Locals blockade Sussex shale gas drilling site

A group of anti-fracking campaigners has blockaded the road leading to Cuadrilla Resources’ drilling site in Sussex since this morning. They are trying to disrupt the firm’s activity after Cuadrilla […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A group of anti-fracking campaigners has blockaded the road leading to Cuadrilla Resources’ drilling site in Sussex since this morning.

They are trying to disrupt the firm’s activity after Cuadrilla was given consent to start drilling by the Environment Agency and the local council.

As a truck carrying equipment tried to enter the drilling site in Balcombe, protestors cut the vehicle’s brake lines around 8am. Images taken by the group Frack Free Sussex show a lorry has been hung with a poster reading “No More Dirty Energy”. Demonstrators reportedly allowed the brakes to be repaired shortly afterwards.

Sussex police were called to the site but have made no arrests. A statement from the constabulary said: “Demonstrators are currently blocking access for the lorry at the entrance to the site and we are in negotiation with them with a view to enabling the lorry to enter.” It added the demonstration of around 100 people was “peaceful”.

The Balcombe protestors said they had “no choice but to take matters into our own hands” to “protect ourselves from the threat [of] fracking”.

Alex Griffiths, one of the protestor taking part in the blockade said: “People are realising that if we are going to protect ourselves from this industry we are going to have to do it ourselves. After 5000 signatures on petitions and nearly a thousand objections being sent to the Environment Agency work is still going ahead”.

Cuadrilla could not confirm when it will begin drilling but said it was “disappointed” the protestors continue to block the site. The firm said it now has all the “necessary approvals” from all the regulators it needs to drill at Balcombe.

In a bullish addition to the statement, it added: “We plan to continue the approved activities as soon as reasonably possible.”

Last Friday the Chancellor announced generous tax breaks to shale gas developers which were criticised by environmentalists.