Local residents fighting oil drilling, including a Green Party member, were among those arrested yesterday (January 9) in a police swoop on the oil drilling site at Brockham.
Two Dorking Mums and a local Grandmother were arrested and released on bail in the middle of the night from a detention centre in Redhill. They had been at the site to monitor police and oil company activity and to make sure the protestors resident at the roadside camp were fairly treated. Five people were arrested in total.
“A huge upswell of support”
“It’s scare tactics and a way of making sure local residents are intimidated by heavy handed policing to stay away from the oil drilling sites at Brockham and Leith Hill”, said Jacquetta Fewster, Mole Valley Green campaigner. “But there is a huge upswell of support against the drilling from the local community and they should be able to protest peacefully and stand at the site to make sure the police are acting lawfully and the oil company stays within its planning consent conditions”.
Angus Energy, which owns the Brockham oil site currently at a low level of production, says that its new plans means exploiting 24 million barrels of oil in each square mile beneath Brockham – that would involve 160,000 lorry movements for each mile. There are also concerns about the impact on the drinking water aquifers affected by drilling and on air quality. No planning application has been made for this massive increase.
At the time of the arrests ten lorries were attempting to access the site from narrow Old School Lane.
“A dangerous and deeply unpopular method of fossil fuel extraction”
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, said:
“Only a few weeks ago, the Network for Police Monitoring released its report highlighting the ‘bully boy tactics’ being employed by police forces, that have been put under huge political pressure, to squash anti-drilling protests. This is why I’m particularly concerned about the reports coming from campaigners in Brockham. It is also why I have written to Police and Crime Commissioners across the South East calling on them to respond to the concerns raised by NetPol.”
“The scientific consensus on climate change has never been greater. It is clear that the best chance we have of averting catastrophe is by keeping fossil fuel reserves in the ground. These processes are a dangerous and deeply unpopular method of fossil fuel extraction. They also have profound and acute impacts on local communities; public opposition has never been higher while support has never been lower.
“An authoritarian crack down on British citizens right to protest will not change that fundamental truth. I and my Green colleagues will continue to stand up for and stand alongside protesters across the UK.”
Notes to editors:
- To arrange an interview with Keith Taylor MEP or for further information please contact: Liam Ward, Press Officer to Keith Taylor MEP: 075188 64210 0207 250 8418 firstname.lastname@example.org www.keithtaylor.org.uk
- Those arrested are being supported with legal advice by Green and Black Cross, which was set up to help local communities fight environmental struggles across the UK.