Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Bailiffs clear last few hardy fracking protesters from Balcombe site
Anti-fracking campaigners face the end of the road after being evicted from a roadside camp.
Just a few hardy campaigners remained on grass verges outside the idle drill site at Balcombe.
Bailiffs acting for West Sussex County Council cleared the remaining handful of tents and trailers after asking campaigners to leave.
Activists hugged each other as they said goodbye and carted away their belongings as police closed the B2036 London Road.
The eviction follows a High Court possession order awarded to the council last week on road safety grounds.
Campaigners have been protesting since the summer against energy firm Cuadrilla, which was drilling for oil and gas.
A designated protest area close to the entrance to the Cuadrilla site has now been created but camping is not permitted.
Following the court order, activists pitched tents on lawns outside City Hall in Chichester on Saturday, protesting against hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process used to extract shale gas.
Council leader Louise Goldsmith met activists and was praised for helping to rebuild trust, and campers left Chichester camp yesterday morning.
But after executing the eviction at Balcombe a high-profile campaigner accused the council leader of cynicism.
Vanessa Vine, of Frack Free Sussex, said: “So much for yesterday’s ‘peace talks’ with West Sussex County Council.
“Suspicions are now confirmed that Ms Goldsmith's cynical assurances of listening to and cooperating with Sussex residents were merely mollifications designed to tidy up the protectors on her front lawn in Chichester, who left in good faith first thing this morning.
“It was within her remit to implement neither eviction nor injunction at Balcombe, as made clear to her in yesterday’s meeting. True colours are now flying high.”
Ms Goldsmith insisted promises brokered with campaigners still stood.
She said: “The meeting on Monday was very fruitful and I certainly learnt a lot.
“I want to re-assure people that all the promises made at what was a very constructive meeting will be honoured – there will be another meeting in December with the same group to look at ways of facilitating a wider debate on fracking and a date is already in the diary.
“I will make myself available to any members of the group if they want another discussion sooner.”
Ms Goldsmith will write to David Cameron to urge a national debate on fracking.
Comments are closed on this article.