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Protest works: fracking stopped

Drilling plans rejected, protest ban defeated

British anti-fracking campaigners have been celebrating several wins recently.

On 2 March, West Sussex county council rejected new plans to test drill for oil in Balcombe, site of an early anti-fracking struggle in 2013.

Despite council officers recommending approval of the revised plan from Angus Energy, councillors unanimously refused the application.

On another front, at the beginning of February, anti-fracking campaigners were celebrating in Surrey and Sussex when the UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) group of companies finally gave up on the wide-ranging injunction they had planned to impose at four different sites.

UKOG were originally trying to ban all kinds of protest on the public highway including ‘slow walking’ – by ‘persons unknown’. They had only named five campaigners from the Weald Action Group in the injunction.

The surrender from UKOG came just days before a legal challenge at the high court in London by the five named campaigners (Natasha Doane, Vicki Elcoate, Jacqui Hamlin, Sue Jameson, and Ann Stewart).

UKOG were left with a standard anti-trespass injunction at one site, Horse Hill.

Leith Hill

Natasha Doane, from the Leith Hill campaign in Surrey commented: ‘Wide reaching injunctions aimed at persons unknown have had their day.’

The Leith Hill campaign won their struggle back in September when UKOG, Angus Energy and Egdon Resources gave up their attempt to drill for oil there.

The big setback for the fossil fuel companies came in 2018 when, after years of fierce campaigning, the Forestry Commission refused to renew the licence it had given for drilling on Leith Hill.

In September, the three oil companies finally gave up their attempt to drill an exploratory well at an angle from over a mile away.

If you’re wondering what’s happening at Preston New Road (PNR), the proposed fracking site in Lancashire, things have been at a standstill since the government announced a moratorium on fracking in the UK in November 2019.

Cuadrilla even gave up their licence to drill at PNR last year – but say they will re-apply for it as soon as the moratorium is lifted.

Topics: Energy | Fracking