Despite endless controversy and clear environmental dangers, fracking company Cuadrilla have been granted a licence by Sussex Council to drill for shale gas in the village of Balcombe. Local villagers are furious about the decision not least because the practice has been linked to everything from earthquakes to flammable drinking water.
A local campaign against Cuadrilla has been gathering support following the example of other protests around the UK. Today saw a significant victory for activists and local people as drilling was successfully disrupted.
Early this morning (July 25th) a small group of environmentalists blocked a lorry carrying drilling equipment from entering the site. Security guards provided by G4S were unable to intervene as the action occurred on a public highway. By the time the police arrived more activists had showed up in a chip fat powered coach and were joined by and increasing number of locals with their children. Sensing an impending PR disaster the police backed down and ordered the driver of the vehicle to leave the area for the rest of the day.
A protest camp is now being set up at the gates to cause permanent disruption to fracking operations.
Photos by Guy Smallman