UK Oil and Gas (and its family of companies) has applied to the High Court for an injunction which effectively stops any campaigning that affects its ECONOMIC interests.
However the draft injunction goes on to aim to prevent lawful “combining together” “where the predominant intention is to injure the claimant’s economic interests”.
The draft injunction names only “persons unknown” and is not site specific in this clause so it is effectively designed to stifle any opposition. For example briefing others to object to a planning application involving UKOG or hiring a minibus to attend a planning hearing.
This is draconian in its effect and counter to the right to assembly and the right to freedom of expression. It would have a chilling effect on lawful protest including many of the actions groups across the South East have taken to fight oil and gas drilling on their doorsteps (organising events, film nights, picnics, cake at the gate, lobbying contractors etc).
It could also potentially extend to more general climate protests if UKOG felt it might damage their economic interests.
There is already criminal law to deal with unlawful activities, and the injunction should have no part in defining what is legal and what is not in terms of peaceful protest. The effect of the whole injunction is to bludgeon people’s rights to peaceful and lawful protest and is a blatant attack on human rights. It should be fiercely resisted for the breadth of its potential reach.
We are gathering at the High Court to show the defendants support at High Court, the Rolls Building, 7 Rolls Buildings, Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1NL on Monday March 19th March at 9.30. We will update our Facebook page and this website when we have more details
UKOG has the drill site at Horse Hill in Surrey, where drilling is expected to start imminently, and a 40% interest in the site at Leith Hill. It also has sites in Sussex (Broadford Bridge and Markwells Wood) and on the Isle of Wight.
Part of the draft injunction deals with trespass on the sites or rights of way on them (a similar ban is in place at Leith Hill already).