Red and white roses unite in fight against fracking

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It is an age-old rivalry that has divided the people of Yorkshire and Lancashire for centuries.

But now hundreds of protesters from both sides of the Pennines have united to fight the plans against the controversial practice of fracking.

As the sun rose across North Yorkshire yesterday morning, a group of determined Green Party councillors set off from the anti-fracking camp near Kirby Misperton, one of only two UK sites to be given the go-ahead to frack.

Cheers rose from a crowd of supporters as they embarked on their 120-mile march to the Lancashire fracking site in Blackpool, where they will 
end their epic journey on 
Sunday.

Campaigner Councillor Andrew Cooper, Green Party spokesman for energy and the environment, said: “The atmosphere was fantastic. People were enthusiastic and really keen to get going and get the message across that fracking is a real issue, not just in Yorkshire, but in Lancashire and across the whole country, and we are coming together to fight it.”

Daily video diaries of the march will be posted online and protesters will attend evening rallies at each point along the way, where they will highlight the dangers of fracking to local communities.

They will also talk about the alternatives, such as energy efficiency programmes for homes and renewable 
energy.

Coun Cooper said: “There are a lot of alternatives to fracking but the Government is not backing these, they are basically backing the bad guys.

“We’re hoping to raise the profile of community campaigns against fracking and the importance of electing politicians who will consistently oppose it in Yorkshire, Lancashire and beyond.”

Activists will join the protest at different stages of the journey and will march alongside the campaigners to show their support.

Coun Cooper said: “We have a core group of seven from across Yorkshire, and along the way we are being met by a lot of different fracking groups. When we were coming into Hovingham, a group of people met us and walked with us for a while. As we are marching, people are beeping their horns in support, which is really motivating. We have also been getting lots of messages of support on social media.”

In a show of solidarity, the marchers are carrying soil from Kirby Misperton to the fracking site in Blackpool, where they will mix it with Lancashire soil and plant a tree. Coun Cooper said: “This will symbolise the joint struggle and emphasise that the assault on the environment at one site is an assault on us all and that the aims of the protectors in Lancashire are shared by Yorkshire anti-fracking activists and thousands of campaigners around the world.”

Third Energy is planning to begin fracking at its KM8 well at Kirby Misperton later this year.