Two anti-fracking campaigners have won the right to appeal an injunction granted by the High Court.
Joseph Boyd, represented by Leigh Day, and fellow campaigner, Joseph Corré, represented by Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, opposed an interim injunction granted to fracking company INEOS in July last year.
In July 2017, INEOS - which has been awarded the most fracking licences by the UK Government - was granted the injunction against campaigners in relation to eight sites across England, where fracking was planned or under investigation by INEOS.
The injunction also applied to contractors, sub-contractors and other entities which make up INEOS’ supply chain.
Rosa Curling, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, who represents Mr Boyd, said: “This judgment is good news for campaigners. It is crucial the Court of Appeal looks at the High Court judgment.
“Other companies are relying on the High Court decision to obtain similar injunctions preventing protest. It has also been cited as justification for a conviction in a criminal case. It is vital this case is heard by the Court of Appeal as soon as possible. Free speech and a right to peacefully protest are at the heart of any effective democracy.
“The current injunction has wide-ranging implications that reach far beyond the issue of fracking. This case represents the right that all of us have to stand up and say that we don’t agree with something without facing the fear of arrest and imprisonment.”
Under the terms of the current injunction, people are forbidden from ‘obstructing, impeding or interfering with the lawful activities’ of INEOS staff and their contractors, she said. Anyone who is found to have breached the injunction is liable to arrest and a prison sentence of up to two years and/or a fine up to £5,000.
Joseph Boyd said: “The High Court judgment has wide ranging impacts on not only those involved in the campaign against climate change and fossil fuels, but also anyone who wishes to express opposition against any potentially controversial industry.
“I don’t think that people should be constrained to banner waving and petition signing in order to protect the environment and the health of their families and future generations. I very much hope the Court of Appeal will act to uphold the fundamental right to protest peacefully against deeply problematic and divisive industries such as fracking. Our right to peacefully protest is a core value in this country’s democratic history.”