British fracking opponents staged a dramatic protest on Monday when they blocked the entrance to a drilling test site near Manchester.
50 protesters delivered an approximately 56-foot wind turbine blade to the site at around 5:30 a.m. Monday morning, according to the group No Dash for Gas, and blocked the entrance before police arrived.
“We've delivered this early Christmas gift to IGas to remind them that we don’t need damaging, risky and polluting energy sources like oil and gas to power the U.K.," activist Sandra Denton declared. "The government and the big energy companies are planning to build a new wave of gas-fired power stations, partly fed by thousands of fracking wells across the British countryside."
Police moved the blade so it would not block the site's entrance, reported the Guardian, but did not arrest anyone. An unknown party later removed the 3,300-pound blade from the site entirely.
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The local council has permitted IGas Energy to drill exploratory shale gas wells on privately-held land in Barton Moss outside Manchester, according to The Independent, but the energy company has not yet been licensed to frack at the sites. IGas is partially controlled by the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation.
Monday's protest follows earlier scuffles between police and protesters and several arrests at the Barton Moss site. Clashes also erupted at another exploratory drill site in Balcombe, West Sussex earlier this year.