Anti-fracking hunger striker demands audience with David Cameron
A man who has not eaten in over a week in protest against plans to drill for shale gas near his home will wait outside Downing Street until he is granted an audience with Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the issue.
Geza Tarjanyi has survived on water, coffee and rehydration salts since November 24 in protest against plans to frack in areas of Lancashire.
His act is “symbolic,” he claims, because the “water keeping me alive” is the same water that could be poisoned by fracking in the region.
While there is no conclusive evidence that drilling for shale gas can leak toxins into the water supply, Tarjanyi’s protest exemplifies locals’ fears that fracking could irreparably damage the ecosystem.
Tarjanyi told RT he wants to “stop the pain and fear in my community” and speed up the end of fracking in the UK.
“I know we will stop fracking,” he said.
His hunger strike is designed to see “how far Cameron will let me suffer,” although he emphasized he does not “have a death wish.”
The hunger striker was invited to make an appointment to discuss the issue in a letter from Education Secretary Amber Rudd after he cornered her on Whitehall outside the prime minister’s residence.
But Tarjanyi said he will only meet the prime minister and has set up a chair for the meeting outside Downing Street.
Tarjanyi believes the local campaign to stop fracking has been successful, but he wants to speed up the process of abolishing fracking completely.
Earlier in the year Lancashire County Council agreed unanimously to reject a planning application to frack in the region after a series of protests by residents and environmentalists.
In June the county council’s Development Control Committee refused an application from Cuadrilla, an energy company, to drill for shale gas in the local Roseacre Wood area due to concerns over traffic and activity on the site causing “an unacceptable impact” on the roads.
Roseacre Wood is located between the Lancashire towns of Preston and Blackpool.
However, nationally the government is still determined to expand fracking in the UK after Cameron pledged to go “all out for shale.”
New regulations passed in August could see local authorities stripped of the right to rule on shale gas drilling. The policy shift will hand central government ministers the power to bypass councils altogether.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark will consider processing energy firms’ planning applications to frack once they are submitted to councils.
Clark could then use the new “fast-track” powers to make a decision on shale gas drilling applications.