Claims of “unpredictable policing” at Broadford Bridge oil drilling protest

Broadford Bridge arrest 170601

Arrest near Broadford Bridge site, 1 June 2017. Photo: Netpol

The organisation which monitors protest policing has raised concerns about tactics by officers at opposition to onshore drilling in West Sussex.

Netpol said Sussex Police had described a section of road on the route to the Broadford Bridge oil exploration site near Billingshurst as a “tolerated slow walking area”.

Broadford Bridge police slow walking area2


The 600m route was marked on a map (above) and given to protesters who had gathered outside the site in Adversane Lane.

But on the first occasion the proposal was tested, on 1 June, Netpol said officers began issuing warnings when protesters were no more than 20 metres into the indicated area. Protesters were also filmed by police evidence gatherers, Netpol said.

A Netpol representative, who was monitoring the protest, said:

“We saw some officers quickly become very aggressive and one protester was arrested for failing to give his name and address under Section 50 powers [of the Police Reform Act] designed for tackling anti-social behaviour. The officer claimed the protester had allegedly called him a ‘pig’ and said this constituted ‘anti-social behaviour’.

“What was evident from the events we witnessed at Broadford Bridge was that officers had either not been briefed about a ‘tolerated slow walking area’ or that Sussex Police had abandoned the proposal, without informing protesters, within hours of offering it.

“This contrast between promises made by senior officers and what actually happens on the ground is an issue Netpol has heard time and again at anti-fracking protests around the country. It leads to the uncertainty about what might trigger an arrest that is part of the ‘chilling effect’ on rights to protest we warned about last year.”

Netpol said protesters were increasingly reluctant to believe anything they were told by the police. The organisation added:

“Sussex Police does seem to have set a new record, however, in how quickly it says it plans to conduct an operation and then how quickly its officers deliver the exact opposite.”

DrillOrDrop asked Sussex Police to respond to Netpol’s complaints. We will update this post with any comment.

54 replies »

    • UK shale clearly never viable

      According to EY, promoters of UK shale,

      Shale gas production costs across Europe are likely to be higher than in the US, at least
      until an understanding of the geology improves and further advances in technology can
      help drive down costs. The IEA estimates that production costs for US shale gas range
      from $3/MBtu to $7/MBtu, while estimates from a number of organizations indicate that
      average production costs in Europe could be between $8/MBtu and $12/MBtu. These
      estimates exclude the cost of the acquisition of land or leases.

      Click to access EY-Shale_gas_in_Europe-revolution_or_evolution.pdf

      World bank Natural gas price forecast till 2029.

      UK shale production costs higher than European market value.

      Plus green completion, plus constant delays, and plus the fact that the 0.5 magnitude threshold means limited fracture growth meaning less gas per site.

      The evidence goes on and on

      • Blah blah blah, John. Nothing but estimates and conjectures. What do the facts say? The facts say that natural gas producers in the US are largely profitable with spot prices in the low 3’s. The facts say that the equipment and techniques used in the UK will be similar to those in the US. The facts say that there is very little onshore gas services infrastructure in the UK today and that means that costs will initially be high. But as the sector grows, costs will decline just as they have in other jurisdictions. The facts also say that there is ample smart money willing to invest in UK shale exploration, meaning that these investors believe UK shale operations will ultimately be cash generative. Sorry to douse your multi-media effort with hard, cold, facts!

        • Useless trying those diversionary tactics Rex – there are those who want to know the truth.

  1. Ahead of the curve Rex. You need to study the energy industry more closely and see where things are headed. We just need our politicians to show more vision and bravery and not get sucked into this ff vortex.

    • Lots of hot air from you, Philip. Not much to back it up. US shale industry very healthy despite low commodity prices. Gives a very compelling signal as to the prospective profitability of UK shale, as gas prices in the UK are double what they are in the US.

      • As I’ve said before there’s a lot of space to mess with in the States i.e. before people suffer the full impact of the fracking blight. England would fit five times into Texas for example. Even so there’s a plenty of Texans bothered by it and some towns being abandoned now. That the USA generally is often using 100% of it’s annual fresh water supply isn’t it simply insane that 10’s of millions of gallons are being drawn from their water tables (for each well cluster, sometimes 100’s of millions of gallons), none of it returnable to nature’s hydrological cycle.

        I can back this up for sure – I’ll post a page worth of links and pictures if you like. What I want to know is why are you drumming it up? for investment portfolio purposes? why all the dubious hype? Are you American seeking to make a killing over here through gullible investors? a paid psy-op? what is it Rex?

        • And yet fracking takes place in the US in areas that are far more densely populated than the north of the UK. How does that fact fit your theory, Philip?

          “isn’t it simply insane that 10’s of millions of gallons are being drawn from their water tables (for each well cluster, sometimes 100’s of millions of gallons), none of it returnable to nature’s hydrological cycle.”

          Not insane, Philip, but certainly untrue. Frackwater flowback can be treated and reintroduced. Also, much flowback is treated and recycled for reuse in fracking operations.

          And more facts for you, Philip. Even in high oil and gas producing states, fracking water makes up less than one percent of water use. Fracking uses less water in the US than golf courses or car washes. In arid Texas, natural gas fracking actually saves water as it means less coal generation for electricity which results in far less water usage to run coal gen facilities.

          Theories are fun to talk about, but facts matter, Philip.

    • Well, China has a massive coal powered component, and it has been using a lot of dirty coal too. That’s the only case where natural gas can help ease the transition. Britain is well past that point. China is ramping up renewables too at an accelerating pace- likely to be the world leader in that field before long.

      • “Britain is well past that point” Are you aware of Britain’s massive reliance on natural gas, Philip? Do you understand how that has impacted the country’s reliance on coal? Do you understand what would happen to CO2 emissions in the UK if natural gas were not available? Yet you would prefer to import that natural gas from places such as Qatar and Russia where your money funds all sort of nefarious activities which often work against the UK’s interests and that also encourages far more fugitive methane emissions? Doesn’t make much sense to me! But hey, I rely on facts and science and don’t have the luxury of using pixie dust and fairy tales to back my stances as the anti-frackers do.

        • You didn’t get the point Rex did you. Britain is past the point of massive reliance on coal. The direction of travel needs to change. It would be years before inland unconventional gas reached serious national utility levels if it gets going at all. The risks and the legacy isn’t worth it – for far less than a generation’s worth of gas. The power-gen scene will have changed beyond current models by then (for a cleaner future). The population and landscape in the UK should reject the fracking push.

  2. China is also buying up coal in other countries. If you want to believe their spin, fine. They know how gullible people are in the west, and are playing you. Trump will not be fooled, the American emissions will continue to decline, the Chinese emissions will continue to rise, and guess what, so will the Germans. Trump may be many things, but he is not a fool. He knows American technology will drive a cleaner environment, he is just unwilling to donate $billions to other countries for them to get a free ride and then undercut US industry. Let’s see how wedded these countries are to Paris when they have to foot the bill.

    • Shame on your for relying on common sense and facts, Martin. Why don’t you learn from the anti-frackers? Fearmongering and hype are so much more effective!

      • Evidence please Martin – there’s a strong whiff of fake news here. Emissions are set to go up under Trump without a doubt, he’s removing regulations, although Bloomberg is about to bankroll America’s commitment to the Paris agreement and individual States and Cities are saying they will commit to the agreements. So if emissions doe go down at all it will be despite Trump not because of him. Interesting times for the USA. They might find they can run without The White House after all!

        Arnir has a word on this:

        • – ps… I know about coal supplies to China. A coal train used to go past our house in New Zealand. But that’s historical momentum – they’re committed now to huge changes.

          • Phil
            That would be coking coal for Chinese steel making. Now from the Stockton opencast mine only I believe. Not displaced by gas.
            What would the Midland Main Line do without that business?
            But yes, China is a bit more restrained re coal, hence goodbye Joy Mining, taken over by Komatsu, due to the slump in the industry over there, as well as the US. Lots of dodgy mines closed and coal fire power stations mothballed due to overcapacity and or protests.
            And, they make so many solar panels, then need to dump them. The good old green EU put a tariff on them, and the US want a larger tariff as well.

  3. Philip P believes what the Chinese say oh dear oh dear. We estimate their GDP is falsified by at least one trillion dollars can you make a guess what’s going on with the renewable figures? I’ll let you take a few years to work it out.
    Once we start seeing….. the sky and not smog then get back to me my naive non friend.

    • We?? China has had the biggest wake up call yet. Nearly all of it’s water is coming from glacier feeds in the Himalayas (and all receding rapidly) , and Peking has a crippling smog problem. They’re turning that wake up call into action – basically because they have no choice. I expect they’ll pull some weight in the international community now – at least with respect to climate change. You can be suspicious and make up whatever you like but how do I know what your stories are based on? At least I have some contacts there. Do you?

  4. PhilipP-I feel sorry for this continuous use of Giggle and little engagement of the grey matter. US emissions have declined- fact. They will continue to decline-fact. (They may not decline as fast under Trump, but they will do so.) Emissions in China are way under-recorded-fact. They will continue to rise-fact. Germany has replaced nuclear with filthy coal-fact. Their emissions are now rising-fact.

    China has a nuclear arsenal, a considerable space programme and expansion programme in the Pacific area and is undercutting US around the world on trade. Why should US fund Paris?

    And yes, I have contacts in China.

    (See the huge coal mine in Australia has been given the green light. They seem to “use” an excessive amount of coal in Australia???)

  5. This must be good news if Enemies of Industry don’t like it:

    And India gets approval for the world’s biggest coal mine so they can export the coal to India:

    I like this bit in the article:

    “To those activists who sit in creature comfort and criticise us, I ask a simple question – what are you doing for those people?”

    A great example of India’s support for the Paris agreement…… welcome to the real world.

  6. Gosh, that’s interesting Martin – so, all I needed to do was follow your example and just add “-fact” to the end of any off-the-cuff statement to lend it credibility. My thought was that adding a Google source or two would at least allow others to check and compare contrasting sources.

    I personally see Google as a conveyor of anything from fake news through to government and scientific papers, and gigabytes worth of raw scientific data (e.g. from monitoring stations all around the world). If I gave a non-credible source then I’m happy for you to counter that with a different credible source. Better than your unsubstantiated opinion.

    Please tell us (Martin) how you think there is a Mr Giggle who makes all that stuff up . I’m intrigued. I see most of you guys like to cherry pick ‘facts’ from google as much as anyone – but at least that allows for some follow up and debate. Or in you case offer a very partial ‘fact’ e.g. in the case of German emissions that doesn’t give the whole story at all and give a false impression entirely.

    Paul -you are just as much an ‘Enemy of Industry’ yourself – i.e. the industry that is needed to replace fossil fuel dependency.

    • 63% higher price in Germany than UK domestic electricity according to the EU stats for 2016 – is this where you would like us to be?

      • Paul… re. Germany vs UK energy price differentials, there are other things to consider : 1) the extra earning/spending power over there, 2) the reduced consumption of so many households due to (on average) better thermal efficiency and 3) the fact that so many have solar capture and also (increasingly) behind-the-meter or local storage that they can be less reliant on grid power…

  7. Paul… re. Germany vs UK energy price differentials, there are other things to consider : 1) the extra earning/spending power over there, 2) the reduced consumption of so many households due to (on average) better thermal efficiency and 3) the fact that so many have solar capture and also (increasingly) behind-the-meter or local storage that they can be less reliant on grid power…

Leave a Reply to Philip P Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s