Legal

Angus and IGas protest injunctions renewed at High Court

181213 Tinker Lane TLCLG

IGas site at Tinker Lane at sunrise on 13 December 2018. Photo: Tinker Lane Community Liaison Group

Injunctions sought against protests at sites operated by IGas and Angus Energy has been renewed by a High Court judge.

But His Honour Simon Barker QC accepted some challenges made at a hearing this week by an anti-fracking campaigner.

He also reduced the legal costs requested by IGas. And he ordered both companies to drop two controversial lists of individuals, groups and web addresses that had accompanied previous versions of the injunctions.

Judge Barker refused permission for the campaigner, Ian Crane, to appeal against his ruling. But Mr Crane said he would consider seeking leave directly at the Court of Appeal.

Brockham lorry1 Brockham Protection Camp

Delivery to the Angus Energy site at Brockham. Photo: Brockham Protection Camp

The injunctions cover Angus sites at Balcombe in West Sussex and Brockham in Surrey and IGas sites at Misson Springs and Tinker Lane in Nottinghamshire and Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

They were brought against “Persons Unknown” and prohibit trespass on the sites and unlawful interference with access along private access roads and the public highway.

The injunctions specifically outlaw direct action protests, such as slow walking, lock-ons and lorry surfing. Protest is banned in exclusion zones along delivery routes around all the sites, except Ellesmere Port. Some of zones continue for more than four miles.

People who breach the injunction order could be held in contempt of court and could face imprisonment, fines, seizure of assets and extensive costs.

Granting the orders, the judge said he had accepted arguments made by Mr Justice Morgan, who had approved previous similar injunctions for Ineos, another shale gas company.

He said the injunctions did not prevent anyone exercising their rights under articles 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act to freedom of expression and assembly.

He rejected arguments made by barrister Paul Powlesland, for Mr Crane, that injunctions created a parallel legal system with harsher penalties for offences already covered by the criminal law. He also did not accept Mr Powlesland’s case that the injunctions would have a chilling effect on opposition or that the fear of costs in contempt cases would deter people from protesting.

The judge said previous evidence of obstruction and public nuisance on the highway justified granting an injunction for the Ellesmere Port site, even though it did not have planning permission.

But Judge Barker accepted Mr Powlesland’s argument that roadside verges should not be part of the exclusion zones. He also said there should be a change in the wording in guidance notes accompanying the injunctions. They had said that someone who encouraged others to take actions that would breach the injunction should themselves be in breach. The word “encourage” should be replaced by “incite”, the judge said.

He also said the injunctions should not include lists of names, to which early versions of the orders were sent by Facebook message in what looked like formal legal service.

The IGas list had been compiled by the company, and purported to name people or organisations opposed to the company’s activities. But the list included the website of the Tinker Lane community liaison group, which works with IGas to disseminate information about company operations.

The court heard that the Angus list was bought from a security firm, which compiled it on behalf of another oil company applying for an injunction at another site several years earlier. It included names of people who had never visited the Angus sites and had no involvement in protest or campaigning.

Judge Barker said:

“In my judgement Angus Energy’s approach was misconceived.”

He said it was “regrettable” that people believed they were being served with the injunction.

“I accept it was genuinely intimidating and distressing to be named and served.”

IGas sought costs against Mr Crane, saying he had prolonged the hearing because he made arguments that had been rejected in previous injunctions cases.

Judge Barker rejected the company’s original bid for IGas costs covering preparation and the entire two-and-a-half day hearing attended by two barristers and four solicitors. He also reduced the sum requested for incremental costs and ordered Mr Crane to pay £1,200.

181211 Brockham UWOC

Angus Energy’s Brockham site, December 2018. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Reaction

IGas

The chief executive of IGas, Stephen Bowler, said this evening in a formal statement to shareholders:

“We are pleased that the High Court has renewed this injunction which gives assurance to employees, contractors, suppliers and the general public that they can go about their lawful business without intimidation and unlawful activity from activists.

“We have continued to experience situations where activists are putting themselves and others at risk, which is unacceptable.  We have a duty of care to take the appropriate steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in and around our sites.”

Challengers

Mr Crane said the result was not what he had hoped for. But he said involvement in the case had secured important changes in the order.

“We have to keep chipping away at these injunctions. It is critical that injunctions sought against “persons unknown” are challenged.”

He also said his lawyer had introduced new arguments that had not been presented at previous injunction hearings.

Vicki Elcoate and Pat Smith, who were “interested parties” in the Angus injunction, said:

“We are relieved that the Judge saw fit to strike out the list of names in the injunction which were wrongly included.

“We know how distressing it was to the people concerned and how intimidating it is to be stalked on Facebook by an oil company and served with an injunction through Facebook Messenger.

“To have to fight this without legal representation because of the cost – and prepare for the case and speak at the High Court was extremely one-sided.

“Angus Energy had a QC and five more lawyers in its team. It is inexcusable that people who have at one time or another objected to an oil drilling proposal on their doorstep have to go through this to clear their names. It is welcome that the Judge listened to the members of the community caught up in this.

“However we are still left with an injunction that pushes ever further the limitations on protest and aims to silence the huge opposition around the country to onshore oil and gas exploration. There appears to be a growing trend for injunctions against all forms of protest and these particular injunctions in the commercial courts need to be challenged at Government level”.

The Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, who represents the area including the Angus Energy sites, said this evening:

“These are the most restrictive injunctions on oil and gas protest yet. Each one goes a bit further than the last – we’re moving towards a massive clamp down on peaceful protest. These oil and gas companies say that’s not their plan, but it is what is happening.

“All over the South East local communities are being rail-roaded by these big corporate interests who can afford to go to the High Court and buy injunctions. There’s no equality here.

“At the same time they’re using social media to frighten and intimidate local residents by serving them with injunctions that accuse them of being unlawful protestors.  This is about the erosion of our civil liberties in the face of a ruthless industry, which aims to wreck our climate, air quality and countryside”.

Links

IGas said the notice of its injunction and a copy of the full text of the order will be made available at http://IGasplc.com

Angus Energy has not commented on its injunction. A previous version of the Angus injunction documents is at http://www.angusenergy.co.uk/site-and-exclusion-zone-injunctions/

DrillOrDrop report of IGas and Angus Energy case

DrillOrDrop reports of challengers cases here and here

Reporting at this hearing was made possible by donations from individual DrillOrDrop readers

 

 

 

44 replies »

  1. NO FRACKING in southern England /Surrey /Sussex /Weald valley /Angus Energy/ Balcombe Brockham .END OFF Stop trying to hand fracking on Angus Energy.Drillor drop

    • Gordon
      I do not see a reference to fracking in the report outwith INEOS being referred to by a judge as ‘another fracking company’, similar to I Gas I guess.

    • If you must write “end of” at the end of a post In an attempt to lend a post with no credibility, some credibility, at least spell “of” correctly 😉

      Just sayin.

  2. Well well, good morning ladies and gentlemen, what do we see here?
    Firstly, thanks to Ruth and Paul at Drill or Drop, who have usual have done a Sterling job of providing all of us such accurate and inciteful journalistic expertise in keeping us all informed of the events here.

    As a polarised opposite to such genersosity, there will no doubt be lots of crowing and childish screaming from the rooftops from the Enemies of Humanity today?

    But as usual we will sit and watch their, by now only too familiar antics’ and babbling.

    And then when they have gotten all that nonsense out of their system, we can calmly clean up after them, just as we have always had to do with this insane anti democratic greedfest that is the fracking and associated avoidances of the word activities in this collapsing abused country, and we and our future generations will have to do if we do not stop this farce dead in its tracks now.

    And when we have tidied up the debris and all that mess of regurgitated triumphalism, we can discuss what this really means for ourselves, democracy, the future if our children and that of this climate compromised planet.

    I’ll see you when we have cleaned up the mess left by these fracking invaders, just as we always have done to clean up the mess of totalitarian invaders in this country.

    Have a nice day, for children and adults everywhere!

  3. Good morning.
    Cuadrilla red-lining and beyond at PNR yesterday means more incremental damage done to our Community and Environment so they’ve been stopped yet again.
    All the action is deep down so far meaning the Melon Man claims repeated by Cuadrilla are totally irrelevant and now totally embarrassing for the Liverpool University scientists who must be wishing they’d never got involved.
    Don’t forget although the Fylde is naturally faulted and unstable as the local road network and leaning properties clearly demonstrate, many other targets of the fracking industry have major instability issues due to the legacy of the coal mining industry.

    • Peter Roberts

      Re naturally fractured. The world is naturally faulted, so the Fylde is in good company, ie nothing special.

      If it ( the shale ) were naturally fractured, then the gas would not be there, and no one would be attempting to fracture it.

      I am also not sure that it is unstable. The BGS do not think so ( they say that the UK is stable ).

      So the Fylde is, like the rest of the country, naturally faulted and stable.

      The issue would be that it is being un naturally fractured, and a tad less calm when this happens. A bit less calm than Cuadrilla would like.

      For ex coal mining areas, these have already been raddled by mine workings, so maybe the faults are more relaxed about it all. Unless all faults in the world are critically stressed at all times .. which I doubt.

      • Suggest you compare and contrast heavily faulted shale beds of the Fylde with the thin largely unfaulted beds of the thin US shale plays. Many of the faults in The Fylde are critically stressed as Cuadrilla know and have had to publicise in their hydraulic fracture plan. Hence the majority of the recent activity at one point with the two largest seismic events. Probability of a critically stressed vertical fault. Being on a stable plate in the world doesnt mean it’s not got stressed faults. Of course it’s natural. Just like tectonic plate boundaries and earthquakes and volcanoes are natural. Lubricating fault planes with fracking fluid and the resulting earthquakes is not natural. The noticeable effects on the surface may be due to this fault continuing all the way up through the geological bedding to the surface. On the premise Cuadrilla did not ‘pick’ the absence of the Millstone Grit above the site, there’s a good chance they haven’t ‘picked or published this fault.

        • Richard

          Yes, the point was that the fylde is not particularly unnatural in itself…. but that does not mean it is similar to shale plays in America.

          I also can compare the lucky largely unfaulted coal measures in Pennsylvania with our much more faulted coal measures in the uk. Not so badly faulted in the East Midlands Coalfield, which allowed much more successfully mechanised mining than other areas

          Indeed, the Skelmersdale Basin was an example of difficult mining conditions for longwall faces, Ditto the fate of the Burnley coalfield.

          So, the fylde is faulted, but not naturally fractured ( it it’s entirety ), not all faults are critically stressed although, as you say, many are.

          No doubt more information on why the seismic activity is so….active, will turn up in due course.

          • I’m surprised by some of your statements Hewes62. Engineering studies show that the best shale plays are naturally fractured and if they weren’t the gas would be virtually unrecoverable. Thermogenic methane accumulates over millennia in boundary zones of those natural fractures (which tend to be planar in form). That’s exactly what is being targeted. As I understand it, the idea behind successful recovery is to choose a direction of horizontal drilling that will intersect as many of those planes as possible. Then, just as you can imagine a Rubik’s cube expanding (slightly) by blowing air into the centre of it, that’s what happens with the each frack, with either sand or ceramic grains fed in under pressure to act as proppants, holding the cracks open to allow the gas easy passage back to the bore hole. No doubt some cracks will be extended by the fracking process and there will be a little extra fracturing near the shaft when the perf charges detonate but mainly you’re trying to get at the gas that has built up within existing boundaries.

            Faulting is different altogether – intersecting several strata as they do. As the targeted sedimentary layers in the UK show a lot more twists and convolutions than those idealised (layer cake) models of Permian basin strata in the U.S. there’s many more chances that ancient gas accumulations to have been disturbed, possibly ages ago, and released or squeezed out in the process. Not only are the extra dangers of further slippage and seismicity pretty obvious when you think about those pre-stressed faults but there has to be added risks of fluid and gas migration possibly across vertical boundaries, lubricating the faults along the way.

            • Phil

              I agree and see your point. In shale gas and fracking ( Michael Stephenson ) 2015, this is covered in chapter 3, including in fig 3.2 a picture of natural cracks in the Marcellus Shale, in a stream bed in New York State.

              The point is also made that all rocks have natural cracks or fractures.

              I think I put a ‘not’ where it should not be.

              It made me smile when UKOG noted that their target formation was ‘naturally fractured’. But they meant that the fractures were open for business or just blocked with debris ( and in some opinions the accompanying shale is not open for business, but although naturally fractured will need fracking to make it all work ).

              Fracking opens up existing fractures and may create new ones.

              Plus Peter Roberts only mentioned faulting, so I must have fracking on the brain!

              So, the world is naturally faulted, but I am not sure that the Fylde is unstable, any more than any other naturally faulted area in the UK.

      • Hewes62, you are obviously correct, my mistake, faulted is the word in point. Simple typo/brain error!
        Faulted to the point that constant land movement around the Fylde is evidenced by a drive around our road networks.
        That makes the Fylde, like ex-mining areas, a very bad and dangerous place to carry out industrial scale unconventional hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. Multiple earthquakes of variable strengths make this an obvious conclusion although test fracking so far has only been at low pressure and of short horizontal wells.

  4. “But as usual we will sit and watch their, by now only too familiar antics’ and babbling.”

    Pretty well sums up Ian Crane and his court appearances – thanks Phil C. Who pays his legal costs and fines we wonder?

    Interesting to read that the protestors actions have contributed significantly to the Judge’s renewal. Hard to argue with facts….

    Perhaps if they stopped “obstruction and public nuisance on the highway” the Injunctions may be removed?

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

        • Good morning ladles and jellyspoons, boys and girls, for all of you not quite awake yet, its the 9th fracked (or not) Sunday morning the 16th December 2018, the vestiges of storm dierdre have cleared and the light of day shines on the good, the bad, and yes, even the frackers too!

          Well, well, speaking of storms, what stormy days we do live in don’t we? The Theresa May storm revealed she had paddled up a dry bottled brexit creek of her own making, and then lost the paddle in “negotiations”? She lost her DUP support, in spite of bribes and promises of extremist hegemony, and they were the only fracking supporting party she could dredge up from the bottom of the barrel in the last and furthest colony of a tragically divided and ideologically compromised Ireland. The old British Empire divide and conquer game, as old as the The mountains of Mourne and dirty as toxic fracking waste water. That old game never ceases to insult does it?
          Revolt in the tory ranks and cries for no confidence (we know about no confidence in tory fracking insanity don’t we boys and girls?) Demands of resignation and a change of leadership, all jostling for position and pretending to support her at the last minute?
          But Theresa only just barely scraped through, but we all know once those cannibalistic (cannabis-istic?) tory long knives are out, they never get sheathed again until they are buried deep in their own leader?
          What price fracking support then we wonder? But there are the tory Big Oil and Gas paymasters to appease aren’t there?
          And we see, ladles and jellyspoons, boys and girls, is a rub that will chafe and chafe and chafe?

          Its like an episode of House of Shards isn’t it? Shattered and fractured by their own actions, if it wasn’t so tragic for every ignored UK tax payer, who paid for this miserable farce, it would be almost funny, but not very.

          So with all these two tonne bags of flour and giant melons, not to mention R8 LMX’s hitting the walls and windows and doors of the government with fracking farce at speed, there is surely something there to cheer us all up isn’t there?
          How about this, just for fun?

          “Step On”
          With the deepest of apologies to the Happy Mondays, but I am sure you will understand.

          Renamed to:

          “Stepped Upon”

          By “The FrackCrappy Sundays”

          You’re droppin’ your melon man, you know you talk so sh(!)t man
          You’re droppin’ your melon man … Call the EA cops!

          Hey quakemaker, come away from that plan
          You know she’s gonna take away your promised land
          Hey good lady she just wants what you got you know
          She’ll never stop until she’s taken the lot
          (say say say say say say)

          Gonna stamp out your fire, she can change your desire
          Don’t you know she can make you forget you’re a man
          Gonna stamp out your fire, she can change your desire
          Don’t you know she can make you forget you’re a man

          You’re a man

          (You’re droppin’ your melon man, you speak so sh(!)t)

          Hey quakemaker she got golden plans I tell you
          She’ll make a stranger in your own land
          Hey good lady she’s got Black Gold on her side she got a double
          Tongue you never think she would lie

          (oh they lied, oooh they droppin’ their melon man)
          (oh they lied, oooh they droppin’ their melon man)

          Gonna stamp out your fire, they can change your desire
          Don’t you know they can make you forget you’re a man
          Gonna stamp out your fire, they can change your desire
          Don’t you know they can make you forget you’re a man

          They gonna step on you again, they gonna step on you
          They gonna step on you again, they gonna step on you

          Hey quakemaker they got golden plans I tell you
          They’ll make a stranger in your own land
          Hey good lady she got Black Gold on her side she got a double
          Tongue you never think she would lie

          Gonna stamp out your fire, she can change your desire
          Don’t you know she can make you forget you’re a man
          Gonna stamp out your fire, she can change your desire
          Don’t you know she can make you forget you’re a man

          They all gonna step on you again

          There, that was fun wasn’t it? Have a good Sunday with family and friends, and remember, all those bags of flour, all those melons falling from a great height, and all those R8’s hitting the walls at speed, they are just the beginning, there is much more excitement to come yet!

  5. Judge Barker refused permission for the campaigner, Ian Crane, to appeal against his ruling. But Mr Crane said he would consider seeking leave directly at the Court of Appeal.

    AV8.1 – ‘AGENDA 2040 :

    The Rush to Trans-Humanism’

    In ‘The path to a New Reality’ Ian presents his analysis of recent events which illustrates the increasing desperation of the ruling elite, as the masses begin to ‘wake up’ and realise the enormity of a multi-generational deception. Quoting extracts from published documents, Ian demonstrates that Climate Change was considered as a viable means of keeping the population ‘occupied’ almost 50 years ago. From 9/11 through the London Bombings of 7/7 and on to the London Olympics of 2012, this is a fast-moving presentation that will shake you to the very core of your Being.

    https://ianrcrane.com/all-dvds/ian-r-crane-engaging-in-the-game

        • No they don’t. Some of his conspiracy theories are pants. On the other hand he has some credibility as an observer and reporter of the industry you support, along with the ability to give those people worst affected a voice… his documentary ‘Voices from the GasFields’ is a good example of that where his voice does not dominate and the conclusions are reasonably sound and still prescient. He’s a mixed bag, like you Kisheny.

            • I addressed his more ‘way out’ ideas above. I fully understand your need to try and discredit someone who makes cogent arguments against unconventional gas development – which you totally fail to respond to yourself. Rather you want to distract others from taking in what they’ve got to say on those matters.

        • [Edited by moderator]

          A memo was leaked last week speaking of an instituted disinformation campaign following Theresa May’s announcement this year of the new government policy being one of blatant propaganda.

          These instituted disinformation agencies are instructed to be targeted against any subject whatsoever on social media and internal media international fronts in order to character attack and discredit anyone who threatens the propaganda policy of the government..

          Their methods are proposed in theory to counter any Russian use of media to attack government policies, but the remit is now to attack anyone and everyone regardless of the truth and to turn the entire social media platform into an untraceable disinformation insane melee that no one will be able to tell the truth about anything because the, and i quote the word from the text “trolls” will drown the website in the sort of personal attack and abuse we see here.

          This was from a US website, but essentially outlines the use of these disinformation agencies and their despicable methods [edited by moderator]

          So there we have it. Interesting isnt it? We see this all the time here from the Big Oil and Gas PR hot deskers dont we?

          Quod Erat Demonstrandum isnt it boys and girls!

          [Edited by moderator]

          Politics are just engines of institutionalised division and and polarisation, that is all that institution has ever been, and i would be saying the same against labour or any other party, if they rolled out the same insanity as the tories are doing in England today.

          [Edited by moderator]

          • [Comments remoIved]

            [Anyone who wishes to view videos Ian Crane has made on subjects other than fracking can find them on YouTube]

            • [Edited by moderator] I do respect him for his comments and reports on fracking.

              Curiously that is one subject you seem to have totally avoided kishy? Funny that? Since that is the actual subject of this web site? But perhaps that is the one subject you cannot have anything derogatory to say?

              That would about sum it up wouldnt it?

              [Edited by moderator]

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