Greenpeace: Landowners can work together to block fracking 'trespass'

Campaigners change tack in fight against fracking

Householders are being urged to block plans for widescale fracking in Britain by denying permission for drilling companies to extract oil and gas from underneath their homes.

Environmental group Greenpeace is calling on local residents who oppose shale gas or oil exploitation near them to join together to assert, what they claim, are common law rights to forbid the “trespass” of energy firms from conducting activities below their property.

The legal challenge, which was launched in Preston, Lancashire, was joined by residents from the Fylde and campaigners from Balcombe, West Sussex, who have been fighting Cuadrilla over energy exploration close to their communities.

Lawyers for Greenpeace claim that a Supreme Court ruling in 2010 in which Mohammed Al-Fayed sought a share of the proceeds from an energy firm after it drilled for oil under his Surrey estate paves the way for mass action by concerned citizens.

Five justices rejected the former Harrods owners’ demands for compensation and damages but unanimously upheld the claim of trespass.

Environmentalists said that ordinary homeowners must give their permission before horizontal drilling - which could see gas removed from under their land - can begin close by and claimed that the industry is planning to ride roughshod over individual rights in the dash to recover oil and gas

However, the industry group representing operators described the challenge as “extremely misleading”. The UK Onshore Operators Group said in a statement: “Operators in this country are abiding by the law, which states that activities at depths of over a mile under the ground do not impact landowners. However, in line with the law, operators will inform all landowners in a very clear and transparent manner.”

Under UK law, underground resources are the property of the Crown. The Government is in the process of issuing a 14 round of licences for petrochemicals which campaigners say will cover two thirds of England. Green groups fear it could lead to mass industrialisation of the countryside whilst polluting water and air around exploration sites.

A moratorium on fracking activities – which involves fracturing gas-rich shale rock with water, sand and chemicals - was lifted in 2012 following concerns over two seismic events around Blackpool.

The Government remains keenly committed to exploiting unconventional energy reserves. This summer the British Geological Survey estimated 130 trillion cubic feet of shale gas could be recoverable onshore, mainly from across the north of England - the equivalent of 40 years of UK supplies.

Greenpeace spokeswoman Anna Jones however said fracking was a "desperate ploy" by the Government to keep the UK hooked on fossil fuels.

She said: "Fracking is risky for local environments, risky for our water supplies and risky for the global climate. People are right to stand up and say 'not under my land you don't'."

Andrew Pemberton, a Lancashire dairy farmer said he was worried for the ecology of the Fylde near Blackpool and would be joining the protest. "I'm supplying milk to 3,000 households, and if for any reason my water became contaminated, my business would be ruined and my livelihood destroyed, as well as the livelihoods of the 16 families who work for me. Fracking is dangerous and short-sighted. We should be keeping this gas in the ground,” he said.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla CEO, said: "This country pioneered subsurface infrastructure. All of our existing subsurface underground rail, water, gas, telecommunications and electric development has historically succeeded in legal coexistence with surface property rights. Newer technology such as geothermal energy and carbon capture and storage will also have to negotiate this.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz