PROTESTERS took to Oxford City Centre to show their opposition to government fracking proposals yesterday. 

Local residents and university students came together in Radcliffe square and mocked a made up fracking company as part of a national week of action.

It follows the news that fracking - which is used to extract gas but has been linked to environmental concerns - has restarted in the UK following a High Court ruling yesterday.

20 people wearing building site work wear and hard hats constructed a four metre high tower resembling a fracking rig outside the Radcliffe Camera under the guise of fracking firm 'Pipe Down Fracking Ltd'.

Over the sound of the drilling played through a megaphone, the work site team explained to passers by that there was “no need to fear, no planning consent was needed from the county council for this drill rig because fracking is ‘permitted development’”.

The group say they are concerned that fracking companies may soon be able to start drilling across England without local planning applications, threatening community involvement in decision-making.

Julia Peck, from Oxford Climate Justice, said: “We’re here today to stand against the government’s outrageous plans. If they go ahead, whole swathes of England could be opened up to fracking development including historic sites and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

“Fracking is unpopular, and risky – these planning proposals are a last ditch attempt to kickstart the industry, and communities like ours will pay the price. With plans for 6,000 drills across the UK, we all know someone, friends or family who might end up living next to a fracking site, we don’t need fracking, here or anywhere.”

Oxford city councillor Richard Howlett added: “The government’s proposals fly in the face of local democracy, and threaten to slash community involvement in decision-making about fracking.

Local councils are the ones who have to deal with the consequences of fracking – they are best placed to make informed decisions on planning. We’re calling on our MP’s and the government to listen to communities like ours, and drop these proposals.”