The Nanas are a group opposed to fracking who host public meetings and join actions across the UK in order to raise awareness about the risks of unconventional energy. Supported by TalkFracking.org, this group works in solidarity with local groups that are currently fighting planning applications, as well as communities only just coming under threat in newly licensed areas. The Nanas are also working closely with NGOs like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, assisting at meetings, hosting workshops and speaking at events.
Recognising that for many residents, this will be the first time they have opposed planning applications or realised that being heard is not easy, the Nanas come equipped with helpful information and experience to share. With a government that has made it clear it wants to fast-track fracking, this is about more than standing up to local authorities; it is standing directly opposed to government will and many feel out of their depth.
Since the launch of a nationwide tour in summer 2015, the group has been to mass demonstrations, small residents’ meetings and witnessed the start of community actions and aided the forming of new groups. Reaching out to different sectors of society too is a key aim and The Nanas received a warm welcome from an Indian Women’s Group in Derby; utilising an interpreter and some improvised demonstration techniques, it was well received and an invitation to return extended.
Asked about how the tour was going, spokesperson Tina Louise Rothery said: “The welcome we have received has taken us all completely by surprise. Although we were aware that the growing anti-fracking movement and our part in it, was getting more press at last, we had no idea how recognisable we had become. There was a fantastic event in Edinburgh “Hands Over the Forth” and we were invited to both join and to be speakers afterwards. Our arrival was astonishing, with so many recognising our banners and tabards that we felt like family.”
Edinburgh, Malton, Nottingham, Upton and Derby marked the first of the northern areas to be covered and now the tour has moved south with a Surrey public meeting in early February. On 24th February 2016, the Nanas attended a public meeting in Whitworth (Lancashire). Nana Hilary Whitehead said, “There were more than 30 people at the meeting and many were shocked by what they heard. Quite a few signed up for future meetings.”
The most recent stop on the tour was again in Surrey, to Horse Hill where a small resistance camp has set up and residents are gradually becoming aware of the impact of the newly operational drill site. Protectors at the camp had been slowing trucks and doing their best to raise awareness under harsh conditions and brutal policing. A flurry of Nanas arrived on a Tuesday with tea, cake, smiles and deep gratitude as the sun came out. What didn’t come out though were any more trucks.
Nana Julie Daniels said, “According to those on camp, there were at least three incidents where everything appeared to be getting readied for a truck arrival; police gathered in large numbers, the van for ‘protester removal’ operations arrived and evidence gatherers could be seen, yet no trucks came. The consensus by all on site was that the presence of the Nanas would have made it a PR nightmare and they chose not to take the risk. It’s a sad fact but mowing down older ladies is perceived very differently from manhandling younger citizens.”
The day after the visit from the Nanas to Horse Hill, another violent arrest took place and the trucks thundered through.
The Nanas have vowed to do all they can to reach the camps and groups that have requested visits and at the same time, to increase the number of yellow-tabarded Nanas in towns across the UK.
Tina adds: “Our group aims to lend support and expose hypocrisy and brutality. Like our own Nanas, we hope to be seen as acting with good heart and genuine intent. We want people to be aware that we are protecting our young and that makes us unstoppable. We only have truth and determination but we believe this is enough.”
Over the coming months, the Nanas will be supporting communities fighting fracking across the UK.
Join the Nanas on tour! CLICK HERE to view a list of upcoming events.
If you would like The Nanas to visit your town, please email: email@example.com