Challenge begins to INEOS injunction against fracking protests

Horse Hill Protests

Slow walk protest that could be outlawed by INEOS injunction. Photo: David Burr/Alamy Live News

Two anti-fracking campaigners are challenging an injunction by INEOS Shale in a case beginning at the High Court tomorrow morning (Tuesday 31 October 2017).

It seeks to prevent protests interrupting the company’s plans to explore for shale gas across England.

Joe Corre and Joseph Boyd Ian R CraneJoe Corre, (left) son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and Joe Boyd, will argue that the injunction, is unlawful and breaches human rights.

An interim injunction was granted in July at a hearing attended only by INEOS and landowners who leased land to them.

An initial challenge was heard on 12 September (DrillOrDrop report) and the full hearing in front of Mr Justice Morgan, is expected to last for three days this week.

Mr Boyd, represented by Leigh Day, will argue that INEOS has not produced evidence to justify an interim order. He will also make the case that the injunction will have a substantial impact on the rights of people who want to protest against drilling for shale gas across the UK.

His case has been supported by the co-leader of the Green Party, MP Caroline Lucas. She said in a witness statement:

“Reasonable obstructions of the highway, such as slow walking, and peaceful protests are legitimate tactics in the anti-fracking and other political movements.

“Slow walking has become a particularly important form of protesting in the anti-fracking movements across the UK and I understand the injunction obtained by Ineos makes this unlawful – a development which I think is extremely worrying and detrimental to our democracy.”

Mr Corre said today Articles 10 and 11 of the Convention on Human Rights, which protect rights to freedom of speech and association, were under attack in the case.

He accused INEOS of frightening people who wanted to oppose fracking. He described the order as:

“A draconian all-encompassing pre-emptive injunction that could put law-abiding citizens in prison for doing something that is not an imprisonable offence.

“INEOS have effectively told locals that if they even put their foot in the wrong place or criticise INEOS on social media, they could lose their livelihoods and homes by having their assets seized.”

Mr Corre’s case is supported by a witness statement from Richard Scholey, a retired public order police inspector, who lives in Woodsetts, South Yorkshire, where INEOS wants to explore for shale gas. He said:

“INEOS is seeking to tell the police how to do their job and privatise the law”.

INEOS had claimed at the July hearing that there was an imminent threat to its sites, staff and contractors. It sought to prevent protests that interfered with its activities or those of companies in its supply chain.

The injunction, against persons unknown, covered eight named locations, including two proposed shale gas sites in Derbyshire and Rotherham, as well as company offices and property belonging to site landowners.

It also applied more widely than injunctions sought by previous oil and gas companies by covering routes to the proposed exploration sites and to activities undertaken by INEOS employees and members of its supply chain. This included any depot, equipment, people and operations.

According to the order, 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.”

  • The hearing begins at 10.30am in Court 30, The Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1NL. DrillOrDrop will be reporting from the court.

11 replies »

  1. ‘against persons unknown’ does not exist.

    The description itself is an oxymoron. All ‘persons’, i.e. a persona, are created when they are registered at birth and their identities developed through passport travel and banking ID etc.

    To prosecute you have to have a ‘person’s’ details. To obtain these without consent is a breach of the Data Protection Act.

    Whereas it is right and proper that the law is upheld, it can only be done when an individual commits an offence. At that point either a criminal and/or a civil action can be taken against that named individual.

    For example: If someone has a violent partner and separates they can have an injunction against that named individual to not come within a certain distance of the victim.

    I cannot see how this blanket injunction can be up held in law.

  2. Yeah unfortunately a retired NIMBY police officer won’t cut it in court I am afraid! Will be interesting to see how harshly the judge comes down on the antis this time around. I am not sure Joe turning up to the party is actually helping their cause.
    Ineos are a different animal in comparison to Cuadrilla or TE, plenty of confidence that they will stamp out the greeny gangsters.

    • “retired NIMBY police officer”??
      These epithets are becoming increasingly bizarre and desperate aren’t they?
      What next? The Entire NIMBY population of UK? The Entire NIMBY population of the planet? The Entire NIMBY population of the universe?
      In an ever dwindling support for fracking perhaps even the most miniscule ragged remnant must be feeling the pressure to take the red pill?
      Perhaps we will see one single ragged diminished figure slow walking in front of the free renewed energy democratic citizens of the country with a placard saying “Fracking Slaves!” and “Repent! Frack GottaB4 It Is Too Late!” and “Do Unto Others GottaB4 They Do Unto U”
      and carrying a small broken fake gold image of the Ineos injunction rig?
      Don’t worry peeny, it’s Halloween, it’s just a bad dream…….or is it?
      [Typo edited by moderator]

      • PS, Just to correct that terminological inexactitude in your post peeny.
        Mr. Richard Scholey, who lives in Woodsetts is a retired police Inspector, who worked as a public order commander and trainer.

        Mr Richard Scholey is a retired Police Inspector, not officer, do try to get it right.

  3. greeny gangsters. take a look on facebook at km8 local people who are not at all happy………who are the greeny gangsters. you have this all wrong , the YELLOW gangsters.are forcing fracking on a population who said no fracking way. video’s on facebook , you tube , ect prove my case……, Tell me ,who are you trying to kid.? GottaBkidding..

  4. So, if the injunction lapses Ineos can now sell wax jackets to the antis, whilst they protest over the winter. Good for Jim-most challenges provide an opportunity. (I will not give a reference as I know some prefer a good Giggle.)

  5. Of course they could refracktion, and they could use the income to deal with spurious complaints to the ASA. Seems their incorrect economics are still enabling expansion to proceed. Perhaps not understood instead of incorrect?
    I’m a bit past the wax jacket stage myself, but still have one somewhere in the cupboard. Like many, hardly worn. I may have to visit Amazon shortly, and see if there is a fitting home out there. Going to be a hard winter according to some speculation. Energy bills rising shortly. I might be able to turn up the thermostat for my gas boiler with a little extra from my wax jacket. Thanks for jogging that thought.

  6. Just checked the cupboard refracktion. Yep, it’s still there, a Bar bore, must have been named after your posting style! Silly game, but need to keep the score balanced.

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