You may remember back in 2013 when 4 Balcombe, West Sussex fracking protesters were acquitted of public disorder offences. A reasonable judgement upholding our democratic right to peacefully protest.
Fast forward. Wednesday ‘s Court of Appeal Judgement saw justice for the first 3 fracking protesters ever to have been jailed in Britain. This was a pivotal human rights judgement upholding the democratic right and liberty of freedom of expression for non violent direct action. After spending 6 weeks behind bars, the jailed 3 were immediately freed when it was ruled the original ruling by Judge Robert Altham had been ‘excessive’. It had been pointed out in several media outlets that this had been a particularly controversial judgement due to Judge Altham’s family business links with the oil and gas industry and their documented support for the fracking industry.
It should not go unsaid that the decision to grant fracking rights to Cuadrilla at Preston New Road in Lancashire was itself an affront to democracy given that Central Government had intervened to overrule the local democratic process. It was in October 2016 that Sajid Javid accepted Cuadrilla’s appeal and overturned Lancashire council’s rejection of the fracking site.
There are so many important issues at stack here; the obvious and outstanding environmental imperatives alongside our democratic and our human rights.
Recently Ireland joined France, Germany and Bulgaria in banning fracking. Labour in government will ban fracking because it would lock us into a fossil fuels energy infrastructure long after the point in 2030 when the Committee on Climate Change says gas must sharply decline. But more recently the forecasts have worsened further with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now reporting we have 12 years to act if we are to turn around the global climate change crisis.
Here is Jeremy Corbyn meeting with Labour Party members in the West Midlands speaking about Labour’s ban on fracking and sustainable energy alternatives.