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.
 

LOCAL BUSINESS

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").
 

FARMERS

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.

Signed

X

X

X

 

Lots of anti-fracking campaign groups have already formed and have been successfully fighting fracking for years. It’s possible that there is one near you that you could join up with.  

You can find a great list of all local anti-fracking groups across the UK along with their contact details on Frack Off’s website here: http://frack-off.org.uk/local-group-specific-pages/

You can find and contact your local Friends of the Earth group here:

www.foe.co.uk/get_involved/find_group – they’d be delighted to hear from you!

If there aren’t any anti-fracking groups in your area and you’d like to start a new one or to link up with Friends of the Earth in another way, we can support you to do this: just give us a call on: 020 7490 0210 or get in touch at: localgroups@foe.co.uk and we can talk you through some options.

You can also find out more here: www.foe.co.uk/community/local_groups/resource/handbook

There are lots of ways to find some likeminded people to work with on building a local campaign. Read more under "building alliances in your community".

 

Currently the decision on whether to frack or not in any particular area of the UK rests with your local council. This is why many anti-fracking campaigns across the country have focused on local councillors as their targets.
 

Who to talk to in your local council

First off it’s important to differentiate between councillors and council officials:

  • Councillors are the people you vote for, the elected members
  • Council officials are the paid employees of the council

When you’re fighting a planning application, you will need to develop a good relationship with some of the council officials, particularly the planning officer responsible for the application. You can find out who this is by contacting the council’s planning department. This person will help you with information about the process and timescales for example.

But the most important people for you to talk to are the elected councillors.

You should be able to work out how many councillors on the planning committee you need to vote against fracking to win.

It’s worth thinking about:

  1. Which councillors you are most likely to be able to persuade to vote against the application.
    Think about which councillors are near the fracking site as they are more likely to oppose it. What political parties are the councillors – is their party for or against fracking? What have they said about fracking, if anything, in public?
     
  2. What influences your target councillors?
    Look at the councillors’ register of interests available on the council website. Do they have links to local organisations or businesses? Would it help to get them onside? Are they trying to win an election soon – who is the candidate they are competing against? Would it help to get them onside?
     

talking to councillors

All councillors will hold ‘surgeries’ or drop-in sessions for people living in their ward, typically once a month. You can find details via the council website or by contacting the councillor direct. You will usually get a 10-15 minute slot at a surgery, and this can be a useful starting point. You can also ask to meet councillors at other times. The best way to contact them is probably by email. Councillors will prioritise talking to and meeting people from their ward, so finding someone from the area a councillor represents to ask for a meeting will make it more likely that they’ll say yes.
 

talking to mps

You can find out who your MP is here: www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-andoffices/mps/.

How do I make an appointment?
Most MPs hold surgeries, where they meet their constituents to discuss local issues, on a Friday. You can make an appointment to see the MP at their surgery.

How do I get in touch?
Use the email address given on the Parliament website above. Explain that you are a constituent and outline broadly what you would like to discuss. It is always worthwhile following up with a telephone call (more than one if necessary) to make sure they have received the email and to make sure you get an appointment as soon as possible.

What can I ask them to do?
Your aim should be to get your MP to say in public that fracking should not go ahead – either in your area, or in general. You may also want them to agree to put pressure on other politicians, for example the leader of their political party or other local politicians, to oppose fracking.

Is my MP against fracking?
You can find out if your MP is against fracking by checking out Friends of the Earth’s anti-fracking map here: www.foe.co.uk/page/do-your-election-candidates-oppose-fracking

What else can my MP do to show they oppose fracking?
MPs have a number of means to raise constituency issues in Parliament.

You could ask them to:

a.) Ask a Parliamentary Question – they can put questions to the Secretary of State or to the Prime Minister in the designated question times.

b.) They can start an Early Day Motion or EDM. This is basically a parliamentary petition where MPs can add their name to express concern or support for a particular issue.
 

Writing to decision makers

Another way that your community can show its opposition to fracking is by collecting and sending letters to local councillors and MPs.

In Lancashire for example:

  1. A template letter aimed at decision makers was written saying why fracking was not wanted in their community. (See example letter to councillors below).
     
  2. Locals were encouraged to add their name and details to the letter if they opposed fracking.
     
  3. According to the post code of the person signing, the letters were sent to local decision makers (in most cases the local county councillor). Groups usually used www.writetothem.com to find out who the local councillor for a post code was.

As my local councillor, I am writing to ask that you do the same for the people of Lancashire and oppose the applications for fracking at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. With known risks of water contamination, air pollution, adverse health impacts, and carbon emissions as well as increased noise and traffic from HGVs, 24-hour noise from drilling, flaring and generators, communities in Lancashire should not be used as a guinea pig for this form of extreme fossil fuel extraction.While the risks are high, claims about the supposed benefits do not stand up to scrutiny. Cuadrilla’s applications in the Fylde would each only support 11 jobs, including direct, induced and supply chain. By comparison, renewable energy is already employing over 10,000 people in the North West.There is also no evidence that fracking will improve energy security with industry itself acknowledging that it will take a decade to deliver any significant amounts of gas.
Finally, fracking will not reduce energy bills. Researchers from the UK Energy Research Centre have said the Government has “completely oversold” shale gas and that promises over lower prices and greater energy security are “hype” and “lacking in evidence”.
It is therefore not surprising that whilst support for renewable energy is high, opposition to fracking is significant and growing. Recent polling revealed that almost two thirds of people in Lancashire want fracking to be banned and over 20 000 people have objected to the proposals.
As my councillor I ask you to stand up for the people of Lancashire, by opposing Cuadrilla’s fracking applications.
Kind regards
Name: ____________________________
Signature______________________________
Address: _____________________________________________
Post code____________