Scisco’s environment editor, Claire Stephenson, spoke with 13-year-old passionate anti-fracking campaigner Morgan Marshall, on his thoughts about fracking and the current Public Inquiry into Cuadrilla’s appeals in Lancashire.
CS: Tell me a bit about yourself, Morgan? What are your hobbies?
MM: “I’m really into political activism. I love the people I meet along the way. I’m always learning new things. I’m also a musician and I play classical and jazz piano and violin. I want to play professionally when I’m older”
CS: “What are your thoughts on fracking in the UK?”
MM: “We’re moving in completely the wrong direction on energy. Of course we should be moving towards renewables and fracking is the opposite. It’s a fossil fuel and should be kept in the ground.”
CS: “We heard you give an amazing speech at the Public Inquiry in Lancashire. You said that you wanted to “add your voice” to to why Cuadrilla’s plans should be refused. What would you say to Francis Egan in the run-up to the final week of the Inquiry?”
MM: “It’s kind of difficult to answer that because I think that someone who seriously wants to force this toxic industry on to us must be a sociopath. What can you say to someone like that? Maybe I would advise him not to underestimate us.
CS: “How did you get involved in the Lancashire campaign?”
MM: “Initially, I got involved through the Nanas, Reclaim The Power and Preston New Road Action Group. I keep in touch with the people I meet and I have a great relationship with them. That’s been a good thing to come out of this: the friendships and the learning.
CS: “Have you taken part in any protests?”
MM: “I’ve been to a few demonstrations and protests locally and in Manchester. I also went to London last year for the Climate Change March with my parents.”
Morgan and his father, Richard, speaking with Dame Vivienne Westwood in 2015. Photograph by Julie Daniels.
CS: “Do you think it’s important that young people like yourself should be involved in taking a stand against the fossil fuel industry?”
MM: “Yes but more people of all ages should be involved, the young and the old. Look at Anne Power she’s a legend and still campaigning at 84!
CS: “Are you worried about climate change?”
MM: “I’m worried about the current government who can’t be trusted to control and manage climate change in the right way.”
CS: “Are you hopeful for the outcome of the Lancashire fracking Public Inquiry?”
MM: “Obviously I’m hopeful the outcome is the right one that respects the local people and local democracy.”
CS: “Do you think that Westminster should be involved in deciding Lancashire’s future with fracking?”
MM: “No. Clearly a pro-fracking Westminster can’t be trusted to do what’s right for us.”
CS: “What do you think would happen if Greg Clark MP does overrule Lancashire County Council’s decision?”
MM: “Good luck with that! I’d say they should expect heavy resistance and an outcry that they will hear in Westminster.”
*The Public Inquiry into Cuadrilla’s appeal concludes on Wednesday 16th March 2016. The decision will then be made by Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark MP.