SHARES in IGas rose over 1.8 per cent yesterday after a Manchester court ruled in favour of landowners to move anti-fracking protesters from land near Barton Moss, where the energy company has begun exploratory drilling for shale gas.
Judge Mark Pelling QC ruled in favour of the Peel Group and said that protesters must leave by noon today.
The court’s landmark ruling sets a precedent for protest activities at future shale gas exploration sites.
“This verdict is good news and demonstrates to exploration businesses that judges will move quickly to remove protesters who resort to acts of trespass in order to get their message across,” said Stuart Wortley, property litigation specialist at Pinsent Masons.
“The order for possession will now be handed over to the enforcement officers responsible for evictions – if necessary, they will be able to call upon support from Greater Manchester Police who have been controlling the protest at public expense since last October.”
Protesters are opposed to the controversial hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – technique used to extract shale gas, which some claim causes environmental issues including earth tremors.
Cuadrilla’s exploratory drilling at a site in West Sussex also attracted protesters last summer.
“As the UK seeks to diversify its energy mix, there will always be a balance to be struck between the national interest and local interests. However, this decision shows that objections should be made through lawful means – which does not include trespassing on private land,” said Wortley.
London-listed IGas declined to comment on the court’s decision.