Fracking Company Accused of ‘Dirty Tricks’ as Lancashire Nanas Vow ‘Fight-back’
Shale gas operator, Cuadrilla has been accused of using ‘dirty tricks’ by a group of Lancashire Grandparents, after serving them with court papers over a land-dispute. The campaigners, made up of local Lancashire residents and primarily grandmothers and mothers, say that Cuadrilla is using the opportunity to gain a widespread injunction – which would cover every proposed fracking site in the region and a local landmark, Lytham Windmill – not only against them, but all Lancashire-based campaign groups and national and international campaign groups including No Dash for Gas, Frack Off and Britain and Ireland Frack Free.
In addition to the injunction, the fracking company is also seeking to evict the ‘Nanas’ from Preston New Road Community Protection Camp, a resident-run blockade situated on land earmarked for fracking near Little Plumpton, on the Fylde Peninsula. The camp was set up to start August 7th and run for three weeks in order to raise public awareness in the region and show uninformed neighbours exactly where the drill site and access roads would be located if Cuadrilla gets planning permission. The residents of the camp site are voluntarily bringing the camp to an end by Wednesday, August 27th as was planned from the start.
The case is due to be heard at Manchester High Court on Thursday 28th August.
Tina Rothery one of the ‘Nanas’ and a resident of Blackpool where Cuadrilla aims to extract shale gas said:
“When we occupied the field, we did so in order to highlight a land-use dispute. This is agricultural land in a well-populated area and not suitable for heavy industry on this scale.
‘The fact that Cuadrilla is taking us to court the day after we are due to have left is absurd, and can only be because they want to inhibit our right to protest in the future. To deliver the paperwork just before a bank holiday, thus not allowing sufficient time to arrange a lawyer by the deadline for evidence on Tuesday 27th is a dirty trick.’
‘This is pure hypocrisy from Cuadrilla, a company that will benefit from a change in trespass laws to allow drilling under our homes. If they are allowed to do this in Lancashire it would have repercussions for people defending their communities throughout the country. The result here will affect every other anti-fracking campaign in the UK and we know that people are and will continue to unite with us.’
The eviction attempt targets one of two sites that Cuadrilla is currently attempting to gain planning permission for via Lancashire County Council. The applications, if successful, would see the Fylde Peninsula host the largest UK fracking tests to date. Each of the sites require 2 years of works, 20,000 truck movements, the use of 9 million gallons of water per well and the production of 5.6 million gallons of radioactive waste.
The applications are on-course for being the most unpopular in British planning history with 14,000 objections already registered with weeks to go until the consultation process ends
This is not the first time a company has tried to get a wide ranging injunction against a number of campaign groups, in 2007, British Airways Authority suffered a humiliating public backlash when it tried to injunct campaign groups from setting up a climate camp near Heathrow Airport.
Rachel Thompson from No Dash for Gas, a group which held its annual, week-long Reclaim the Power camp on the same site, said,
‘The UK has a long and proud history of direct action, can you imagine if a private company were able to take legal action to stop the suffragettes?’
’This is the second time we have been subject to anti-democratic legal action by this billion pound industry, EDF were forced to back down from their attempted £5 million law suit against 21 of us, last year. People in Lancashire and all over the country have clearly shown we will not allow fracking and they now insist on clean, renewable energy. This legal action is a last grasp attempt by a dying industry that has failed to gain the required social license and refuses to know when it has been beaten.’
Nanas set up camp in Lancashire – http://www.frackfreelancashire.org.uk/
Childrens action at Windmill – https://www.flickr.com/photos/126933393@N02/14934240056/in/set-72157646175344150
Flickr Reclaim the power Day of Action – https://www.flickr.com/photos/126933393@N02/sets/72157646175344150/
List of groups from legal paperwork -
Injunction from windmill -
Notes to editor
Lancashire nanas set up camp – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/15/blackpool-anti-fracking-camp-im-here-for-my-10-grandchildren
Cuadrilla statement on possession order – http://www.itv.com/news/granada/story/2014-08-22/anti-fracking-protesters-face-legal-action/
Heathrow airport attempted injunction – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2007/jul/27/climatechange
EDF drop law suit against 21 campaigners – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/mar/13/edf-lawsuit-environmental-activists-backlash