Bez from Happy Mondays, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and a bunch of anti-fracking grannies – it’s not a partygoer's imaginings but the likely scene at Upton Protection Camp on Monday morning.
Dame Vivienne, 74, is making a return visit to the anti-fracking camp off Duttons Lane because of her strongly held opposition to unconventional gas extraction.
This time she will be in the company of her son Joe Corré, founder of lingerie brand Agent Provocateur, and Bez, real name Mark Berry, who both share her views.
Completing the surreal line-up is anti-fracking pressure group The Nanas, grandmas and mums from Lancashire and Yorkshire, who have declared ‘War on Fracking’.
The publicity battle around the camp has stepped up a gear after energy firm IGas, who have consent for a methane gas borehole at the site, recently gained an eviction notice meaning campaigners must leave the farmer’s field by December 4 at the latest.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett called in last week where she supported ‘non-violent direct action’ when police and security arrive to remove them.
Dame Vivienne last visited the camp in summer 2014 when she was being filmed for a TV documentary during her UK-wide tour ‘We Need to Talk About Fracking’.
She told those gathered at the time: “I’m here because I’m on the tour and I’m here right now in this field because, and I do just want to reiterate something I’ve said before, but it’s wonderful to be able to say it in person, that I respect so much and I want to thank so much the people who are here occupying these tents in this field.
“Because fracking is a national problem, of course it’s a world problem, an American problem, and it’s absolutely vital we stop climate change.”
“And I believe we need to win this campaign against fracking because that is going to contribute to it, so it’s the legacy for our future, people in future, not me, I’ll be dead, but for our children and for the earth itself.”
Born in Tintwistle, Derbyshire, Dame Vivienne explained that her village used to belong to Cheshire and she was familiar with this part of the world.
She said: “I used to live in Cheshire as a child and I moved to London when I was 17 and now they’ve changed the boundary because when we were at school, Cheshire, they used to tell us, was the shape of a teapot, the Wirral was the peninsula and our little bit was the handle in the corner, which is near to the Snake Pass, and now they’ve changed the boundary and Tintwistle isn’t quite in there any more.
“But we used to come here on our school trips and my father used to work at one point at De Havilland (now Airbus), making aircraft, and he used to come home at the weekends so we used to be told all about the salt and the half-timber houses and go by the Dee on some of our trips and I think this part of the world is so beautiful, especially where I lived in the Pennines. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”
Campaigners set up the anti-fracking camp in April 2014 to prevent the installation of a test drill fearing it could lead to the controversial gas extraction method known as fracking. They worry this could lead to air and water pollution as well as earthquakes and contribute to global warming.
IGas spokesman David Petrie said in a statement: “We respect the right to peaceful protest however it has been made clear to the protesters they are on our site illegally and without consent. Having recently taken ownership of the lease for the site, we expect the protesters to cease occupation and leave peacefully.”
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