High street cosmetics chain Lush emerges as the main financial backer of Frack Off after donating £20,000 to anti-fracking campaign


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The Independent Online

“It's a threat to our water. It's a threat to our air. The oil and gas industry wants to frack the UK and only we can stop them,” begins Lush, the handmade cosmetic company, in its online campaign against the controversial method of fracking.

It has now emerged that the company is reportedly the main financial backer of Frack Off, the group responsible for a ten-day protest that has seen the arrest of several demonstrators and the disruption of supplies to Balcombe in West Sussex.

Hilary Jones, Lush’s ethics director, said Frack Off received £20,000 last year. “We are the single largest backer of Frack Off,” she told The Telegraph. “We have been concerned about fracking for some time. We tend to be ahead of the curve and we have had fracking on our radar for a while.

“Last year Frack Off received £20,000. Instead of asking for money this year Frack Off were given the chance to put their case in specially designed window displays in all our British stores and Frack Off leaflets were given to our customers. The country needs to know what's going on.

“We anticipate being contacted by more resident groups around the country. We can turn around a donation in a couple of days.”

The funds donated by Lush and other supporters are believed to have helped pay for buses to transport demonstrators to proposed fracking sites from across the country. 

Lush has dedicated a "fight against a fracked future" page on their website to discussing fracking, which involves extracting shale gas by hydraulic fracturing of rocks. It  describes Frack Off as a “grass roots campaign” which approached the cosmetics chain and asked it to host the initiative. 

Lush even gave four of its five-strong campaign teams time off work to join protesters at the Balcombe site, which lead to the arrest of the company’s head of global campaigns Tamsin Omond, after she chained herself to a fire engine blocking the Caudrilla entrance.

Six people were arrested on Thursday for disrupting deliveries to the site. Among those detained was the daughter of Kinks star Ray Davies and Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde, Natalie Hynde. The 30-year-old reportedly glued herself to her boyfriend, veteran environmental activist Simon Medhurst, 55.

Two others were arrested ahead of test drilling by energy firm Caudrilla which began on Friday, on suspicion of assaulting police.