The Humberside and East Yorkshire Frack Off group has called for a suspension of Rathlin Energy’s activities in the region and an inquiry into the West Newton drill site. The call follows an investigation by DrillOrDrop.com into breaches of environmental permits at West Newton.
The findings, published yesterday, revealed that the West Newton exploratory hydrocarbon site had eight breaches of its environmental permits in three months.
The site and its operators experienced equipment problems, were criticised for record-keeping and management systems and failed to meet deadlines for actions required by the Environment Agency. The company also questioned the truth of some complaints about the site.
Pippa King, of Hey Frack Off, said the results of the investigation showed that regulators and operators were not sufficiently prepared for the onshore oil and gas industry in the UK. “Neither this company nor the regulations are fit for purpose”, she said.
Ms King added: “The problems at West Newton came to light only because local people reported them. This is a very strong argument in favour of allowing people to live alongside oil and gas sites on roadside verges to monitor what is happening. That is not going to be possible at Rathlin’s site at Crawberry Hill because East Riding of Yorkshire Council bulldozed the camp there a week last Tuesday.”
She said that the findings of the investigation strengthened the case for 24-hours-a-day monitoring of the oil and gas industry, because the operations on these sites were round-the-clock.
Rathlin Energy is currently applying for planning permission for a new exploratory drilling site at West Newton. Ms King called for a suspension of Rathlin Energy’s operations in the area pending an inquiry.
“East Riding of Yorkshire Council needs to be aware of what happened at West Newton. We would like to see Rathlin suspended from all operations until a full investigation has shown that it is a company that is fit for purpose. This is an industry that can cause damage to peoples’ lives. That should be a good enough reason alone for a full investigation.
“Rathlin Energy has not been transparent with East Riding of Yorkshire councillors. We would like to see the government’s seven principles of public life* apply to East Riding of Yorkshire Council and to the Environment Agency in this situation”.
Rathlin Energy made a statement in response to the investigation. You can read the statement here.
*The seven principles of public life for holders of public office: are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership