Ineos granted High Court injunction against trespassing at shale gas sites
Energy giant Ineos has secured a High Court injunction prohibiting unlawful activities such as trespass or obstruction at its shale gas sites.
An interim injunction was granted until a full hearing in September, covering unlawful acts by campaigners opposed to fracking.
Ineos Shale is involved in exploratory work such as geological surveys in the East Midlands but not any hydraulic fracking.
A number of protest groups have been launched to fight fracking, while well-established organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth also campaign against the technique of recovering gas and oil from shale rock.
Tom Pickering, operations director of Ineos Shale, said it was a "pre-emptive" move based on direct action taken against other shale gas operators such as Cuadrilla, Dart Energy and Third Energy as well as against the firm's own supply chain.
"What others have experienced was going to be coming our way," he told the Press Association. "We are serving it to those who threaten unlawful action.
"We have a duty to do all we can to ensure the safety of everyone on and around our sites, including the protesters themselves.
"We are also clear that our people and suppliers have the right to come to work free from harassment and intimidation. In these circumstances it was right and responsible to seek these injunctions, and we are pleased that the court has agreed.
"The High Court injunctions will protect our sites, our people, our suppliers and the public from the militant activists who try to game the system and cause maximum disruption.
"Standing in front of a moving lorry whose driver may not be able to see you is dangerous. Blocking roads to all traffic including emergency vehicles is dangerous. Diverting police resources away from local policing is dangerous. Applying to the court was the right and responsible thing to do."
The injunctions prohibit a range of unlawful activities, including trespass onto Ineos Shale sites, obstructing the highway around these sites, obstructing or interfering with Ineos Shale business and the activities of staff and interfering with, harassing or conspiring to injure people and businesses across the Ineos Shale supply chain, including actions such as slow-walking and lock-ons.
Today's announcement is separate from legal action being threatened by Ineos against the National Trust so it can carry out a fracking survey on its land.
The company said it had been trying for almost a year to get permission for a seismic survey at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.
Ineos said it has repeatedly tried to arrange a meeting, adding that the Trust refuses to speak to the company.
"If the National Trust refuses to change its position, Ineos will have no choice but to write to the Oil and Gas Authority, asking for permission to seek a court order enforcing its rights to carry out these surveys on National Trust land," said a statement earlier this month.
The East Midlands is a key area for potential shale gas extraction and Ineos already has permission from landowners around the Trust's park.
Ineos has made planning applications to test for shale gas in other parts of the UK, saying it was having "reasonable" conversations with residents, but one of their concerns was the threat of militant action.