Legal

Campaign group seeks to join women’s legal challenge to protest injunction

170710 Broadford Bridge BBAG4

Protests against UKOG oil exploration at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex, July 2017. Photo: Broadford Bridge Action Group

The environmental organisation, Friends of the Earth, is seeking permission to oppose an injunction against protests outside oil drilling sites in southern England.

The injunction, brought by UK Oil and Gas Investments plc, is being challenged at the High Court in London by six women from Sussex and Surrey. (DrillOrDrop report)

If approved, the injunction would prohibit a range of protest techniques, some illegal and others not. The women argue it would breach their human rights of freedom of expression, assembly and peaceful protest.

They were joined in court this morning by lawyers for Friends of the Earth, which has applied to intervene in the case.

The injunction is very similar to one granted to the shale gas company, Ineos Upstream, and due to be challenged at the Court of Appeal next year.

The UKOG order seeks to prohibit trespass, damage to property, obstructing the highway and site entrances, slow walking in front of deliver vehicles, lorry surfing, abusive behaviour and taking photographs of contractors. It also seeks to prevent people combining together to damage the company’s economic interests.

It applies to sites at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex and Horse Hill in Surrey, along with UKOG offices in Guildford.

The order is against various categories of “persons unknown” – anyone who took part in prohibited activities. Anyone who breached the order could be in contempt of court and face fines, imprisonment or seizure of assets.

Stephen Simblet, for Friends of the Earth, said the injunction was a real risk to the organisation and its members.

“It makes it almost impossible to know what responsibility they may attract for essentially publicising information about a demonstration or encouraging people or their members to attend.

“Friends of the Earth cannot afford to have its assets sequestrated or the organisation potentially destroyed if it publicises some demonstration which seemed to be innocuous and lawful but turns out in retrospect to encompass activities the claimants [UKOG] says are unlawful.

“Even if they were not in contempt, it ties up resources and time which they say they would like to use to support protests against oil and gas operations.”

Friends of the Earth supported some forms of direct action, including slow walking, Mr Simblet said. The injunction would have a deterrent effect on its activities.

Horse Hill Protests

Slow walking protest at the Horse Hill oil exploration site in Surrey, February 2016. Photo: David Burr/Alamy Live News

The six women challengers, who include the actor Sue Jameson, supported the Friends of the Earth intervention. Their barrister, Stephanie Harrrison QC, said in court:

“It is critically important to look at the impact of the injunction on campaigning organisations like Friends of the Earth because they are in a different position to the women.”

She said UKOG had sent the draft order to locally-based campaign groups to which the injunction might apply. But she said:

“They are very small and were not able or not willing to put themselves forward to take part in the case.”

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Cake at the Gate protest at the Broadford Bridge oil exploration site in West Sussex, July 2017. Photo: Broadford Bridge Action Group

Tim Polli QC, for UKOG, said the company was not seeking to prevent peaceful protest, including a regular Cake at the Gate event at the entrance to the Broadford Bridge site. He said:

“The gathering for cake is not unlawful but a failure to move out of the way is.”

Opposing the application by Friends of the Earth, Mr Polli said:

“They are trying to have their cake and eat it. They don’t say what they want to do that would create the dispute, at which point they can become named defendants.

“We say Friends of the Earth may be interested in the outcome of this litigation but they have no interest in the decision to justify them being joined.”

He said the organisation should join the appeal against the Ineos injunction.

Mr Polli added that UKOG was seeking an interim injunction, rather than finalise it at a trial. He said:.

“It is hard to know how you could have a trial against persons unknown.”

He said injunctions were often “stayed and reviewed periodically” and never reached a trial.

“They just return from time to time.”

The hearing was adjourned until 10.30am tomorrow (Tuesday 3 July 2018) when John Male QC, the deputy High Court judge hearing the case, will give his ruling on the Friends of the Earth intervention.

UKOG is  expected to begin its case in favour of the injunction. The case is expected to last until Thursday 5 July 2018.

Reporting at this case was made possible by donations from DrillOrDrop readers

25 replies »

  1. I see i missed the Sunday song, such a busy weekend,
    so never fear, here is a little “Cure” for all of us?
    The Cure

    The Intelligent Cure to:

    “The FlatFatFrackCatCrapHats”

    You move like cagey liars
    You couldn’t get fatter than this
    The way you walk
    The way you talk
    The way you stalk
    The way you hiss

    You growl through the streets
    While everyone sleeps
    Getting bitter and fatter
    And critter and crapper
    You bite and scratch and scream all night

    Then you go
    And throw
    All the plastics you grow

    Into the sea
    Blaming you and me
    All these years and no one heard
    They’ll frack you in spring
    It’s a treacherous thing
    We never missed you we resist you fatcats
    We never missed you we resist you frackcats

    You’re so wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully petty

    Oh, you know they’d do anything to avoid a judicial review

    They should have each other for tea, huh?
    They should have each other with cream
    Then curl up at their gas fire
    And dream of the guile
    It’s the greavous gas thing
    It’s the greedy wet gas dream

    Spit into the sea
    Spit on you and me
    All these years and no one heard
    They’ll frack you in spring
    It’s a treacherous thing
    We never missed you we resist you frackcats

    We never missed you we resist you fatcats
    We never missed you we resist you frackcats
    We never missed you we resist you fatcats
    We never missed you we resist you frackcats

    You’re so wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully petty

    Oh you know they’d do anything to avoid a judicial review

    They should have each other for tea, huh?
    They should have each other with cream
    Then curl up at their gas fire
    And dream of In Junk Sham
    It’s the greavous gas thing
    It’s the greedy wet gas dream

    Banned in this land is where we should stand
    It’s the frackcats way to poison this land
    Always the greed its wrong way round
    Co2 and methane releases
    Poison the air like atmosphere faeces
    How could we miss
    Someone as dumb as this

    Never missed you we resist you frackcats

    We’d love you to go
    Oh so solid gone, gone
    How could we miss someone as dumb as this?

    The FlatFatFrackCatCrapHats!

    Well the moggy born fog porn is rolling in from Poole Harbour, lock your doors and your windows, will it be pirates or giant insects?
    Or just a choking methane exhalation?

    We shall see……

  2. Odd. FOE have an injunction by INEOS and another by Cuadrilla to manage. How come a third from UKOG is any different?

  3. If any of those actions covered under the proposed injunction isn’t illegal, it should be. Each of those actions absolutely infringes upon the rights of others. The last time that I checked, anti-frackers were not the only people who had rights.

  4. And what right Dinosoup, has an oil and gas company have to cause environmental damage to the land and and water and ecosystems, especially when we are already way behind meeting the targets to keep tempretures under the catastrophic 2 degrees.

    • One flew over,
      The oil and gas company has that right because it paid for the license. That is the way that society has chosen to allocate the development of natural resources. You have the right to then use those resources when you type at your keyboard (made with oil and gas resources) to post on the Internet (powered by oil and gas) in your air conditioned home (made possible by oil and gas). The degree to which fossil fuels contribute to the warming trend is an open question that scientists are currently debating. Regardless, without fossil fuels we would all be dead, so it is sort of a moot point.

      • Maybe on the planet where you live DINOSOUP , Climate Change is negligible and as such , these specks of dust are easily brushed under the carpet by the O&G industry .

        Here on Mother Earth , the impact of Climate Change is far more devestating and is set to get a lot , LOT worse….. These whopping great boulders are impossible to move, let alone brush under the carpet by an O&G industry , which is still against all the indisputable evidence , trying to play down the key role it plays in causing this major problem .

        WARNING ……. Here’s what the NASA space agency is saying about Climate Change

        https://climate.nasa.gov

        • Jack, you will have to understand that the impact of climate change is not in question. What is still TBD is what is causing climate change. A large number of scientists have averred that humans are largely responsible for the change, but a not insignificant number of scientists are not willing to make that judgement – and for very good reason. We don’t really need to have this debate here, but you will find that the evidence which demonstrates that CO2’s role in this debate is not well characterized, is strong. I believe anyone who claims to have the answers re climate change is ignorant – not stupid.

  5. Another insomniac!

    What right? £1 billion + being invested into Gatwick Airport, almost next door to Horse Hill, second runway will follow. Why? Because the UK public expect to utilise those silvery things that fly through the air, and to do this oil is (mainly) IMPORTED into Fawley Refinery, turned into aviation fuel and piped to British airports. You, and your pals, can decide to opt out of that way of life but the vast majority of the public do not.

    Meanwhile, it looks as if fuel duty will rise to pay for increased public spending. So, most of our goods, and most of our travel will become more expensive whilst we continue to import oil from other countries and provide them with the revenue they can use to pay for their public services. I have the right to want to maximise UK oil or gas production so we pay less fuel duty increase and more corporation tax/income tax from those companies operating in the UK.

    But then, there will be many from oil/gas exporting countries who would rather the UK just kept on importing.

  6. Jack-we thought you had vanished!

    Welcome back. I would just gently remind you that you will have to search very carefully before you found someone on DOD who does not recognise that climate change is happening and has been for a very long time.

    We just think your view of how to counter it stands little chance of success. Now, maybe you and your pals are perfectly willing to fund alternative, often untested or validated alternatives, and please go ahead and do so but please do not expect everyone else to be forced to do so as well.

        • Maiow!
          That’s better Paul! A little wit goes a long way, it’s brought the frackers this far? Some managed with far less it seems?
          One man on a truck is not a catastrophe for democracy though is it? It might even improve it a little?
          An entire corporation seeking to overturn democracy for every one for the foreseeable future, however?
          Its an entirely different kittie of cats isn’t it?
          Always a pleasure Paul!

          • Regarding – ‘Update – “Friends of the Earth was refused permission today to intervene in the case.”’
            – Paul’s comment seems to have been disputed?

            ‘Six women from Sussex and Surrey are challenging the injunction sought by UK Oil and Gas, which runs the Broadford Bridge site in West Sussex and is a major investor at Horse Hill, near Gatwick. They were joined today by Friends of the Earth, which was given permission to join the action as a defendant.’
            https://drillordrop.com/2018/07/04/oil-company-seeks-unprecedented-injunction-based-on-flawed-case-women-tell-the-high-court/

            • Quoted from a more recent DOD article Sherwulfe – “Leading Greens back women challenging UKOG protest injunction”. So perhaps Ruth can clarify it – although it seems pretty clear – “Friends of the Earth was refused permission today to intervene in the case.” This is why I suggested the head line be revised. As you must have missed the more recent post I take the liberty of re-posting my comment on it:

              Bears deficate in woods, the Pope is a Catholic etc etc…..

              Perhaps a better title would be “Friends of the Earth was refused permission today to intervene in the case.”

              Or no post at all or a post on something useful and relevant to DOD like:

              https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092041051630465X

              Highlights

              Fracturing technique applied on 161 wells representing 7.4 % close to the 10 % reported by the Royal Society.

              Fracturing operations included Hydraulic Fracturing, Acidizing , Blasting Gelatine and water injection.

              Total number of treatments found to have had stimulation treatment that implies fracturing the rock formation was 95.

              No obvious correlation between the location of the seismic events and the location of the wells hydraulically fractured.

              No elevated seismic events found within 5 km distance of water injection wells.

  7. No it wasn’t Sherwulfe. Do you really think people are so ignorant they can not follow what is going on?

    I suspect most can follow what has happened to date and need no “help” making out that 2&2 makes a very strange sum in the alternative world.

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