A coalition of environmental organisations, community groups and academics have written to the Prime Minister in support of the National Trust in its legal fight against INEOS. The shale gas company, which holds the largest number of exploration licences in the UK, has the go-ahead for a case at the High Court over access to Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.
INEOS wants access to carry out seismic testing, the first stage in exploration, which could end in fracking for shale gas. The letter, recently released, has been signed by 23 national non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace, Campaign for National Parks, CPRE, Friends of the Earth and WWF. The signatories also included representatives of 36 community anti-fracking groups from across the UK, and 17 scientists and academics, including five serving professors.
The letters says: “We strongly condemn the recent legal threat against the National Trust by INEOS and we also want to declare our strong and firm support for the National Trust, which — by protecting Clumber Park from the fracking industry — is protecting priceless cultural and environmental heritage of the UK on behalf of the needs of current and future generations.”
It adds: “Landowners who are charitable bodies acting in the public interest should most certainly not be forced to accept shale development of any kind (including seismic surveys). Landowners of all types have to be able to retain the right to say no to companies wanting to access their land for exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels.
“We stand with the National Trust and Landowners in the defence of their right to say NO to granting access to oil and gas companies wanting to survey their land. Landowners, communities and individuals should retain the right to protect and defend the assets they value.”
This is the third public letter supporting the National Trust against INEOS. In February, 15 Yorkshire landowners, holding more than 80,000 acres wrote to The Times. They were joined by another 27 names early this month in a letter to the local newspaper, the Gazette and Herald.