There were nearly 200 arrests during the four month campaign, which saw daily ‘slow walks’ in front of Igas convoys as well as lock-ons and other stunts. The majority of those arrested have been acquitted, with Magistrates ruling that police exceeded their powers. The Protectors also allege that Greater Manchester Police fabricated a report of a flare being fired at a police helicopter.
Igas expect to have finished analysing the results of their exploratory drill by November but will need to submit a new planning application to frack Barton Moss. A legal ruling that Barton Moss Road is not a Public Highway may mean they will need to build a new access road to avoid the Protectors’ blockades.
Igas shares dropped below £1 today meaning the company last lost £120 million in value since January this year.
Local solicitor Simon Pook, defending those arrested, has expert evidence of possible groundwater contamination of the site, the first such evidence in the UK. This may be related to a reported ‘serious incident’ during the test drill, the details of which have not been released. Despite claims of tough regulation, the contamination was not found by the Environment Agency, but by local Greenpeace campaigner Elliott Bovill whilst on a morning walk from the camp.
James Walsh of Irlam and Cadishead Frack Free said “If Igas return, not only will the Protectors be welcomed back, but they will find a local community organised against them. Igas are not wanted on the Moss. Fracking is not wanted anywhere.”
Barton Moss Protectors and Irlem and Cadishead Frack Free will be supporting the People’s Climate March and Lobby of the Labour Party on Sunday 21st September 2014.