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Rigged Trial

This week saw the second anti-fracking trial in two months in Preston Magistrates Court.On 1st Dec 2011, protesters from Bristol Rising Tide occupied the test drilling rig, at Cuadrilla Resource’s Banks site, Lancashire, shutting it down for 13 hours.

This saw the trial of three of the activists involved, all of whom were charged with aggravated trespass. Unfortunately for Cuadrilla, it came out in the trial the company had exceeded the 3 months that they were allowed for drilling operations at the time of the occupation. Not only that, they had failed to meet a key condition to safeguard bird life from the adjacent Ribble Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest. This may mean Cuadrilla are in a breach of the Town and Country Planning Act and the Wildlife and Countryside Act. As Cuadrilla's actions weren't lawful, the defendants were found innocent- handing a major coup to the climate activists.

One activist, who faced a separate charge for failing to leave when ordered to do so by police, was found guilty and fined £250 and ordered to pay £750 costs. One of the acquitted activists was quoted as saying, “It’s great to go free but the threat that fracking poses to communities and the environment has not gone away. It is very likely that Cuadrilla will be fracking at sites in Lancashire in the near future. Do we trust a company that is prepared to flout its planning permission to handle a very dangerous technology like fracking?

Coincidentally just as this new trial of the Bristol activists is about to start things seem to be kicking off on their home turf. Another set of frackers, UK Methane Ltd, are about to submit a planning application to drill a Coal Bed Methane well in the Somerset countryside close to the River Avon between Keynsham and Bristol. Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is another form of unconventional gas, very similar in most respects to shale gas. The gas is trapped in coal seams rather than shale rock, but in every other respect is the same short sighted planet rapery you'd expect from Earth's enemies.

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So the landowner came, saw the numbers of protecters, the lock-ons, the bike-powered smoothie makers and the music, and returned home after refusing to talk to either the protesters or the press. But it isn't over – bailiffs could return at any time. Email GH your phone number if you want to be part of the phone tree or join the mailing list on the website:…

Convoys of trucks carrying equipment descended on West Newton yesterday, as Rathlin Energy commence their exploratory fracking drilling.

Anti fracking campaigners have got their hands on a Sussex Police report that details an 'emerging' nationwide strategy on protests against the controversial drilling technique. The report has been exposed in a report about the policing of the protests at Balcombe, West Sussex, last summer.

They've stolen our postal service, and are currently giving away the health service, education and prisons to their mates, what's next for this Government? Perhaps the most audacious theft yet - potentially all of our public land.

Artivists take on BPs sponsorship of the British Museum's Viking exhibition.

We started writing about three interesting but unrelated things happening in June. Here is an amalgamated version, which is worth a read.

As politicians get ready to debate the HS2 rail project for the second time, campaigners fight for secret documents to be released - and the environmentally devastating project to be shelved.

Re-occupation of the Hambach Forest, near Cologne in Germany, where activists occupy and fight the expansion of opencast mining.

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