Buy

Books
Click images for more details

Support

 

Twitter
Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Science or public relations? | Main | Sliding science »
Monday
Dec082014

Judge: rule of law challenged by greens

The tactics of the less reputable members of the environmental fraternity has long been to prevent any sort of industrial activity by making the cost of policing their protests so high as to wear public opinion into submission. One has to say that this approach has not been entirely unsuccessful.

It was interesting then to see the comments of Mr Justice Gilbart in rejecting FrackFree Balcombe's application for judicial review of West Sussex Council's decision to allow planning permission to the Cuadrilla project. There is a BBC report of the hearing here, but strangely the news of its rejection doesn't seem to have made the cut.

During the hearings, it seems that FFB's barrister argued that the cost of managing the disruption caused by protestors should have been taken into account by the planning committee. As the judge explained:

...what was really being argued here...was that the County Council should take into account the cost of dealing with the activities of those who disagree with their decision, and were and are prepared to misuse the right to protest to do so.

This approach, he said had "not the slightest merit" and he cited the ruling in an earlier case that had made it quite clear that this was simply a matter of the rule of law:

English law is unsurprisingly replete with examples of ringing judicial dicta vindicating the rule of law. Amongst them are these:

  • The law must be sensibly interpreted so as to give effect to the intentions of Parliament; and the police must see that it is enforced. The rule of law must prevail...
  • Any suggestion that a section of the community strongly holding one set of views is justified in banding together to disrupt the lawful activities of a section that does not hold the same views so strongly or which holds different views cannot be tolerated and must unhesitatingly be rejected by the courts...

And then there was this quote from the same case:

One thread runs consistently throughout all the case law: the recognition that public authorities must beware of surrendering to the dictates of unlawful pressure groups. The implications of such surrender for the rule of law can hardly be exaggerated.

This is utterly damning of the environmentalists' approach. You can see why the BBC would want to give it a miss.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (45)

A sensible Judge. Good judgement.

Dec 8, 2014 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Do I smell an appeal?
(Lotsa money to fund it.)

Dec 8, 2014 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

Actually, for this case to have gone to a court of law in the first place is little worrying. For the BBC to report on the case, but not to report the court’s decisions has to be very alarming; the BBC is giving a very public display of its commitment to propaganda-speak, and dedication to its “cause”.

Dec 8, 2014 at 11:35 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

The only thing between the FFB barrister and utter disgrace is that phrase 'it seems that' in the above report. Thank goodness the judge was wide awake.

Dec 8, 2014 at 11:42 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I'm not sure if I would have been supportive if the minority had been arguing for fair treatment of women, racial groups, etc.

However, that is such a different type of case to this nonsense about fracking.

Dec 8, 2014 at 11:50 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Send the bill for policing to the FFB. Analogous to "the polluter pays"

Dec 8, 2014 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterclovis marcus

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-30345485

Tucked away under "Sussex" the BBC website has reported the decison in an extremely partisan way, with paragraph headlines including "Flawed decision" , "disappointing decision" and "health risks".

Even-handed?- I think not..

Dec 8, 2014 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I took the trouble yesterday to read the full judgment. It's quite lengthy (for which Gilbart apologised) but it is well worth the effort.
A comment or two by that great supporter of the common man Lord Denning, referred to in the quotes above, are especially worthy of consideration. I remember his comment in a case in the mid-70s: "be you ever so high, the law is above you" and he made the point, relevant to this case (and others that have or may come before the courts), in a case involving protesters against a planned nuclear power station in 1981 that preventing a man going about his lawful business was in effect a breach of the peace. It's fairly lengthy so I'll just refer to para 127 in the link that the Bishop gives above.

Dec 8, 2014 at 12:10 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Messenger:

There could surely be no clearer case of the BBC displaying political partisanship. That with a general election coming up in a few months' time, too.

Dec 8, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Friends of the Earth said residents had been dealt a poor hand in the case.
"They suffered a huge amount of disruption last summer with noise from the drilling and extra lorries in their village ," said South East spokeswoman Brenda Pollack.
Oh, the irony.
No mention of the disruption, noise,and general stink caused by Ms Pollack and her friends and useful idiots.
FFBRA spokeswoman Sue Taylor expressed fears over what the permission could now mean for local people.
"Residents of Balcombe will be exposed to real health risks, as will local water courses and public water supplies," she said.
According to the Health & Safety Executive and the Environment Agency Ms Taylor is a liar. On that basis (and since I assume HSE and EA know what they're talking about) I'm happy to call her one as well.
So sue, Sue!

Dec 8, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I was particularly amused by a quote from Caroline Lucas in the BBC coverage to the effect that the people of Balcombe needed protection from the disruption that a few dozen tanker lorries would create, whilst completely failing to mention the disruption created by her own actions in encouraging hundreds of hippies to camp on the side of the road, mass police supervision, the ensuing media circus, etc etc.

Dec 8, 2014 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Long

Mike,
In the case of severe discrimination of sections of society, the resolution is through the democratic process and/or to have a Bill of Rights that prevents even the majority deciding. Only when this breaks down is there a moral justification for taking action outside of the law. But then there is still the issue of having the full force of the law bearing down on you.
What we have we fracking is a small noisy minority with exaggerated fears shutting down the lawful activities of others. What is more, these irrational fears might themselves cause harm. Last month in a discussion thread Entropic Man pointed to a survey that appeared to indicate that people within a mile fracking sites in Pennsylvania had much more reported health symptoms than those more than two miles away. One possible reason I found (and not looked at by the authors) is that living near to something that is alleged to be harmful. So people might notice their health effects more, or the stress caused may have bring real symptoms. The act of protesting and making wild claims will reduce the quality of life of locals far more than any fracking risks.

http://www.bishop-hill.net/discussion/post/2429839
http://manicbeancounter.com/2014/11/23/proximity-to-fracked-gas-wells-and-reported-health-status-study/

Dec 8, 2014 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

For reasons which are beyond me, Greens are scared stiff by cheap, affordable energy...

Dec 8, 2014 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

What a fracking good judgement!

I do trust the drug-freaks, human-haters, workshy and the watermelons have to pay the full costs of this case.

Now that case-law has been upheld, maybe the fracking firms and residents whose business and lives have been disrupted by these BBC-supported ludites will sue them for damages.

Dec 8, 2014 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

Why are they bothering to make all this fuss when there is nothing to fuss about?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23756320

Dec 8, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Mills

Copy and paste

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qjrk2

Its the Webpage for the BBC Newswatch slot on BBC News 24

Theres an automated telephone and email tabs where viewers can contact the BBC and complain about BBC News output.

Rather than moan about it on the Bishophill comments section get clicking typing and phoning.

Exactly the same orchestrated concerted directed action green blob activists would do.The Skeptic Movement may not agree with them but we have to learn from the tactics of our opposition.

Just needs a few of us to take a stand and the BBC will at least have to consider including this item in their regional or national broadcast news bulletins.They,ve hidden it away on an obscure webpages.when Its an important new development in the Fracking debate and because of possibly perceived left wing media bias the BBC are trying to bury it.So lets gate crash a funeral.

If a bunch of young mothers can all turn up with their babies outside Claridges last Saturday and all start Breast Feeding in protest then maybe a bunch of phones calls and emails from a bunch of "Climate Deniers" from Bishophill might rock the Beeb.

Dec 8, 2014 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Is this the first time that this has happened? I seem to recall few cases of this type, even when criminal damage was caused ending up in court. Glad to see the the Common Law has woken from its dreams.

Dec 8, 2014 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

Wasn't there a case a year or so ago where some protestors who had chained themselves to smoke stacks got let off because the Judge believed they had a right to protest in that manner if they truly believed in what they were fighting for (and against) was a just cause?

Then again, the actions of these protesters only reinforces the point that if I was a donor to the GPWF that there is absolutely no way in hell I would ever want my personal details to be made public out of concern for my safety and the safety of my family!

Mailman

Dec 8, 2014 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

The Environmentalists are behavining like organised crime. Those people use the law when it suits them and break it when they want to.

Doesn't a protection racket start with the explanation of the cost of damage to your property/business and you have to take "insurance" out from the Wise Guys to stop the destruction.

Also I am beginning to visualise all the seedy lawyers who protect those crominals, with all their spurious arguments.

Until the TV licence is abolished the BBC will continue to behave badly!

Dec 8, 2014 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

It always amuses me (in what Cameron would call a masosadistic way) that whenever BBC deal with fracking they describe it as 'controversial'. It is only controversial because the Beeb choose to espouse the views of a few fruitcakes who want us all go back to living in caves - well the few hundred or so who survive their population reduction program.

Mike Jackson - you may be of an age to remember the 'xxxx rules' fad. You know what I mean 'MUFC rules, Papal infallibility rules' etc. Well at the height of that mania the best retort I ever saw was 'Denning overules'

Dec 8, 2014 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

"One thread runs consistently throughout all the case law: the recognition that public authorities must beware of surrendering to the dictates of unlawful pressure groups. The implications of such surrender for the rule of law can hardly be exaggerated".

Indeed, quite so. Which is why its strange that on occasion that thread is ignored. An unlawful pressure group called the IRA comes to mind. However, perhaps that was 'different', 'exceptional'......And I wonder what is an unlawful pressure group, as against a lawful pressure group. "One's we don't feel like accommodating as against ones we do" perhaps?

Judges do the weighty words well enough, but they are rarely the bastion of civilisation they should be. Temporising traitors, many of them. Perhaps one of them should be afforded the Admiral Byng experience.

Dec 8, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

A well-deserved thrashing for enviro-whackos, while the BBC demonstrate itself to be in breach of its own neutrality obligations.

Dec 8, 2014 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Mike Jackson (12:20 PM):

"be you ever so high, the law is above you"
Sadly, that noble philosophy is steadily being undermined – there are many who truly believe that they are above the law, because they are RIGHT.

Sherlock1 (12:47 PM):

Greens are scared stiff by cheap, affordable energy...
Not if it is for their benefit; it would appear that they just want to reduce other people having access to it.

Dec 8, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

"There is a BBC report of the hearing here"

Um. This links to a report on the case from early November.

6 November 2014 Last updated at 17:01
Balcombe anti-fracking group argue case in High Court

But there is this from last week

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-30345485
5 December 2014 Balcombe anti-fracking group loses court bid

which DOES report the result of the case.


Now, I'm the last to weigh in on behalf of the BBC, as I believe it long ago lost the plot, but...?

Dec 8, 2014 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Rex Murphy, a Canadian icon, writes:

"Environmentalism can be defined as a movement that can only exist in a world that has defied its imperatives. There are no flashmobs, no Twitter campaigns, no networking of activists or oil sands tours, no media coverage — except in those countries where the economies have provided the technology, and the leisure, for what is essentially a parasitic endeavour. The environmental movement is as technologically enabled as the industries it opposes. It depends far more deeply than it will ever admit on precisely what it deplores.

To bring 50,000 green activists to a Copenhagen or a Rio for one of those gigantic environmental summits requires the exertion of manifold technologies and the primary sources of energy that make them possible. To have the luxury of protest you must have an economy that blankets it. The world’s poor don’t do sit-ins; poverty is their padlock, and it is not — as on Burnaby Mountain, or an XL site — a theatrical toy for idle green moralists.

To protest energy requires energy — and a world without the fuels and engines environmentalists protest is one in which they could not function and they would not, iPhoneless, wish to live."

More entertaining reading here:

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/12/06/rex-murphy-has-the-environmental-movement-ever-seen-a-collapse-it-didnt-want-to-be-on-the-brink-of/

Dec 8, 2014 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Whilst looking for the Balcombe report on the BBC's website I also found this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-30374705

A huge pile of rubbish burning out of control for days and polluting the area - where have we heard that before?

A quick google later and I found this:

http://www.skipitcontainers.co.uk/

Another example showing just how vacuous this green b*llshit is. If a company says it is eco this or green that, take your business elsewhere.

Dec 8, 2014 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Jamspid 1.03pm Good point you make. The BBC complaints procedure is tiresome but I made the effort and submitted the following.

Complaint title:
Covered protest but not when case thrown out.
Complaint description:
The BBC is in thrall to the "Green Blob". This latest example is the great publicity given to anti fracking protestors who in spite of a democratically taken decision and the Government's clear support for regulated fracking continue to disrupt this lawful activity. When the case was comprehensively thrown out, the BBC was not interested and relegated the decision to an obscure part of the Web (I could not find it) The Judge said "◾Any suggestion that a section of the community strongly holding one set of views is justified in banding together to disrupt the lawful activities of a section that does not hold the same views so strongly or which holds different views cannot be tolerated and must unhesitatingly be rejected by the courts..." The BBC should stop being the cheerleader for environmental groups. Your Environmental team are not reporters but activists who should have no place in an impartial BBC.

Dec 8, 2014 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Hanwell

@ Mike Jackson

While I agree that Lord Denning was on the whole a true supporter of the common man his words denying the right to appeal of the Birmingham Six should never be forgotten:

"Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial ... If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous. ... such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, "It cannot be right that these actions should go any further."

In other words he was basically saying that to grant leave to appeal had the potential to bring the police, Justice system and Establishment into disrepute and should not be allowed for that reason.

Just as admitting the failure of the CAGW hypothesis would throw too many among the great and the good into disrepute and thus cannot be condoned.

Dec 8, 2014 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter C

The BBC's commitment to full context that does not suit the narrative is by now the stuff of legend.

'take into account the cost of dealing with the activities of those who disagree with their decision, and were and are prepared to misuse the right to protest to do so.'

There has been, is and surely will be precedent here elsewhere, highlighting and certainly not excusing the (this time unsuccessful) attempt.

I do recall madam Home Secretary at least once banning legitimate free speech in this country in part if not exclusively based on the threat by local activists to cause major disturbance if their wishes were not obeyed.

I believe the Vikings found this could work well too. At least, for them. For a while.

Good to see a judge prepared to at least make this trend less inevitable than it has seemed so far.

Dec 8, 2014 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJunkkMale

Peter C
I never said the lad were perfect!

JunkkMale
You pose a dilemma.
In the light of the various judgments and judicial dicta we have been discussing, in the case of threat by local activists to cause major disturbance of there wishes were not obeyed on what basis do you classify their free speech as legitimate?

Dec 8, 2014 at 3:12 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Shall we try "if their ..." instead of "of there ..."
Bloody cat!

Dec 8, 2014 at 4:16 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Dec 8, 2014 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered Commenter Political Junkie

That's great stuff from Rex Murphy. For what it's worth, I shared it on Facebook.

Dec 8, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Rex Murphy also did a toe-curlingly superb hatchet-job on the Climategate charlatans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Dc8_SdCNc

Dec 8, 2014 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

They probably assumed all judges are in thrall to the green blob. But I think some are.

Dec 8, 2014 at 5:13 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

How Rex Murphy survives at the screamingly activist left-wing Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is a mystery!

Perhaps he has pictures of CBC President Hubert Lacroix with a goat?

Dec 8, 2014 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Until the TV licence is abolished the BBC will continue to behave badly!

Dec 8, 2014 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Let's hope the Brits vote properly next year. Voting UKIP will see the end of the Libtard organisation that is the BBC.

Come the UK, throw these a**holes on the unemployable list.

Dec 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

You pose a dilemma.
In the light of the various judgments and judicial dicta we have been discussing, in the case of threat by local activists to cause major disturbance of there wishes were not obeyed on what basis do you classify their free speech as legitimate?

Dec 8, 2014 at 3:12 PM | Mike Jackson

I have come to appreciate the many dilemmas facing those asked, forced or jumping to take the chance to walk the fine lines of power that exist these days.

And none more tricky than that between free speech and 'necessary' censorship.

Sadly, if one accepts things all fall apart when you start trying to juggle with 'little bit pregnant' concepts, the minute parameters are set, things get murky fast.

No answer I know, but as a parent of twin teens, I have long grasped that trying to run multiple standards seldom affords more than the shortest of respites.

Here though, it is pretty clear, if the consequences can be unpalatable.

No expert on democratic rights and the law (which seems to change a lot; not often for the better), but best I can judge anyone has a right to protest. What they don't have the right to do is mess 'the public' (in terms of person and/or property) around to do so. I'm a bit fuzzy on where that crosses literal and figurative boundaries, especially with the consequences, and costs, of human encampment. It would seem fair that if you are allowed to impose to protest, you are obliged to deal with all that entails and brought into the community.

What i would hope is that any hint of 'threat', even verbal, wipes a lot of slates clean and takes many bets off the table.

Again, as a parent, conceding to 'my way or I kick off' is not going to end well simply on a practical basis, before getting to areas of precedent, fairness or duty.

If the rules are breached they must be enforced. Threats should not be entertained.

Failure to do so, especially on a selective basis, may buy a short period of time, but in the long run seems more a recipe for anarchy.

Short answer: they can pitch up peacefully and say what they like in a civilised manner to persuade on the basis of sound argument. Start imposing in other ways crosses lines in place to preserve the rights of others, especially if seeking only to be let be, is bullying.

Leaving more than footprints is not an environmental legacy I could admire.

Dec 8, 2014 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJunkkMale

Given the arguments the judge gives for this decision, how on earth did the judge in the Kingsnorth case let those vandals go free?

Dec 8, 2014 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered Commentermiket

@MikeHaseler

In our societies, folks that were actually marginalized didn't behave like the greens. Take a walk down history's lane. It is not difficult to see why.

Besides, to compare greens with, for example, the victims of the African genocide perpetrated by essentially the British and Portuguese governments is an insult to their memory of such proportions as to be literally incomprehensible and one that should be criminally punishable.

Dec 8, 2014 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

[snip-venting]

Dec 8, 2014 at 9:48 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Point #107 in the judge's report is a classic in the same vein:

Mr Maurici argued that the Planning Committee had the evidence of past breaches placed before them, as is undoubtedly the case. One breach had related to noise levels. That had been remedied by the suspension of activities, and the erection of noise barriers. The other had related to the timing of lorry movements. That had occurred when the Police had required CBL to move lorries outside the times permitted, because of the activities of protesters.

Dec 8, 2014 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Your Grace....

cut to the chase - Who paid for this action? - the last JR permission hearing I was involved with cost £15K in legal fees.

I have a partial answer - subsidy junky (meant in the most pejorative sense) - (pdf) Dale Vince OBE of Ecotricity with £10K. and Leigh Day and David Wolfe QC who ran with it "CFA - no win no fee" - see the link - more stuff there from the horse's mouth so to speak..

Dec 8, 2014 at 10:50 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Brute:

...the victims of the African genocide perpetrated by essentially the British and Portuguese governments
While I can understand that our colonial past was not purer than pure the worst gnocidal atrocities that I can recall were Biafra and Rwanda. I don't recall they were perpetrated by a British government or her agents. Essentially, when there are/were tyrants like Amin and Mugabe (to name but two), and many others, they need little help from the west in how to annihilate their fellow man.

Dec 9, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I'm not generally one to defend the BBC - BUT their article was filed on the 6th November, whereas the hearing took place on the 7th-8th November. They couldn't possibly have reported on the rejection within this article because it hadn't happened yet.

It would be interesting to find out whether it was reported on subsequently, however....

Dec 9, 2014 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDonna

@Stephen Richards, Dec 8 at 5:28PM: "Let's hope the Brits vote properly next year. Voting UKIP will see the end of the Libtard organisation that is the BBC."

Please can you confirm that abolition of the BBC is current UKIP policy, or are you just band-standing for your chosen party?

Dec 9, 2014 at 5:59 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>