Anti-fracking protesters have superglued themselves to the main entrance doors at Defra’s London headquarters.

Campaigners from the Reclaim the Power camp at Blackpool, Lancashire, said they had targeted Defra following the publication of a heavily redacted government report on fracking last week.

They have accused Whitehall officials of orchestrating a cover-up on the potential impact of shale gas exploration on rural communities, claiming the report contained 63 redactions in 13 pages.

At 8am on Monday (18 August), three activists superglued themselves to the doors of Defra’s main entrance at Nobel House and put reinforced tubes around their arms to prevent access.

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Another activist climbed the building and unfurled a banner reading: “What’s to hide Defra? – don’t frack with our future.”

“What is it about the dangers of fracking that our government doesn’t want us to know?”
Lindsay Alderton, anti-fracking protester

The campaigners claimed that the internal Defra report, written in March by Defra’s rural community policy unit, contained redacted sections on analysis surrounding reduced house prices and failing rural services.

Protester Lindsay Alderton, from London, who superglued herself to the building, asked: “Why is it that 63 segments of the Defra report were blacked out from public view?

“What is it about the dangers of fracking that our government doesn’t want us to know?”

She added: “Keeping secret the impacts of shale gas extraction on the rural communities that it’s going to affect is shameful – the public has a right to know the effects upon their housing and local services.

“The public demands to know the facts about fracking – censoring is not an acceptable option”

Fracking demo

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Officers were called to Defra’s offices in London at 7.30am on Monday following reports of protesters climbing scaffolding.

“Upon arrival they found about 15 protesters. No arrests have been made. Officers remain on scene and continue to monitor and investigate the situation.”

Elsewhere, on a day of action, campaigners from Reclaim the Power have mounted similar protests at Swansea University’s new Bay Campus amid claims that public money is being used for fracking research.

A Defra spokeswoman said on Monday morning: “There is a protest ongoing at Nobel House. It is a matter for the police.”

Commenting specifically on the report, the spokeswoman added: “There is no evidence that house prices have been affected in over half a century of oil and gas exploration in the UK or evidence that this would be the case with shale.

“This government believes that shale has a positive part to play in our future energy mix, providing energy security, driving growth and creating jobs.”

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