Photo of protestors at hand-in of fracking petition in Lancashire

Why I won't give up on Preston New Road

Tina Louise Rothery is a founding member of the anti-fracking group known as the Nanas. She tells us why she won't be hanging up her trademark yellow headscarf any time soon.
  08 Aug 2018    |      4 min

"I wasn't surprised when HFC [hydraulic fracturing consent] was granted on the last day of parliament for Preston New Road. All along the government has been a cheerleader for this industry. They seem hell-bent on imposing it on communities that have repeatedly said they don't want it.

"But if fracking does start, we're ready."

Tina Louise Rothery outside parliament
Tina Louise Rothery outside parliament
Credit: Friends of the Earth

"I first heard about fracking when a leaflet dropped through the door of my home in Blackpool. The company, Cuadrilla, was trying to argue that shale gas was green energy and would create local jobs.

If fracking does start, we're ready

"But it didn't take much research to uncover some really alarming information about the industry.

"This happened not long after the Occupy movement which emerged out of the 2008 financial crisis. I got involved with that because I was angry about the banks being bailed out as there were cuts to disability benefits. It was there that I learnt a lot of campaigning tools, such as how to read data and what legal entitlements protestors have."

Birth of the Nanas

"We founded our group in summer 2014. We all wear trademark aprons and yellow headscarves. We have travelled all over the UK to support communities facing fracking.

"At the beginning there were just a handful of us, but it soon grew as more and more sites got affected. What I like most about being a Nana is our mutual support, solidarity and trust.

"The moment that changed all our lives forever was when we took over a field at Preston New Road for a 3-week occupation."

The Nanas
The Nanas
Credit: Friends of the Earth

"I'm particularly angry that local democracy has been undermined. Many communities and local authorities have emphatically said no to this industry, and yet still the government wants to push ahead."

Fossil-free future

"Many of us are mums and grandmothers, and we just can't stand by and let our children's futures be put at risk.

"I have a 13 year-old grand-daughter. She's learned to campaign alongside me and been to so many rallies and events. But we've missed all the fun things grandmothers and granddaughters should do together, like going to museums and concerts.

"Fossil fuels are the past. I don't understand why the government doesn't want to prioritise a renewable energy future. It feels like our government has been taken over by pro-fossil fuel business. I believe there's just a revolving door of lobbyists, industry figures and civil servants."

What bothers me most is the willingness of government to take risks with a community – they don’t have a long-term plan and it feels as though they're playing Russian roulette with our kids. Tina Louise Rothery

"If fracking does start at Preston New Road, we're ready. We hope we'll be able to recruit more members. But it will curtail our ability to operate because we will not want to be close to the site."

Tina Louise Rothery
Tina Louise Rothery
Credit: Friends of the Earth

"We will keep fighting at every site affected by this industry. We can't go home until fracking is stopped everywhere."

Can you help us support Tina and others in their fight? The government gave the go-ahead for fracking in Lancashire, despite the wishes of local people. Now it wants to rewrite planning rules to make it easier for fracking companies to start drilling. Please sign the petition today to tell the government not to trample on local democracy.