Grandmother’s “act of conscience” fracking protest led to conviction

180830 Heather Stroud conviction

A Ryedale grandmother, who chained herself to the entrance of Third Energy’s fracking site with a Reclaim Democracy banner, said she did it to “prevent serious harm”.

Heather Stroud told a court in York her action was premeditated and thought-through:

“I felt obliged to take action as a means of preventing serious harms from being committed.

At her six-hour trial (30 August 2018), Ms Stroud denied obstructing the highway. She represented herself and used the defence of conscientious protector. She said:

“My defence rests entirely on my universal right as a person of conscience, to take action in an attempt to prevent irretrievable damage to our environment; irretrievable damage that evidence suggests, will have devastating consequences to all life systems.”

She provided evidence from scientists, the World Bank, lawyers and the Magna Carta.

But District Judge Adrian Lower found her guilty. She was ordered to pay a compulsory £20 victim surcharge and given a six-month conditional discharge.

After the hearing, Ms Stroud said she had been given the opportunity during the trial to express her concerns about the fracking industry.

“It restored my beliefs that despite the problems we are facing with regard to opposing corporate power, shreds of democracy are visible in small pockets.

“There was no winning or losing. It was a day of celebration where we all came away with a sense of hope.”

30 replies »

  1. Well done Heather. Everyone who cares about the planet and wants to protect the Yorkshire countryside and the climate is with you.

    • Perhaps she should complain about the use of coal around the world? Shale gas has a low carbon footprint compared to LNG and the development of coal in developing countires is much more important.
      Global warming is a global issue…

      • Maybe she does campaign on a global scale as well, Johnson. But sometimes the best you can do is campaign locally.
        Let’s not forget the last deep coal mine in the UK has closed. Usage of coal in the UK has fallen dramatically, and will continue to fall as gas powered power plants are not replaced.
        And maybe Heather is concerned that fugitive emissions of methane gas at the well head, in process plants and in pipes, potentially make it as bad as coal?

    • Well said, Johnson. The UK will reduce CO2 by using LNG. The main polluters are China & India, by increasing the use of coal to generate electricity.

    • You mean Magna Carta ? didn’t you do basic history ?

      Magna Carta
      [ˌmaɡnə ˈkɑːtə]

      a charter of liberty and political rights obtained from King John of England by his rebellious barons at Runnymede in 1215, which came to be seen as the seminal document of English constitutional practice.
      (a Magna Carta)
      a document establishing important rights or principles in a specified area.
      “a Magna Carta for environmental protection”

    • No, its the Magna Carta of 1215, which is the very basis and foundation of Parliament and it stated that the King was not to be held above the law.

      Also that the Magna Carta cannot be overturned or modified or conditioned or subsumed by any subsequent law or statute or injunction, and that the human and civil rights under the Magna Carta applies to corporations as much as everyone else. The Magna Carta also enshrines the right to protest and demonstrate and that also is an inalienable right.

    • Well, Kisheny let’s see… I cannot speak for Ms Stroud but I can speak for myself. I shower rather than bathe = less energy to heat water. I have a gas combi boiler = less energy used. I turned down my thermostat = less energy used. I insulated my house = less energy used. My gas bill is less than it was 8 years ago (at higher prices). I use MUCH less gas with no inconvenience at all.
      Government predicts that usage of gas in the UK will continue to fall (as it has over the last eleven years).

  2. What a non story. The pompous self righteousness of the protesters who have not a single clue about the science of fracking is clearly on display here. Perhaps she should complain to the Environment Agency, or picket Yorkshire Water who approve the process

    • But we are at climate tipping point we cannot burn any more fossil fuels irrespective of where they come from so shouldn’t be fracking anyway

      • So turn your boiler off and have a nice cold shower Alison. Or do you have an ASHP?

        What’s an ASHP you ask?


      • There are many alternatives to fossil fuels Alison, but you wont find them proposed by those who seek to profit from their monopolistic hegemony.

  3. “The pompous self righteousness of the protesters who have not a single clue about the science of fracking is clearly on display here”, your contributor remarks. I wonder could it not be the case that these protesters’ concerns for what fracking, yes, and coal are doing to the environment are seen by them as of rather more importance than “the science of fracking”, best left to your contributor to elucidate. Heather will not defend herself so let me do so – without her knowledge. Anyone less pompous and self-righteous would be hard to find.
    As a human being however she sees it as her duty to draw people’s attention to the ecocide which few deny is taking place. It is sad that some of your contributors resort so easily to personal abuse in default of rational and relevant argument.

  4. Ecocideiaith1720? Are you sure about that? Pity someone just made that up isnt it.

    Few deny its taking place? So why do all the regulators find that its a safe process?

    • You want a list? Ignorance, stupidity, threats from their masters to obey orders, someone “redacted” all their “Rejected” rubber stamps, tory agenda and corruption, lobby pressure from dodgy sources, and ultimately, just plain ineffectual incompetence.

    • I was not aware that the regulators had pronounced on whether ecocide is or is not taking place. However, assuming that somewhere they have, I think we could regard that as akin to a Trump statement that ecocide was a myth.Just one or two examples if I may be permitted. About 60 years ago, 1.6 billion hectares of mature tropical forest carpeted our planet, about a half has now been destroyed by human industry. About 85% of global fish stocks are depleted via over- exploitation or CO2- triggered acidification of the oceans. Up to 140,000 species of plants and animals disappear each year, usually because of over- exploitation. Every year in the UK around 40,000 human lives are shortened, air pollution is considered a factor.The Siberian permafrost, frozen since the last ice age,- 70 billion acres of stored carbon – is now melting; humans are thought to have had a hand in this. Desertification and, paradoxically flooding, is impacting agriculturally viable land on a large scale. The term ecocide has not just been coined: in 2010 it was proposed to amend the Rome Statute to include the crime of ecocide. I think that discussions continue.Really! The research is not difficult.Other plentiful examples of this trend can be found. As for the’ regulators’, the term has a nice Orwellian ring to it, but I’m not sure they exist, unless it’s the big corporations and the banks. Perhaps your science correspondent can enlighten us.

  5. Heather, I applaud your actions and your sterling defence, but I might just disagree when you say “It restored my beliefs that despite the problems we are facing with regard to opposing corporate power, shreds of democracy are visible in small pockets.” There may still be a few shreds of democracy, but that that is anything to give us hope that things might change is perhaps being too optimistic. This government, if I might dignify this multi-omni shambles with that epithet, totally ignores the will of the people, unless it suits their agenda, like the tiny majority in favour of Brexit, which probably no longer exists.

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