Bianca Jagger is calling on UK Oil and Gas, the company behind oil exploration at sites in southern England, to withdraw its proposed injunction against environmental protesters.
The company is going to the High Court on Monday (19 March 2018) to seek an order which would outlaw lawful protests where the main intention is to hurt its business interests. Details
People living near UKOG sites have said they will challenge the injunction at the hearing. Details
Ms Jagger, President and Chief Executive of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, said the proposed injunction “rides roughshod” over legitimate and peaceful protest.
“Attack on freedom of expression and democracy”
In a statement last night, she said it was her duty to support the residents in what she described as “their efforts to defend their fundamental rights”:
“UKOG’s attempt to silence environmental defenders with an injunction is an attack on freedom of expression and democracy.
“I am appalled that residents of South East England, are being threatened with intimidation and censorship for speaking out against the potentially irreversible damage to their way of life, to their water sources, to the air, and their environment by unconventional drilling operations.”
The proposed injunction would apply to UKOG’s oil exploration sites at Horse Hill in Surrey and Broadford Bridge and Markwells Wood in West Sussex.
The company has said it intended to use conventional methods to extract oil from these sites. But opponents question this, pointing to the use of acidisation, where diluted hydrochloric acid is put down a well to dissolve rocks and release the oil.
“Undemocratic and draconian injunction”
Ms Jagger said:
“The harms and uncertainties of shale gas and oil extraction using acidisation are well-documented – it brings the risk of surface and ground water contamination, radiation, damages air quality, triggers seismic events and impacts on climate change due to CO2 emissions, fugitive methane emissions and the continued reliance on fossil fuels.
“I call on UKOG to withdraw its application for an undemocratic and draconian injunction, which is a shameless attempt to ride roughshod over local people’s right to peaceful, lawful protest.”
Ms Jagger added that the United Nations Environment Programme recently recognised that violations of environmental rights had a profound impact on human rights.
“Those who struggle to protect the environment, the planet and its people should be celebrated. Instead they are being persecuted, harassed and in some countries, they are killed.”
Injunction hearing details
The injunction application is due to be heard in the High Court at 10.30am on Monday 19 March, at the Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1NL.
The challengers from Surrey and Sussex will be represented by civil rights lawyer, Michael Oswald, and his team at Bhatt Murphy solicitors.
- The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation commissioned the report A Human Rights Impact Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing and other Unconventional Gas Development in the UK. This concluded there were potential violations of: the rights to life and security of the person; rights to water and health; respect for home and private life; public participation in decision-making processes; the rights of future generations; and the human rights dimensions of climate change. DrillOrDrop report