More arrests in Sussex fracking protest


Police arrested two anti-fracking campaigners during a third day of protests at the West Sussex village of Balcombe yesterday.

The protesters were arrested in clashes at the site where energy firm Cuadrilla want to start drilling for shale gas deposits. Police also charged 12 protesters who were arrested on Friday. Those charged included two teenage boys.

The village has become a focal point for a diverse group of campaigners united by their concerns about fracking – where high-pressure liquid is pumped into cracks in the rock to split shale rock and release gas – and the use of chemicals in this process.

Superintendent Steve Whitton, from Sussex Police, said: "Protesters are being asked to clear entrances to allow access to the site, and where they have refused following repeated requests we have arrested them."

Activists described the police response as "disproportionate". They called on the Government to change its policy on on-shore oil and gas exploration as they cautioned that oil rigs and sites could become widespread.

Drilling is expected to begin on the site tomorrow.