Date set for Cuadrilla lock-on protest trial




Photo: Paul Jackman

The trial of a group of Lancashire residents who blocked the entrance to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at the start of a month of direct action protests has been set for November.

Thirteen people, including three local councillors, locked themselves to heavy objects on 3 July 2017 outside the Preston New Road site near Blackpool.

The action marked the beginning of the so-called Rolling Resistance, co-ordinated by the national campaign group, Reclaim the Power.

Seven of the group appeared at Blackpool Magistrates Court yesterday (Monday 8 August), charged with obstructing the highway and offences under the Trades Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act. All seven pleaded not guilty.

Another five people who were arrested after the protest are due to appear in court in coming weeks to make their pleas. The final person arrested accepted a caution.

The trial will begin on Monday 13 November 2017 and is expected to last all week.

Three generations

The court also heard not guilty pleas from three generations of a family, which took part in a protest on Wednesday 12 July.

Gillian Kelly, a 73-year-old Lancashire grandmother, locked herself to an object outside the entrance. She was joined by her partner Paul Martyn, son Sebastian and granddaughter Megan (19). They all denied obstructing the highway.

The date for their trial is expected to be set on Thursday (10 August).

18 replies »

  1. Hopefully the magistrate makes an example of these people and acknowledges the fact that they should not be accorded any sort of special status that allows them to wantonly trounce on other peoples’ rights. Lock ’em up. Especially these councillors!

    • ‘Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.’
      Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

      True words with as much relevance for today. Good luck to you all who have locked on in creative and peaceful protest.

      • As long as you add the caveat that truly “peaceful” protest does not usurp or trample on others’ rights. I’m sure that MLK would strongly agree!

        • You cannot rewrite this fibs to make what you support ‘right’……that’s exactly why people protest. To stand up for their rights to live safely and with dignity. To be able to choose not be trampled on by authorities that does not listen and over-turn the democratic process. Whilst residents are made to bow down to these authorities they will remain enslaved. It takes a lot of courage to do what these people have done. I wish them well.

          • you mean the local democratic process, correct? The national democratic process has produced decisions which favor shale gas exploration. Luckily for the country national interests have prevailed!

            • Shale gas exploration has not been classified as ‘national interest’. If it had, residents would be offered individual compensation as in the HS2 rail development.

              I think you will find that the % of voters that voted ‘for’ the Cons i.e. by default shale is far less than those who voted against. Our archaic general election system prevents the true support of individual issues, hence local politics. It is apparent that ‘Westminster’ does not have any affinity with the North and it’s people – the real ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

              After ‘buying’ votes, so far the Cos have done a myriad of U turns on their hastily thrown together manifesto. It is apparent that they are under pressure to comply with the licences they have sold for a pittance. Maybe we can live in hope of another U turn when the economics are dealt with?

  2. They should make them pay for the losses the company and hauliers have had, it is not for layman to play judge and jury . . Pardon the pun.

  3. Could the fossil fuel advocates be rounded up and charged en-masse after this? The successive and excessive heat waves and extreme climate events are accelerating and it’s nothing to giggle about. Having just experienced 40.5degC at the original Fibonacci’s birthplace and learned of the back to back crop failures beginning to occur near here and elsewhere, the cost to the planet and its future habitability dwarf any economic gains to be made (by further fossil fuel exploitation) by several orders of magnitude.

    The current climate change report to the US government makes this clear also. Will Trump reject it? Probably. Will our government and our courts be minions of the OG juggernaut? I expect so, for now at least. It will take brave and visionary politicians and people like the family mentioned above to help turn away from the madness.

  4. “I really objected to the guy up the road having money, and so I disagreed with it, and stopped him having it, judge, so that’s all okay isn’t it?”
    One man’s visionary is another’s criminal. It will all come down to the judge on the day. It shouldn’t, but it does.

    By the way PhilipP as a non fossil fuel advocate your walk back from 40.5 degC is real record book entry deserving. Or perhaps deserving of another award-the “don’t do as I do, do as I say” one? I am sure refracktion, with his diesel motor that he was fooled into buying by an evil government, will pass it on, when he is finished with it.

    • One day you might get it Martin. It’s the politicians and power brokers that need to turn the supertanker around. It takes time, and if the choices of alternatively powered transport were there already I’d be fully on board with those. You’re mixing an argument about past and present tense with my argument for future tense (as near future as possible). The longer the FF brigade use power and money to perpetuate climate change denial and the more they attempt to abdicate responsibility for their views (as you’ve just done) then the more they will have to just take it on the chin and finally admit that their words and deeds are reckless and irresponsible towards both this generation (looking forward) and the next.

  5. I think it is you abdicating responsibility PhilipP. You make your own choices, not me. I don’t drive a diesel car (Outlander PHEV ordered-funded by the evil fossil fuel), I don’t have a passport, so do not use aircraft. I live near Fawley refinery and would like to see them processing local oil, added to that from Wytch Farm, to produce aviation fuel and pipe to Gatwick and Heathrow, because many others, and increasing, want to use aircraft. Yes, like you, I type on a plastic keyboard but don’t pontificate on the evils of plastic from fossil fuel.

    I am just a tax payer who will be helping to fork out £50 billion in subsidising Hinkley C, to support the variable output of “alternative” energy sources. (A good term, often they are alternative to what is required. I know there are possible solutions to this but decades away.) And Hinkley C is just the start, the next ones we will also probably have to fund the capital costs, as well as the excessive tariffs. And why are we saddled with Hinkley C? Because Blair’s lot kicked the ball so far down the road, that when it finally stopped, it was the only option left.

    We all support “clean energy” but we also need cheap energy, simply because if we can’t achieve that equation and we are outside of a protectionist bubble (the EU) then you will quickly learn what real austerity looks like, and I want better for my children.

    Sort your tenses out. Currently this country is largely kept going through gas. Most of us who support the investigation of fracking in UK do so because we wish to determine whether we can replace existing imported gas with domestically sourced gas, and whether this may prove to be a more economic and secure option. We are told by the antis this will not happen, based upon speculation, scaremongering and partial/false “facts”, whilst experience from USA shows totally different. I, for one, will follow the evidence rather than the speculation until factual UK data shows differently.

    If some want to break the law to stop that happening, they make that choice, not the exploration companies, the police, the courts or the government.

  6. A few facts for you Martin. Firstly since when will you be helping to subsidise the £50 billion for Hinkly C? Nothing gets paid until the plant is on stream and delivering energy. The risks are being born by the French and Chinese backers with the promise of guaranteed unit prices from that online point only… a clever negotiation. Chances are that delivery date will keep receding over the horizon and I wouldn’t be surprised if the investors bail out (seeing the way the nuclear industry is going elsewhere and given the unproven nature of the proposed technology).

    As for partial/false facts I’m concerned about how you make stuff up. Show me one instance of where I ‘pontificate on the evils of plastic from fossil fuel’ – a false claim indeed. Nor have I argued against oil drilling in the Weald or Wych farm.

    • … You’ve poured scorn on my/others referring to the USA experience of fracking (as if its going to be toatally different here) and yet here you are hyping it as a success story. I’m guessing that if not looking at the human side of the story that your opinions are being shaped by industry and market news only. If you close your eyes to the social, environmental and health impacts you can get away with that on investor/corporate profit basis only ie at others’ expense.

      May I take that on the basis that you are against the self determination of local democracies in this country with respect to fracking then you would be opposed to Brexit on the same principle?

  7. PhilipP -please read what I post, and if you want to reply to that, great. But, please do not change what I post and then blame me for that eg .where did I state that it was you pontificating on the evils of plastic-there are others who post on this site making up the collective. “Could the fossil fuel advocates be rounded up and charged en-masse”-hardly sounds like endorsing oil drilling in the Weald to me, or even the production of plastic from fossil fuel!.

    Why is it that the knowledge of the antis is so partial/poor? £50 billion is the estimated cost to the tax payer/ power bill payer, to pay for the high tariff cost over and above what would be a tariff cost from other sources. That means, the government have agreed a tariff price with the backers of Hinkley C that is needed to get the project built, and the tax payer (or maybe not tax payer, but energy consumer) will have that on their bills. You will also find that other new nuclear stations are having difficulty attracting any backers so the likelihood is that the capital cost will have to be picked up by the tax payer. The next one is around £10 billion capital cost-around one years UK net contribution to the EU. And nuclear is not the end of it-try looking into the tariff price that would be necessary to apply to tidal lagoons. That makes Hinkley C look like a bargain basement.

    However, I must move on. Time to switch on the gas fire, as it is pouring down here and cold and damp, so like millions, I need to drive the dampness away and raise the temperature otherwise the arthritis will kick off. And like millions, that is gas or a big cost to the NHS.

    • Reread from you post as requested “Yes, like you, I type on a plastic keyboard but don’t pontificate on the evils of plastic from fossil fuel.” That’s a clear slur – what’s your point if we’re on the same level in that regard?

      My point about the FF ‘brigade’ is that they are indiscriminately throwing the same weight, jargon and bias against the fracking protesters as if they are all one and the same – ‘anti’ everything to do with fossil fuels. As should clear I argue on the fracking related posts with some urgency as the pollution and climate impacts are real and immediate (despite the denials). My contention with the FF lobby more generally is that it’s demise should be managed (yes, it won’t be sudden) but the stubborn CC denial aspect needs to be terminated instantly and without mercy.

      I’ve not problem with eeking out existing onshore oil reserves but start up a new polluting and leaky undustry like fracking is just insane for many reasons.

  8. You make up links to climate change “denial” and those who want to see fracking for UK gas tested in UK. We have debated that before, and I have seen little comment on this site that there is “denial” of climate change. We just don’t agree with a pseudo scientific, ill thought out, very expensive way of tackling it-not least, because if it continues, good intentions will be submerged under the weight of a backlash from people seeing very little progress against vast sums of money that has been diverted from other things.

    Now we see Trump being accused because he withdrew from Paris, where USA was expected to fund those economies, like China, who could do as they wished until 2030. Yet, have China been that active with N.Korea-certainly not, trade has increased significantly, even with sanctions. So, Trump is left picking up the pieces of extra expenditure on the military to protect USA and the region. Hardly surprising he will not put those $billions into their economy when they will do little to reciprocate. Hardly surprising he will support the oil price being around 50% of what it was, via fracking, and that he can knock $6 billion from the US strategic oil reserve at the same time. Yet, carbon emissions will drop in USA but the industry that is connected to climate change will ignore that, and the fact that in many countries it can not, and will not, be measured accurately.

    Anyway, back to the Weald. OGA approval for Angus agreed. A few weeks delay to start drilling, because the rigs are so busy and working away elsewhere! Seems a familiar story.

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