Anti-fracking campaigners from Lancashire joined protestors from Northern Ireland at a mass rally in Belfast ahead of this week’s G8 summit.
Julie Daniels, Tina Rothery and Bob Dennett of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking helped more than 100 people to form a giant river and ‘frackpad’ to highlight dangers they believe the controversial process poses to water resources and the environment.
The action on Saturday was part of a 1,500-strong protest in opposition to G8 policies.
Bob Dennett said: “We came to join others concerned about fracking from Northern Ireland and across the UK to raise awareness of the threats fracking poses to our communities. It was fantastic to take part in such a peaceful and powerful protest.
“We don’t want fracking in Lancashire or anywhere else.”
The rally took place ahead of next week’s G8 summit in County Fermanagh, where the leaders of some of the world’s most powerful countries will gather at the Lough Erne resort for talks.
Helen Rimmer, of Friends of the Earth, said: “Fermanagh is the area in Northern Ireland where shale gas resources are, so there is a lot of pressure there.
“We created a 100m long river with blue bits of sheet.
“The Lancashire section had the rivers Ribble, Wyre and Fylde Coast on it. There were also bits sent from Romania, France and Spain.
“At the beginning of the march there was a 4ft fracking rig, so it was as if the river was flowing from it.
“It was to send a message to G8 leaders who are pursuing policies that will worsen climate change and increase our dependency on fossil fuels such as shale gas.”
The process of fracking involves blasting water, sand and chemicals down wells to extract gas trapped within rocks.
Ms Rimmer said it was “early days” for the four fracking exploration sites in the county and it was important that people with concerns expressed them now.
Cuadrilla Resources has wells drilled at sites at Singleton, Preese Hall, near Weeton, Anna’s Road, near Lytham, and Banks, near Preston.
She said: “It’s not inevitable, it’s very early days. There is a large amount of questions, concerns and risks over fracking.
“The primary concerns are the climate change concerns because it’s a fossil fuel and there is lots of evidence to say it could be as bad as coal.
“The risk to water resources was highlighted by clear evidence from the US of water pollution.
“There is air quality as well and a concern to many people is the prospect of developing the Lancashire countryside and what impact that will have on agriculture and leisure, which are so important to the Lancashire community.”