All five of the Balcombe anti-fracking campaigners on trial at Brighton Magistrates’ Court were today found not guilty of obstructing the public highway and failing to comply with conditions imposed by a senior police officer.
All five vowed to continue their campaign against fracking and to stop the exploitation of shale gas and oil.
The peaceful protest highlighted widespread opposition to fracking - a controversial process where a mixture of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground, under high pressure, to force gas and oil from rock layers.
Cuadrilla has been carrying on exploratory drilling at Balcombe to see if the area has oil and gas bearing rocks.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion said:
We were peacefully protesting outside Cuadrilla’s site in Balcombe to highlight the environmental impact of fracking, particularly its role in accelerating climate change.
We are pleased that the court upheld our right to peacefully protest against fracking, but this judgement is not a victory or cause for celebration.
We will continue to campaign to end fracking and will only celebrate when that has been achieved.
In the light of the UN’s latest report on climate change, it is clearer than ever that exploiting new sources of fossil fuels such as shale gas is fatally undermining the Government’s stated ambition to protect Britain from the worst impacts of climate change. The only safe and responsible thing to do with shale gas is to leave it in the ground.
Drilling for shale gas could also cause severe harm to our water resources, countryside and wildlife. The current regulatory framework is simply not fit for purpose - putting communities and our environment at serious risk.
Now, more than ever, the government must show some leadership.
As a first step, David Cameron must announce an immediate end to fracking and redouble efforts to make the most of the UK’s rich renewable energy resources.
Public support for shale gas drilling is falling, whilst support for clean energy such as wind and solar is growing. The Government should listen to the public and to climate scientists and stop letting oil and gas industry lobbyists dictate UK energy policy.The trial coincided with the release of two major UN studies on climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report warned that greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels were rising faster than ever and highlighted that we can still avoid the worst impacts of climate change but only by urgently switching to renewable energy, reducing energy demand and phasing out our use of fossil fuels.
An earlier IPCC report concluded that climate change is already happening and examined the impacts of climate change such as storms, droughts and flooding as well as the risks of inaction on health, food security and water supplies.
Climate scientists agree that delaying action to cut carbon emissions is dangerous and will increase the costs of tackling climate change significantly. Experts are clear that around 80 per cent of unexploited fossil fuels will have to remain in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change .
Caroline Lucas said that the way forward was being shown by initiatives like REPOWER Balcombe, a new community cooperative set up by local residents with the aim to generate the equivalent of 100% of the village’s electricity usage from clean, renewable energy sources.
REPOWER Balcombe’s spokesperson Joe Nixon said:
We all need energy, but buying dirty fossil power from giant utilities is no longer the only option.Caroline concluded:
Advances in renewable technology mean that communities like ours can now generate the energy we need ourselves, locally, in a way that benefits us directly instead of big power companies - and helps the environment instead of harming it. This is win-win for Balcombe and for the planet.
I know that this is very important to a large number of my constituents, because so many of them have written to me about the environmental risks posed by fracking, and the urgency of tackling climate change.Caroline Lucas did not have any recourse to public funds in order to fight her case.
All five of us would like to thank all of the supporters who have turned up to support us today and thank the thousands of people who have sent letters, emails and tweets to express their support.
Great news that the courts have declared Caroline Lucas not guilty. Of course the arrests should never have occurred, nor the courts used in this way, but thankfully the right outcome has been achieved. Protest is a fundamental democratic right. Society benefits greatly from the courage of people like Caroline Lucas, those willing to take a stand for what they believe in.
it's a real pity that Britain's politicians Tend to Have Mixed views.
Caroline is quoted as saying... The only safe and responsible thing to do with shale gas is to leave it in the ground.
The same surely can be said with regards to Tobacco.
after-all Cigarette smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death in the UK.
and About 100,000 people in the UK die each year due to smoking
Yet here in what is Supposedly meant to be a Christian Country, Members of Parliament Have Made it Legal to Knowingly Take something from the Earth That damages Health and cause 100,000 People to die in the UK.
and by making it legal
members of parliament Have in affect put profit before principle and have thoroughly misused their authority and by doing so have encouraged insensitivity and greed.
yes the very ones condemning people struggling to survive on benefit, permit people to misuse tobacco
as a means of making a Living.
and so now it is completely natural to walk into a Shop or supermarket and see shelves stacked high with cancer causing boxes of cigarettes.
and again this is meant to be a Christian nation but how can it be?
when it's political leaders that love to remind us of how Strong their faith is, decide that it is right to ignore christian principles so that they can focus on what is most important to them which of course is money.
and yet the bible that was inspired of god and beneficial to those that value it
clearly stated that it is the love of money that is the root of all evil.
the people behind the slave trade showed more love for money than for the people they mistreated.
and the people behind the Cigarette business also show more love for money than for the people they cause to go astray each year.
and because the government of Britain is extremely corrupt and greed driven as well as thoroughly hypocritical, they are are able to do what they do year after year without a care for the harm they do because they know that it takes a wicked corrupt government to allow a cigarette business to grow that causes 100,000 preventable deaths to occur every year in the UK.
and then they take it further by allowing people to use so called electronic Smoking to become the norm.
the current government are having a whale of a time doing what it is doing regarding benefit reforms
and they never miss an opportunity to put the blame for those reforms at the feet of the previous so called government.
the sad reality is they are all the same.
they all misuse their authority and put the making of money the most important thing and this is why now 100,000 people needlessly die every year and this is why they are at each others throats regarding fracking.
Caroline said The Government should listen to the public and to climate scientists and stop letting oil and gas industry lobbyists dictate UK energy policy.
anyone that Protects a business That causes 100,000 preventable deaths to occur in the UK every year
is not going to listen to principle that would prevent those 100,000 deaths from occurring.
no because tax revenue is oh so important even if it is in reality blood money
that doesn't matter to them because they are so hardened and corrupted after years of misusing their authority and putting profit before principle.
let's see Caroline Lucas Stand up and Condemn the Cigarette Business and the Misuse of Government which is the means by which that wicked greed driven business has be able to grow.
but somehow I got a feeling she would be silent?
after all it the norm now for the British government to draw tax revenue even when the means causes 100,000 needless deaths to occur every year.
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