Friends of the Earth says 7,000 supported on-going action against Barclays fracking funding


Protest outside Barclays Bank in Aberystwyth

Friends of the Earth says 7,000 people have supported its ongoing action against funding by Barclays Bank for a company that wants to frack in North Yorkshire.

A subsidiary of Barclays owns 97% of Third Energy, the company which has applied to frack an existing well on the edge of Kirby Misperton. Third Energy has also said it wants to frack at 19 sites in the area, with between 10 and 50 wells per site.

Friends of the Earth said the figure represents total support for the campaign over the past few months, including email action, paper petitions and demonstrations outside Barclays Bank branches.

Its energy campaigner, Guy Shrubsole, said:

“Barclays must listen to the thousands of people across the UK demanding it pull the plug on its fracking plans in North Yorkshire.

“Fracking threatens the local environment and our global climate – it’s no wonder it’s so unpopular.

“Barclays should look to the future and bank on Britain’s huge renewable energy potential, not on more climate-wrecking fossil fuels.”

Map where Friends of the Earth said protests against Barclays took place

Map where Friends of the Earth said protests against Barclays took place

The Kirby Misperton planning application is due to be decided on Monday 2nd November, although North Yorkshire County Council has said this date could change.

Barclays made a statement to Friends of the Earth about the day of action. It said:

  • The risks associated with fracking were low and could be managed
  • Third Energy had operated in Ryedale for 20 years with no impact on the local economy.
  • The UK’s regulatory regime minimised the risks of fracking to groundwater.
  • Third Energy’s plans would create a small amount of traffic and noise
  • Shale gas extraction would help to tackle climate change.

The bank added:

“Barclays Natural Resources Investments (BNRI) has a majority stake in Third Energy: a British business with a history of investment and good corporate citizenship in North Yorkshire. Third Energy has been drilling, developing and producing gas in the region for over 20 years, with an excellent environmental and safety record.

“We are conscious of the concerns of local communities and other groups over potential environmental and community impacts, which we take seriously and will continue to monitor. We have worked closely with Third Energy to ensure their plans are compatible with our values and any future shale gas extraction activity will be subject to the full planning process, including environmental assessment and public consultation.”

In response to Barclays, Tony Bosworth,  energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said Barclays had “cherry-picked platitudes that won’t fool anyone”. He said:

  • On health, Barclays did not refer to the New York State decision to ban fracking on health grounds, or a report by Medact, which concluded a high number and concentration of boreholes could result in considerable risks to public health.
  • On the economy, fracking was different to conventional drilling and a government report had suggested rural areas could see losses from fracking in agricultural, tourism, hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation
  • On risks to ground and surface water, UK regulation was inadequate, flawed or ineffectively applied and enforced.
  • On traffic and noise, Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site would generate more than 900 lorry trips.
  • Expansion of gas-fired power stations is incompatible with the UK’s climate change targets.

Blog by Friends of the Earth on the day of action

Updated on 20/10/2015 to clarify that the 7,000 total represented support for action over the last few months through email action and paper petitions, as well as demonstrations outside bank branches. FoE said it has clarified its blog to make this clear.

10 replies »

  1. Ruth, is it too late to add the protests in Hull and Beverley to your map?

    • Hi Michael
      The map was from Friends of the Earth so sorry I don’t have the data to change it. If you can get FoE to update the map I’ll also update the post.
      Best wishes, Ruth

      • Ruth if you can prove that 7 thousand participated in this event, I would appreciate it. Otherwise, judging by the single figure amount of people shown in any pictures I’ve seen, I think you should put this in the same category as 7000 wells. There are less than 900 remaining branches throughout the UK and FoE’s own map appears to show protests at about 250 of them, meaning an average attendance of 28, a figure that any photograph they published disproves.

        By the way, what is the exact membership of FoE? That’s a simple question they refuse to answer to me. It seems to me that the FoE are in danger of being outnumbered in most town centres by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I put it to you that since the government doesn’t ban blood transfusions or disband the armed forces, it’s unlikely to listen to people who seem to be far fewer in numbers, albeit much noisier.

        • Luckily Nick, FoE are not alone in this pressure on Barclays. Extinction Rebellion and a number of other groups (including faith organisations) are undertaking protests against Barclays on a regular basis. I can personally attest to the fact that some of the pressure being put on Barclays is causing consternation, having been informed by a Barclays manager who had been called to a meeting about this issue. Barclays are worried about their image. Doing something is certainly better than doing nothing and the Barclays protests are helping to stimulate action and discussion on the wider debate about the climate emergency. Good Maths by the way! We just need to get the Jehovah’s Witness community on board! x

  2. From everyone at Frack Free Ryedale, we would like to extend our thanks and solidarity to everyone around the country who took part in this action. People understand that what happens in Kirby Misperton may affect the rest of the country, and it is hugely heartening to see how many people staged demonstrations and other actions to oppose fracking in North Yorkshire, and called upon Barclays to stop funding fracking. If you haven’t objected to the planning application, please write a personal objection – although the official deadline has passed, comments will be accepted up until the decision date. For guidance and a downloadable letter you can customise, please go to our website: http://www.frackfreeryedale.org/km8 . Thank you all again.

  3. We had a really good response from the people in Chelmsford Essex last Sat. many were shocked when they found out about Barclay’s. one chap calling them a Bunch of Dirty Frackers!
    So glad we have helped in some small way. Thanks for all you do in Ryedale/North Yorks. Thank also to FOE for organising such a well prepared campaign. Much love to you all from your Southern Cousins Against FRACKING! X




    So – I think it’s long past time for a potted history of the ‘Northern Fields’ as those gas loving people all like to call Ryedale – and a simple Google search brought up a NYCC Viking Gas ‘Screening request’ from 2011, which gives us just that – please do read – it not only shows the lie for what it is, it also shows how unstable this industry is…

    1964 – 1974 (Home Oil) Licences covering Northern Fields and VoP fields granted to Home Oil Limited. First discovery in Northern Fields in the area of Lockton (later renamed Ebberston Moor). Additional discoveries in Malton (VoP fields). Production in Lockton started in October 1972 but was unable to fulfil more than half the contractually required quantity. Home Oil became liable for large penalties under the British Gas contract and production ceased in 1974.

    1993 – 2000 Kelt Energy plc, which had acquired the Home Oil licences, signed a master gas sales agreement with Scottish Power (SP) in 1993. Kelt agreed to develop the VoP fields and SP agreed to build the Knapton power station. SP also agreed to pay the costs to build the gathering and processing infrastructure to connect the well sites to the power station, which were leased back to Kelt. First gas was produced in November 1994 and until early 2000, sufficient gas was being produced to run the power station at close to its maximum capacity of 9.3 MMscfpd, with more than 50% of the production coming from the MN-4 well on the Malton field.2000 –
    2003(Tallow)Production from the MN-4 well started to decline sharply due to water breakthrough and production effectively ceased by early 2001.

    Have you lost the plot yet? Please don’t, stick with it – we WILL get to Third Energy – eventually…

    By 2001, Kelt had been 100% acquired by Tullow. Tullow drilled two new wells (PK-1 on the Pickering field and MS-2 on the Marishes field) in 2001 to replace MN-4. The wells gradually watered out in 2002. The assets had been Tullow’s first major UK operations, but their focus had shifted offshore where they had experienced exploration success. There was little appetite to continue operations given the declining well performance.

    2004 – 2005 (Viking) Viking acquired the fields in November 2003. A new horizontal well, MS-3, was a failure and the remaining wells were producing only poorly. The company was sold on to US backers.

    2006 – 2008 (US EnergySystems) In August 2006, a US consortium bought Viking. A new company, UKES, was formed to run Viking and a further subsidiary, RGS, was established to run the power side of the business. RGS was able to conclude a deal with SP to purchase the Knapton power station and entered into supply agreements with SP. New drilling on the Kirby Misperton field in 2006 had already gone some way to restoring production levels by 2007. An appraisal well, EB-1, was drilled on the Ebberston Moor field which tested at 6MMscfpd. In January 2008, USES filed for bankruptcy in the USA as a result of poor management of the UK facilities and the Chapter 11 process concluded in May 2009.

    2008 – 2011(Silver Point) A US consortium led by Silver Point took over the company in 2008. Two new wells, KM-5 and PK-2, were drilled in May 2009 and from this point until November 2010, for a number of months production was sufficient to operate the plant at full capacity. In January 2011 UKES drilled well KM-6, which was expected to commence production in March 2011, but in fact was dry. At the end of November 2010 a routine turbine inspection indicated foreign body damage and the unit was taken out of service until March 2011.

    July 2011 on (Third Energy) Third Energy took over UKES from the US owners in late July 2011 and is currently preparing a number of short term well workers and sidetracks to improve the present level of production. The company is also looking at longer term plans to expand VoP production and bring the Northern Fields on stream again….

    This is the publicly recorded truth in 2011, when Third Energy took control – 4 YEARS AGO – and we all know what Third Energy’s longer term plans are now don’t we…

    Now Barclays, Third Energy and Government do please stop trying to make that lie truth. No matter how often you repeat it, it is NOT true that Third Energy have been ‘drilling, developing and producing gas in the region for over 20 years, with an excellent environmental and safety record’.

    • Thanks for that legend Jane. I did notice Barclays said ”Third Energy had operated in Ryedale for 20 years with no impact on the local economy.” but at no stage said ‘Third Energy had operated in Ryedale for 20 years with no impact on the local environment’

      It’s always what isn’t said that gives the clue to propagandising.and cavalier denialism.

      For my part I find it amazing they also say in the advertorial for fracking they sent me, ”Thorough research into shale gas and hydraulic fracturing by leading scientific and industry experts, including the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Geological Society, the British Geological Survey, WaterUK, the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), Public Health England and Durham University has concluded that any potential risks associated with hydraulic fracturing are low and can be managed in a properly regulated industry.”

      The last phrase being quite telling.and complete red herring.

      The fact is we don’t have proper ENFORCEMENT of regulations operating in this country and the constant mantra of ”properly regulated industry” deliberately deflects and distracts from that actuality.

      One million regulations can be invented, but if none are enforced and due diligence not delivered then pretending having millions of regs is a rather stupid posturing most corporates delight in making us dance to the tune of.

      VW recently gave the lie to ”properly regulated industries” when it took a US enforcement agency to declare to the world that emissions were not what were claimed by car industries. AND if the regulatory body in the UK is so defunct and useless it couldn’t find this out themselves, then how trustworthy are they when it comes to enforcing regulations around rogue methane and ethane emissions once fracking rolls out?

  5. Smiled at the fact of Tony Bosworth accusing Barclays of using “cherry-picked platitudes that won’t fool anyone” by using his own.

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