Weald Action Group: IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16th March 2018
President of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation calls on UKOG oil and gas company to withdraw its ‘undemocratic’ High Court Injunction and gives her unequivocal support for SE England environment defenders
Bianca Jagger, President and Chief Executive of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation (BJHRF) is calling for UKOG to withdraw its application for an injunction which she regards as ‘riding roughshod’ over legitimate and peaceful protest.
Ms Jagger’s condemnation of UKOG – the oil and gas company that is seeking an injunction to stop lawful protest at four sites in Surrey and Sussex – comes just 48 hours before a High Court hearing is due to start.
She has issued the following statement via the Weald Action Group – a strategic body supporting groups opposing gas and oil exploration across the South East of England:
“UKOG’s attempt to silence environmental defenders with an injunction is an attack on freedom of expression and democracy.
I recently participated at the launch of UNEP’s Environmental Rights Initiative at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. This critical initiative recognises the formal interdependence of human rights and the environment. Violations of environmental rights have a profound impact on human rights, including the rights to life, food, water, air, health, housing, sanitation, self-determination, civil and political rights. Those who struggle to protect the environment, the planet and its people should be celebrated. Instead they are being persecuted, harassed and in some countries, they are killed.
I am appalled that residents of South East England, are being threatened with intimidation and censorship for speaking out against the potentially irreversible damage to their way of life, to their water sources, to the air, and their environment by unconventional drilling operations. It is my duty as a British citizen and as President and Chief Executive of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation (BJHRF) to support the residents in their efforts to defend their fundamental rights.
In 2014 the BJHRF commissioned a report ‘A Human Rights Impact Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing and other Unconventional Gas Development in the UK.’ The report identified the following human rights violations resulting from this:
The rights to life and security of person
The rights to water and health
The rights to respect for home and private life
The rights to public participation in the decision making processes for environmental matters
The rights of future generations
The human rights dimensions of climate change
The harms and uncertainties of shale gas and oil extraction using acidisation are well-documented – it brings the risk of surface and ground water contamination, radiation, damages air quality, triggers seismic events and impacts on climate change due to CO2 emissions, fugitive methane emissions and the continued reliance on fossil fuels.
I call on UKOG to withdraw its application for an undemocratic and draconian injunction, which is a shameless attempt to ride roughshod over local peoples right to peaceful, lawful protest.”
UKOG has sites in Surrey (Horse Hill) and Sussex (Broadford Bridge and Markwells Wood) which are mentioned in the injunction papers; plus a 40% interest in the Leith Hill (Surrey) Europa site and on the Isle of Wight. Part of the draft injunction deals with trespass on the sites or rights of way on them (a similar ban is in place at Leith Hill).
While UKOG claims it will be using only “conventional” methods to extract the oil, yet the company seeks to use a technique known as acidisation, where diluted hydrochloric acid is put down a well to dissolve limestone, releasing the oil trapped within, as well as oil within adjacent shale formations.
The injunction application is due to be heard at 1030 at the High Court, London on Monday (March 19) and is being challenged on behalf of environment protectors from the Surrey and Sussex , who will be represented by civil rights lawyer Michael Oswald and his team at Bhatt Murphy solicitors.
PHOTO Call 0930 on Monday 19th March outside the Rolls Building, 7 Fetter Lane, EC4 A 1NL
For more information, background and interview requests, please contact media liaison for the Weald Action Group