A judge at the High Court in London has granted an interim injunction to IGas for sites in the East Midlands and Cheshire.
The draft order, published online on the IGas website, covers sites at Springs Road and Tinker Lane in north Nottinghamshire and at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.
The interim injunction was granted by Mr Justice Morgan, who recent granted a similar injunction to Ineos. This is now the subject of a case at the Court of Appeal.
The IGas injunction was considered at a private hearing on 31 August 2018 and granted on Monday 3 September 2018.
It covers three categories of “persons unknown”. It prohibits:
- Trespass on IGas land
- Unlawful interference with access to IGas land
- Obstruction of the highway on specified exclusion zones, including by slow walking, lock-on and lorry surfing protests
The court order states that any breach of the injunctions is a contempt of court which could lead to imprisonment, fines or seizure of assets.
A statement from IGas said the injunction “does not prevent anyone effectively exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression”.
The order will be considered again at a hearing on Tuesday 2 October 2018.
People who wish to challenge the injunction should send evidence to the court and serve it on IGas by 4pm on Friday 14 September 2018.
Stephen Bowler, chief executive of IGas, said:
“We have given careful consideration to seeking this interim injunction as we fully respect the right to lawful and peaceful protest. However, there have been a number of incidents where activists are putting themselves and others at risk and we have a duty of care to take the appropriate steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in and around our sites.
“We are pleased that the High Court has granted this interim injunction which gives assurance to employees, contractors, suppliers and the general public that they can go about their lawful business safely and without the risk of harm resulting from any unlawful activity undertaken by activists.”
The court required IGas to serve the order by notices at the site and leaving copies at protest camps at Misson Springs and Tinker Lane.
The company is also permitted to serve the notice on an agreed list of organisations and groups by email, private message, website contact forms, Twitter or Facebook.
The shale gas sites at Misson and Tinker Lane are currently preparing for drilling. The first borehole is due to be drilled at Tinker Lane in the final quarter of this year, IGas said in a trading update last month.
Testing gas flow at the existing borehole at Ellesmere Port site was refused planning permission in January 2018. IGas has appealed and the application will be heard at a public inquiry at a date and venue still to be confirmed.
Should this latest injunction be unchallenged or approved, it will be the fifth granted to onshore oil and gas companies in the UK in the past year. Oil and gas sites are currently covered by injunctions granted to Ineos (23 November 2018), Cuadrilla (extended in July 2018), UKOG (3 September 2018) and Europa (extended for 14 hours on 4 September 2018).