Bid to block occupation by fracking protestors

Protest: The camp at Little Plumpton, near Blackpool
Protest: The camp at Little Plumpton, near Blackpool
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Farmers and gas exploration company Cuadrilla are taking legal action to ensure that anti-fracking protestors cannot return to occupy farmland.

Ten Fylde farmers, supported by Cuadrilla, have served a claim for possession against trespassers who have been occupying farming land at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, near Blackpool, since August 7.

The site – which is not one of Cuadrilla’s proposed exploration sites – formed a base for Reclaim the Power’s protest activity.

The claim details the detrimental impact that the illegal trespass has had on one affected farmer’s business and on his family.

This includes denying the dairy cattle the grazing they need as the occupation has allegedly taken over a third of the farm’s grazing land and resulted in lower milk yields.

The claimants have also asked the court to consider imposing injunctions so that no future trespass can take place on farmland at or surrounding Cuardrilla’s proposed shale gas exploration sites.

The case is listed for hearing at Manchester High Court on Thursday.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla said: “As with all the recent so-called ‘direct action’ by protestors, this illegal occupation of farmland, damaging a local farmer’s business and causing stress to his family should not be tolerated.

“This is why we are joining with local farmers to start legal proceedings that we hope will prevent this kind of activity in the future.”

The action is being taken mainly on behalf of the Wensley family, who own the occupied land.

A spokesman for the family said they did not wish to comment.

Police meanwhile are still investigating the occupation of chamber of commerce offices in Blackpool by protestors on Monday.