Brighton's Green MP Caroline Lucas has been arrested at anti-fracking protests in Balcombe.

Her son is also understood to have been  among around 25 people arrested by Sussex Police at the demo today.

Ms Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “Along with everyone else who took action today, I’m trying to stop a process which could cause enormous damage for decades to come.

“The evidence is clear that fracking and undermines efforts to tackle the climate crisis and poses potential risks to the local environment.

“People today, myself included, took peaceful non-violent direct action only after exhausting every other means of protest available to us.    

"I’m in the privileged position of being able to put questions to the Government directly and arrange debates in Parliament, but still ministers have refused to listen.

“Despite the opposition to fracking being abundantly clear, the Government has completely ignored the views of those they are supposed to represent.  When the democratic deficit is so enormous, people are left with very little option but to take peaceful, non-violent direct action.”

Sussex Police said the arrests were made as officers cleared a large group of people in front of an emergency access to the Cuadrilla drilling site. 

Protesters encamped along the roadside had been joined by hundreds more from the nearby camp that had been established last Thursday (August 15), many locking arms and blocking the road and others gluing themselves together or attaching themselves to fencing and other items.

Officers had earlier removed a number of bicycles that had been locked together and left lying across the road, creating a serious safety hazard for the large group that had gathered there.

Superintendent Lawrence Hobbs said: "We had been expecting some form of direct action today and we had officers in place ready to deal with it. It has been necessary to close the road, but that has been done a number of times in recent days to ensure that safety of all those who are taking part.

"As we have said from the very start of this protest operation, we are more than happy to facilitate peaceful protest, but those who are intent on criminal action will be arrested."

More than 400 officers have been deployed on today's operation with mutual support from ten other UK forces.

Those arrested are currently being booked into the police custody system. Offences include assault and obstruction of the highway.

Protest group No Dash for Gas were among those breaking the news from the demonstration in Balcombe on Twitter:


Caroline Lucas and her son have just been arrested blockading #Cuadrilla in #Balcombe

— No Dash for Gas (@nodashforgas) August 19, 2013

This picture of Ms Lucas at the protest was taken by Argus chief photographer Simon Dack. 

The Argus: