Second campaigner joins challenge to INEOS fracking protest injunction

Joe Boyd

Joe Boyd in a protest outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.

The INEOS injunction against protests over shale gas exploration is to be challenged by a second campaigner when it comes to the High Court tomorrow (Tuesday 12 September).

Joe Boyd, who has taken part in anti-fracking protests across England since 2013, joins another challenger, Joe Corre, the environmental activist and founder of the lingerie firm, Agents Provocateur (DrillOrDrop report on Mr Corre’s challenge).

INEOS is seeking to make permanent an interim injunction granted by Mr Justice Morgan on 31 July 2017.

The interim injunction sought to prevent activities that obstructed INEOS Shale’s operations. It covered eight named locations, INEOS offices, property belonging to site landowners, companies in the supply chain, routes to proposed exploration sites and activities by employees and contractors.

Joe Boyd, 44, from Liverpool, told DrillOrDrop:

“By putting myself forward as a named defendant in these proceedings, I want to ensure that we as local people, citizens and campaigners still have the right to hold peaceful protests against the fracking industry and those involved in it.”

He said he had no assets and had been arrested nine times at anti-fracking protests. Four cases had been dropped before a court appearance, he said. He was acquitted on two charges and convicted on another two, both of which involved lock-on protests. He is awaiting trial on one case and is appealing against one of the convictions.

“In my four years of campaigning against the fracking industry in the UK, I have consistently seen the role of protesting as a fight for democracy at both a local and national level.

“This temporary injunction, if renewed at the hearing on 12 September, will be an unprecedented and long-term affront to our right to lawful protest.”

The injunction was granted at what is known as an ex-parte hearing, at which only INEOS and a group of landowners who have leased land to the company, were represented.

The case is likely to centre on what form of protest is lawful. After the initial hearing in July, INEOS told DrillOrDrop:

“All this injunction does is serve to reinforce what is unlawful. People have the same rights today with the injunction in place as they did yesterday. It doesn’t affect the peaceful right to protest.”

But the injunction specifically outlaws so-called slow walking, where protesters attempt to delay deliveries by walking slowly in front of lorries. This has been ruled as a lawful form of protest at some trials of campaigners in West Sussex and Surrey.

International guidelines state that only peaceful assembly is protected in law but this can include “conduct that may annoy or give offence, and even conduct that temporarily hinders, impedes or obstructs the activities of third parties”.

Mr Boyd said:

“INEOS states that it is not against peaceful legitimate protest but that is exactly what the injunction stops us from being able to do at the eight sites in the injunction, in areas across England, as well as in relation to a large number of other companies associated with INEOS.

“This injunction sets a precedent. It is huge.

“If I go and protest anywhere that is linked to INEOS then I am liable to prison and fines. It will take away the whole right to protest.”

He said his lawyers would argue that the interim injunction was unlawful because it breached Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human rights which protect rights to freedom of expression and association.

As a named defendant, Mr Boyd risks being liable for costs if he loses his challenge. He accused INEOS of using what he called “fear tactics” by warning that costs could be awarded against him. He said:

 “I am not falling for it. I will take my chance. I have no assets.”

He said he expected to win because he said the judge had seen the evidence from only one side:

“There has been no threat to INEOS, no harassment, no intimidation, no occupations of their land, apart from a peaceful occupation at the Doe Green site in Cheshire.

“It is not a clear cut case, as INEOS has suggested.”

Mr Boyd is represented by the law firm Leigh Day and barristers Heather Williams QC and Blinne Ni Ghralaigh. He is crowdfunding for his challenge.

  • DrillOrDrop will be reporting from the hearing, which is listed for 10.30am in the Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1NL.


17 replies »

  1. So, a man with no assets, and will not have to fund costs if he loses is the best the antis can produce? Perhaps Mr. Corre has assets?

    Seems to be a pretty well trod path.

    I am sure there a few antis who have assets and could show the power of their convictions-but will not. And they are the same people who continually moan about the legal system, but then try to manipulate it.

    I suspect Ineos lawyers are well aware of this and will make sure the High Court is.

  2. Arrested 9 times and has no assets. A prime example of the type of person that opposes something they don’t understand.
    They will lose.

  3. The fact our judicial system, like our health service, operates and is available to all whether you have financial means or not is to be commended. If offences are committed of a sufficiently serious enough nature, the courts have different options available to them. Fortunately our courts and sentencing is proportional, which is why Cuadrilla did not cover themselves in glory when they pursued circa £50k from an individual with a low income, no assets and for the civil offence of sitting in a grass field for three weeks.
    The government has repeatedly ignored local communities and has produced planning and statutory changes to unfairly favour industry. Yet at the same time allowed local opposition to wind farms.
    The proposals in the Conservative manifesto regarding changes to permitted development rights and regulation show exactly why individuals are prepared to stand up and oppose this industry.

      • Gottakidding. In their frantic efforts to facilitate fracking at all costs the government appear to be willing to scrap all rights to object to anything when it suits them. This really isn’t anything to celebrate or crow about. Welcome to the police state.

        • Hahaha give it a rest. The government have tried to delay fracking for as long as possible without appearing to be caught out but they were rumbled ages ago. Ineos are now reminding them about how many people they employ. Interesting times ahead.

        • Curious isn’t it? That these people think that as long as the government, the law and the police state deliver them their profits, and support their prejudices, they support it unthinkingly and think it a good thing.
          Unfortunately these sort of trends lead to far worse abuses, eventually the system becomes so deeply corrupt and self serving, no one is safe. It has been that way at many places, at many times, and it seems, the old enemy of greed and avarice, corruption and moral and ethical decay just so long as it suites them.
          But that internal vice always leads to it’s own demise, it literally consumes itself from within and then is conquered from without.
          As a lesson from history, “First they came …” is a poem written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). It is about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the National Socialist rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt and ultimately responsibility.

          “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
          Because I was not a Socialist.

          Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
          Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

          Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
          Because I was not a Jew.

          Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

          I suspect that the intention is that those of us who object to this growing enforced destruction of the freedom of speech and protest will be long gone, when they suddenly discover that there is now no one left to defend them from their own folly.
          If these lessons from history are not learned by each generation, then we will forever be doomed to repeat them.

        • Yet more fake grandstanding. International condemnation from whom exactly? Your fellow comrades in arms? I’ve heard zilch through the main channels.

  4. Well, KatT, it will be interesting to see how the High Court (clue in the name) consider that obstructing the Highway, which is an offence in Law, should be considered. Perhaps they will decide the Law should be changed, but then it is not up to them.

    Should be interesting, but probably no more than that..

  5. If it does nothing more than sort out what is legal and what is illegal then its a benefit to honest protesting and to the industry alike. I’ll be quite surprised if the High Court was to rule that breaking the law is now legal.

    • And I’ll be quite surprised if the High Court was to rule that the law on protest needs help in being defined from Jim “No VAT, I love Switzerland” Ratcliffe, Mr Scales.

      • Doing a bit of research into this injunction it seems to be a common framework and has been used against protesters such as anti- blood sports/fox hunting. Where it is possibly enforceable on your own land (civil case and costs money), not sure of its enforcability in a public space/rent or leased land. Will be very interested in the outcome, as will others who have been potentially fettered by this nonsense.

  6. An awful lot of irritation, even before the High Court rules! Strange that there is a challenge by two antis in the High Court but some antis don’t think the High Court can’t do a correct job. Talk about covering your rear end.

    • There is a common misconception by the general public that civil ‘law’ falls on the side of the moral obligation. Sadly this is erroneous as most civil ‘law’s were set up to control the masses and ensure the ‘privileged hierarchy’ got what they wanted.

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