Campaigners are celebrating a significant weakening of an injunction, which set out to target peaceful protest at unconventional oil sites in Surrey and Sussex.
The High Court has agreed a variation of the Order by UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) against ‘Persons Unknown’, removing clauses relating to their supply chain, combining together to protest and ‘gathering and loitering’ at the sites.
The government has no plans to extend the current temporary moratorium on hydraulic fracturing to include other forms of well stimulation, according to a letter from Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng.
Residents of Balcombe in West Sussex have welcomed the withdrawal of oil company Angus Energy’s planning application for a three-year well test on the edge of the village.
However, they warn that the fight goes on, as a company statement to shareholders announcing the withdrawal on 1 May also said that Angus intends to submit an updated application for a shorter test within six weeks.
A day long wrangle over court procedures failed to resolve any of the main issues in the UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) injunction case, which is being opposed by five fossil fuel campaigners from Surrey and Sussex.
It also failed to involve any of the so-called possible defendants which the oil company claim to number 116, despite two having come forward to remove their names from it.
Local residents and campaign groups across the South East have written to the High Court in a bid to get a draconian injunction quashed.
The interim injunction by the UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) group of companies has dragged on for two years without a trial of the evidence. It bans protest at two of its sites: Horse Hill in Surrey and Broadford Bridge in West Sussex.
Lawyers for five peaceful protesters supported by the Weald Action Group have applied to the High Court to bring an end to an interim injunction against protest at oil sites in Surrey and Sussex in line with a new Court of Appeal ruling.
A recent judgment, made on a case brought by fur company Canada Goose, says it’s unlawful to allow interim injunctions against “persons unknown” to drag on and vindicated the protesters’ argument that companies such as UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) should stop misusing Court procedures to get wide orders against lawful protesters through the unfair device of persons unknown.
A flurry of oil applications are in the process of being decided around Surrey and Sussex, including the controversial new site at Dunsfold. This is how you can get involved in opposing them:
Broadford Bridge: UKOG want a third extension to their permission at this site in West Sussex despite their promises to be off the site by now. Join campaigners outside the County Council meeting on March 24th which will decide it: gather at 0945 at County Hall, West St, Chichester PO19 1RG. Bring banners. We hope to see you there.
Balcombe: Angus Energy’s application for a three-year well test at Balcombe may also come up at the same meeting. Watch this space.
Brockham: Angus Energy is applying for an Environment Agency permit to reinject waste water, after saying it was pulling out of the site and also after the EA said it wasn’t competent to carry out reinjection. It’s also planning the same at its Lidsey site in Sussex.
Dunsfold aka Loxley: the planning decision about whether to open up this new greenfield site targeted by UKOG has been repeatedly delayed. The next Surrey planning meeting is scheduled for March 25th. UKOG has recently withdrawn a second application for the site.
Isle of Wight: UKOG has published its EIA screening report for the Arreton sight and Frack Free Isle of Wight is holding a series of public information meetings about the plans.
Campaigners from the Weald Action Group reacted with disappointment as a High Court Judge refused a request for a Judicial Review of a controversial planning decision.
Sarah Finch, a campaigner from Redhill, was seeking permission for a Judicial Review of Surrey County Council’s decision to allow the drilling of four new oil wells and 20 years of oil production at Horse Hill.