Cuadrilla in legal bid to remove anti-fracking protesters

Protesters at Little Plumpton Protesters set up camp at Little Plumpton, with about 20 people believed to be at the site

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An energy firm and 10 farmers have made a legal bid to remove an anti-fracking camp from a Lancashire site.

About 20 protesters are believed to be on the Little Plumpton site near Blackpool, with the Reclaim the Power group recently using it as a base.

Cuadrilla, which has applied to hydraulically fracture for shale gas at Preston New Road, served a "claim for possession against trespassers".

It said the camp has had a "detrimental impact" on the landowner's business.

A spokeswoman for the protest group No Dash For Gas, which had members at the camp, said: "It is ironic that campaigners are accused of trespassing."

She claimed Cuadrilla had trespassed on land in Lancashire in 2012 to carry out a geological survey.

'Far from peaceful'

The claimants say the camp has denied the dairy cattle "the grazing they need" and resulted in lower milk yields.

They also want an injunction to prevent any future occupations of the land or surrounding Cuadrilla exploration sites.

A hearing is due to take place at the High Court in Manchester on 28 August.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla's chief executive, said: "This illegal occupation of farmland, damaging a local farmer's business and causing stress to his family, should not be tolerated.

"Whilst we accept the right to peaceful protest, this and other recent actions by protesters have been far from peaceful."

Tina Rothery, a local resident and part of the camp, said: "They are deceiving the local community into believing our three-week occupation of a field can cause anywhere near the distress that a shale gas operation will do to not just this farmer, but his very worried neighbours."

The protesters are set to be off-site by 27 August, No Dash for Gas said.

Cuadrilla has also applied to Lancashire County Council to hydraulically fracture for shale gas at a site in Roseacre.

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