Five women were arrested in the past week in protests outside the IGas shale gas exploration site at Misson in north Nottinghamshire.
The arrests followed three separate incidents on three consecutive days.
On Wednesday 21 March, a woman climbed onto a lorry in the first so-called “lorry surfing” protest outside the Misson site.
During the incident, there was an attempt to hand her a copy of the injunction against anti-fracking protests, secured by INEOS, an IGas partner at Misson.
Local people had believed that the INEOS injunction would not apply at Misson. But an IGas spokesperson said:
“The INEOS Supply Chain Injunction protects those contractors working on IGas sites held jointly with INEOS and named on INEOS’ website”.
The spokesperson said an employee of Certas Energy UK Ltd attempted to hand over the injunction order. The company is listed by INEOS as a protected contractor.
Early on Thursday 22 March, two women from Derbyshire locked their arms inside a tube outside the gate. The action – the first “lock-on protest” outside the site – prevented vehicles entering or leaving between 6am and noon.
The women said they felt police were restricting where, when and how they could protest against operations at the site. They were charged with unlawfully obstructing the highway.
On Friday 23 March, two sisters from East and North Yorkshire were arrested while standing outside the site gates. They were both charged with obstructing the highway and one was also charged with obstructing police. An initial court hearing in their case is due to take place in Mansfield on 27 April.
Other campaigners said police threatened them with arrest for walking on the road outside the site. There is no pavement or footpath on this section of road.
Also on Friday, officers entered the Misson Springs Protection Camp near the site, apparently without a warrant.
Extension to site construction work
IGas is currently working on site construction at the Springs Road and Tinker Lane sites in north Nottinghamshire. The company said in its accounts this week it expected to begin drilling the first well in the middle of this year.
The company told Nottinghamshire County Council this week it wanted to continue site construction work at Springs Road further into the bird breeding season.
A condition of the planning permission prohibited construction work during the bird breeding season, from February-August, unless it could be demonstrated that the noise would not have an adverse impact on breeding birds in the nearby Site of Special Scientific Interest. The condition was designed particularly to protect long-eared owls breeding.
IGas consultants said site construction would not have “an adverse impact” on breeding birds and planners allowed work to continue until 31 March 2018 despite local opposition. The company is now seeking a second extension, this time with no time limit.
Opponents of IGas’s operations have planned a protest outside Nottinghamshire County Council on Wednesday 28 March. The organisers said the county council had “abandoned its responsibilities to the public in favour of helping the fracking gas industry”.