Opponents of drilling for oil near Leith Hill in Surrey have stopped a delivery to the site by blocking the entrance.
At about 2pm, a man and a woman locked their arms together through a tube to prevent access to the site at Bury Hill Wood near Dorking.
Another man climbed onto a lorry which was attempting to deliver a portacabin.
At about 4.15pm, the haulage company withdrew from the contract. The man on the lorry came down and the delivery left.
The lock-on protesters remained for several hours because they said there were reports of another attempted delivery.
At 7.30pm, the campaigners said the protest was over.
The man on the lorry said:
“The objective of this action was to raise awareness of the fight against fracking and acidising in England, to draw people’s attention to the right to legal protest and the ways to do it.
“I am happy with what I set out to achieve, which was to get this haulage company to stop supporting the fracking industry.”
Jackie Carter, Company Secretary of the haulage company, Crossways Transport (International) Ltd, said in a statement:
“We are a very small family haulage company, with just 3 trucks, and were under instructions from Mobile Mini to make a delivery to Lancing and Dorking today.
“All we get given are a contractor and address and at no time would we have been able to know what type of site this was.
“Unfortunately when the driver came down the road and saw what was going on he immediately sent us a photograph and proceeded to find out what actually was happening and reported back to us.
“We then telephoned Mobile Mini to say that we were not prepared to make the delivery on their behalf and wanted permission to leave site. We have obtained this permission from them and the driver and truck would like to leave site in a safe manor.
“We have no intention of supporting any companies involved in fracking and would appreciate if you could forward to us a list of any known sites so that we can be aware of any addresses we might be given in future.”
Jenny, who was taking part in the lock-on, told DrillOrDrop earlier that the protesters took action because they believed a delivery would be made today. This morning, portaloos and a caravan were moved off the site and there were no welfare facilities for the remaining security staff.
The campaigners believed the site operator, Europa did not yet have planning permission to bring in heavy goods vehicles like the one attempting today’s delivery.
“We are prepared to stay for as long as is necessary: until the delivery company pulls out of the contract or the police remove us.”
Long-running legal dispute
The Bury Hill Wood site in the greenbelt and Surrey Hills Area of Natural Beauty has been the focus of a long-running planning dispute , dating back to 2009 when Europa Oil and Gas first said it wanted to do exploratory drilling.
The company got planning permission in August 2015 after two public inquiries and two court hearings.
But many activities on the site must wait until Surrey County Council approves a traffic management plan for the site. The decision on this plan has been deferred twice and Europa has appealed to the planning inspectorate because of the delay.
In October, the county council approved Europa’s application for additional fencing and temporary buildings, including a welfare cabin. But this decision is being challenged by a local campaign group, Leith Hill Action Group, which has sought a judicial review.
This post will be updated with new developments.