Protectors and their children sang, drummed, held tea parties and clapped all day at the entrance to Barton Moss Road as seven iGas delivery lorries were backed up on Liverpool Road unable to move up the lane to the exploratory drilling site.
Yesterday's District Judge ruling in Manchester Magistrates Court that Barton Moss Road was a public footpath rather than a highway meant that Greater Manchester Police couldn't charge anyone for blocking it (see this morning's Salford Star article – click here).
Seven lorries arrived at 9am this morning only to be met by protectors sat on chairs at the entrance to Barton Moss Road, carefully positioned not to block cars, small vans and pedestrians from having access. However, one giant orange lorry in the lead of the convoy couldn't get passed and was marooned all day, with the other six lorries queued up on Liverpool Road.
Greater Manchester Police negotiated with campaigners to allow the orange lorry access, and, at around 1:30pm, after it had had been stationary for over four hours, it was able to drive down Barton Moss Road, with a few protectors walking it slowly to the gates, watched by less than half a dozen police officers and evidence gatherers.
The journey to the gates of the iGas site took around an hour – but as the lorry got to the entrance a campaigner lay down in front of it, delaying the delivery even further. Eventually he was dragged off the road for a `Stop and Search' after police accused him of being in possession of `a lock' which was never found.
Back at the entrance to Barton Moss Road the stand off with the remaining six lorries continued until around 5pm, when they finally gave up and drove away from the site with the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp proclaiming a massive victory. This was the first time that Greater Manchester Police had not been able to guarantee access for the iGas lorries.
Now protectors are waiting to see the police reaction in the days to come and whether the District Judge ruling will mean more delays and frustration for iGas.
Main photo shows Salfordian baby enjoying her day at the entrance to Barton Moss Road