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“Victory for Tara” – message from Drew Hutton

I don’t think it is too big a call to claim victory for the Tara blockade.

The police have packed up their gear and moved out and British Gas (QGC) have all but stopped work.

What finally pulled them up was that our lawyers presented QGC with a letter on behalf of the landowner complaining that they were breaching their contract with him by having road and pipeline corridors that were much wider than he had agreed to.

The ah-ha moment for BG came when they realised that, if they had done that with Bryce, they probably have done it with many other landowners and even breached their environmental authorities.

My arrest was under S805 of the Petroleum and Gas Act which says I cannot obstruct them without “reasonable excuse”. I shall use the reasonable excuse phrase to claim I had this by virtue of having the landowner’s permission to be there, that he was very unhappy with the way he had been treated by the company and that I would not move until he was satisfied with the outcome of his negotiations with the company.

A victory on this will have massive ramifications well beyond Tara. Any landowner will be able to obstruct a gas company on the basis that their “unreasonable interference” (S804) gives them a “reasonable excuse” to act in this manner.

The pipeline made it onto the Tara estate but is blocked at Bryce’s place, well before they have made it to any wells. They can’t move.

Drew Hutton

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