22 April 2010 Edition
Norfolk Shell blockade in solidarity with Rossport
Protesters blockaded the access to Bacton gas terminal on the North Norfolk coast; the road was blocked by activists lying in the road attached to steel arm tubes and by a large steel tripod. The action at Bacton was being carried out by Earth First!, a network of activists who use direct action to oppose environmental destruction.
Bacton gas terminal is the largest of its kind in Britain, pumping North Sea gas to Britain and mainland Europe; the terminal is operated by Shell and the protesters said they were taking the action in solidarity with a community in Republic of Ireland, who are opposing the development of a similar facility near Rossport in County Mayo. Shell heads the consortium developing the Irish terminal, refinery and pipeline.
A participant commented: “Bacton has been blockaded today in solidarity with the people of Mayo who have been protesting against Shell virtually daily since 2005. Residents there have been subjected to ongoing harassment from Shell and their contractors. Pat O’Donnell, a local fisherman, is currently serving a seven-month jail sentence for his part in the resistance to Shell’s development.
“Community resistance in the Rossport area has been fuelled by concerns that the new terminal will ruin the coastal environment, farmland and wildlife habitats, as well as fishing grounds vital to the local economy. Fears for the local environment include potential disturbance to coastal conservation areas, which support wildlife such as dolphins and porpoises, plus the possibility that local drinking water could become contaminated. Residents also claim that due planning process has not taken place and that construction work started before planning consent was fully approved.
“We want our action today to send two strong messages; firstly to Shell, that wherever they are in the world, there are those who will oppose their destruction of both the environment and local communities. Secondly, we want to send a message of solidarity to those opposing the Irish terminal, especially to Pat O’Donnell. Their struggles will not be forgotten.”