Legal

Breaking: Environmental activist to challenge INEOS over anti-fracking protest injunction

Joe Corre

The anti-fracking campaigner, Joe Corre, is to go to court next week to oppose an injunction brought by INEOS Upstream against shale gas protesters.

Corre, son of fashion designer, Dame Vivienne Westwood, said this evening:

“Someone has to stand up against these disgusting bully boy tactics”.

INEOS was granted an interim injunction by Mr Justice Morgan at a private, unannounced hearing on 31 July 2017 (DrillOrDrop report). It is seeking to make the order permanent at a hearing on Tuesday 12 September 2017 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The injunction is the most wide-ranging of its kind secured by the shale industry. It is also the first issued pre-emptively before a company had planning permission to start drilling and where there is no campaign activity at any of its sites.

Joe Corre, who has opposed shale gas operations through the group Talk Fracking, said he had made submissions to INEOS lawyers, Fieldfisher, to object to the continuation of the order.

The interim injunction covered eight named locations, as well as company offices and property belonging to site landowners. It also applied to routes to proposed exploration sites and to activities by INEOS employees and firms in its supply chain, including any depots, equipment, people and operations.

A notice on the INEOS website said anyone who breached the order by “interfering with lawful activities” would be “held in contempt of court and may be imprisoned, fined or have your assets seized.”

Slow walking outlawed

The injunction specifically referred to so-called slow walking, where protesters attempt to delay deliveries by walking slowing in front of vehicles. Some courts have acquitted anti-fracking campaigners who have carried out this form of protest.

The order appeared to prevent the protest tactic of lorry-surfing, where campaigners climb on top of vehicles to slow down operations. It also included harassment of INEOS and third parties, offences under Section 241 of the Trades Union and Labour Relations Consolidation Act and criminal damage or theft. And it applied to anyone who knew about the order and did anything which helped another person to breach it.

As it stands, the injunction has significantly increased the risk of protesting. For example, the maximum penalty on conviction for obstructing the highway – the usual charge against people who take part in slow-walking protests – is a £1,000 fine, although most courts impose a conditional discharge for first offences. The maximum penalty for contempt of court is two years in prison.

Mr Corre said:

 “This Ineos legal shock and awe exercise is typical of the arrogance of Jim Ratcliffe [the INEOS owner] who thinks he can buy the British law and play God on moral issues.

“Rather than rely on existing laws for prosecuting protesters when breached, INEOS’s injunction has added extra legal snares to prevent legitimate protest activities and paralyse protesters by threats of imprisonment and economically through prohibitive costs orders.”

He criticised INEOS for seeking to explore for shale gas at Marsh Lane, in Derbyshire, near a school and less than 400m from homes. He also accused the company of “bullying a national treasure” by threatening court against the National Trust, which has refused access to Clumber Park for seismic surveying.

“Someone has to stand up to these gigantic bullies who are running roughshod over our homes, national parks, communities and schools and now over the laws that protect our fundamental rights and freedoms.”

 

 

38 replies »

  1. “PREPARATION OF CORE STRATEGIES”

    (Government Guidance for Local Authorities)

    “Participation

    4.19
    The UK government has signed up to the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Ảrhus Convention). Article 7 states:

    “Each Party shall make appropriate practical and/or other provisions for the public to participate during the preparation of plans and programmes relating to the environment, within a transparent and fair framework, having provided the necessary information to the public.”

    4.20
    The production of core strategies should FOLLOW THE GOVERNMENT’S PRINCIPLES FOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN PLANNING.

    INVOLVEMENT SHOULD BE:

    • APPROPRIATE to the level of planning;

    • from the outset – LEADING TO A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP of local policy decisions;

    • CONTINUOUS – part of ONGOING programme, NOT A ONE-OFF EVENT, with clearly articulated opportunities for continuing involvement;

    • TRANSPARENT and ACCESSIBLE – using methods appropriate to the communities concerned; and

    • planned – as AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE PROCESS for making plans.

    4.21
    The council must produce a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) which should FOLLOW THESE PRINCIPLES. The involvement of the public in preparing the core strategy MUST follow the approach set out in the SCI.”

    (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2008, p. 11)

    *****
    REFERENCE:

    Department for Communities and Local Government, 2008. Planning Policy Statement 12: Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities Through Local Spatial Planning. London: TSO (The Stationery Office).

    http://www.communityplanning.net/pub-film/pdf/PlanningPolicyStatement12.pdf

    • Technotronic
      As a Parsh Councillor read the info above with interest. However I get the impression they are posted to support a view that consultation in the context of this board, is another word for …don’t want?
      I guess it is difficult to feel to a ‘sense of ownership, for a decision when you disagree with it.

      • Just putting the facts out there – bias-free! 😉

        THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE

        ‘The UK government has signed up to the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Ảrhus Convention). Article 7 states:

        ‘Each Party shall make appropriate practical and/or other provisions for the public to participate during the preparation of plans and programmes relating to the environment, within a transparent and fair framework, having provided the necessary information to the public.’’

        (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2008, p. 11)

        *****
        The Government has agreed to adopt and apply the precautionary principle in its agreement to Agenda 21 at the Earth Summit meeting at Rio, in 1992, which states:

        “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.’ (Principle 15)”.

        (Forestry Commission, 2011)

        *****
        European Directive 2001/42/EC (legislation):

        “Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community…
        …(1) Article 174 of the Treaty provides that Community policy on the environment is to contribute to, inter alia, the preservation, protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, the protection of human health and the prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources and that it is to be based on the Precautionary principle.

        Article 6 of the Treaty provides that environmental protection requirements are to be integrated into the definition of Community policies and activities, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development.”

        (European Parliament, Council of the European Union, 2001)

        *****

        Guidance provided by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) – “the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation”:

        “The Precautionary Principle is one of the key elements for policy decisions concerning environmental protection and management. It is applied in the circumstances where there are reasonable grounds for concern that an activity is, or could, cause harm but where there is uncertainty about the probability of the risk and the degree of harm.”

        (Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 2007)

        *****
        REFERENCES:

        Department for Communities and Local Government, 2008. Planning Policy Statement 12: Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities Through Local Spatial Planning. London: TSO (The Stationery Office).

        European Parliament, Council of the European Union, 2001. Directive 2001/42/EC of The European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2001 on The Assessment of the Effects of Certain Plans and Programmes on The Environment, Luxembourg: European Union.

        Forestry Commission, 2011. The UK Forestry Standard: The governments’ approach to sustainable forest management. 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Forestry Commission. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/ukfs

        Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 2007. The Precautionary Principle and Approach. [Online] Available at: http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=2519 [Accessed 16 June 2015].

        • SUSTAINABILITY

          People NEED to lobby their MPs for some Welsh style SUSTAINABILITY legislation. To be honest, I can’t believe the English have been so thick as not to have any legislation to force Local Authorities to ensure that their acts and omissions represent a precautionary, SUSTAINABLE approach.

          For inspiration, see the following:

          Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015:

          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/anaw/2015/2/contents/enacted

          Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015: The Essentials:

          http://gov.wales/docs/dsjlg/publications/150623-guide-to-the-fg-act-en.pdf

          http://gov.wales/topics/people-and-communities/people/future-generations-act/?lang=en

          • Technotronic
            I changed the term Welsh to English re the aspirations and put it to the family friends meeting last night.
            I asked them

            1. What do you think this is
            2. Do you disagree with anything
            3. How would you implement it

            Then there was the reveal.

            In brief, as there was a lot of discussion

            1. 8 out of 10 thought it was a UKIP party manifesto, the other two thought I had played around with an SNP one
            2. No one disagreed with the majority of points. Some thought that the cultural issue was a dig at immigration.
            3. The ‘how’ split along part lines.

            At the reveal, there was surprise that the Welsh need EU legislation to get the council to operate correctly. There was no view that an additional layer of legislation was required over and above the existing ones. We elect the councils by a democratic process in Englandand hold them accountable at the elections ( they said ).

  2. I love the Alice in Wonderland attempts!

    Meanwhile: P59 of the Times (7/9/2017): West Burton C Power Station Project-Public Notice.(Application for a Development Consent)

    Gas fired power station with electrical output capacity of up to 299MW.

    Suggest some should look up where West Burton is (Nottinghamshire).

    Gas in, electricity out, into the grid to charge my car. Now wouldn’t it be the minimal carbon foot print if the gas was from Nottinghamshire/ Derbyshire and fed in to West Burton (and many others around that area)? And if it was gas from Ineos sites, it may well be electricity into their proposed car factory (site yet to be decided). All that lovely income into the area-and jobs, but some will be more concerned that too many babies will be born! (I will leave that to the Giggle brigade.) I don’t know if a reason for this finding was given, but I suspect it is the relationship between increased disposable income and alcohol consumption!

    That is the real world, not Alice in Wonderland.

    • Martin
      Good news re West Burton. Both West Burton and Cottam coal fired power stations are under the cosh, with 4GW of power production capacity to replace.
      While a bit of a reduction in energy useage and the continued expansion of offshore wind will help, there will need to be a lot more gas fired power put in place to fill the gap.
      There is not much hapenning in the valley ( I can see both Cottham and West Burton when walking the dog ) today, but on cold crisp windless days, there is no better sight than them both on full power. Coal fired power as clean as you can get, and cleaner than lignite ( brown coal ). Unfortunately almost all the coal is imported, but it keeps the railway line from Immingham open.

    • More like the industry Malice in Blunderland with the Mad Frackers Texas Tea Party? (a bit damp at the moment)
      Or Malice down the Grabbit Hole?
      Or Malice Through The Fracking Gas?

      Twinkle twinkle little frack
      How we wonder what you’re at?
      Surf above the rig so high
      Like a Texas Tea tray shown on Sky

      Such fun! Always a pleasure guys!

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