A High Court judge has ruled against anti-fracking protesters following legal action started by energy giant Cuadrilla.
Following a hearing at Manchester High Court today, an interim injunction was granted preventing future occupation of land at and around the two Fylde coast sites where Cuadrilla wants to drill for shale gas.
The claim was served by the company, in conjunction with local farmers, following fears protesters may return to land off Preston New Road, where they camped for three weeks earlier this month, as the decision on Cuadrilla’s applications is discussed in November.
A solicitor representing Cuadrilla told the hearing: “As the deadline looms the appetite for these kinds of protests may increase.”
The order will be reviewed in October, following a request from anti-fracking campaigners for more time to review the claim.
Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said: “We welcome the Judge’s verdict to uphold the claim against illegal trespass on local farmland and we were pleased to support the landowners in these legal proceedings.
“We hope the court’s ruling will help deter this kind of unlawful behaviour in the future, which has already had a detrimental impact on a local farmer’s business.”
The energy giant, along with 10 local landowners, had asked for injunctions against protesters occupying proposed shale gas drilling exploration sites.
A group of activists had been camping at a site off Preston New Road, near Westby, since August 7 but subsequently left.
The site also saw the campaign group No Dash for Gas holding the Reclaim the Power camp, which took place last week.
Cuadrilla and farmers claim the camp has affected business for the landowners.
Cuadrilla has submitted a planning application to Lancashire County Council for exploration at sites in Roseacre and Little Plumpton, on the Fylde coast, and the decision is expected to be made in November this year.
The process of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves blasting shale rocks with a mixture of water, sand and chemicals in order to release gas or oil.