What the Frack!?

The fight against fracking continues in South Yorkshire

Words: The Naughty Pixies

After long campaigns by the community to keep them out, villainous chemical and plastics company, INEOS has sadly received planning permission to explore for shale gas at a site in the village of Harthill, South Yorkshire. Rotherham Borough Council had voted unanimously in January to oppose the application after INEOS announced it was appealing over non-determination. The company’s appeal has been allowed following a seven-day public inquiry in April and May; the decision was made by the Planning Inspectorate regardless of local and national opposition.

The site at Common Road, Harthill, had been opposed by the residents, local MPs and many community groups including, Harthill Against Fracking and Frack Free South Yorkshire. MP for Rotherham Sir Kevin Barron said he was “Very disappointed that INEOS have been granted planning permission for fracking in Harthill. I will continue to fight this decision as I still believe there are too many unanswered questions around fracking.”

Pro frackers will tell you we’ve been fracking on this isle for decades, but the truth is the only fracking work to have taken place in the UK was 7 years ago over in Lancashire by the company Cuadrilla. Work was suspended in June of that year after the Flyde coast experienced earthquakes that were also felt here in South Yorkshire. One tremor of magnitude 2.3 on 1 April, followed by a second of magnitude 1.4 on 27 May. A study by the British Geological Survey placed the epicenter for each quake about 500metres away from the Preese Hall-1 well at Weeton near Blackpool. Cuadrilla admitted that their fracking attempts had caused the quakes and there was no more fracking the Flyde until now.

It’s no coincidence that Cuadrilla sounds just like Godzilla because fracking companies are monsters invading our towns and villages. In 2017 Cuadrilla were back to frack Lancashire, and despite massive campaigns by locals and a no vote from Lancashire Council, the decision was taken out of the hands of local democracy, just like the INEOS application in Rotherham, Westminister gave it the go ahead. So Cuadrilla have commenced work at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton. There are successful daily blockades by protestors from all over the country and a protection camp established to monitor every move and mistake Cuadrilla makes. Fracking companies constantly breach planning permission and have to be watched very closely so their wrong behaviour doesn’t go unchecked.

These companies go to great lengths to silence the communities that they prey on, for example, INEOS and Cuadrilla have taken out injunctions against ‘persons unknown’, which means all of us. The injunctions prohibit any unlawful obstruction of INEOS/Cuadrilla business, people or suppliers – basically anyone attempting to protest their activities by attending the site or slow walking lorries etc. may be subject to their injunction. But, their underhand scare tactics have only highlighted their contempt for the local community and thousands of people continue to oppose them. That is what we must do oppose them!

Protectors include nans and grandads, mothers and fathers, teachers and nurses, MP’s and Mayors, students and graduates, carers and construction workers, people just like us. There are protection camps at Misson near Bawtry and at Tinker Lane near Ranskill/Blyth where exploratory wells are under construction. These are temporary camps set up to oppose the fracking activities, people visit from other communities to help the locals take action and the camps serve as a place for protestors to eat and rest, so they can be present to monitor the sites. Last month a solidarity day was held at the Misson camp and people attended from all over the country to visit the gates at the IGAS site, share cake, play music and show their opposition to this invasion of the community. This year the company, Third Energy, pulled out of their site in North Yorkshire after a long campaign by locals and protectors, their accounts are under scrutiny and they abandoned their operations.


The fracking industry is a total scam, they know it’s not viable, they know it won’t last, the UK’s no good for fracking they just want to make money fast! Cowboy billionaires like Jim Ratcliffe of INEOS need to back off, frack off, and try investing in repairing the earth instead of filling it full of plastics and chemicals. The rest of the world is busy embracing green solutions to our energy needs and working to eradicate the pollution caused by plastics and fossil fuels so let’s not allow them to fill our lovely land with poison there is a reason this practice has been banned in other countries. Help stop fracking here, folks 🙂

P.S. Lord Brown, this is not the ‘desolate north’ we are the many and we say no!

If you are unsure what fracking is or want to help stop it please visit http://www.frackfreesouthyorkshire.co.uk/fracking-facts.html or visit one of the local camps to find out what’s occurring and share a cup of tea.


Danny McMillan explores events at The Point

Words: Danny McMillan

The Point, located on South Parade, is the home of DARTS (Doncaster Community Arts). Comprising an art gallery, café and conference rooms, it offers a range of activities – workshops for families, engaging exhibitions, singing groups and much more.

It is without doubt a hidden gem of culture right in the heart of the town centre. The exterior of the Georgian townhouse is grandiose, but inside it has modern décor and is up-to-date with full disabled access, including a Changing Place Facility.

On Saturday 26th of May I took a trip over to The Point to take a look at #PointFEST, the free family-friendly music festival, and what a day it was. I was greeted on entry by the wonderful reception staff and followed the noise of the extraordinary acoustic guitar down to the gallery. It was full of people – it was beautiful to see parents and children joining in together, singing and clapping along to the music. I stayed in the gallery for a while to watch the full set, and used the time between bands to have a wander round and take a look at what was on offer.

I met DARTS’ Communications Officer, Amy, along with Programmes Manager, Hayley, to have a quick chat and ask a few questions about the event. They were more than happy to help and took me on a tour of the premises, showing me everything that was happening.

There was a UV sensory room which was not what I was expecting. The kids in the blacked out room were loving it, making their own bright patterns with illuminous arts and crafts. It was a really interactive idea that allowed everybody to be involved.

DARTS had worked to make sure the event was accessible and fun for all families. Amy and Hayley mentioned that in the past, participants have said that it can be helpful to have a bit of space available away from people and loud noises, as it can sometimes get a bit overwhelming for individuals. As such, they had organised chill-out zones throughout the building for anyone who wanted a bit of quiet and space away from the buzz of the event.

Another way in which attendees could ease into the scenario comfortably was the silent disco. As soon as you put on the headphones you stepped into a world you were unaware existed from the outside. It added a whole new level of sensory interaction to the event, highlighting that this was a special experience and not just a bog-standard music festival. It was something different.

There’s lots coming up at The Point, and they provide a range of activities throughout the week. If you’re interested in hearing more about what’s happening, drop into The Point and pick up one of their What’s On guides. Most of their activities are free, and the guide simply asks that people consider making a donation to the charity to help them continue their work.

One of the big exhibitions coming up this year is Microbes, running from 21st July to 1st September, where the gallery will become home to suspended inflatable glowing microbe pods. There’s also a Family Fun Day to celebrate the opening of the exhibition on 21st July, where families are invited to bring a picnic along to The Point and enjoy drop-in arts workshops themed around the exhibition.

T: 01302 341662

Email: darts@thepoint.org.uk

Twitter: @darts_ThePoint

Facebook: /dartsatThePoint

Instagram: @dartsatthepoint


Faster, Cheaper & Healthier Than A Takeaway: BUF Bag Meal #1

One of the reasons I’m involved with creating important projects such as the Doncopolitan and Bentley Urban Farm (BUF) is because direct experience of breadline-poverty earlier in my life has left me determined to change things for the better in whatever small way I can. BUF was set up to fight the problem of ‘food deserts‘ in Doncaster and our newly launched BUF Bags were created to help fund this work. This is the bag in question…
I bought the ‘Deluxe BUF Bag’ last week and was delighted to find that it contained almost everything I needed to make the Vegetable Paella which kept my family fed and healthy during some pretty rough times. There are six of us in our household and I used to make enough to feed us for two days running… like most good dishes, this one tastes even better the next day. Not only is the dish much, much cheaper and far healthier than any takeaway order, it can be made within the average time taken for your fast food meal to be delivered. Cheaper, quicker, tastier; why wouldn’t you?
I can also guarantee that it is lower in calories and higher in protein; I know this because I adapted the recipe from David Scott’s Protein-Rich Vegetarian Cookery (Rider Books, 1985). To make a Vegetable Paella you will need:

  • 3 x tablespoons Olive Oil (for an ultra-local paella why not use White’s of Cantley’s Quality Rapeseed Oil instead)
  • 2 x cloves of Garlic
  • 2 x medium Onions
  • 1 x Red Pepper
  • 1 x Green Pepper
  • 2 x medium Tomatoes
  • 2 x sticks of Celery
  • Half a Cucumber
  • 400g Long Grain Brown Rice (or, if you have fussy kids like me, a half-and-half mix of brown & white rice… or just what if you really can’t get them to cooperate)
  • 800g Swiss Bouillon or Veg Stock
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Grated Mature Cheddar Cheese – or Vegan alternative

My BUF Bag had pretty much everything except the rice, stock, additional green pepper and garlic (if you don’t already have salt, pepper and cooking oil at home, I’m guessing you never cook… all the more reason to start now!). Luckily we’ve been growing garlic down at BUF so I dug some up. I already had rice and stock cubes in the cupboard, so I bought a green pepper. Making this one of the cheapest meals I’ve had in ages… which, don’t forget, lasts us two days!
As I mentioned earlier, this is a really quick meal to make and, better yet, it only dirties one pan! First some prep…
Dice the onions and peppers and crush the garlic.
Chop the tomatoes and pop them on a plate with your rice.
Peel and cube the cucumber and chop up your celery.
Make 800g of your stock and add salt & pepper to taste. I personally feel that Swiss Bouillon imparts the best flavour, but you probably won’t want to add any additional salt if you use this. You can either prepare everything first or, as I used to do with my kids, you can chop and go as you follow the following method…
First heat up some olive oil in your pan (a large wok is ideal) and saute the garlic and onions until they start to colour.
Add the peppers and saute for a further 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the rice and tomatoes and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes (that’s why I told you to pop the tomatoes with your rice! 😀 )
Pour in your stock, turn up the heat and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.
Add the cucumber and celery, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed (add more water if the liquid begins to disappear before the rice is cooked).
Serve on a plate with some crusty rolls (hot, fresh-baked rolls are the best).
Top with grated cheese and you’re good to go!
If you’re vegan you can use vegan cheese or just eat it eau naturel. This recipe also works well with chopped nuts, just add 100g at the same stage you add the celery & cucumber. It also really nice garnished with olives.
Super easy, super quick, super cheap and super healthy. This recipe was a life-saver for my family and I in our time of need and it is still a firm favourite. Essentially it is just chop and cook, so it is perfect for cooking with the kids… and once they’re good at it you can let them cook it for you in the future! 😉

Making Donny Bonny: welcome to the Doncopolitan Civic Service

When legendary local artist, Mogsy, and the Doncaster Fightback crew put out a call for a litter pick in the Nether Hall region we knew we had to lend our support. Fightback are a collection of community activists who follow Gandhi‘s famous maxim:

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

We know these are difficult times, but – as we’ve said again and again in the pages of the Doncopolitan – nothing is ever going to change unless we take it upon ourselves to make (be) that change. Cynicism, negativity, blame-shifting and paternalism (expecting somebody else to do things on our behalf) is all well and good, but don’t pretend for a second that you’re actually doing something about the problems we face, until your ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE PROBLEM’S WE FACE. As another famous maxim goes (this time from Eldridge Cleaver):

“If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.”

Litter provides the perfect illustration of this. Who doesn’t moan about litter? It is most certainly a blight on our country, but its not an inevitable blight – not if more people were prepared to put their money where their mouth is and get stuck in.
The humble street sweeper is often looked down upon, or, worse still, totally ignored. Which is why every single one of us should walk a mile in the street sweeper’s moccasin’s (or steel toe caps to be more accurate). Picking up the everyday detritus of non-caring humans gives a very rewarding insight into the problem of litter and the attitudes faced by the people who work damned hard battling the problem day in, day out.
The first thing you find out is that it is one of those jobs where everyone thinks they’re an expert.
We were picking on Copley Road when one guy told us that there was a bad patch of litter on the next street. We told him that there were plenty of gloves, bags and grabbers at the Doncopolitan HQ if he wanted to join us. “What?” he said, “You’re the ones getting paid to do the job.” When we explained that we were volunteering our own time to clean up the Nether Hall area he told us that we were doing a very good thing… which was nice, but an extra pair of hands would have been even nicer.
Part of the problem is that we were using equipment which had been kindly supplied by the council, so people naturally assumed that we were working for the DMBC. We turned the high-vis jackets inside out to try and avoid further confusion, but then people thought we were doing ‘Community Payback’. Its a bizarre situation when people can’t pick up litter without other people thinking that they have to either be paid or forced to do so.
One solution might be to have ‘VOLUNTEER’ emblazoned on the back of the jackets of people who believe that only direct action can bring about the changes our town deserves. If the DMBC don’t fancy doing this we might make our own with Donny Fightback and Doncopolitan Civic Service written all over them. If you know of anyone who can help get these made then let us know.
On a more positive note we were regularly joined by shopkeepers of all nationalities and backgrounds who came out to help and tell us about their experiences of the Great British litter epidemic. Lots of passers by were very positive too. A lovely 81 year old gentleman kept us all entertained with tales shady dealings in the area. We were very surprised to find out that there’s a problem with “Sushi dens!”
Some people will read this and argue that they “pay taxes for that, so why should I help”, but most of our essential public services are feeling the pressure due to austerity cuts, not least because 95% of public money isn’t in the hands of people who are accountable to the public. The truth is that – whether you’re an individual, a business or ‘the council’ – this is OUR TOWN and we should all do everything in our power to improve things for ourselves and our children. Apparently we’ve just ‘got our country back’, so why don’t we all muck in to tidy it up?
Don’t worry about putting a road sweeper out of a job either. The sheer scale of the UK’s litter problem is going to keep both the professionals and the volunteers very busy for a very long time. The majority of the trash we collected (and collectively we collected some 20 bags worth over the course of around 5 hours) was made up of tab ends.
Cadmium, arsenic, iron, nickel, copper and manganese are just some of the toxins that are leaching into the environment as a direct result of discarded cigarette butts. This is, of course, not just a UK problem. As I News reported recently, some 5 trillion discarded fag ends are now polluting the world’s oceans. And even if you’re not compassionate about marine life it is worth remembering that these toxins work their way up the food chain so that humans are already consuming the poisons created by somebody, somewhere casually throwing their cigarette on the street. When it comes to throwing rubbish, there’s no such place as ‘away’.
We’ll be doing regular litter picks along with other direct actions for positive change. If you’d like to get involved then please get in touch.
mogsy litter pick