The actor Phil Rose, who played the part of Friar Tuck in the cult classic 1980s production Robin of Sherwood, has joined local residents and environmentalists in opposing plans for shale gas exploration in Sherwood Forest.
Friar Tuck’s intervention comes as over 275,000 people have added their names to two petitions calling for Sherwood Forest to be saved from fracking. The petitions by Friends of the Earth and 38 Degrees were today delivered to the Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, who is the ultimate owner of England’s public forests.
Chemicals giant INEOS, who want to frack in the UK, were revealed earlier this month to be in close negotiations with landowners to carry out seismic surveys in Sherwood Forest and other public forests in Nottinghamshire. Seismic surveys are the first stage in shale gas exploration and a first step towards fracking.
Friar Tuck – aka Mr Rose – said: “Our forests and green fields are the lifeblood of England. They are not there just to look pretty, but to sustain the making of oxygen which we need.
“The idea of fracking Sherwood Forest is appalling – a great historical forest could be damaged, which could be bad for tourism in this wonderful county.
“As Friar Tuck, in Robin of Sherwood, I will not stand around and do nothing whilst these fracking companies plunder our sacred forests. The Sheriff of Nottingham never beat old Tuck, and neither will they!”
Trish Forster, a local resident from Sherwood Forest, who has been a teacher in the area for thirty years, said:
“Fracking could not only increase the risk of earth tremors, but also pollute the planet and put our water supply at risk. If we poison the earth we poison ourselves. Water is life.”
Guy Shrubsole, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:“Middle England has spoken – over a quarter of a million people have now voiced their dismay at Sherwood Forest being threatened by shale gas exploration.
“With Friar Tuck now joining the cause too, it’s clear the Environment Secretary must act swiftly to protect our environment and heritage from fracking – or risk going down in history as the new Sheriff of Nottingham.”
Lorna Greenwood, campaigns manager at 38 Degrees, said:“Huge numbers of people across the UK are coming together to protect our heritage. From people who have childhood memories playing in the forest to those who think fracking is the wrong direction to be going in, they are demanding that Sherwood Forest be left alone. It’s now up to the government to decide whether they will listen to the public, or a big company.”