Balcombe: WSCC Going Back To Court

A council plans to return to the High Court to renew its efforts to evict anti-fracking protesters from outside a former exploratory oil drilling site in West Sussex.

West Sussex County Council said campaigners were putting themselves and others at risk by continuing to camp by a busy, unlit road with a 60mph speed limit.

The authority went to the High Court last month to ask for a possession order relating to the verges along London Road, Balcombe, where activists have been camped for more than two months.

But Mrs Justice Lang adjourned the application after describing it as "flawed'', with the result that if the council had not applied to restore it in a new form by today, it would be either withdrawn or dismissed.

Now the council has said it plans to re-instate its application, saying it cannot allow the camp to continue outside the site where energy firm Cuadrilla conducted test drilling which has now ended.

A council statement said: "The adjournment allowed us to return to court by October 8 if we felt we have sufficient concerns to support the application, and we believe this is the case.

"We will now be seeking a full hearing for possession of the verges. There is still a roadside encampment on this busy, unlit road which has a 60mph limit, and we believe the protesters are putting themselves and all road users at serious risk.

"As a responsible highways authority we cannot allow this to continue, so we will be returning to court and asking for a new hearing date, which we hope will be held in the very near future.

"Because our application will be going back to court, we have no further comment at this stage.''