Blockers to the left of them, blockers to the right of them...

Posted by petespeller — 3 February 2014 at 1:16pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

David Cameron has been pulling out all the stops to make sure fracking goes ahead in the UK. Tax breaks, bribes, compulsory purchases, you name it, he’s trying it. But there’s one thing that neither he nor the fracking companies expected, the check-mate move that could keep Britain frack-free.

You see, when they drill, the frackers don’t just drill down, they drill sideways as well. Sometimes for up to 10km from the actual drilling site. This enables them to maximise the amount of shale rock they can smash apart to release the few scraps of gas trapped inside. However, whilst the frackers might have permission to drill at the site, they will cross a lot of property boundaries over the 10km of the horizontal well and if they don’t have permission from every one of those property owners as well, they commit common law trespass.

Landowners near Fernhurst, Sussex have signed up to our Wrongmove legal block, denying permission for fracking on their land which sits inside the South Downs National Park. So when Celtique Energie marched into town they found the site they had permission to drill on was surrounded by a legal block. If they drill sideways more than a few hundred meters in any direction they will break the law. This makes it nearly impossible for them to operate.

This tactic is being replicated across Britain with more than 25,000 people signed up to the legal block. But the government is fighting back. Ministers are considering changing the law to allow fracking under people’s homes without the owner’s permission. However, changing a long-established piece of law such as this is not easy, will take a long time and would require a vote in Parliament. It is not something they can simply do.

In the meantime, the law stands. If you do not give them permission, they cannot drill. Join the legal block and make your own check-mate move against fracking.

Read a detailed Q&A on Greenpeace Energydesk.

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