There are lots of ways to find likeminded people to work with on building a local campaign.
One place to start might be to chat to people you already know in your community and see if they’d be interested in getting involved with some local activities around fracking or spreading the word about what you’re hoping to do.
One very effective tactic used by Lancashire community groups was to work with local businesses and gain their support.
Like lots of people, many business owners don’t want fracking near them. Harnessing this opposition and giving it a voice is really important to show that varied and influential stakeholders in your community don’t want fracking. One way of going about this in the past has been to:
1. Write a letter opposing fracking that businesses can add their name to (example template letter below).
2. Contact local businesses to ask them to support your campaign. It can be as simple as walking up and down the high street with a letter and asking businesses to sign up, which is how much of the work was done in Lancashire.
You can also use our map of green businesses (www.foe.co.uk/get_involved/green_map_40955) or have a look in the yellow pages to find out more about businesses in your area.
3. Publicise the letter and the list of signatures as widely as possible (you can see how Frack Free Lancashire have done this here: http://stopfyldefracking.org.uk/) as well as through local media coverage if possible (read more under "work with your local media").
If you have any contacts with farmers near you ask them to follow the example of some councils and landowners not to let fracking companies on to their land to do a seismic survey.
Give talks to local farmers’ clubs and young farmers’ clubs. They may already have had one by the fracking company who will be trying to win them over, so you need to catch up fast.
Ask them to research deeply into fracking if they are tempted with promises. A flash drive or DVD with YouTube videos could be given out showing interviews with farmers and films showing land being affected.
You could also take along some of the briefings listed in the Fracking resources page.
TEMPLATE LETTER TO LOCAL BUSINESS
Here is the letter used by Lancashire campaigners and local businesses in their recent
campaign – over 300 local businesses signed it.
As community groups, businesses and residents in Lancashire, we call on our elected representatives to oppose plans for shale gas extraction and to support a Frack Free Lancashire. Shale gas extraction poses a real and serious threat to our environment, communities and local economy. Evidence shows that fracking and shale gas production has high risks of ground and surface water contamination, air pollution, and climate change. Studies show that workers and residents living near fracking sites overseas have experienced serious health effects – and the long-term impacts are unknown.
If they go ahead, the fracking sites in the Fylde would create millions of litres of radioactive wastewater. Wildlife in our beautiful countryside and internationally important habitats would be at risk. And our communities would live with 24-hour drilling and gas flaring, noise and heavy traffic.
And for what gain? We are being sold a myth that shale gas will bring low energy prices and jobs – yet there is no evidence to back up claims that it will cut energy bills, and the limited jobs are likely to be short-term and transient. Planning documents show only eleven jobs will be supported at each site despite years of disruption to local residents and businesses. Our important farming and tourism sectors would be at risk from an intensive shale gas industry that requires thousands of wells puncturing the landscape. Yet despite the hype from the Government and the industry, public concern is mounting and across Lancashire and the UK communities are coming together in peaceful protest. Over 14,000 people have already objected to the plans. The movement for a frack-free UK has brought people together from all walks of life and across the political spectrum – families, farmers, faith groups, trade unionists, artists, environmentalists and businesses.
We recognise the need for new solutions to our energy problems. But fracking is the wrong solution – and we believe Lancashire can do better.
We have a positive vision for our county – developing our abundant renewable energy resources, improving energy conservation, and building community energy where local people have a genuine stake in the energy they produce and consume. This would create jobs, provide genuine opportunities for our young people, cut carbon emissions and protect our environment. As the Government has failed to listen and act on our concerns, we look to our local representatives to do what’s best for Lancashire. Please oppose the fracking plans and support a Frack Free Lancashire.