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Balcombe in the Middle

Update from Balcombe as the end of the drilling approaches

The evenings are drawing in and things are winding down at the Frack Den in Balcombe down in Sussex. On Monday 9th September at least 8 Bailiffs acting on behalf of West Sussex County Council (WSCC) turned up on site issuing each tent, caravan or van with a notice to remove themselves and their possessions from the land by 9am the next morning or face "proceedings". The camp was decidedy sanguine and unimpressed by this clumsy attempt at legal intimidation and attempted to carry on business as usual.

Coincidently (yea right)  later that very evening Sussex Police also announced their intention to impose a Section 14 the following morning - raising the temperature somewhat. This would remain in place until the drilling had completed in late September. This meant that Tuesday morning was not exactly uneventful and many people were then and have since been arrested for breach of Section 14 including the "Belt it Out at Balcombe" Choirmaster who apparently didn't hear the direction because he was singing at the time. The arrest count has very recently passed the 100 milestone. 

On Monday 16th September the proceedings were heard at the High Court in London and were quickly dismissed as "flawed" since the WSCC legal team had not taken the Human Rights issues into consideration at all. The judge adjourned the case until 8th October which is really good news for the camp since drilling is schedued to cease on September 28th.  

This victory means that the camp continues to be occupied by a number of die-hards but the police presence is substantially increased to enforce the on-going Section 14. SchNEWS reckons there are more police than protesters and the "set-pieces" still take place with every lorry arriving or leaving. Sometimes a few protesters engage in the now familiar slow march in front of each arrival and sometimes they just leave the police to do it for them.  

A second camp has recently popped up at nearby South Chailey on a sympathetic land owner's field.  Although things are now quieter at the roadside camp at Balcombe support is still very much needed and the site is still as always an impressive and very well functioning "roadside city" with the best outdoor kitchen and cleanest compost toilets in the Western World.

Support is also needed every Wednesday at Crawley Magistrates Court especially on the afternoon of October 2nd when 50 or so defendants will have their cases examined - should be fun! And of course, as ever, SchNEWS will be there.

There is 1 comment on this story...
Added By: Ali Risby - 23rd September 2013 @ 3:00 PM
URGENT CALL OUT to any Merry Fracksters that can get down to Brighton Labour Party Conference - had to leave, only 1 guy with 1 A4 Frack Free Zone poster - some delegates asking for info - Please get down to Brighton Centre....you catch loads of familiar faces on their way in and out.....please!!!
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Update: So the landowner came, saw the numbers of protecters, the lock-ons, the bike-powered smoothie makers and the music, and returned home after refusing to talk to either the protesters or the press. But it isn't over – bailiffs could return at any time. Email GH your phone number if you want to be part of the phone tree or join the mailing list on the website: http://www.transitionheathrow.com… info@transitionheathrow.com

“Being raided, arrested, dragged through the legal system and having my property taken from me (including my photo album because it had a "hunt sabs" sticker on it and my notebook for my uni degree in criminology) just for campaigning seems over the top and has been pretty stressful. But it's not going to stop me from fighting for what I believe in and against what I disagree with. This isn't for ego, nor for fame, it's for the exploited and the vulnerable.” SOCPA 7 defendant - Emma

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They've stolen our postal service, and are currently giving away the health service, education and prisons to their mates, what's next for this Government? Perhaps the most audacious theft yet - potentially all of our public land.

Artivists take on BPs sponsorship of the British Museum's Viking exhibition.

We started writing about three interesting but unrelated things happening in June. Here is an amalgamated version, which is worth a read.

Twitter: @SchNEWS