Breaking: INEOS Fracking Injunction Continues

Judge Justice Morgan has ruled that an injunction obtained against anti-fracking protesters by INEOS Shale should continue.

Drill or Drop says:

Mr Justice Morgan ruled that the interim injunction should remain in place. A future trial would be needed to make it permanent.

Mr Justice Morgan said he wanted to change some of the wording to the order to clarify what it covered. He has removed a clause in the original order preventing harassment of INEOS staff and contractors. We’ll have more details of the order when it is available.

The case has been seen as a test of rights to protest and is regarded as important because it may encourage other companies to take similar action aginst opponents of their activities.

INEOS sought the original injunction in July after saying it faced “a real and imminent risks of being targeted by unlawful protests”.

The company, which has yet to be granted planning permission for shale gas exploration, said the injunction aimed to prevent unlawful activity, not curtail lawful protest.

The order is directed against “persons unknown” and prohibited them from interfering with the lawful activities of INEOS staff and contractors. People who breached the order risk prison or having their assets seized.

It specifically named two protest techniques used by anti-fracking campaigners: slow walking in front of deliveries and climbing on top of vehicles, known as lorry surfing.

The slow walking clause was a key issue during previous hearings. Some police forces regularly facilitate slow walking protests at fracking sites. Campaigners have been acquitted of allegedly obstructing the highway during these protests. Slow walking, “lorry surfing” and unlawful obstruction of the highway without unreasonable excuse remain in the order.

Campaigners Joe Corre, son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and Joe Boyd, argued that order breached human rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

They said it was unnecessary and based on flimsy evidence that over-stated or misrepresented the risk.

The order threatened law-abiding people and was already having an “impermissible chilling effect” on the rights to protest, they said.

The full Judgment can be read here.

 


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