Yesterday (28:08:14) an interim injunction was granted to Cuadrilla and a couple of farmers and landowners, preventing future occupation of land around the Little Plumpton site where Cuadrilla wants to frack. News of the injunction and an eviction notice was served to the ‘Nana Camp’ at the end of last week, despite their announcement that they would be packed up and away by the time of the eviction. (BTW the term ‘served’ is used very loosely to describe a plastic bag containing hundreds of pages of text and photos, thrown into the camp field on a wet and windy day).
The Nanas and their Solicitor Simon Pook had to face the six plus Cuadrilla legal team at the High Court in Manchester. It was the first hearing of the case brought by Cuadrilla and named farmers for possession of the field in great Plumpton and various claims for damages. The Judge heard that the site had already been vacated by the Nanas and that they needed time to assimilate the details of the charges against them. He subsequently decided after much careful deliberation, which lasted most of the day, that the Nanas did indeed need more time to look at evidence. Most of it was addressed to persons unknown ranging from people on social media to named groups of unknown persons. The farmers were allowed possession and an injunction preventing trespass, which would stay in place until the date of the next hearing on October 8th. Cuadrilla’s other demands were refused.
The Salford Star offers some good coverage on the case. It’s important to note that Cuadrilla’s action didn’t just include the Nana camp and Reclaim the Power, but also every local group in Lancashire, Frack Off, etc and bizarrely, anyone `encouraging and instructing’ people to protest via social media! Not one single individual was named. The Salford Star says: “There was laughter in the public gallery and even the judge smiled as fracking company Cuadrilla and fellow claimants tried to ban everyone in the world who might be opposed to fracking from going to Little Plumpton. The judge realised that those terms, if they had been applied would have breached Article 10 and 11 of the European Convention and had them taken out of the order because it would breach human rights. ”
The case for the injunction `preventing further trespass’ was adjourned until October 8th, to give time for people to object. The Salford Star quotes the defendant’s solicitor Simon Pook as saying: “The injunction has been overturned until it comes back to court in October. If this does comes back we will get rid of it, the judge has told them. I’d be very surprised if it does come back…”
The Lytham St Annes Express also covers it with predictable imbalance – as yet, its online item includes quotes from Cuadrilla, plus their solicitor, but none from any of the defendants. Posters in the Comments section below the item have also remarked on the imbalance:
“I am surprised that the local press appear to only be reporting one side of this story,…the poor farmers who will actually be paid handsomely for any disruption. The local residents groups wrote to all local papers with their side of this story yet nothing has been published. Please consider those people who will be directly affected by this horrendous industry and stop trying to make out all protestors are loonies. I am just an ordinary member of the public (who was neither for or against fracking) but after months of research now realise this must be stopped at all costs or it will damage our environment and affect our local tourism and agriculture businesses. To say anything else makes me think people have not looked into this closely enough. We are not nimbys…we just care for our wonderful countryside and value our rural heritage.”
And this post is from someone who was obviously at the hearing:
“Hmmm, spin machine in overdrive already it appears.
1) The only field affected by the injunction is the one the protectors occupied. No others.
2) Cuadrilla’s attempt to effectively stifle all protest at all of their sites/potential sites was dismissed as “too vague”.
3) can we stop referring to the 10 local farmers as if there are ten farms here backing Cuadrillas plans, this is a long way from reality. As I understand it there are 2 farms backing this and the individuals named are all members/family of those farms.
Cuadrilla’s attemps to quash public protest has, in reality, been dealt an expensive blow today and it shows how desperate they are getting that they honestly thought they’d have a chance of pushing this “blanket ban” through the legal system.
Despite what is being pumped out in certain sections of the media via a very expensive, well-oiled PR machine, this battle is still a long, long way from over and Cuadrilla, IGas and co know it, hence their increasingly desperate and ill thought out legal attempts to silence the public.
The fat lady hasn’t even started gargling yet.”