Essex Nana, Linda Foord, offers tea and cake at the Horse Hill Protection Camp.
At around 12 noon on Tuesday 23rd February 2016, grandmother Linda Foord thought she was being a good Samaritan by offering tea and cakes to police officers and protesters outside a proposed drilling site in Surrey. But rather than a smile and gratitude, Linda was given a verbal warning and told she risked being arrested by the officers for obstructing the highway outside the Horse Hill site, near Horley, Surrey.
The experience has coloured her thinking about the way the establishment is supporting the fracking industry at the expense of lawful protest by local residents against a company looking to exploit the possibility of oil beneath the Surrey countryside. Such has been Linda’s experience that she is questioning whether the police presence is good use of public money as she believes it is preventing a lawful protest against drilling in the county as carried out by the UK Oil and Gas (UKOG).
Local residents protesting at the drilling site fear their human rights are being violated by police only too eager to back big companies involved in drilling. Linda, from Essex, who was visiting the site to show solidarity with the local community in Horley, said: “Both the police and the public have been camped outside in the cold for weeks. All I wanted was to offer the officer a warm cup of tea and a slice of cake, but instead of some gratitude, I was threatened with arrest.”
“Don’t they have better things to do with their time? There isn’t a huge amount of protestors here and up to at least five or six police vehicles, including riot vans full of police at any one time. Where do they find the money for this disproportionate and heavy-handed use of public resources?”
“It’s very intimidating. Why aren’t they out trying to catch criminals instead of peaceful protestors? Officers patrol the fence around the drilling site when they should be stopping these huge trucks carrying toxic chemicals. They are here to protect the drilling company, not us.”
“We can’t let UKOG ruin this community – our water, our roads, our land, our livelihood and the future for our grandkids is too precious. We can’t allow these oil and gas companies to poison our beautiful country as they have in the US and Australia. We are local residents determined to protect our families from harm, not domestic extremists!”