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.”
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.