Anti-fracking protesters target suppliers of Misson site

Protesters campaigning last year against fracking at Misson. (PHOTO BY: Marie Caley)
Protesters campaigning last year against fracking at Misson. (PHOTO BY: Marie Caley)

Anti-fracking protests have escalated to target the suppliers of sites at Misson and Tinker Lane, near Retford.

A small group of campaigners locked themselves together to block the entrance of an industrial cleaning company, Mantank, in Manchester on Monday morning.

The action was part of a new policy by protesters to persuade suppliers not to support fracking companies.

The activists issued this statement: “We are trying to highlight the dangers of this industry and to actively encourage contractors not to support it for environmental reasons and the impact it has on our health.

“We would like a public announcement from Mantank to say it is going to stop backing fracking, as many other companies have done up and down the country.”

Mantank is the UK’s leading provider of a range of industrial cleaning services, such as the cleaning of commercial tanks.

It carries out work for energy company IGas, the oil and gas explorer and developer, which operates the fracking sites at Misson and Tinker Lane. IGas has been drilling for shale gas at Springs Road in Misson since January.

Monday’s lock-on protest took place outside Mantank’s base on the Worsley Trading Estate at Little Hulton in Manchester.

No vehicles were able to enter or leave the premises for some time until the police arrived.

Initially, the police said they were happy to engage with the campaigners and “facilitate a peaceful protest”. But later, three people were arrested.

A statement issued by Greater Manchester Police read: “Shortly before 5 am on Monday, officers were called to Lester Road in Little Hulton to reports that a group of people had blocked an entrance to premises.

“A man and a woman were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespassing. A 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

“The three people remained in custody, and we have not been informed of any charges at this stage.”

Mantank was approached for its reaction, but refused to comment. A senior manager said: “We are not giving out any information on the incident, or on our future plans.”

A spokeswoman for IGas criticised the Mantank protest and said: “Our contractors and suppliers should be able to go about their lawful business without intimidation and blockades from activists. This is their livelihood which is being disrupted.”

However, the anti-fracking campaigners were unrepentant and accused Mantank of putting the health of Misson people at risk.

They said: “As a contractor to IGas, it takes away hazardous waste materials, which can cause serious respiratory issues, including silocosis.

“Mantank’s drivers are also rude, and drive at speed while we are protesting peacefully at the gates to the Misson site, making us incredibly angry.

“We urge them to pack up and leave our community in peace.”