Legal

Horse Hill protest case dropped “in the public interest”

Two campaigners who locked themselves together outside the Horse Hill oil site near Gatwick Airport more than a year ago will not be prosecuted.

Protest outside Horse Hill oil site in Surrey, 10 December 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it had dropped charges against Gillian Fletcher and Steve Lowes because the case was not “in the public interest”. They had been due to appear at Staines Magistrates Court tomorrow (14 January 2021).

Both had been charged with wilful obstruction of the highway. It was alleged they locked their arms together in a steel pipe in front of the Horse Hill gates for eight hours on 10 December 2019.

The campaigners, members of the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion, were informed on 8 January 2021 that the charges against them had been dropped.

The CPS said:

“The decision to discontinue these charges has been taken because a prosecution is not needed in the public interest.”

The action was part of an ongoing protest against a subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas plc, which has permission to produce oil at the site for 20 years.

Gillian Fletcher, 58, from Wokingham, said:

“We carried out this action over a year ago to bring attention to UKOG’s unnecessary and destructive plans to extract oil and gas across the south east.

“They intend to industrialise our precious countryside and ruin our environment in order to extract fossil fuels which we don’t need and which will contribute to our own extermination. We and others will not stand by silent and allow them to do this.”

Steve Lowes, 49 from Staines, said:

“The Government has been using the current health situation to subtly erode rights of protest in a way which will be difficult to reverse when the situation changes. 

“They have been insisting on prosecuting peaceful protestors, forcing them to travel against their own guidelines to reach courts for hearings. 

“The dropping of our charges as ‘not being needed in the public interest’ is perhaps an indication not only that some prosecutors are aware of who the real criminals are in this scenario, but that they are starting to exert their independence from political interference.”

In November 2020, the CPS discontinued charges against two women and two men, also members of Extinction Rebellion, following a separate protest at Horse Hill in June 2020. In that case, the CPS said there was “not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction”. Extinction Rebellion said there was “abundant photographic evidence reported by news outlets”.

An interim civil injunction remains in force at the Horse Hill site, prohibiting specified forms of protest.

UKOG said in December 2019 that it was considering whether to take formal action against Gillian Fletcher and Steve Lowes for contempt of court. The company accused them of being “in clear breach” of the injunction. So far, UKOG has not publicly pursued the pair.

A legal challenge to the injunction is due to be heard at the High Court next month. It is the first interim injunction secured by UK onshore oil and gas companies to go to trial to decide whether it should be made final.

33 replies »

  1. Gillian Fletcher, 58, from Wokingham, said:

    “They intend to industrialise our precious countryside and ruin our environment in order to extract fossil fuels which we don’t need and which will contribute to our own extermination. We and others will not stand by silent and allow them to do this.”

    Ahem, I’d say:
    How many of these people enjoy all the benefits of fossil fuels, and continue to do so whilst hypocritically condemning them?

    All of them.
    Please prove me wrong, if I am wrong!

    • We are all hypocrites in that respect, you and me included, as here we are both using the energy intensive internet. Neo-liberalism is waging war on the planet, and thrusting us and our fellow earthlings to extinction, so it is right and proper to use the weapon of the enemy against them. We are all complicit in the suicide death cult that is capitalistic extractevism

      It’s not about whether we are hypocrites or not. It’s whether we are prepared to give up a substantial part of our living standards in order that others (species that is) may live.

      What are you,all readers of this blog, prepared to let go of?

      • Well, Mark, I am prepared to let go of many things-that I decide should be let go of.

        What I am not prepared to do is let go of many things that others, often ill informed others, tell me I must let go of-and quoting nonsense whilst they do so..

        For instance, I quite like using plastic-as can be seen on DoD- but I will not be told by others that is wrong as I make sure my plastic does not pollute the planet, just like I pay for my bodily functions to be removed from polluting the planet. If others are unwilling to do that, it is a shame, and can be remedied, but that is no reason for me to stop using plastic. So, I am not complicit. Neither do I want to revert to a yurt, and when I look in the mirror I still have (some!) canines and incisors, so, I use them as designed-together with molars. If others want to do different, fine.

        Maybe it takes promotion of moral superiority to cover why they need to stop the free press, but that was tried in 1930s Germany and was an attempt to cover up exactly the opposite, so, no, I will not be prepared to let go of the bits of the press that don’t please a few people. They might not please me either, but I do not have the arrogance to feel others should not think otherwise.

        So, in answer to your question, what I am NOT prepared to let go of is my freedom to choose. Which is what you will find is the case with a large number of people, and why a few decide their powers of persuasion are so poor they have to attempt to impose their will.

        Never ends well.

  2. Lovely picture….And what raw material was used to make their high vis suits,hard hats and sleeping bags…..any ideas from the well informed people out there?…..there will be no extinction because measures are already being initiated…..open your eyes xr ….when you slow walk or block traffic you CAUSE pollution, what are you going to say….yes but it’s only a small amount in the great scheme of things…..it’s happening….make people aware, yes, but dont make the situation worse, help to make it happen

  3. Congratulations to Woody and Molly and thank you for your selfless action.

    Kudos to the CPS for recognising that prosecuting peaceful protestors who are highlighting the climate emergency is not in the public interest.

  4. i like people standing up for there opinions 100%

    and they are not hypocrites like owning plastic possession made out of oil ie mobile phones ,lap tops and cloths or gas or oil in the home and transport using oil to get around and just use push bikes and feet

    these people should be let off so they can carry on showing people how to live with out oil why should we mess this world up any more .. keep up the good work

  5. Except, Trevor, they did NOT show that.

    Or, maybe you were trying to be ironic?

    And, if you ever have the misfortune to be within close proximity of something like a natural disaster eg. a hurricane, and need rescuing, you might just find that sorting out a messed up world, in those circumstances, relies upon oil!

    But you could always reject such assistance, because to do other would be hypocritical.

  6. Some presumptuous comments on here. I am not a fossil fuel user myself. I walk, cycle and for hauling goods I use a car that runs on wind or sunlight. Having to go to a devoted building to have a toxic liquid pumped into my car , which ultimately turns into soot in the air we breathe is a distant memory and seems ludicrous that we all used to do it 10 years ago. My car fills itself at home. No drilling, no transportation, refining, transporting, and nobody ever spilt a tanker of electrons in the sea. As for plastic, I shop at a zero waste shop. If i can do it.. potentially anyone can.

    • Wow!, you’ve hit the nail on the proverbial head Arthur! You use a car which runs on wind or sunlight, but the car in question required 100’s of barrels of oil derived plastics, a charging module of the same structure, the wind and sunlight capturing devices which, if it wasn’t for fossil fuels for the energy construction of all the above would never have happened! Hears a question for the above quiz, how do you believe we have come to a vaccine without the use of the byproduct of OIL? I do believe you will be taking the Covid vaccination ?💉 it has been extensively tested on mice, and has utilised Oil as a supporting component of its success, it has NOT been developed because the wind was blowing or because the sun shining!!

      Are you car, bike or footwear made of hessian?
      You car fills at home, but you seem to be missing the point!, where does you cobalt based lithium ion battery’s derive from mining, yes, refining, yes, transportation from the republic of Congo?, YES!
      The cataclysm of toxic deniability of the cobalt industry astounds me, people can be so ignorant!

      • Maybe Arthur has a friend called Barney, and the car can be propelled down the road with cries of Yabba-Dabba-Do, because otherwise there is indeed a lot of fossil fuel used to manufacture cars, and products derived from fossil fuel within them-even electric powered ones.

  7. Except, you then have to use plastic to let us know about all of that, Arthur!

    And, therefore, you ARE a fossil fuel user. Of course, you could keep a loft of pigeons to send your message far and wide, but, in this instant decide not to. So, you make choices and no need for presumption-we can see you DO use fossil fuel, presumably because you feel that is required to tell people you do something that you do not!

    However, what you wish to do is up to you. It certainly does not mean others either want to do the same, or will do the same as others insist.

    I do hope you do not need the increased output of artificial rubber from the chemicals facility linked to Fawley Refinery, which has been increased to assist with high medical demand due to Covid, but, unfortunately, a lot will. So, I prefer the feedstock for that travels a limited distance and comes from the tightest environment controlled area possible. Not sure that oil from Nigeria meets either of those criteria.

    Perhaps with the SBS required to get the Nigerian oil safely to the refinery, they could be allocated to HH?

    Another one for your quiz, Steve!

    • I don’t know why you berate a person that is taking responsibility, and doing a little to help the environment. You obviously have your agenda, but gradually we will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Yes, at the moment that is almost impossible, but every little helps,

      • Mike, you are right, we will gradually reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. But, you make the point yourself-gradually. So, for a long time fossil fuels will continue to be used by UK, and I do not think it responsible to have a higher proportion than is necessary produced and imported from overseas whilst that gradual reduction takes place. It may be a little (HH), although some state it is huge industrialization, but the little at HH is what helps the environment. All you have to do is look at the reality of producing the same quantity overseas and transporting it, in respect of the environment.

        So, not helping the environment, not even a little, but hindering it. Unless you are not concerned with impacts upon the environment over the horizon.

    • Yes Paul, 👏 When those wind turbines have no wind, and wood takes decades to mature, and for when it’s a dull cloudy day, with no power or heat from solar voltaic…

      Renewables really don’t tick all the boxes!

      • “Ahem, I’d say:
        How many of these people enjoy all the benefits of fossil fuels, and continue to do so whilst hypocritically condemning them?

        All of them.
        Please prove me wrong, if I am wrong!”

        You are wrong. What they actually said was:-

        Gillian Fletcher, 58, from Wokingham, said:

        “We carried out this action over a year ago to bring attention to UKOG’s unnecessary and destructive plans to extract oil and gas across the south east.

        “They intend to industrialise our precious countryside and ruin our environment in order to extract fossil fuels which we don’t need and which will contribute to our own extermination. We and others will not stand by silent and allow them to do this.”

        Steve Lowes, 49 from Staines, said:

        “The Government has been using the current health situation to subtly erode rights of protest in a way which will be difficult to reverse when the situation changes.

        “They have been insisting on prosecuting peaceful protestors, forcing them to travel against their own guidelines to reach courts for hearings.

        “The dropping of our charges as ‘not being needed in the public interest’ is perhaps an indication not only that some prosecutors are aware of who the real criminals are in this scenario, but that they are starting to exert their independence from political interference.)~

        Who is hypocritically condemning fossil fuels? Gillian Fetcher said:-

        ~(“They intend to industrialise our precious countryside and ruin our environment in order to extract fossil fuels which we don’t need and which will contribute to our own extermination.)~

        No condemnation of fossil fuels there, but a plea too keep UKOG from “industrialising our precious countryside and ruin our environment in order to extract fossil fuels which we don’t need and which will contribute to our own extermination”

        In other words, it was a protest against industrialisation of our precious countryside and ruining the environment for fossil fuels we don’t need. nothing about “condemning” fossil fuels themselves. In fact the word “condemn” isn’t used at all except by the writer above.

        The real hypocrisy, is in promoting the use of fossil fuels and products made from fossil fuels, and then condemning anyone else for using what the fossil fuel industry has made absolutely sure that no other form of energy was available until the rise of commercial wind farms that are still demonised. Then there are solar panels and hydrology systems and tidal. All provided free by the sun, gravity and the moon.

        In fact fossil fuels are enabled and created by sunlight in the first place and provided energy for countless living creatures who subsequently became fossilised creating the oil and gas deposits.

        But life on Earth has evolved out of the carboniferous age and the detritus remains of those ages has become fossilised and buried except for some surface deposits. Those deposits were rendered relatively harmless below ground, so that further life evolution was able to take place without being contaminated by millions of years of fossilised poisonous deposits.

        But the corporate petro chemical profiteers have almost exclusively concentrated on dredging up the most poisonous fossilised detritus of millions of years in order to burn and pollute above ground.

        The result of all that purely profit motivated exploitation that has for centuries poisoned the air, the water, the land and seas, and is now making all life hazardous on Earth unless the human race turns away from the inevitable death by petro chemical suicide and starts to concentrate intelligently on the future, not the past.

        The past is dead, long live the future.

        An intelligent species would move on to develop less poisonous methods of producing energy and making chemical concoctions out of the that poison and corrupt existing life. All products that have been concocted from fossil fuels, can be derived from living plant systems, there is not any need to dig any more out of the ground. All we need to do is to perfect those systems so that the method, and use becomes non polluting. That requires further study, since many fledgling renewable alternative energy and manufacturing systems of production carry similar, if significantly less risks to that of that fossil fuels synthesis.

        so, steps in the right direction, yes, but real effort and research is need to perfect and discover even yet more clean systems of energy production and manufacture. Much of that process has been curtailed and censored by the jealously guarded myopic fossil fuel mono mind locked insanity of continued petro chemical oiligarchs.

        Its not rocket science. We only have to look at nature and how natural systems solve the problems. But as usual, the impetus and incitive to do the intelligent thought processes must prevail.

        Not the stupid suicidal methods that have the only result of making a lot of outrageously wealthy individuals and corporations a hell of a lot more wealthy, whilst plunging the rest of us into a poisonous, diseased, life stripped world that we begin to see being manufactured around us.

        The uncomfortable truth, is that the Earth can no longer afford to support the human race that persists in basing everything on poisonous fossil fuels. Insect and animal species are already in the middle of the fifth extinction. That has been caused by suicidal stupidity money, political power, and greed. That has resulted in a suicidal culture of myopic mono mind locked insanity.

        More than 80% of all insects are extinct. Insects are the single most fundamental source of life for more developed animals. Destroy that fundamental balances of the life chain, and everything else collapses life a domino effect on all life on planet Earth. The human race has thought for for too long that they are the top of the food chain. But sweep away the bottom of the food chain and it all collapses and extinction is the result.

        Its happened before, it is happening again.

        But not because of natural climate change due to changes in solar activity or planetary collisions and near misses, or meteor strikes. But it is the human race doing it to itself at a far quicker rate than any extinction previously measured. It is that speed of degradation of the natural systems on the Earth that coincides with the rise of the use of fossil fuels that proves that this is a human caused disaster which will not go away if we just buy less plastic, or use less fossil fuels. The cause of the problem is our continued extraction and exploration for yet more of the cause of the problem, fossil fuels, and the corporate petro chemical industry itself which seems to be hell bent on speeding the entire world into one last gasp of air before it all goes pits up and belly down.

        Bees are dying off by the trillion due to pollution and petro chemical pesticides and that puts all other forms of life, plant and animal, everywhere on the planet in a steep decline. Pushing animal and insect life towards extinction causes disease and the more we destroy naturally evolved animal and natural fragile ecological flora and fauna life environments, the more animal and insect life will move into human activities because there will be no where else to go, and bring the diseases caused by us by the destruction of their natural ecological systems, right into out homes.

        Natures final weapon against an insane species. Look around you, do you think this present multifaceted disease pandemic is a naturally caused event? A coughing bat? A sneezing pangolin? What happened to their natural environment? And then there are the gain of function level 3 and 4 bio labs, busily making bio weapons “for our own protection” without the slightest oversight or cleanliness control?

        There are many forms of energy available to the human race. Electromagnetic spectrum energy pours out of the sun as far as 2.5 light years away. The moon provides tidal energy freely. The sun itself provides everything we need. Water itself is the ideal energy provider. H2O contains the most energy rich of all available resources. Living plants can provide everything that millions of years of fossils can. Chlorophyll is almost 90% efficient at converting sunlight into energy. And we use systems that provide 20% efficiency at most. Fossil fuel vehicles are only 20% efficient.

        We need to learn the lessons from nature. Nature has been here one hell of a lot longer than the human race. And all we can do is dig 500 million year old sunlight out of ground? The sun is shining now, and has done all that time ago, and still has a couple of billion years of useful energy yet. All for free. No digging and pollution required. All we have to do is be clever enough to use it.

        But still the backward looking profiteers only have only that one source of income that gives them vast amounts of money and power over every aspect of life. All other sources are suppressed, bought out, censored and hidden.

        Twas ever thus. But it wont be for much longer, however it goes.

        I did enjoy that!

        [Typos corrected at poster’s request]

        • How is a solar farm NOT an industrializing of the countryside?

          Of course it is, and often with a 99 year lease- much longer than the life of most oil sites.

          Wind turbines?

          Just the same. Although the lease may be somewhat shorter.

          Seems there are some questions that are only applied to fossil fuel, but not to alternatives, by some. Exactly the same with “subsidies”. Does that make a case? Not a sound one. Like saying football is a more dangerous sport than rugby because players head the ball.

  8. Phil C: are you going to reference your source of information? Cut and paste!! 😂

    So you want all which technology offers, but you also want Precious Countryside! So your not asking for much then…

    • No Elie, wrong again!

      All my own work old thing, and a lot of knowledge of course.

      Where do i say anything about cut or paste?

      And the reference for your source of information? Where is that? Nothing?

      Do you see any reference of information from your accompanying colleague either?

      No, clearly not…..

      GDYOR Elie…..or provide contrary source of information.

      How is the old Milankovitch cycle by the way?

      Wheels still fallen off? Too hot possibly?

      2020 the hottest year on record? Oh dear.

      Ooops!

      • Actually I did very clearly reference the Drill or Drop report above regarding Gillian Fletcher and Steve Lowes reported comments.

        Which, if you noticed, totally contradicted your “contribution” on the subject.

        Ooops!

        Again!

        This is fun!

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