How do you write an Anti-Fracking poem?
In May 2016 North Yorkshire County Council approved an application to carry out Fracking outside the village of Kirby Misperton, near Flamingo Land. An existing wellsite, this would be the first time Fracking had happened in the UK 2011. I’d spent a lot of my activist energy against austerity, and green issues like Fracking had always been on my periphery vision. But I went to the day-long protest and debate in Northallerton. Suffice to say there were people from across the country from different backgrounds and ideologies opposing this dangerous use of fossil fuels.
In true punk rock tradition, if you have a grievance with the world you create a 3 minute piece about it. So I wrote ‘Boroughbridge Road’ which went through various iterations and edits before finally ending up as the poem you’ll find on YouTube.
The poem came out of that vast day of people coming together with an empathises on Yorkshire-ness. I often worry so much it doesn’t work when performed outside God’s Own Country. The anti-fracking movement has many heads, and one is to defend the rural countryside as beautiful, peaceful and homely. At the climax to the day, everyone held aloft a White Yorkshire Rose to symbolise the purity of the Yorkshire countryside. The White Rose may be a royalist emblem originally, but to me it means home and community.
So that was my first experience with the movement. Since then I’ve visited the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp and the gates several times. I’ve been to Preston New Road site and hope to do more as the struggle escalates. Of course, there can be many other reasons for fighting fracking not associated with the purity of the landscape. I’ve asked myself, if the site was a wind farm would I be so quick to defend the green? There are plans for 1000 new buildings in the Hammerton area. In the middle of a housing crisis, should I be opposed to this like I’m opposed to Fracking?
The answer, to me, lies in the massive dangers associated with Fracking as proven time and time again in Australia and America and no matter how many times Internet People assure me that British laws and regulations will keep the water and land safe, I simply to not accept the risk when companies’ priorities are profit.
So I decided to use my poem as a piece of propaganda. It would be a tool to use at open mics, slams and general gigs. Its continued use of the White Rose imagery works well in local York pubs, we’re quite proud of our boundaries up here in t’North. Insult the Yorkshire attitude and we’ll retaliate. The North is often to the firs to be slashed in its public services. I don’t think it’s a coincidence the three hot spots for Fracking licences have been Barton Moss (outside Manchester) Preston New Road (outside Blackpool) and Kirby Misperton (25 miles from York).
So I was trying to inspire a defence of the Yorkshire land in the poem. I enjoy reading it and getting away with saying “frack off” in the pub.
Please come to the gates of KM8, the wellsite outside Kirby Misperton. Visit the protection camp. Find out for yourself what is happening. The people defending the countryside are a mixture of the young and old, the hippies and the middle class, locals and visitors. It’s passionate and friendly and beautiful and I’m proud to be have been part of it, and will continue to be. Below is a list of things you can do to support the anti-fracking movement.
· Visit www.frackfreenorthyorkshire.com and www.frackfreeryedale.org to read up on the local dangers of Fracking and to join the mailing list.
· Visit www.frackfreeryedale.org/donations to donate whatever you can to support the campaign.
· Join the Facebook groups Kirby Misperton Protection Camp and Frack-Free York to keep updated.
· Share articles and information online. If you’re on Twitter, follow @F_F_Ryedale and @FFNYorkshire. #Frackfree #WeSaidNo
· Contact your local MP www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/
· Write a letter to York Press, BBC Radio York or your local press.
· Contact Secretary of State for Energy Greg Clark MP firstname.lastname@example.org
· Contact Third Energy to tell them to stop Fracking: https://www.third-energy.com/contact-us
· Politely ask the companies supplying the Fracking site to reconsider who they are working for and the damage they will cause:
Sky Scaffolding Stainsacre Lane Industrial Estate, Fairfield Way, Whitby YO22 4P 01947 821259
Moorhouse Drilling Bessingby Industrial Estate Enterprise Way Bessingby Industr, Bessingby, Bridlington YO16 4SJ 01262 608731
Grimaldi Agencies UK Ltd 28 St James's Square St James's London SW1y 4JH 0207 930 5683
Walker Crane Services Motherwell Trading Estate, Motherwell Way, Grays RM20 3XD 01708 867251
· Come down and support in person
· Visit the Protection Camp where people are camping over to be closer to the protest. Maybe take some supplies, toilet paper, water, food etc. Being a smile and show your support. It’s on Kirby Misperton Road, left off the A169 as you drive towards Malton, postcode YO17 6UE, follow the signs for Flamingo Land.
· Visit the protests which are happening outside the Fracking site. Every weekday local residents are taking a stand. It’s on Kirby Misperton Road between Kirby Misperton and Little Barugh village. Again, if you can bring sandwiches and support that would be greatly appreciated by the local residents who are continuing to fight against Fracking.