Update to Timeline – September 2013
West Sussex County Council fails in its attempt in the High Court to get an order to evict campaigners from the roadside at Cuadrilla’s exploration site at Balcombe. The court adjourned the case, ruling that there was a need to balance obtaining possession of the highway with the right to peaceful assembly and to demonstrate. West Sussex County Council has until October 8 2013 to reapply to the court in a new form. Cuadrilla’s planning permission to explore for oil at Balcombe expires on September 28th 2013.
Court decision welcomed A statement from the No Fracking in Balcombe Society welcomed the court decision. No FiBS member, Douglas Wragg, said “This is very good news. This should send a message to the County about the sloppy way they’ve behaved throughout – over permissions and regulations, as well as over this eviction attempt.” A spokesperson for the camp outside the Cuadrilla site said: “We are so happy that we can now stay to finish our protest, and then leave in a peaceful way once Cuadrilla have left. This will give us time to clear and clean up. And to rethink and regroup, for future action against oil and gas drilling – in Balcombe and elsewhere in the country where new drilling sites are in the offing.” Counsel for the Balcombe Community Protection Camp worked pro bono. The judge reserved a ruling on costs but No FIBS are asking the council to pay a donation to a pro bono charity fund.
“Enormous environmental consequences” The government’s former chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, tells the Guardian trying to meet the UK’s gas needs from fracking wold have “enormous environmental consequences”. Sir David, soon to be the Foreign Secretary’s special representative on climate change, says “It [fracking] will not be a game-changer here as it has been in the US.” He also says gas will have a much reduced role in future, as a back-up service in power generation, behind renewables and nuclear power.
Liberal Democrats vote to limit but not prohibit shale gas exploration. A motion to the party conference calls for strict enforcement of pollution regulations and the monitoring of methane emissions. The motion also recommends full consultation of local communities and compensation for damage to local landscapes.