In this update of protests about fracking and the UK onshore oil and gas industry:
- Unions and the Diggers join protests at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site
- Residents gather outside Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site in North Yorkshire as service companies carry out work
- Tour de Frack cycle ride
- Accusations of heavy-handed policing at Preston New Road
This post will be updated throughout the week with any new activities and events.
27-28 April 2017
Tour de Frack cycle ride: Lancashire to Yorkshire
Cyclists rode the 120-miles between Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale site in Lancashire to Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire where Third Energy has permission to frack its KM8 well.
25 April 2017
Preston New Road, Little Plumpton
Photographers recorded what they said was heavy-handed policing at protests outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site this week.
KMA wellsite, Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire
Local people gathered at the entrance to the wellsite as PW Well Services and Moorhouse Drilling carried out work. The small demonstration prevented workers leaving for seven hours.
North Yorkshire County Council said it had been told by Third Energy that the well was being pressure tested to comply with the environmental permit issued by the Environment Agency.
Superintendent Dave Hannan, of North Yorkshire Police said the force had “well-rehearsed” plans for protests. In a statement issued on 26 April 2017, he said:
“Although the circumstances which led to the protest action at Kirby Misperton on Tuesday (25 April 2017) were not anticipated, we were able to put those plans in place and they were effective.
“We are mindful of the small number of complaints relating to the protest. However, we were able to keep disruption to a minimum while keeping people safe, which is always our absolute priority.
“The role of the police in such situations is to uphold the law and prevent crime and disorder, facilitate the right to peaceful protest, whilst balancing the needs and the rights of the communities and businesses affected.
“Overall, our response to the protest met our aims. North Yorkshire Police will continually assess our approach and adapt to the ongoing situation.”
Third Energy also issued a statement. It said protesters had locked gates using chains and padlocks and blocked the entrance with their cars. “A number of people were effectively imprisoned by this action for over seven hours in extremely cold conditions and with no access to food. The statement said people were allowed off the site at 9.30pm, slow walking them through Kirby Misperton.
Rasik Valand, chief executive of Third Energy, said:
“This illegal action is calculated to cause distress to our staff, and our contractors, who are only trying to go about their daily, legitimate work, and will continue to do so. In fact, they were conducting activities required by regulatory bodies, one of the key aspects of additional protection that public and protestors have wanted. Third Energy respects people’s right to lawful protest, but this is not lawful and prevents people from going about their legitimate work, indeed imprisoning them on site. We call on the police and authorities to take the strongest possible action to ensure this sort of mob rule by a minority, which we have seen in other parts of the country, doesn’t come to Ryedale.”
24 April 2017
Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire
Members of the United and PCS unions joined the Bolton and Wigan Diggers at Preston New Road. A small march to the site included demonstrators carrying pitch forks and a coffin labelled “Fracking = Ecocide“. Pictures from video by Craig Wilson.
Stephen Hall, from Greater Manchester Association of Trade Union Councils and a committee member for the Wigan Diggers, said:
“We want to add our support to the fantastic work of Bolton Against Fracking, Frack Free Wigan, Leigh & Makerfield and the many other local and national campaign groups and individuals who are doing their utmost to resist and hopefully, ultimately stop the roll out of fracking in Britain and everywhere else. We are building solidarity with campaigners at Preston New Road.”
Barbara Richardson, from Frack Free Lancashire, said:
“It is fantastic to have the support of trade unions and the Diggers movement in the North West in our campaign to keep Lancashire frack-free. The vast majority of trade unions are opposed to fracking and are calling for the creation of a million climate jobs, and with our fantastic renewable energy resources we believe Lancashire workers and businesses could be at the heart of this.”
Lancashire Police said two people had been arrested during yesterday’s protests. A spokesperson said at 53-year-old man from Bolton was charged with causing a danger to other road users and is due to appear before Blackpool magistrates on 3 July. The other person was not charged.