Barrels and pipes used in 10-hour fracking demonstration

Coun Gina Dowding and Coun Miranda Cox embrace outside court
Coun Gina Dowding and Coun Miranda Cox embrace outside court

Anti-fracking campaigners used barrels and pipes during a lock-on protest at the entrance to Cuadrilla’s site, a court was told.

Three councillors are among 12 people charged with obstructing the highway outside the gas exploration site at Little Plumpton on July 3.

They are further accused of preventing Cuadrilla staff from going about their lawful work under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act.

Fylde councillor Julie Brickles, 52, of Harbour Lane, Warton. Kirkham Town councillor Miranda Cox, 48, of Ribby Road,Kirkham and Lancashire County Councillor Gina Dowding, 55, of Aldciffe Road, Lancaster deny the charges.

Prosecutor Cecilia Pritchard told the hearing at Blackpool Magistrates that 12 defendants had locked on using barrels and pipes across the entire entrance of the Cuadrilla site on the A583 road.

She said: “This blocked any Cuadrilla staff from entering the site and any vehicular access. The protest lasted from about 8am and the last defendant to be freed was at around 6pm.”
Certain evidence had been agreed between the prosecution and defence including the fact that a BBC news report of the incident quoted a Cuadrilla spokesman as saying the protest had not affected work on the site.

Footage revealed the scale of that day’s events with anti frackers manning two towers built at each side of the site entrance. PC Robin Hardiman told the court: “I made the last arrest that day – Jeanette Porter – she said something like she accepted there was no point going on because the others had been arrested and a gap had been provided for vehicles to get in and out of the site. She was crying...quite emotional there was no singing no camaraderie she was the last and she became despondent and she self released her from her lock-on device.”

(Proceeding)

Other nine

Sarah Boyle, 30, of Mowbray Road, Fleetwood, Barbara Cookson, 66, of Lawrence Grove, Liverpool, Nicholas Danby, 55, of Preston New Road, Inskip, Daniel Huxley-Blythe, 35, of Rutland Road, Ansdell, Catherine Jackson, 49, of Mowbray Road, Fleetwood, Michelle Martin, 45, of Queensway, Warton, Alana McCullough, 52, of Wingrove Road, Fleetwood, Jeanette Porter, 31, of Shepherd Road, St Annes and Nick Sheldrick, 36, of Clayton Crescent, South Shore.

They all deny the charges