In a statement issued today, Cuadrilla welcomed the extension of an interim injunction preventing trespass on land in the Fylde where the company is seeking permission to frack for shale gas. It also defended its legal action for costs against a single anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Louise Rothery.
The case, heard yesterday at Manchester High Court, was brought by two Cuadrilla subsidiaries and owners of four pieces of land at or near proposed fracking sites at Little Plumpton and Roseacre. It followed a three-week anti-fracking camp by a group of grandmothers in August.
Cuadrilla claimed costs of £54,000 from Ms Rothery, who became a named defendant by asking for an adjournment at an earlier hearing on August 28th. The court ruled that the sum should be decided by a separate judge and is likely to be less than Cuadrilla’s claim. It also emerged that Cuadrilla was paying the legal fees of the landowners.
Cuadrilla’s Chief Executive, Francis Egan, said “We are pleased that the judge has protected local farmers’ rights to farm their land without illegal trespass by awarding this extension to the interim injunction. We also welcome the court’s decision to award appropriate costs against the named defendant who chose to prolong this case. It is important to remember that it is the local farmer who has suffered through the detrimental impact that the illegal trespass has had on his family’s business. We hope that this action will prevent any recurrence.”
The statement said: “The costs and damages incurred by the farmers and Cuadrilla as a consequence of the illegal trespass amounted to more than double the cost sum requested. However the farmers and Cuadrilla decided to only seek a portion of the costs that resulted from the hearing on 28 August and directly from the defendant’s request for an adjournment in August to submit evidence to challenge the continuation of the injunction.
“The decision by the farmers and Cuadrilla recognised that the named defendant played a central role in the illegal trespass which made the court action necessary, but that she was not alone in her actions. Despite the adjournment, no evidence was in fact submitted. The Judge ordered that the named defendant should pay the costs that resulted from the adjournment.”