Fracking protesters set to face eviction

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ANTI-fracking protesters are expecting to be evicted soon from the entrance to a gas drilling site in East Yorkshire after a court ruling.

Campaigners who have been at the site at Crawberry Hill, near Walkington, erected a barricade to stop equipment being carried onto the site where further testing is due to be carried out.

The energy firm Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited, which wants to do tests at Walkington and West Newton, were successful yesterday in repossession proceedings at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Campaigner Jon Mager, a retired council director, who travelled to London to make representations on behalf of protesters, who believe testing at the sites could be a precursor to full-scale fracking, said: “The judge made it very clear he was in no way suggesting that camping on the verge was other than a protest that could continue.

“There is now an eviction order – but they are going to have to be very careful as they will be dismantling a building with people in it.

“We now known from papers served as part of the eviction proceedings that Rathlin have 25 years with an option to extend another 25 years – 50 years of exploration and production when all they have ever publicly acknowledged is two years for Crawberry Hill and three years for West Newton.”

A spokesman for Rathlin said: “We acknowledge the decision of the High Court.

“Our actions are solely to allow us to recover our land and to continue with our lawful business.

“Once again, for the avoidance of any doubt, our work is targeted exclusively at the exploration and potential development of conventional oil and gas resources.

“Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited has not sought, and has no intention of seeking, any of the permissions required for developing shale or for the fracking of shale.”