Cuadrilla changes injunction on protests at its Preston New Road drill site

The court injunction granted to fracking firm Cuadrilla to curb protests at its Preston New Road site has been weakened.

Saturday, 15th February 2020, 5:00 pm

The order was granted to the firm in 2018 to prevent trespassing on the site following a long series of protests at the site by environmental groups.

Now, following the halting of fracking operations for the foreseeable future under the current Government's moratorium, Cuadrilla applied to the court to have the injunction changed.

It also follows a ruling made by the Court of Appeal last year on a similar injunction obtained by Ineos for its own drill sites, which struck out sections relating to protests on roads, including slow walking protests, climbing on to vehicles. It also cut out a section on protests against the supply chain.

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Protesters locked together at the front of the Preston New Road drill site. Actions like this resulted in Cuadrilla getting an injunction to restrict protests

Cuadrilla's new order prevents "persons unknown" form trespassing on the land near Little Plumpton, plus six specifically named people who have protested there in the past, including the three campaigners who had challenged the injunction in court but had lost.

The border of the land is marked by a blue line painted across the road entrance to the site.

Anyone breaking the injunction could face contempt of court proceedings resulting in a fine or prison term.

The new order has dropped the prohibition of lock-on protests, climbing onto vehicles and slow walking in front of vehicles outside the site. Action against Cuadrilla’s supply chain of contractors is also no longer included.

The company stated: "Cuadrilla, following the cessation of Hydraulic Fracturing, applied to vary the order granted by HHJ Pelling on the 11th of July 2018.

"On the 8th of January 2020 a varied order relating to Trespass on the PNR land was issued by the High Court."

Anti-fracking campaigners who have stood down their vigil at the site when the Government moratorium was announced in November said it was good that some of the clauses had been deleted but said it should never have been granted in the first place as it was inappropriate for companies to use High Court injunctions to prevent meaningful protest.

A spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire said: "We are, of course, pleased to see that the terms of the Cuadrilla injunction are diminished but we continue to regard the use of injunctions to curb legitimate and peaceful protest as a misuse of the law."