Fracking in the dock
Trial of fracking protesters due to start next week
Next week three protesters will go on trial for their role in a direct action against a fracking rig in Lancashire.
Protesters stormed the gas rig in Banks, Lancashire on 2nd Nov 2011.
The protesters were charged with aggravated trespass after they climbed the derrick (drill) and scaled the pipe handling system, effectively occupying the rig and stopping work at the site for a day.
They will plead not guilty based on ‘necessity’; asserting that stopping fracking is necessary in the context of run-away climate change and the damage it will cause the environment and local communities. The defendants will also be challenging the ‘lawfulness’ of what they say is a "new and damaging extractive process".
The defendants will be supported by a number of witnesses, both experts (including academics from the UK and US) and from the local community,
who will testify regarding the consequences of shale gas extraction, both in terms of climate change and more local effects such as water contamination, air pollution, severe health risks, earthquakes etc. The defendants aim to totally rebuke industry claims that fracking is a harmless ‘environmentally friendly’ way to extract fossil fuels and instead put the industry on trial. A report released last year by Cuadrilla, the rig owner, admitted that the hydraulic fracturing of its first well had caused several earthquakes.
The trial starts on Tuesday 10th July and is scheduled to last four days, until Friday 13th July, in Preston Magistrates Court.
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