Greenpeace Plans Fracking Legal Challenge
Greenpeace is planning legal challenges against fracking to try to derail plans for the controversial method of extracting gas from rock.
The campaign group said it expected thousands of people to join the "legal block" so a series of "no go areas" could be set up across England.
Greenpeace spokeswoman Anna Jones claimed fracking was a "desperate ploy" by the Government to keep the UK hooked on fossil fuels.
"Fracking is risky for local environments, risky for our water supplies and risky for the global climate. People are right to stand up and say 'not under my land you don't'," she said.
Greenpeace said a number of residents in areas of potential fracking sites were joining the campaign.
Lawyer Kate Harrison said: "The common law on this is clear. If fracking companies don't seek and receive permission for drilling under people's homes, they will be liable for trespass.
"Companies would do well to respect people's rights and not push on with drilling plans where they're not wanted."
Andrew Pemberton, a dairy farmer in Lancashire said: "I'm supplying milk to 3,000 households, and if for any reason my water became contaminated, my business would be ruined and my livelihood destroyed, as well as the livelihoods of the 16 families who work for me.
"Fracking is dangerous and short-sighted. We should be keeping this gas in the ground."
The UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG) has denounced the Greenpeace announcement as "extremely misleading".
It said in a statement: "Operators in this country are abiding by the law which states that activities at depths of over a mile under the ground do not impact landowners. However, in line with the law operators will inform all landowners in a very clear and transparent manner."
The statement added: "We would welcome the opportunity to have a constructive dialogue with Greenpeace and other environmental groups.
"This is an industry that has successfully been drilling for oil and gas onshore for over 150 years and has the opportunity to provide jobs, tax revenues, electricity and gas for citizens of this country for a long time to come."
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves the injection of highly pressurised fluids into shale to extract gas.
It was temporarily banned in the UK after it was blamed for two earth tremors in Blackpool in 2011, but a government review has since concluded it is safe if adequately monitored.
Opinion remains bitterly divided, as witnessed by anti-fracking protests held in the summer in the West Sussex village of Balcombe.