Sussex

Broadford Bridge protesters block UKOG test drilling

Protest Image copyright Protest group
Image caption Travel reports said the B2133 was closed in both directions

Two protesters have fixed themselves to a concrete block at the gates of a site where an energy company is test drilling for oil.

A resident at the protest near Billingshurst, west Sussex, said specialists had been called in to cut through the concrete.

Campaigners fear the test drilling at Broadford Bridge will lead to fracking.

UKOG denied the claim and said protesters were wasting police time. Sussex Police has not yet commented.

But officers said five people had been arrested over protests at the site in recent weeks. Two were released while enquiries continue and three were facing charges.

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Travel reports said the B2133 had been closed because of the latest protest.

Chris Spinner, who described himself as a "concerned resident", said: "As far as the site is concerned, nothing is going in or out, so 'so far so good' I think."

The protesters - who described themselves as a group of residents - said about 10 activists and legal observers were there.

What is fracking?

A statement issued on their behalf said: "We have put our bodies in the way today, to say no to oil exploitation that will endanger the environment, water supplies and health of local residents."

They claimed UKOG was developing the case for fracking either by them or another company and carrying out what was "essentially gateway drilling."

A company spokesman said: "We support the right to peaceful protest, but this type of anti-social behaviour is an extraordinary waste of precious police resources and is solely aimed at preventing us from going about our lawful business.

"Given recent events in Manchester and London, these people should realise that the police have far more pressing calls on their valuable time and resources."

The firm is also test drilling at Horse Hill, near Gatwick.

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