Eversheds partner comments on protesters facing eviction from fracking site in Salford

Eversheds partner Alison Oldfield has commented on the legal process of evicting protesters, after an application to evict protesters from Barton Moss in Eccles, Salford, reached court, but was adjourned for two weeks to give the defendants more time to respond.

Oldfield said that the decision demonstrates the risk that if landowners do not respond quickly when faced with protestor occupations, the process of recovering possession could become more complicated.

She added that it would be difficult to argue further down the line that the site must be cleared urgently, and that the situation also highlights the potential for these sort of cases to become embroiled in arguments about the impact of the Human Rights Act — which protesters have used in defence of their cause in a number of recent cases.

Oldfield continued: ‘First and foremost, the court will be concerned to navigate the line between lawful and unlawful protest while achieving the appropriate protection of private property rights.

‘That balancing act can be contentious, though, as this and other high-profile cases have proved. Any landowner wishing to retain control of events would be best advised to act swiftly and be ready to address these concerns thoroughly.’