After a 42-hour struggle against security firm Specialist Group International the occupation of Leith Hill by anti-fracking protectors is over, campaign group Reclaim The Power reports.
The Leith Hill occupation site lasted almost eight months in total and the firm, hired by fracker leaseholders Europa and supported by police, finally removed five protectors who had held the fort and tunnels under the site with some novel diversionary tactics. No arrests were made.
Reclaim the Power said:
May these brave people serve as inspiration for many others to rise up and challenge an industry that has no social license to operate!
Power to the investor removal team. everyone who did a great job building the Castle and the tunnel system and those who supported the camp. It served as an excellent awareness raising exercise and a symbol of a better world. The struggle is not over — Europa oil and gas will still needs to clear the site and get the huge lorries up a narrow sunken lane that could easily be blocked with direct actions. A fence has now been constructed around the site, denying local walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders access to public land.
The campaign to stop the drill at Leith Hill has been running for seven years and will continue. There is much public anger at the destruction of an area of outstanding natural beauty and the devastation that fracking and acidisation will bring. We all know the truth.
Leith Hill has been the site of a major fight over fracking since Europa put in its first planning bid to chop down and drill across an acre of land in 2008. Objections have been raised over destruction in the area, which is listed as being of outstanding natural beauty, by locals from Leith Hill Action Group and the now evicted camp, as well as by the National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Surrey Hills AONB Board.
For a full blow-by blow report on the eviction process go to Drill or Drop, which liveblogged throughout