PROTECTION AS USUAL AT BALCOMBE COMMUNITY PROTECTION CAMP.
Press release from No FiBS:
PRESS COMMENT Monday, September 16th FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No FiBS (No Fracking in Balcombe Society)
West Sussex case against Balcombe Camp ‘deeply flawed’
This morning at the High Court of Justice, the Strand, a judge took less than an hour to dismiss the attempt by West Sussex County Council to evict the Balcombe Community Protection Camp. The case was ‘deeply flawed’, she said.
This was much more than a simple eviction. Given that the court notice was issued on Friday lunchtime, there had been little time for council for the defence to study the documents and prepare their case. There was no discussion of human rights law and freedom of assembly. And nowhere in the submission was it stated that Cuadrilla’s planning permission was to run out on September 28th. The judge ordered the case to be adjourned until October 8th. Council for the Camp expects it then to be either withdrawn or dismissed.
West Sussex County Council will pay costs. Council for the Balcombe Community Protection Camp, although acting pro bono, has asked that West Sussex Council Council should pay a donation to a pro bono charity fund.
A tense assembly of Balcombe villagers, anti-fracking campaigners and many protestors from the site filled Court 37 this morning – standing room only and permission from the judge to sit on the floor.
‘Justice Prevails!’ said Graham Mackie, who lives just beyond the village. ‘Thanks to all the wonderful people who made it happen. And the pro bono legal team who supported them. ‘
No FiBS member Douglas Wragg added: ‘This is very good news. This should send a message to the County about the sloppy way they’ve behaved throughout – over permissions and regulations, as well as over this eviction attempt.’
Cuadrilla are bound by the terms of their Planning permission to cap the well and leave the site by September 28th. The protest camp will remain, with the blessings and support of the majority of the Balcombe community, for as long as Cuadrilla occupy the site.
The Camp was rejoicing early afternoon: ‘ We are so happy that we can now stay to finish our protest, and then leave in a peaceful way once Cuadrilla have left,’ said a spokesperson. ‘This will give us time to clear and clean up. And to rethink and regroup, for future action against oil and gas drilling – in Balcombe and elsewhere in the country where new drilling sites are in the offing.’
No Fracking in Balcombe Society firstname.lastname@example.org
To Louise Goldsmith at WSCC:
Dear Louise, I am delighted by the court decision. Lets be clear, this has little to do with safety and more to do with control. We , as the judge said, in this country still have human rights, which means we will not, as you so desired, be put in a pen like sheep at your convenience. It would now be marvellous if you could turn your undivided attention, into getting Cuadrilla out of our poor little village by the 28th.
The Argus ONLINE: Juliette Harris, a Balcombe villager for more than 30 years, said: “Eighty-five per cent of people don’t want Cuadrilla in Balcombe.
“The majority of the villagers have been supportive of the protesters, and they have been down there in their hundreds.
“The protesters I have seen are decent, committed people who have been out in all weathers, and who have been demonised by the press and deterred by the police.
“We are thrilled that the judge thought that West Sussex County Council’s application to evict was flawed. The council has done nothing to assist us and everything to help Cuadrilla.
“It’s time the council paid attention because it is us who pay their wages.”
Cuadrilla declined to comment on the hearing.
Coverage from media:
Balcombe fracking protest eviction notice ‘flawed’
Fracking protests: setback in bid to evict campaigners
Fracking protesters can remain at Balcombe until October, court rules