Over 1,600 Lancashire residents have joined a Greenpeace legal bid to block fracking, activists revealed today.
The legal challenge was launched in October in Preston and is based on fracking companies’ plans to drill horizontally under people’s homes, a move that is unlawful without permission.
Greenpeace hopes to use the law to stop Cuadrilla and other companies to extract shale gas in areas where owners do not give their consent.
Liz Stanton, from Greenpeace Lancashire, said: “If you own land, your rights extend to all the ground beneath it. That means if someone drills under your home without permission it is a trespass.
“It has been great to see so many people in Lancashire willing to stand up and say ‘no, not under my house you don’t’.”
The growing number of legal block sign-ups comes as Energy Minister Michael Fallon announces “sweeteners” for local communities and prepares to announce new drilling licences across England.
Over 22,000 people have joined the Greenpeace block nationwide, creating a patchwork of “no-go” areas for the fracking industry.
Kate Harrison, partner in lawyers Harrison Grant, said: “The common law on this is clear. If fracking companies don’t seek and receive permission for drilling under people’s homes they will be liable for trespass.”
The number of people who have signed up to Greenpeace’s Wrongmove campaign include by postcode: Preston, 328; Wigan 90; Fylde 285; Blackpool 68; Blackburn 148; Lancaster 217.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “Like any other industrial activity, oil and gas operations will normally require the agreement of the landowners whose land is used.”