Shropshire Council official seeks scapegoat for his own incompetence.

Residents from Dudleston and surrounding villages attended a short protest at Brooklands Farm this morning from 9.30 am to 11, as well as local people who work close by. 

UPDATE – The Councillors claim they felt intimidated, and decided to go rather than take any personal risks.  I know most of the councillors well, and most of the demonstrators and can say that both are very clean, polite and friendly people.  Neither side need have been worried.  The presence of the campers was worrying the councillors, they say, as they have been warned against them being ‘swampy’ types.

On that point they are wrong.  

The campers are also polite and intelligent people, and I know them well after them being on site now for over three months (23rd July was their Section 6 Occupation of the land).  You couldn’t get to live the kind of life they’ve chosen without having a very good mind, as it’s hard living in wooden pallet buildings with the roof ripped off occasionally by strong winds, and rooves leaking in downpours.  They are peaceable and dedicated people who care so much about saving the environment they feel compelled to dedicating their whole lives to their cause.  Next time the Councillors should get out of their van and talk to them.  There is no danger to them, maybe of an ear-wigging here and there, lots of words, but no aggression of any kind.  The campers want mankind to live in peace with nature and each other.  Their political views tend towards the anarchic.  Is that a crime? Apparently so as the state categorises them as ‘domestic extremists’.  Local councillors should ignore the Police and State tools of suppression, and talk to them as human beings.  

The violence comes from the other side anyway – from the State and the Corporations working covertly in tandem with each other.  Kelvin Hall’s emails with Dart Energy have not been released despite an FOI information request by Frack Free Dudleston. The Police too are attending the site, sometimes travelling there in Dart Energy vehicles.  I saw a police officer inside a Dart Energy car and a Dart Energy employee inspecting the farm gate with a Police officer last week.  This level of collusion is outrageous.  The Police are not the Police.  They work for the corporations, not the people or even the government…thugs in uniform, as described from other camps, especially the TAU – Thugs Are Us (Tactical Aid Unit).  That’s what the campers are faced with.  So talk to them, and support them.


As a whole the community are saddened to hear that the planning officer Kelvin Hall has recommended acceptance of Dart Energy’s planning proposal without his committee making a site visit, as there are a number of reasons why the proposed site is unsuitable, one of those reasons being the tiny lane on which the access is located.  Another being the proximity of the slurry lagoon, inter alia, such as the government’s own reports saying it is a totally unsuitable geology and dangerous.  

The locals are disappointed that the councillors failed to carry out the inspection of the site, as they had notified they would be doing this morning at 10am.  They were apparently put off by twenty well-dressed and polite campaigners standing at the side of the road.  

The councillors’ vans reversed out of the road without even talking to anyone.  They just left.  Not even a ‘Good morning’.

It seems Kelvin Hall’s not confident of the position he’s adopted with regards to Brooklands Farm.  Otherwise why are he and others looking to blame today’s tiny campaign by a few locals for the lack of a site visit, and also saying this could be a material factor in the decision.   

Why does he need a scapegoat if he’s got all his facts correct?  What’s he got to hide?

As Chris Hesketh of Frackfree Dudleston has pointed out many times, Hall’s figures are lifted straight from Dart Energy’s own statistics, which can hardly be seen as unbiassed.  He should be forming his own judgements before recommending such an important decision to councillors.  On top of this, he won’t fully reveal his email correspondence with Dart Energy despite a FOI request,  which is now out of time.  The emails he has revealed are described as ‘interesting’ by Frackfree Dudleston.

The decision is yet to be taken by the elected councillors on the planning sub-committee at Shropshire Council.  Let’s hope that they, unlike Kelvin Hall’s salaried officials, address this decision without making up their minds before the evidence is fully gathered, and by demonstrating an ability to form an objective view, not a ready made decision put into their hands by Dart Energy’s PR department, and then hidden away from view. 

The decision taken will affect us all for years to come, and we have a right to show we care for the beautiful surroundings we live and work in.  People living miles away can expect to suffer health effects from any drilling.   The smells, and the poisons released to air, water and soil are a great risk to be taking, and for what.  We don’t even buy gas from Russia as Energy Secretary Davey is always suggesting.   World prices of oil and gas are tumbling due to the oversupply, tumbling like house prices around the Dudleston area.  

The losses incurred by a drill will be beyond calculation, lost health and lost years, lost farms and businesses, lost jobs and opportunities as well as lost capital values.  No wonder Kelvin Hall feels to be entirely out of his depth and is unable to even talk or drive past a tiny group of demonstrators with confidence.  The elected councillors will do well to be entirely suspicious of the information he’s feeding them.

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