Anti-fracking campaigners hold Lancaster protest against Barclays’ ownership of fracking company

The protest against fracking outside Barclays on Friday.
The protest against fracking outside Barclays on Friday.

Anti-fracking campaigners held a protest outside Lancaster’s branch of Barclays Bank in a bid to expose the bank’s investments in a fracking project.

Local campaigners joined with visiting activist group Reclaim the Power on Friday lunchtime to protest peacefully outside the bank in Market Street with banners, leaflets and a mobile sound system, to draw attention to the bank’s activities.

It followed news that Barclays’ subsidiary company Third Energy recently obtained permission to carry out extreme shale gas fracking in the agricultural heart of the Vale of Pickering in Ryedale, North Yorkshire.

Third Energy is 97 per cent owned by Barclays Natural Resource Investments, a private equity arm of the bank,

The protest was the pre-cursor to a national week of protest running this week against Barclays’ investment in extreme fossil fuel extraction.

The protest week is planned by Friends of the Earth, People & Planet, Frack Free Ryedale, SumOfUs and 350.org.

They want customers of Barclays to switch banks to a different company.

Sit-ins and occupations of Barclays branches have previously taken place in Leeds, Sheffield, London and Oxford.

Barclays was one of the three major banks named in a 2016 report as the world’s leading financiers for extreme oil and gas projects described as economically disastrous and having inflicted severe damage on communities, ecosystems, and the climate.

Barclays has a stake through Global Natural Resources Investments in Third Energy, a business they say has “a history of investment and good corporate citizenship in North Yorkshire.”

The bank also said Third Energy has been drilling, developing and producing gas in the region for more than 20 years, with an “excellent” environmental and safety record.

Barclays say: “We are conscious of the concerns of local communities and other groups over potential environmental and community impacts, which we take seriously and will continue to monitor.

“We have worked closely with Third Energy to ensure their plans are compatible with our values.”

Reclaim the Power held a national gathering in Lancaster on Saturday at the Marsh Community Centre.

There will also be a United Against Fracking National Rally on November 12 in Manchester.

Supported by the TUC, the United Against Fracking national rally will consist of a march, guest speakers, music and more.

To find out more, visit the event facebook page or http://frackfreelancashire.org/events/.

People interested in learning more about the campaign can contact Frack Free Lancashire and Frack Free Ryedale online through Facebook or via their websites.