Next weekend Camp Frack will come together to stop fracking for shale gas in the UK. It’s happening in Southport, and I’m excited about it not only because that’s where my Granny’s from, but because it marks a push to follow in the footsteps of French groups and stop fracking before it really gets going.

‘Fracking’ is shorthand for hydraulic fracturing – an exctraction process in which highly pressurised fluid is forced into rock to split it and reach the gas that is trapped within the rock itself. In June fracking off the north-west coast of England was forced to stop after earthquakes of 2.2 on the Richter Scale hit Blackpool in April. Films from Pennsylvania in the US have drawn attention in France to the water contamination risks of gas drilling:

In France the campaign to stop fracking of shale gas reserves in the region was initiated by Jose Bove, MEP and prominent figure in La Via Campesina. Following numerous town hall showings of the US film ‘Gaslands’ by anti-fracking groups across the pond, the French campaign was taken forward by French community groups across the south of the country, with national co-ordination meetings. There’s a screening of ‘Gaslands’ in Preston on 12.9.11 and Basingstoke on 15.10.11 (please advertise any other screenings you know of in the comments below).  The French government passed a law to ban the practice in June this year.

In the UK, activists recently scaled Blackpool Tower to drop a banner with the words “Fracking is coming to the UK: We can stop it! frack-off.org“. Camp Frack seeks to bring together community activists from the local area with people who are concerned about fracking and fossil fuels from across the country. For more information on visiting Camp Frack, see details on their website.