Yesterday Breitbart London reported on the anti-fracking group Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA), who had gone to the High Court in an attempt to overturn planning permission for exploratory drilling in Balcombe, Sussex. The case was thrown out and the group ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.
Now it has emerged that those costs have been covered by none other than Dale Vince, the vegan developer who has made millions from wind farm subsidies.
The High Court ruling was originally brought to light by blogger Bishop Hill. Now one of his commenters has uncovered a newsletter circulated by the FFBRA, which details how the legal costs incurred would mostly not be borne by the group itself.
Under the heading “Update on Funding for the Balcombe Relief Fund”, the newsletter reads:
“Great news – we now have all the money we need for our judicial review. Last week we explained how we needed to have £10,000 available in the event of our losing the judicial review and having to pay WSCC’s costs. Ecotricity has kindly stepped forward and sent us £10,000. FFBRA will hold this in our bank account ring fenced to either return in the event we win our judicial review or to use to pay any costs awarded against us if we lose. This is tremendous news.
“Who are Ecotricity? Ecotricity, founded in 1995 as the world’s first green energy company, are the only energy company that has pledged to be shale gas ‘frack-free,’ now and forever. The company thinks fracking is an unnecessary risk and are actively supporting the anti-fracking movement in Britain. Ecotricity have a unique not-for-dividend model, so instead of paying any shareholders they are free to reinvest the money from customer bills into building new sources of green energy – what they call turning ‘bills into windmills’. They now power around 120,000 homes and business from their growing fleet of wind and sun parks, and are developing a Green Gas alternative to fracking in Britain.”
Ecotricity is chaired by Dale Vince, Britain’s wealthiest wind farm developer. Vince is worth an estimated £100 million; a fortune he made by erecting 60 wind turbines in 17 sites across the UK. Last month, Breitbart London reported that Vince had announced he was no longer able to construct wind turbines, thanks to the subsidies no longer being economically favourable.
Questioning the ethics of a wind farm developer funding protests against alternative forms of energy, Bishop Hill has said: “There are some interesting business ethics being demonstrated here by Ecotricity’s chairman Dale Vince. I’m not sure that paying green activists to disrupt your competitors would generally be seen as a legitimate tactic. But if it is, perhaps it’s time for big oil to start funding windfarm protestors.”
Despite being run by anti-capitalists, the group goes on to advocate using the markets to register protest:
“People can conscientiously object to fracking using the power of their energy bills – households can boycott companies involved in shale gas fracking,” the newsletter reads, continuing: “And if you do want to switch to Ecotricity, when your old supplier rings and ask why you changed, savour the moment, and say because “I don’t want Fracked Gas”. It is very enjoyable!”
The newsletter also reveals that the group’s barrister David Wolfe QC and solicitors Leigh Day have waived their £75,000 costs, meaning that the total cost that the FFBRA are now liable for is just £1,000 in fees.