9 March 2018
Mole Valley Epsom and Ewell Green Party is outraged at the draconian injunction applied for by the UK Oil and Gas Company. This wide reaching injunction is brought against ‘persons unknown’ and seeks to outlaw protest against oil drilling activities at sites across Surrey and Sussex, including Leith Hill, Horse Hill and Broadford Bridge. The injunction includes peaceful, legal forms of protests. Should the injunction be granted, peaceful protestors could find themselves imprisoned, fined or having their assets seized.
Local residents have been campaigning against the proposed oil drilling at Leith Hill since 2009. A Protection Camp at the site has also been in place for 18 months. A previous injunction was granted to Europa, another oil company involved in the Leith Hill site, preventing local residents from visiting the Protection Camp and supporting the Protestors living there. This new injunction however is much wider ranging, covering legal forms of protests such as slow walking and asking supply companies to withdraw their services at oil and gas sites.
Julian Everett from a local group A Voice for Leith Hill commented "On initial viewing, this appears to be a jaw-dropping attempt to debase and subvert our judicial process to the ends of unfettered corporate greed. This injunction would profoundly impact our rights to freedom of association and to lawful protest, and I have every faith the courts will robustly repel any such attack on our core British values of justice and democracy."
Kevin Blowe, of the policing monitoring network, Netpol, said:“This latest interim injunction is another attempt by the onshore oil and gas industry to stifle opposition and severely restrict the right to freedom of assembly. The sweeping nature of the injunction is extraordinary. By seeking to prevent any interference with UKOG’s “economic interests” – a term that could mean almost anything – the company seems to suggest that the only “acceptable” protests are those that have no cost impact on its business and no effect on its share price.”
The application for the injunction will be heard on Monday 19th March at the High Court. Local campaigners will be challenging this injunction and Mole Valley Greens will be supporting them in standing up to this shocking attempt to silence opposition to fossil fuel extraction.
Lucy Barford, Communications Officer for Mole Valley and Epsom and Ewell Green Party
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