Protesters’ Balcombe encampment to be dismantled by county council

Anti fracking protesters chant and sing from the confines of a police approved area. Pic Steve Robards
Anti fracking protesters chant and sing from the confines of a police approved area. Pic Steve Robards
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Protesters could be removed from a Balcombe site close to an exploratory drilling site if a county council order for possession is accepted.

West Sussex County Council has instructed its agents to seek the order to remove people, tents, canopies and caravans from London Road, which is close to where Cuadrilla is completing exploratory drilling work.

Earlier today London Road was closed as protesters pulled a caravan across the carriageway.

The council, as the Highways Authority, says it is taking action over increased concerns for the safety of all road users.

Notices were served on Monday requiring protestors to vacate the land by 9am today (Tuesday) but, because this did not take place, the council has now instructed its agents to take court proceedings.

A spokesperson from West Sussex County Council said: “We would re-emphasise the statement we issued yesterday that this action is being taken on safety grounds to protect all road users.

“We would hope that people will still leave of their own accord, and, again we would encourage protestors to use the defined area where peaceful protest will be facilitated.

“This has been set-up to strike a balance between the safety of road users and the democratic right of people to protest lawfully.”