Anti-fracking activists are celebrating the Upton Protection Camp’s first birthday with a party open to the community.
The camp was set up last April off Duttons Lane, Upton, to prevent an energy firm drilling an exploratory borehole in the middle of a field.
IGas is scouring the country looking for methane in the underground layers of coal and shale but one potential extraction method, known as fracking, is particularly controversial.
Campaigners fear air and water pollution as well as earthquakes. They also worry it will delay the switch to renewables, like solar power, given climate change.
This Saturday (April 11), starting from 2pm, there will be a family picnic and treasure hunt at the site. Then around 3pm there will be a pre-election awareness update with a progress report on how the anti-fracking campaign is going in Upton and West Cheshire.
At 5pm is a barbecue with burgers and sausages available. However, guests are asked to bring their own food and drink or food and drink to share. Home baked cakes or biscuits are ‘very welcome’ as are camping chairs.
From 7pm onwards there will be music and a sing-along. Party-goers are requested to bring acoustic instruments, warm clothes and lanterns or torches.
Anti-frackers feel the camp has been a success in preventing IGas drilling on the field, raising awareness in the community and helping to persuade local politicians to side with them publicly.
Labour’s Chester parliamentary candidate Chris Matheson has come out against fracking and the Labour group on Cheshire West and Chester Council is calling for a moratorium on shale and methane gas extraction until environmental and safety concerns have been addressed.
And fashion icon Vivienne Westwood joined protesters at the Duttons Lane camp in June last year.
Camp resident Adam Biggs, from Chester, a former Upton High School student, told The Chronicle recently: “I think 100% we have stopped the drill coming onto the field at this moment in time. If we weren’t here, there would be a drill on here.”
Activists are also holding a gig the following Saturday (April 18) promoted as ‘A Fracking Great Gig’ with local band Sound Wall and guests performing at the Royal British Legion, Heath Road, Upton, from 7.30pm until 12.30am. Tickets are priced £7.