West Sussex County Council used bailiffs today (19/11/13) to clear the protest camp which has been outside Cuadrilla’s exploration site at Balcombe since July.
A statement by the council said: “As promised during the High Court hearing we have established a new designated protest area close to the entrance to the Cuadrilla site, and the siting of it was agreed with the protesters who have remained in the area. The protest area is bigger and on drier land and is also protected by safety barriers. This does clearly show that the County Council recognises the right of people to demonstrate peacefully and lawfully. However, it is important that people realise that any form of camping inside this area is not permitted.”
Frack Free Sussex said: “In enforcing the eviction order at Balcombe today, is West Sussex County Council protecting Sussex residents and Sussex ecology – or the interests of international industry/invested government?”
The eviction comes a day after the council leader, Louise Goldsmith, met a delegation of anti-fracking campaigners from West Sussex villages where oil and gas companies want to drill. The delegation was also joined by campaigners who had established a temporary camp on the lawn outside County Hall in Chichester.
Vanessa Vine, of Frack Free Sussex, said “Suspicions now seem confirmed that Ms Goldsmith’s cynical assurances of listening to and cooperating with Sussex residents were merely mollification designed to tidy up the protectors on her front lawn in Chichester, who left in good faith first thing this morning.”