Lewes protesters at Balcombe ‘fracking’ site

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One Lewes man has been charged, one cautioned and one is on police bail in relation to protests at the site in Balcombe over Cuadrilla’s controversial use of shale gas ‘fracking’.

In total, police made 16 arrests on Friday (July 26) and Saturday and 12 people were charged, some under Section 241 of the Trade Union Labour Relations Act for attempting to stop drivers and other workers from accessing the site.

Police said some protesters had moved a tree across the entrance to the London Road site and were blocking access.

Police Liaison Officers spoke to protesters to try and negotiate for them to move away from this road providing access to the site, to alternative locations.

Superintendent Steve Whitton said: “I have officers at the site to ensure people can demonstrate peacefully and help facilitate the rights of those to go about their lawful business - this means allowing workers to access the site.

“We are trying to carefully balance the needs of everyone and we will continue to show a proportionate response to the challenge we are facing.

“Our aim at Balcombe is to provide a safe and secure environment for protesters, residents and the contractors alike, to minimise disproportionate disruption to the local community and to prevent crime and disorder.

“Protestors are being asked to clear entrances to allow access to the site and where they have refused following repeated requests, we have arrested them.”