Anti-frackers intend to remain at a new protest camp at Lower Kinnerton until an energy company confirms the land has been abandoned as a potential coal bed methane (CBM) site.
A handful of campaigners who lived at the Upton protest camp until its recent eviction have moved to Lesters Lane where in 2011 Greenpark Energy drilled a borehole for purposes of CBM appraisal and production.
The firm, now owned by IGas, had said there was ‘high potential’ for developing CBM in the Chester area and over the English-Welsh border.
Campaigners wrote to IGas on February 1 seeking assurances the Lower Kinnerton site was no longer being pursued. The company subsequently announced it was abandoning sites in Upton and Mickle Trafford.
A response is awaited but in a statement released to The Chronicle the company said ‘activity at other sites had yet to be determined’.
Campaigner Dr Steve Peers, who will this afternoon join the ‘Bye, Bye IGas Celebration Party’ in Upton, explained why he was involved with the latest protest.
He said: “All we want is a nod, an okay, saying we’ve abandoned this like we’ve done with Upton and Mickle Trafford and we’re off - fair enough, you’ve abandoned it.”
On the day of the Upton eviction, Dr Peers had refused to come down from a tower at the entrance to the protest camp but was eventually led away.
Fiona Hore, senior manager, planning and strategic transport, Cheshire West and Chester Council , has written to one of the campaigners saying the Lower Kinnerton site has been restored to agricultural use and any future change of use ‘would require planning permission’.
But activists understand the current permission is still valid until the planning authority writes to the developer and gains confirmation the site has been abandoned. It is unclear whether the council has made such an enquiry.
This afternoon (February 14) anti-frackers are holding their ‘Bye Bye IGas Celebration Party’ after the energy company announced it won’t be test drilling for coal bed methane (CBM) in Upton or Mickle Trafford. However, the venue for the ‘bring and share’ party, which takes place 2.30pm to 5.30pm, has changed to Upton British Legion, 20 Heath Road, Upton, Chester, CH2 1HX.
A spokesperson said: “Everybody is welcome, no tickets, free entry, just turn up on the day. Please bring food and drink to share if possible.”