The energy firm that wants to drill for shale gas on the Fylde coast will be back in court next week as it takes further legal action against a group of anti-fracking protesters.
Cuadrilla – along with 10 local farmers – want to extend a temporary court order preventing campaigners trespassing on land on and around the sites where it is seeking permission to drill.
Legal action was started to prevent a repeat of occupation of farmland for almost three weeks in the summer, which saw protesters from around the country descend on the Fylde coast to object to the controversial practice.
Last month, an interim injunction was granted at Manchester High Court, following fears over futures protests, after the judge agreed to adjourn the hearing to give the defence more time to prepare.
The hearing is set to resume on Wednesday.
With Lancashire County Council, next month, set to discuss Cuadrilla’s application to drill – using a process known as fracking – at two sites on the Fylde coast, Little Plumpton and Roseacre, the firm is concerned protests could intensify.
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla chief executive, said: “We hope the court will extend the interim injunction against illegal trespass on local farmland.
“We also think it is important to support the landowners in asking for an order of costs against any named trespassers.
“This illegal trespass has already had a significant detrimental impact on a local farmer’s business and we hope this action will prevent any recurrence.”
Anti-fracking campaigner Tina Rothery said: “I see this court case as an opportunity to answer the question ‘why on earth did you do that?’
“My concern is for the safety of future generations. I believe there is an obligation to protect vital resources like air and water.”