Anti-fracking protesters target drilling rig company

Protestors outside a drilling company Image copyright Reclaim the Power
Image caption The pressure group said its action was "in solidarity" with campaigners opposed to fracking in Lancashire

Anti-fracking activists have chained themselves to a deep drilling company's gates in protest to its links to fracking.

Reclaim the Power said it targeted Marriott Drilling in Chesterfield as it had links to a company behind the UK's first horizontal fracking site.

The pressure group also said the action was "in solidarity" with campaigners opposed to fracking in Lancashire.

Eleven people have been arrested in connection with the demonstration.

This protest is the latest in a fortnight of action against companies Reclaim the Power believes has links to the fracking industry.

The action also caused disruption in London, Bristol and Bolton.

It is centred around the government's decision to allow fracking at Little Plumpton in Lancashire, despite the plans being initially turned down by the county council.

What is fracking?

  • Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.
  • Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

Preparation for fracking at the Preston New Road site began in January with drilling expected to start soon.

Charlie Holland, from Reclaim the Power, said: "We are here today in solidarity with anti-fracking protesters in Lancashire where Cuadrilla wants to drill 800 wells in the region alone.

"We're asking Marriott to do the decent thing and step away from fracking before it devastates the region."

Image copyright Reclaim the Power
Image caption Protesters arrived at the drilling company at about 06:30 GMT

But Paul Matich, a senior projects manager at Marriott, said: "We're a drilling contractor.

"We supply the rig to drill the hole and we have made this point on a number of occasions.

"We do explore for oil and gas but we are not a fracking company."

He added the company was working with police to ensure staff could get off the site safely at the end of the day.

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