A group of Southern Highlands residents has blockaded a private road at Sutton Forest to stop Hume Coal accessing a property where they say it plans to drill exploratory boreholes.
There were no signs of the company or drilling equipment as about 30 residents brought cars and tractors and set up camp at the entrance to Carters Lane this morning.
The residents say they’re in it for the long haul and at least some protesters will remain 24 hours a day.
It is understood four properties use the access road, which is owned by one landholder.
Southern Highlands Coal Action Group convener Peter Martin said one of the neighbours had signed an access agreement with Hume Coal, which was seeking approval to build an underground coal mine in the area, for exploratory drilling.
‘‘The neighbours are furious and we’re blockading the property, we’re not going to let the drilling rigs onto this property,’’ he said.
‘‘This is a private road owned by one of the other landowners and he’s said to the coal company you can’t have access up this private road.’’
Mr Martin said the company had sent a letter to the neighbouring properties that it planned to start drilling in the area, although several said the letter did not specify exactly where.
‘‘We’re really saying to the state government, this is an area with beautiful agricultural land, a lot of residents, one of the best, most productive aquifer systems in NSW ... and mining should never be done here because the coal seam is directly under the aquifer,’’ he said.
See tomorrow’s Mercury for the full story.