Campaigners and oil company clash over protest injunction appeal

170710 Broadford Bridge BBAG4

Protests outside UKOG site at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex. Photo: Broadford Bridge Action Group

A legal challenge to restrictions on protests outside oil sites in southern England has prompted conflicting statements from an oil company and campaigners.

Six women had been due to go to the Court of Appeal next month over an injunction granted to the exploration company, UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG).

This morning, UKOG tweeted that the appeal had been abandoned and indicated that the injunction remained “in full force and effect”.

But the campaigners, who live near UKOG sites, described the company’s statements as “misleading” and “threatening”. Their appeal had not yet been withdrawn, they said, and UKOG had made concessions.

ukog logo wide

The UKOG injunction was granted by the High Court on 3 September 2018. It had similarities to an order secured by the shale gas company, Ineos, a year earlier.

Two parts of the Ineos injunction were successfully challenged at the Court of Appeal, in a ruling made last month (3 April 2019). Three law lords struck out the sections applying to protests on the public highway, including slow walking, climbing onto vehicles and blocking the road. They also removed the sections on protests against the supply chain.

Today, a UKOG spokesperson told DrillOrDrop:

“None of the Ineos [appeal] ruling has applied to the UKOG injunction.

“We are now considering going for costs against the campaigners and Friends of the Earth”.

The spokesperson also said the “whole appeal” against UKOG had been withdrawn.

UKOG challengers

Women challengers to the UKOG injunction.

In a statement this evening, the women challengers responded:

“UKOG’s statement is inaccurate and threatening.

“The onshore oil and gas/fracking industry has already lost on all the important issues in the Court of Appeal in the Ineos case. UKOG knows this but they have apparent endless resources to sink into litigation however unmeritorious and unjust their case is. For a large company to stoop to such threats against concerned environmental campaigners and local residents is low even by their standards and is exactly the sort of behaviour that has the chilling effect on lawful protest and campaigning the Court of Appeal was so concerned about in the Ineos appeal.

“UKOG is wrong in stating that the appeal has been withdrawn although we intend to do so given that the points of principle that we fought UKOG on have already succeeded in the Ineos case.

“It is also wrong to say now that the Ineos judgment does not affect them. They have admitted in correspondence that it does impact their injunction and have proposed changes to it in light of the Ineos judgment.”

The women said they would continue their legal challenge:

“We will go back to the High Court not only so that the UKOG injunction can be properly cut back in line with the Ineos judgment but so that the Court can decide on the facts.

“We are confident that the Court will recognise and vindicate the lawfulness and legitimacy of our rights to oppose the danger and damage caused to the climate, the environment and our local communities of fracking and other unconventional fossil fuel extraction.

“UKOG may misrepresent the true position and this might give false confidence to their investors. But they are on shaky ground and our fight goes on – we expect the UKOG injunction (and others on the same draconian model like those obtained by Angus Energy, Cuadrilla and I-Gas) to be remade in line with Ineos.”

Friends of the Earth, which participated in the original UKOG injunction case, declined to comment this evening.

DrillOrDrop has invited UKOG to comment further.

8 replies »

  1. Those costs that INEOS will now recoup from other situations, Joseph? Planning committees beware.

    • Quick look at UKOG max share prices. ‘ Energy for Britain’ . What a joke.

      I understand why those who have lost so much money hang on to the bitter end in desperation of recouping at least some of their money but maybe it’s about time they wised up to the glaring reality of which way the share price is persistently trending and what that really means.

      • Better sell their Tesla shares then John!

        “I understand why”!!!!

        Excuse me but were you not the guy who stated you understood there was plenty of cheap oil and gas sloshing around the world just before the Beast from the East struck?

        Some oil exploration companies produce dusters but happily no where near the frequency of the anti dusters. Speculative lot the antis.

    • A curious stratagem by UKOG? Is this meant to excite a court case, or is it meant to intimidate and threaten the ladies in their efforts to enforce the ineos collapse and climb down to ensure that the conditions of the injunction, which contrary to UKOG claims, were indeed piggy backed on the failed ineos injunction attempts?

      It is more likely to be sheer empty bluster and puffed up posing in an attempt to enforce the present injunction conditions, but that is however essentially toothless in a court of law in all but such bizarre petty posing and puffed up display.

      Probably nothing more or less than an attempt at bolstering up their failing financial share status, which is threatening to collapse in ruins.

      Its like cornering burglars in your living room, it creates a desperate display of aggression and shouting and threats from the burglars just before they cut and run with your family jewels.

      I suspect the air tickets are all ready booked for the directors to scoot off with the company jewels to a place where no questions are asked.

  2. What a contrast between the U.K. and the USA, from the oil website………”A bill on the verge of becoming law in Texas would classify civil disobedience against the construction of a pipeline in Texas a third-degree felony, putting it on “the same level of felony as attempted murderers,” according to the Texas Observer, or equivalent to sentences handed down to “drive-by shooters who fail to hit their mark,” as Bloomberg put it.

    The legislation would elevate pipelines as “critical infrastructure,” classifying them in the same category as power plants and water treatment facilities. But it would also include projects under construction, going beyond current law, according to the Observer.””

    I guess not many here would go that but I can see the point about “critical infrastructure”

    • That is just another extension of the european invaders into America’s policy of “manifest destiny” which spelled the near genocide of the native Americans and enabled the white invaders to force the natives into the “reservations” which were then the most worthless land they could force them into. The natives were then victimised and marginalised into becoming mere inconveniences, their language and culture and their nomadic way of life forbidden and punished, their children stolen and indoctrinated, their future doomed to be isolated inferior citizens without rights in their own land.

      Since the native Americans and their supporters protested against the oil and gas pipelines across their starved and marginalised reservation ghettos, the European invaders were embarrassed and exposed by the Standing Rock protests where veteran soldiers pledged their allegence to protect the reservation lands and apologised for the attempted genocide of the native peoples.

      Now since the discovery of oil and gas under them thar reservations and they are in the way of oil and gas pipelines, now the European invaders want to further criminalise and victimise the natives just for objecting to oil and gas pipelines across “their” land.

      But as with the growing evidence for the human race being in the sixth major extinction event on planet earth, and the growing evidence of rapidly accelerating climate change. With protests against the lack of action on the climate worldwide, the corporate lobbies are now attempting to criminalise protest that embarrass them so much.

      Isn’t the natural ecology of the planet and all the species, those still left that is, “critical infrastructure”? isn’t the future of life on earth including the human race “critical infrastructure”? Isn’t the well being and health of everyone on the planet “critical infrastructure” isn’t the lives and health of our children and future generations “critical infrastructure”? Isn’t the human rights to freedom of speech and action, to life and health and freedom to object and protest against the destruction of their health, there ecology, their lives, their planet and those of future generations “critical infrastructure”?

      Clearly that corporate dummy puppet Donald Trump has been overturning and crippling all the EPA’s environmental protections of America in favour of giving free and unfettered reign to his insane corporate fossil fuel industry owners has no such considerations and does not give a damn for anyone or anything that he cannot “grab their pussy” for? And as for the utter insanity of profit at all means, even the destruction of the planets entire ecology, without which they have nothing, that is simply suicidal irrationality and has no validity in the real world.

      Finance and governments and corporations crow on a lot about “critical infrastructure” including the Nationally Significant Infrastructure version in the UK, but such claims always exclude the most critical infrastructure of all, that of the life and health and future of this planet, without that, there is no “critical infrastructure” for anything to exist at all.

      Protect the earth’s critical infrastructure, we can worry about lesser infrastructures once the earth’s critical infrastructure is protected and secured for everyone now and in the future.

      Now that really is Critical Infrastructure.

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