Anti-fracking campaigners who set up a protest camp near Chester understand they are going to be evicted.
The activists established a small encampment on privately-owned land at the side of the A56 Warrington Road, Bridge Trafford, not far from The Chester Fields pub and restaurant.
This was after they discovered Star Energy Ltd, owned by IGas, had bought a field at Bridge Trafford for £141,000.
And the company also bought an option on a nearby field to the south of Warrington Road in Barrow, owned by David William Pym.
The energy firm says any decision over gas exploration – and whether that would be for coal bed methane or shale gas – will come down to the results of seismic testing.
Activists set up the latest protest camp after a previous encampment at Duttons Lane, Upton, was cleared by bailiffs on January 12 but the company abandoned its test drill plans just three weeks later.
Dr Steven Peers, who is living at the Bridge Trafford site, said: “We have held the Bridge Trafford Community Protection camp for six months knowing that Star Energy owned by IGas had been purchasing land in the Chester area for an extensive programme of fracking.
“The industry obviously had the heads up months ago that their plans for fracking would be fast-tracked by the government. In light of the damage that fracking has done in America, Australia and New Zealand, this disastrous industry cannot be allowed to get a foot hold in this country.
“The anti-fracking community will continue to highlight the dangers of hydraulic fracturing despite the upcoming eviction proceedings for the Bridge Trafford site. The potential risk to the water supply of Chester is not worth the gamble that the government is taking with our children’s future and health.”
In the last few days it has been revealed that the government is considering paying residents affected by fracking from the proceeds of shale gas projects.
A shale wealth fund was unveiled in 2014 to set aside up to 10% of the tax proceeds from fracking to benefit communities in the UK hosting wells.
Prime minister Theresa May is now considering paying the money directly to individual households instead of councils and local trusts.
Dr Peers responded that it was ‘short-term gain’ with no consideration of the health consequences. He added: “Even if a council refuses permission, the government is intent on pushing through these schemes regardless of health and safety. It’s extremely worrying.”