17th April 2014
The Green MP for Brighton, Caroline Lucas, vowed to continue her campaign to end fracking after her acquittal on public order and obstruction charges arising from last summer’s protests at Balcombe.
Miss Lucas, along with fellow campaigners Josef Dobraszczyk, Ruth Potts, Ruth Jarman and Sheila Menon, issued a statement on the steps of Brighton Magistrates Court at the end of their six-day trial.
“We are pleased that the court upheld our right to peacefully protest against fracking, but this judgement is not a victory of cause for celebration”, she said. “We will continue to campaign to end fracking and only celebrate when our world is on the path to a clean energy future.”
Miss Lucas and the four other campaigners had been accused of breaching a condition on protesting, imposed by the police under Section 14 of the Public Order Act. They were also accused of obstructing the highway during a sit-down protest outside Cuadrilla’s oil exploration site at Balcombe. They denied the charges.
This afternoon, District Judge Tim Pattinson, found all five not guilty on all the charges.
Miss Lucas said the UN’s latest reports on climate change had made it clear that exploiting new sources of fossil fuels, such as shale gas, would undermine the government’s stated ambition to protect Britain from the worst impacts of climate change. “The only safe and responsible thing to do with shale gas is to leave it in the ground”, she said.
Miss Lucas continued: “Fracking will not lower our fuel bills, it will not give us energy security and it will not create significant numbers of jobs.
“Fracking will accelerate climate change, pollute our environment and lock us into yet more dependence on fossil fuels, precisely when the overwhelming scientific and political consensus confirms that we need to be moving in the opposite direction.”
David Cameron must listen to climate scientists, Miss Lucas said, rather than letting oil and gas lobbyists dictate UK energy policy. She urged him to show real leadership by calling for an end to fracking.