This week marks the start of my fracking trial….

My colleague in the UK, Green MP Caroline Lucas, is on trial this week following her arrest during anti-fracking protests last summer.

She had joined hundreds of peaceful protestors during the “summer of discontent’ in the sleepy village of Balcombe, West Sussex.

83% of locals oppose fracking in the beautiful area, and hundreds of people came from around the UK to support them in their bid to stop drilling company Cuadrilla.

Here she explains why she took a stand….

caroline lucas arrest

This week marks the start of my trial at Brighton Magistrates Court, following my arrest at Balcombe last August for taking part in a peaceful protest against fracking.

Along with four others, I am charged with obstructing the highway and failing to follow police instructions to move to a specified protest area.

We are all pleading not guilty.

I have been touched by the good wishes of many constituents who have contacted me to let me know of their support for my actions.

And I want to assure all my constituents that they will be able to contact my office as usual. I will be working around the hours of court proceedings to ensure that I continue to fulfil my parliamentary and constituency responsibilities, and continue to represent the residents of Brighton Pavilion.

Working to address the threat of climate change has been a priority for me throughout my political life.

I know too that this is very important to large numbers of my constituents, because so many of them have written to me about the environmental risks posed by fracking, and the urgency of tackling climate change.

As an MP, I’m in the privileged position of being able to make the case in Parliament. I’ve tabled motions, championed debates, put questions to Ministers, and spoken out in the media – and will continue to do so.

But the Government is ignoring the evidence, ignoring the climate science, and ignoring the enormous benefits of a secure and affordable energy system based on renewables and efficiency.

Instead they are offering the fossil fuel companies generous tax breaks as well as senior roles within Government itself.

Anti-fracking protests

Climate scientists and experts are clear that emissions from nations like the UK need to be reduced much faster than they are at the moment.

We need a rapid shift to a zero carbon economy, along with policies to keep the vast majority of known fossil fuels in the ground, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The window for action is closing fast.

As a result,  I decided to join the peaceful protest to send a clear message to the Government, as well as to support and join those people at the proposed fracking site in Balcombe who were standing up to be counted.

There is a proud tradition of non-violent direct action in this country, and I believe that using peaceful means to try to stop a process that could cause enormous harm is not only reasonable but also morally necessary.

I will not have recourse to any public funds in order to fight my case.

Caroline Lucas – Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion

6 Comments Posted

  1. No DBuckley,, this is about MONEY… it has nothing to do with supporting the global petrochemical industry that is so hard done-by that it needs our help.

    It is not about “doing our fair share” to destroy the climate or support the supply of petrochemicals. Hell, we did the natural gas that we could easily reach. The thing we should be doing is reducing our consumption… as fast as we can.

    THAT of course, is not going to make any money for John Key’s mates, so it is a non-starter for his party, but it is the smart thing to do.

    Fracking is an expensive way to get oil and gas, particularly if it is done so that no gas is escaping. The fugitive emissions problem is not handled well by the petroleum industry OR by the councils here in NZ where gas is reticulated.

  2. The other reason for not drilling offshore of New Zealand at the moment is that it is some of the most difficult and risky areas to drill. If things get desperate enough to warrant drilling there, we want whoever does it to know what they are doing rather than using New Zealand as a proving ground.


  3. dbuckley – it would be fair if New Zealand invested in renewable energy and pumped hydro storage and seriously cut back on our coal and gas use for stationary energy, and converted some of our vehicle fleet to gas. (Using electric vehicles and PHEVs would also help.) This would cut back on our oil consumption so we wouldn’t need to go looking for more.


  4. Fracking.

    This comes down to “doing ones fair share”.

    The Green Party are big fans of doing ones fair share (example, and another), stated most frequently in terms of our response to climate change. Despite the fact that New Zealand’s total emissions are just 0.1% of the global problem, the Green Party would have us tackle the issue as though it really mattered. (Note I am not disagreeing this position). The truth of the matter is that we could double, halve, or eradicate our emissions and it wouldn’t matter a jot in the scheme of things. But, because we are a good world citizen, arguing to do our fair share is reasonable and important.

    The petrochemical supply business, upon which we all depend, is also a global concern, and always has been. At one time or another, many countries have contributed to the pool of supply, and all (pretty much) countries have benefited from that pool.

    We now live in a post-peak (conventional) oil world, and technology has saved us from peak oil (for better, and worse) by exploiting “non-conventional” sources of oil, including such horrible things as tar sand extraction, and fracking.

    New Zealand should be willing to continue to do its fair share of contributing to the global oil pool, and yet now, the Green Party (and many others) are calling for us not to do our fair share, and just depend on (or, perhaps, “leech off”) others.

    How can this be reasonable. How can this be fair?

  5. At the very least, considering the economic risks to the region alone, Environment Canterbury must require that geologists confirm with high certainty that there are no seismological risks in our region posed by fracking here- either on or offshore. If there are no such scientific confirmation of the safety claims of oil companies, then there must be a blanket moratorium and withdrawal of current consents.

    It’s only sensible, so let’s commission the study and put an immediate moratorium on now until it is complete.

  6. Good on her, she must be a member of the crowd that sing Jerusalem

    on the last night of the Proms. Now will someone attempt to stop the

    fracking here in Godzone? Some claim the clusters of earthquakes result

    in our devastation of our Mother Earth.

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