Protest update: 30 January-5 February 2017


Lock-on protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 31 January 2017. Photo: Ros Wills

In this week’s post:

  • Security guard and woman protester injured by contractor vehicle at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road plus an early morning lock-on protest
  • March through the village of Marsh Lane of opponents of INEOS plans for shale gas exploration
  • Closure of Brockham Protection Camp

This post is updated throughout the week.  Please let us know about news you think DrillorDrop should be reporting on this post.

Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire

31 January 2017

Four people opposed to Cuadrilla’s shale gas plans in Lancashire have locked themselves to fencing outside the entrance to the company’s site near Blackpool.

The protest began at about 7.40am and at the time of writing (1.30pm) is still underway. A specialist team of police is at the site to remove the campaigners.


Preston New Road, 31 January 2017. Photo: Ami Roberts

Lancashire Police closed the road during the morning but it is now open. Photos below by Ian Crane

In a statement, Chief Inspector Ian Mills, of Lancashire Police, said:

“A section of the A583 Preston New Road near to the fracking site at Plumpton has been closed for safety reasons. A small number of protesters have locked themselves together so we have taken the decision to shut part of the road for the safety of them and officers at the scene.

“While we are there to facilitate a peaceful and lawful protest, our priority now is to get the road reopened to minimise disruption to the local community.”

The protest lasted about seven hours.


Arrest of one of the lock-on protesters. Photo used with the permission of the author

1 February 2017

The four people who took part in the protest were charged with failing to comply with a prohibited assembly police direction. They appeared before Blackpool Magistrates Court. A bail condition preventing one of the group from entering Fylde was dropped.


Four people (second left to far right) who took part in the protest, Blackpool Magistrates Court, 1 February 2017. Photo: Ian Crane


Preston New Road, 1 February 2017. Photo: DrillOrDrop


Preston New Road, 1 February 2017. Photo: DrillOrDrop


Preston New Road, 1 February 2017. Photo: DrillOrDrop

3 February 2017


Preston New Road, February 3 2017. Photo supplied by Frack Free Lancashire

Frack Free Lancashire reports an incident in which a contractor’s vehicle knocked over a security worker as he was opening fencing around the work zone. Reports say a woman protester crossed the road and ran to the rear of the truck to check on the condition of the security worker. The truck again reversed, trapping the protester and another security worker behind it. Cllr Miranda Cox, of Kirkham Town Council, recorded video of the incident. She said:

“I was shocked to see a deliberate attempt to run down people. I was disgusted that the incident was not taken seriously at the time by the authorities or the contractor. We are extremely worried about plans to frack the site. We have sought confirmation that the site will be monitored and safety measures will be effective. What we witnessed on Friday only convinces us that nothing about this industry is safe. Imagine if this incident had involved a HGV carrying contaminated water or chemical laden fracking fluid?”

Video (below) of incident inside the work area at Preston New Road, recorded by Cllr Miranda Cox

The woman protester was treated by ambulance staff at the side of the road. A security worker later attended hospital for bruising to ribs and an arm injury. Frack Free Lancashire has called for an investigation by the health and Safety Executive and Lancashire County Council


Marsh Lane, Derbyshire

31 January 2017

More than 100 people marched through the small village of Marsh Lane, to an exhibition hosted by INEOS about is plans for a shale gas exploration well. INEOS staff and executives had to walk through a crowd of demonstrators at the end of the event. DrillOrDrop report.


Marsh Lane, 31 January 2017. Photo: DrillOrDrop


Marsh Lane, 31 January 2017. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Leith Hill

4 February 2017

Gathering of opponents of Europa’s plans to drill for oil at Bury Hill Woods. Photos from video by Fil Jackson.

Brockham, Surrey

3 February 2017

The protection camp established on the roadside near the Brockham oil well in Surrey is disbanded following demobilisation of the site.


Brockham Protection Camp disbanded, 3 February 2017. Photo: Brockham Protection Camp


Weekly protest update 23-29 January 2017

Weekly protest update 16-22 January 2017

Weekly protest update 7-13 January 2017

Weekly protest update 1-6 January 2017

19 replies »

    • Well said Peter, just to be clear, it was the police who closed off the road, I am sure arrests will follow and I trust that the law is equally enforced to ensure that the road worthiness and road safety and charges of driving dangerously and without due care and attention is enforced to the lorry operators who contravened the TMP. If not, we are not seeing justice, only partiality, which contravenes the word and the meaning of the police charter. We shall see just how the law is enforced for the safety of everyone, not just those who get preferential treatment.

  1. Nice to see people care enough to lay their bodies on the line. We dont need fracking or want fracking. Good work in delaying the work!. Make it costly for the greedy Co.

  2. Deep Appreciation and admiration for all the four, locked Protesters still on the road in front of the gate…for hours in this
    cold, January day…thank you and may the worldwide protests continue to grow and stop the poisoning of our water, air, environment and health….blessings to all….US Protests continue against fossil fuels and the Trump Administration…..

  3. Disgusting waste of police manpower and cost. Taking police away from protecting the public in my opinion is the lowest of the low. Zero respect.

    • No fracking, no community protectors, no police required!
      It’s amazing where they come from when the State is challenged, never when you and I need them carrying out our business!

  4. Mr M – in the long run, this protest is about protecting the public, with due respect. No one wants to sit out in this weather for the good of their health.

  5. It is NOT about “protecting the public.” It is simply, if “I can not get my own way legally than I decide the law should be broken to achieve my objectives.” And by so doing, the public will pay the costs, because they have no choice in the matter.

    The State is NOT being challenged, the Law is being challenged. Your group use that situation continuously, “monitoring” lorry tyres etc.That is why the police have to attend. Using semantics like “community protectors” changes nothing but supplies some degree of self righteousness.

    • Protest only exists because all other avenues of objecting to an industry that has invaded the local community has been obscured side lined and denied. The O &G intruder has and will despoil and poison the earth, our environment, our air and water and has squatted in our country against the wishes of the local and countrywide people of this land.
      The police have shown clearly that they have been misused into a position where they are not there to protect the legal right of protest and in stead have been co-opted by political and private interests into being little more than party political private interest pawns to intimidate and harass the public while turning their back on the illegal activities of the private interests. I feel sorry that the police who are so misused in this way, I am sure many would rather not be used as political pawns, however the imperative to follow orders takes priority. The Geneva Convention the Human Rights Act, the social and legal charter of official government bodies deals with all official activities, not just under the tenets of warfare. These charters state that the need to follow orders is not an excuse for carrying them out, and that better moral and ethical motivations take priority. Orders from any government enforcement organisation can therefore be legally refused under the Geneva Convention, the Human Rights laws and in this case, the police charter and codes of conduct. If the orders given by the controlling authority, contravene the course of the higher good. Practically of course such behaviour is vilified and victimised and whistleblowers have been illegally framed and prosecuted to cover up the corruption at high levels.
      So essentially there are not only legal constraints on official behaviour, but also a true social contract to protect the many from the draconian activities of the few. Once again we come to a situation where any social, legal, political and economic interests are at the fore, legal and moral concepts of behaviour become a highly complex order of magnitude where balanced action is paramount. Favouritism and special dispensation to government sponsored private profit oriented activities is a contravention of legal and moral responsible behaviour and as such in an increasingly complex situation, the activities of all need to be carefully considered by all sides, not just one side.

  6. Another disappointed democrat!

    However, moral superiority is a pretty old concept, and is often found to be a cloak of respectability around an excuse for activities that the majority of the population find unacceptable and are forced to fund. Don’t start blaming the police, they have better things to be doing but have to maintain public safety. Your own activists film everything they can to enable “support” from the police [Comment edited by moderator]

    • How curious? Clearly you did not read a word, but never mind, what is really important is that everyone’s rights are observed, the police have rights too and those rights should not be subsumed by political pressure or private interests. Democracy has always been a rocky road, but its the best we poor humans can attain at present. What is not acceptable is for what little protection democracy provides to be contravened by political power bases who are prone to deny such protection in order to further the aims agendas and profits of private corporations at the expense of the citizens. Those citizens have declared quite openly that they don’t want the intrusion of private corporations imposing a technology which has seen to be environmentally disastrous across the world and will be similarly disastrous here.

  7. “Everyone’s rights are observed”?? (See, I do read your comments!) Actually, they are not. My rights to expect my taxes to be spent on the police carrying out essential crime prevention are not being observed. Your argument would suggest that if people don’t agree to certain authorised and legal activities, they can take illegal action to prevent it, based upon the sort of speculation, and inaccurate comments in your post, and then let some one else pick up the bill.
    Perhaps you and others would like to fund the bill? After all, you are deliberately creating security costs to the companies involved, why not pay for the policing your activities demand?

    Yes, politicians do further the aims and profits of private corporations. We would not have an NHS if they did not. There are balances in all situations. Lagoons in South Wales to produce alternative energy source but the cost will have to be subsidised hugely by the public and where does the rock come from? Oh yes, the Lizard. Ask the locals there about “at the expense of the citizens”.

    I saw and heard it all during the Newbury by-pass “saga”. Once people moved past the “let’s indulge them stage”, they quickly became fed up with it and sympathy evaporated very quickly.

    • Its far more of a circular argument than you think, because I could equally say, if there was no intrusive and publically rejected industrialisation of our beautiful country for the sole purpose of profiteering from gas extraction and processing for the overseas market, there would be no need for the police time effort and our taxes to be there in the first place. My tax payers rights would therefore be preserved, the police could carry out their duty to keep the peace as usual and everyone would be happy.
      Unfortunately that is not the case. If the gas extraction process was safe and proven to be safe and harmless across the world, there would be no opposition to it. That however is not in the least bit the case. If the public and local residents had been listened to and their democratic rights preserved by the government and true golden standards put in place and the industry forbidden from any form of self regulation, people would not be so frustrated with being ignored side lined insulted and excluded from having any say whatsoever in the poisoning of their own environment, they would not be forced to protest in the way that has become their only avenue of protest. If there were really gold standard regulations that the protesters could rely on for the regulators and councils to enforce without help from the protesters they could all go home, but plainly that is not in the least bit the case, so the protesters have to do the councils jobs too. There would be no need for the police to be there other than to monitor the activities of the industry and enforce the law upon the obvious breaches and then you could not have the excuse to blame the protesters for every breach the industry commits. I am glad the protesters are there, otherwise we would not know about the breaches of the regulations that are being made, even though apparently the police and councils are instructed to turn a blind eye, the three monkeys are present and that cannot be levelled at the protesters. I wish all of this was not necessary, but it is.
      That is my rights as a tax payer that are not being preserved..

  8. It is not a circular argument at all PhilC. Your first paragraph is absolutely the same as saying to a woman, “If you were not wearing that provocative clothing, I would not be incensed to do exactly what I wanted.”

    It would appear our definitions of antisocial behaviour are miles apart.

    I notice you very obviously ignored the point I was making, that perhaps the protesters should pay the costs they have generated? They will expect Cuadrilla to do so. Why should they be treated differently?

    • Martin, that is really a terrible thing to say! The example you give is really quite offensive, where is your mind?

      It is a circular argument, if by your horribly provocative example that person invaded your home, destroyed your health trashed your environment and accused you of assault and then sued you for it, I suspect you would justifiably be aggrieved and may even take the law into your own hands and evict that person forcibly.
      That is how the local residents feel and when the police become involved in your personal example, someone else might say why should their tax money go to prevent your actions and be forced to monitor you to protect the person from further actions.
      The fracking consortiums are the problem, just as would someone be for invading your home, your actions to protect your home might involve the police, but you would be aggrieved if the government and the police and the council supported that person, removed your democratic right to protect your own home, and allowed legal regulations to be overturn to force you to allow the intruder to remain against your wishes?
      The fracking companies are the intruders in our homes, they should pay for protection by the police.

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