Dawn eviction of anti-fracking camp near Cuadrilla’s shale gas site

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Eviction of anti-fracking New Hope protest camp, near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 19 November 2019. Photo: still from live video by Mary Francis

Bailiffs accompanied by police have moved to clear anti-fracking protesters from a camp on the edge of Blackpool this morning.

Eye witnesses said eviction staff arrived with dogs at about 6.30am to clear the site, known as New Hope, near Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road.

People at the camp said they had been told they would be allowed back to their homes to remove possessions.

At the time of writing (9.30am) most residents were on the pavement outside.

There were complaints that no legal documents had been provided to people living on the camp.

The team behind the eviction, Able Enforcements from Bristol, said a team of 30 staff had joined Specialist Group International, which works to remove protesters from trees.

Able Enforcements said the eviction, of about 12 camp residents, had been done in consultation with Lancashire Constabulary without the need for a court order.

A statement from the company said it had used “common law rights to remove trespassers from private land”.

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Eviction of anti-fracking New Hope protest camp, near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 19 November 2019. Photo: still from live video by Mary Francis

pnr 191119 New Hope eviction Mary Francis 3

Eviction of anti-fracking New Hope protest camp, near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 19 November 2019. Photo: still from live video by Mary Francis

Steve Wood, operations director at Able Enforcements, said:

“This was a challenging job and a complicated site – these squatters have been here for more than three years, were well entrenched and are experienced protestors.

“Our main priority was to act with speed and surprise, to prevent them locking themselves to structures or trees, or to call up reinforcements from nearby camps.”

Opponents of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road operation said New Hope was established several months after site work began in January 2017.

DrillOrDrop will update this report with more details from the eviction.

This content was originally published here.

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