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Judge orders anti-fracking protesters to leave their 'protection' camp

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Environmental activists who set up an anti-fracking camp at Upton in Cheshire have been served with an eviction notice by a Judge at Manchester’s County Court, meaning they will have to abandon the site by 4th December.

Upton Protection Camp (UPC) was first launched in April 2014 to stop IGas – an independent UK energy company – from carrying out site assessments concerned with the viability of future fracking.

The company obtained planning permission to test for coalbed methane, but the protester presence for the last 18 months made the necessary work impossible.

In court, the protesters cited Article 8 of the Human Rights Act in their defence, claiming that the site’s children had the right to a life there, and they also stated that some group members would be left homeless if evicted.

However, presiding Judge David Hodge QC said that the Human Rights Act did not apply in their case because the land used for the camp was privately owned.

He dismissed the camp residents’ claim that they had been granted permission to live there by the owner, and also added that he did not believe it was in any child’s best interest to reside in the site.

Last month, IGas successfully purchased the leasehold for the land, which removed any ambiguity regarding ownership.

The Judge served an eviction notice, giving the campaigners 28 days in which to leave the site.

In a company statement, IGas said: “We welcome the decision of the court which has made clear the protesters are occupying this site illegally.

“Whilst we respect the right to peaceful protest, we do not condone any activities that are unlawful.”