4 August 2017
On Monday 31st July, INEOS Upstream - the UK’s biggest fracking firm - was granted an interim injunction against anti-fracking protesters, which seeks to prevent obstruction or interference in INEOS Shale activities, including companies in its supply chain (1).
INEOS has extensive licences to frack in Cheshire East, including the areas around Knutsford, Middlewich, Holmes Chapel, Sandbach, Alsager, Crewe, Nantwich & Audlem (2).
The injunction may yet be challenged in court and definitions clarified, as people have a legitimate right to peaceful protest under article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
However, perhaps what is more disturbing is the complicity of our government in facilitating fracking in the UK in the first place.
Many other nations around Europe have already banned the process in the light of increasing evidence of contamination to air and water and risks to public health.
In 2015 Lancashire County Council turned down planning applications to frack at a site at Preston New Road (Fylde), only to find the decision overturned by Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government Sajid Javid, without any further consultation with the local community.
The latest report from the government’s own survey on public attitudes to fracking shows support has slumped to an all-time low at 16%, with more than twice that number (33%) being opposed (3).
In a separate development this week it was revealed that data on air pollution in Cheshire East has been falsified to make it look cleaner.
Cheshire East Council has confirmed deliberate and systematic manipulation took place from 2012 to 2014.
Nigel Hennerley, Cheshire East Green Party’s energy & environment spokesperson, said: “It is clear that, if fracking were to go ahead, people may have little faith in the authorities that are supposed to be there to protect us.
“No wonder then that some might want to object and take peaceful action to disrupt an unproven, high-risk industry which has the real potential to contaminate our environment and damage our health for generations to come.”
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