuries.

The 20th century occultists that took part in the Pagan revival did not shirk from their duties either. A widely known account describes how the coven of Wiccan high priest and home guardsman Gerald Gardner undertook a rite at Rufus Stone in the New Forest, raising a cone of power against the threat of Nazi invasion. “We were taken at night to a place in the Forest, where the Great Circle was erected; and that was done which may not be done except in great emerg­ency… The command was given: ‘You cannot cross the sea, you cannot cross the sea, you cannot come, you cannot come.’ Just as was done, we were told, to Napoleon, when he had his army ready to invade England and never came. And, as was done to the Spanish Armada, mighty forces were used, of which I may not speak.” Gardner reports that five of the seventeen witches present died due to the spiritual and physical exertions involved; something which, it was felt, added to the potency of the work.

Gardner was not alone in using magick to fight Hitler. Dion Fortune, another luminary of British occultism, led her followers within the Fraternity of Inner Light in a series of meditations…

Read more

Britain Will Not be Fracked

September 3rd, 2013

1239258_10201105518135146_501206185_oCommon sense may be dawning. The protests at Balcombe seem to have worked – at least for the moment. We still need to be vigilant though. Numerous applications for drilling have been filed in various parts of the country. Ferhurst in West Sussex looks set to be the next test case in this area. See details on the ‘Frack-Free Fernhurst‘ website.

A big ritual to protect the land of Albion is planned for 28 September. Organisers believe over a thousand people will attend. See details. The protection sigil specially designed for this action is shown above.

From the BBC today:

Oil exploration will cease in a village at the centre of an anti-fracking campaign by the end of September after plans to extend work were withdrawn.

Protests were staged in Balcombe over fears test drilling for oil could lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The permit for activity was to run out on 28 September and, in July, the firm Cuadrilla applied for an extension.

It has now withdrawn the plans and will submit fresh proposals to be looked at by West Sussex County Council in 2014.

Read more