Councillors in north Nottinghamshire are seeking to evict an anti-fracking camp from their village.
Barnby Moor Parish Council has agreed to take legal action to evict the camp from its land at Tinker Lane Copse.
The camp was established on 24 June 2018 in protest at the IGas shale gas exploration site nearby on the A634 between the village and Blyth.
A message sent to a Tinker Lane Facebook group this week by parish council chairman, Charles Fraser, said:
“I would like to inform you that Barnby Moor Parish Council is now taking legal action to evict the squatters from Parish Council land.
“There are two issues, Fracking & trespass, fracking the Parish Council have an open mind but setting up camp on parish land is an other matter.”
He told DrillOrDrop the matter was now in the hands of the council’s lawyers. He said:
“Initially things were not a great problem. The camp was not visible from the road. But recently they hung a massive banner from the trees.
“We have asked them verbally that we would like them to leave. They said no and the only way to deal with it is through solicitors.”
Mr Fraser said the campaigners had not asked permission to use the land. He added:
“The copse used to be an allotment plot. One or two residents over the past year have talked about returning the site to allotments.”
A special meeting of the parish council on the issue agreed to obtain a possession order for the copse.
The Tinker Lane Protectors Camp responded in a Facebook statement:
“Today it was confirmed to us that Barnby Moor Parish council have decided to go ahead with a forced eviction rather than keeping an open dialogue with us, as we tried to establish with them.
“This was to reach an agreement that did not impact on the community and re generated the space we currently are holding as part of our efforts to delay or stop the toxic fracking industry just 1.4 miles from their homes.
“This space has not been used for over twenty years and was in a sorry state when we found it. The council has not consulted the parish or anyone who lives in the village and have committed to an expensive process that threatens the future of their own homes.
“We would like to find a peaceful and non expensive way to resolve this situation for all parties involved. We are asking for you to reach out and help us find some land to move to in order to sustain this campaign. But in the mean time we are resolved to carrying on our community work and resistance to IGas and fracking…. this means we will be staying put until we have further info on the situation and possible further actions of the parish council.
“But we still need shelter and security while the weather changes and we face the possibility of overnight visits from bailiffs or worse!!”
The IGas Tinker Lane site was granted planning permission on 21 March 2017. The application was opposed by Barnby Moor and four other local parish councils, as well as Bassetlaw District Council. Barnby Moor Parish Council reported that a parish consultation found that 75% of participants objected to the application.
The IGas community fund lists a contribution for 2018 to Barnby Moor Parish Council for kitchen improvements to the village hall.