Updated: Cuadrilla to take action against first challenge to fracking protest injunction

180724 pnr lock on Tina Rothery 6

Lock-on protest outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site, 24 July 2018. Photo: from video by Tina Rothery

Six anti-fracking protesters locked themselves together outside Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking site this morning in the first challenge to the company’s protest injunction. Cuadrilla has said it is taking legal action against them.

The protesters described the action as “a deliberate attempt to highlight the abuse of the law by Cuadrilla”.

In a statement this afternoon, the company  said:

“Cuadrilla can confirm that it plans to take legal action against six individuals who have unlawfully blocked the entrance of the company’s shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road, Lancashire clearly breaching the terms of a High Court Injunction.”

Cuadrila  was granted an injunction on 11 July 2018 (DrillOrDrop report) against a range of protest actions outside the site by “persons unknown”. It specifically outlawed trespass, lock-on, slow-walking and lorry surfing protests, tactics that have been used in anti-fracking direct actions across England. It also prohibited “unlawful disruption” of named Cuadrilla suppliers.

The company said the legal action was not designed to prevent peaceful legal protest. But opponents have said the injunction has constrained their right to freedom of speech and what they say is any sort of meaningful protest.


This morning’s protest began at 7am and at the time of writing was still underway.

Cuadrilla said the company continued to respect rights to peaceful and lawful protest but it said::

“The six activists involved in blocking the site entrance are specifically aware of the High Court Injunction and nevertheless continued to proceed with activity that breaches the terms of that Injunction.

Suppliers delivering to and from the site are currently being delayed as a result. Breach of the High Court Injunction is contempt of court.”

A spokesperson for the protesters said:

“We are using our enshrined-in-law human rights to protest, to challenge a polluting industry that holds no social license in our community.

“This industry has gone to extreme and expensive lengths to manipulate the law, via a court injunction, to prevent protest in meaningful forms. We’re here today to challenge that.

“Fracking has no residential support within the UK, with the government pushing it upon communities who have already said no.”

Cuadrilla was granted planning permission for drilling, fracking and testing for shale gas at Preston New Road in 2016 by the then Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, on the advice of a planning inspector. This decision overruled the refusal of permission by Lancashire County Council.

The statement from the protesters continued:

“Why should a national government overrule local governments, to force this industry on communities?

“Why has the law been misused for the benefit of wealthy corporations? There has to be a strong line drawn under such abuses of law and democracy: this today, is our line.”

24 replies »

  1. Here it is (should be part of Ruth’s article?:

    “Cuadrilla can confirm that it plans to take legal action against six individuals who have unlawfully blocked the entrance of the company’s shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road, Lancashire clearly breaching the terms of a High Court Injunction issued earlier this month.

    The company continues to respect the right to peaceful and lawful protest however the six activists involved in blocking the site entrance are specifically aware of the High Court Injunction and nevertheless continued to proceed with activity that breaches the terms of that Injunction.

    Suppliers delivering to and from the site are currently being delayed as a result. Breach of the High Court Injunction is contempt of court.

    The High Court Injunction, issued on 11 July 2018 until 1 June 2020, forbids trespass on the company’s PNR shale gas exploration site and surrounding farmland. In addition the injunction:

    • Prohibits unlawful obstruction of the site entrance and adjacent main “A583” road¹. This includes “lock-ons” (chaining oneself to an object or another person to deliberately prevent access) and climbing onto, or slow walking in front of, vehicles accessing or leaving the site;

    • Unlawful disruption of named Cuadrilla suppliers by, for example, blockading supplier properties is also covered by the injunction.

    ¹ The area covered is the whole of the Preston New Road (A583) between the junction with Peel Hill to the North West and 50 meters to the east of the vehicular entrance to the PNR Site.”

    • Protectors !!!! PMSL Nothing but Jobless-Hypocrites with nothing better to do ! When they get home from the Police Station will they turn their Gas/Electric on to cook food,make drinks etc ! The men/women who fought in WW1 & WW2 were ‘Protectors!’ That lot would run a mile if asked to ‘Protect’ Britain !

    • More bad PR for a company that flouts planning conditions, misleads communities, and made a technical mess of the only attempt it has made at fracking.

      The more people hear and see the more they oppose this unnecessary industry.

      Another own goal on it’s way.

      • Actually John, some of us see it as good PR. Cuadrilla should have done this years ago. The wells would have been drilled, fracked, flow tested, and, if you are all correct in that they will be uncommercial, plugged and abandoned, Cuadrilla gone and you could all go back to doing whatever you normally do. And the serial protestors would be at INEOS or UKOG sites or Sheffield or somewhere else.

  2. Solidarity with the Lock-on six ffom Frack free Wakefield. The only way to challenge a bad law is to disobey it. As we discovered with Thatchers Poll Tax.

  3. Oooo those protestors will not fair well in court having breached a High Court order. I say a suspended sentence.

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

  4. Shame your rhetoric is not supported by the Survey, that indicates the reality, John.

    More like-the more the people hear and see the misinformation put out by the antis, the less sympathy they have left.

  5. Ruth – no news on this yet? JR coming or not?? That is Judicial Review not Jim Ratcliffe…..

    “Cuadrilla has today received final hydraulic fracture consent from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for its first horizontal shale gas exploration well at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire. All other relevant planning and permits required were already secured. The company is now in the process of preparing to apply for consent to carry out hydraulic fracturing operations for its second horizontal shale gas exploration well at the same site.

    Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said:

    “We are very pleased to be the first operator in the UK to have been awarded final consent to hydraulically fracture the UK’s first onshore horizontal shale exploration well. This is a testament to, and underpinned by, our strong track record of running a world class shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road, in compliance with robust health, safety, environmental and planning regulations. It is also a win for Lancashire, which has already benefited directly from over £10m of investment as a result of our exploration works at Preston New Road to date. We now look forward to submitting a fracture consent application to BEIS for our second exploration well and moving on to fracture the shale rock and flow the natural gas which we believe will make a major contribution to reducing the UK’s gas imports and improving our environment and economy.”

    The first horizontal shale gas well was completed by Cuadrilla in April 2018 through the Lower Bowland shale rock at approximately 2,300m below surface and extends laterally for some 800m. The second horizontal shale gas well was completed this month and has been drilled through the Upper Bowland shale at an approximate depth of 2,100m below the surface, extending laterally for some 750 metres through the shale. These are the first two horizontal shale exploration wells to be drilled onshore in the UK. Following hydraulic fracturing of these first two horizontal wells Cuadrilla will run an initial flow test of the gas produced from both wells for approximately six months.”

    • However:

      “The government granted the permit on the condition that one of the project’s backers, Spirit Energy, a joint venture between Centrica and Norwegian firm Bayerngas Norge, submits accounts for the last financial year or transfers £557,000 into an escrow account.”

      Perhaps DOD can do a crowd funding for Spirit Energy?

      • You might need to decide just which ‘Spirit Energy’ you might want to support; or maybe one of the other 69 limited companies from the same address?

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