Campaigners condemn change in police tactics over anti-fracking protests in North Yorkshire

170920 KM Sue Gough4

Policing at anti-fracking protests at Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, 20 September 2017. Photo: Sue Gough

Opponents of fracking plans at Kirby Misperton have accused North Yorkshire Police of violating their human right to protest.

An inspector was filmed today confirming that slow walking protests – where campaigners slowly escort trucks – would not be permitted near the Third Energy’s fracking site.

This form of protest has been used at protests against the onshore oil and gas industry throughout the UK. Earlier this month, Supt Dave Hannan, the silver commander of the operation at Kirby Misperton, said he would allow one 20-minute slow walk in the morning and another of the same duration in the afternoon. DrillOrDrop report

Protesters did not accept the limit on the time or the number of walks. But today, the third day of deliveries to the site, an inspector said on camera:

 “There’s no slow walks allowed anymore. Mr [Supt Dave] Hannan has said there’s no slow walks.

“You can protest down here. That’s no problem. At the side of the road. You can make your protest. You can have your banners there, which you’ve got.”

A statement from the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp, established in December 2016 to oppose Third Energy’s plans to frack in the village, said police had banned both slow-walking and sit-down protests.

“This is a direct violation of the protection of human rights under British law”.

A local councillor said local people had been distressed and confused by the change in police tactics.

A formal statement from North Yorkshire Police said:

“Police liaison officers have been engaging with the protest community, and will continue to do so, explaining what is acceptable in terms of safety and reasonableness. This will be reviewed on a regular basis.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire declined to comment on the change of approach.

170920 KM Sue Gough7

Protest policing at Kirby Misperton, 20 September 2017. Photo: Sue Gough

The force confirmed this morning that two men and two women arrested yesterday (20 September 2017) had been charged with obstructing a highway. At least one was sitting near the gate to the wellsite. Police said they would appear in court in York next month.

Five people were arrested today. Two were charged with obstructing a police officer, one with assaulting an officer and two with obstructing the highway. One woman was also taken to hospital after being restrained by police and pushed over. An ambulance reportedly took more than two hours to arrive.

170920 KM Sue Gough1

Protest policing, Kirby Misperton, 20 September 2017. Photo: Sue Gouth

Derek Chapman, a member of Kirkbymoorside Town Council, said this evening:

“Locals are distraught that they have been lied to and have lost all access to peaceful protest.

“At present, the police are not doing enough to protect the protesters from harm and distress, nor support their right to cause some limited obstruction.”

He accused officers of inconsistent, intimidating and undiscerning policing. He said local people, many of whom had never protested before, were facing heavy-handed policing and kettling (containment by lines of officers).

Cllr Chapman said:

“On Tuesday, one woman in her 70s from Helmsley was kettled for two hours, restricted access to water or to a chair, even though both were a short distance away, and treated as if she were a ‘lock-on’ activist.

“She is now at home exhausted, poorly and distressed. But she vows to return to the front line because she says ‘this is her Ryedale and her right’”.

Cllr Chapman said some local people, who felt they were being treated like criminals by police, wanted to meet Supt. Hannan. The police must serve the interests of people who want to protest, he said.

“But at present we see no evidence to support this assertion”.

170920 KM Sue Gough5

Policing at Kirby Misperton anti-fracking protests, 20 September 2017. Photo: Sue Gough

Kirby Misperton Protection Camp said:

“Non-violent direct action, such as a sit-down protest on a public road, are legitimate forms of peaceful protest.

“Non-violent direct action has historically been central to the tactics employed by social movements, including Mahatma Gandhi’s Indian Independence Movement and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and has been central to the world’s environmental movements.

“These human rights were hard won and we will stand to defend them.”

The camp also said the use of “kettling” at the KM8 site was questionable. This had been justified by the Metropolitan Police during student protests when officers said they were under attack from protesters. A spokesperson for Kirby Misperton Protection Camp said:

“There has been no such attack by protectors at the KM8 site, however the crowds are kettled several times a day.”

Traffic diversions

Traffic to the Flamingo Land resort in Kirby Misperton has been re-routed this week, causing concern in local villages.

North Yorkshire Police referred DrillOrDrop’s questions to North Yorkshire County Council.  The council said:

“We have erected diversion signs relating to a road closure used periodically by the police to manage activities leading to the site safely.

“We have agreed with the police that our yellow diversion signs will remain even when the road is open to enable closure to be implemented without delay, if necessary.

“However, the yellow diversion signs will come into effect only if a closure is put in place by the police. Specific signs highlighting the alternative route to Flamingo Land are in place as part of the diversion.”

30 replies »

  1. Important to live stream and download safely all acts of force or violence against peaceful protestors! At PNR we have reams of evidence that will soon become valuable evidence in multiple actions against the people hurting our friends!

    • A nice little song for your Sunday afternoon, strangely appropriate dont you think?

      With Apologies to Gordon Sumner (Sting)

      “The Police”

      Original song : “Every Breath You Take”
      With a little alteration.

      Every breath you take
      And every move you make
      Every bond you break, every step you take
      We’ll be watching you

      Every single day
      And every word you say
      Every game you play, all that you dismay
      We’ll be watching you

      Oh can’t you see
      That this is the key
      How the UK breaks
      At every liberty you take

      Every move you make
      And every vow you break
      Every smile you fake, every claim you stake
      We’ll be watching you

      Since you’ve been pawned you been lost without grace
      We dream at night but we cannot see your face
      We look around but it’s you we can’t replace
      We feel so cold when we fall from your embrace

      We keep crying listen to our plea

      Oh can’t you see
      That it’s not the fee
      How the UK breaks
      At every liberty you take

      Every move you make
      And every vow you break
      Every smile you fake, every claim you stake
      We’ll be watching you

      Every move you make, every step you take
      We’ll be watching you

      We’ll be watching you
      (Every breath you take, every move you make)
      (Every bond you break, every step you take)
      We’ll be watching you
      (Every single day, every word you say)
      (Every game you play, every right you stay)

      We’ll be watching you
      (Every move you make, every vow you break)
      (Every smile you fake, every claim you stake)
      We’ll be watching you
      (Every single day, every word you say)
      (Every game you play, every right you flay)

      We’ll be watching you
      (Every breath you take, every move you make)
      (Every bond you break, every order you take)
      We’ll be watching you
      (Every single day, every word you say)
      (Every game you play, every slight you display)

      We’ll be watching you
      (Every move you make, every vow you break)
      (Every mile you take, every cuff you make)
      We’ll be watching you

  2. Do protesters have human rights that others do not? Why are we supposed to assume that protesters’ “human rights” allow them to directly violate the rights of others? If this sort of protest is acceptable to society, then any and every business which relies on mobility can be legally destroyed by arbitrary protest. Let’s face it, there’s an argument that can be made to protest any and every business known to man. How can society survive as we know it if we consider slow walking a basic human right?

    • Do you CARE about your water supply? Or do you think you and your family can live on air? Recognise when people are doing YOU a service. They are protesting YOUR rights, while you are busy in the pub or slumped in front of your TV.

      • Actually, Girl, I have a home very close to several well pads in Wash Cty, PA. Our water is fine, thank you. Always has been. You aren’t doing anyone a service with your hyperbole, but you are (as a group) violating the rights of others. [Edited by moderator]

  3. Very sympathetic coverage to people who are trying to block a legal process that has every single permission in place. NYCC said YES! In the GE, the people returned Kevin Hollinrake with an increased majority, in spite of his pro shale gas stance.
    Protestors are giving malicious false reviews to local contractors (an offense in law) and are blocking their businesses and the roads. These are all illegal. The police appear to be doing everything possible to be reasonable, and read people their rights. Then they get in there and move em. Whats the problem?

    Protest means to show your opinion. What is happening is low level crime and its pleasing to see the police taking action. Local opinion is strongly against the disruption caused by the protestors, especially as their protest camps are so squalid.

  4. The police made it quite clear some while ago that they would not allow certain activities, and showed every intention to work with the protestors. But, that was not good enough for these people, from day one there were arrests and this has continued. They have pushed their luck-deliberately-and the police are reacting accordingly. So, as expected, stop the whinging.

    It would appear the only thing these people will understand are injunctions, and this is all they will produce. Not the fault of the police, the courts or the companies-just the protestors.

    • We were there on day one and there were no arrests. You also fail to mention that most of the arrests so far have resulted in “No further action” which means people were subjected to legal kidnapping to remove them from the protest. You really need to get your facts right before uncritically supporting fracking and the police.
      It was Sir Winston Churchill who started the campaign for European Human Rights including a right to protest. Think about it.

  5. Some interesting comments about ‘human rights’ and various others – right to protest peacefully and right to carry on business activities. Without doubt, some commenting on here need to recognise that we only have a (relatively) peaceful, democratic society here because those rights have a degree of balance. There is also plenty of comment with neither evidence nor first hand knowledge – mere uninformed comment. When one group takes priority over another it increasingly becomes a dictatorship or a police state. The police have a difficult task in this balancing act. If protestors and protectors are violent or break the law in other ways, they must expect to be arrested. However, if they are peaceful, non violent and are not obstructing the highway (or cease to obstruct when asked), there is no justification for heavy handed police tactics – that is clearly not a balanced approach. From what I’ve seen and heard over the past few days, that is precisely what is happening. I have heard absolutely no mention of any violence from the protectors. There is plenty of photographic and video evidence to back all this up. Only a couple of weeks ago, I was assured by Silver Commander, Supt Hannan that there would be consistency in the policing and the rights of all members of the public would be balanced. It now appears there is a large, powerful and influential body at one end of the see saw.

    • The point is, Mike, that protesters often infringe on basic rights of others as they pursue “peaceful” protest. When they block traffic, when they block businesses, when they climb onto equipment, when they destroy equipment, when they attack businesses using social media – all of these actions, while not “violent,” certainly infringe on the rights of others. We are all tired of this kind of despicable behavior that deprives other people of their rights.

      • I made the point that basic human rights should be afforded to both sides, and enforced in an even-handed way by the police. If people choose to knowingly break the law, they will accept arrest. That’s their choice. Local people are doing that now because they honestly believe that their voices, opinions and their evidence has not been accepted or listened to. Personally, I agree as I’ve been closely involved throughout the process. Refricktion replied with ‘all the same words, but not necessarily in the same order’. To me, this shows he has no interest whatsoever in balance or the legitimate rule of law, merely facilitating the fracking industry as the govt and police seem to be hell bent on. Believe it or not, other people besides the frackers and their supporters have rights too, and they are being deprived of them on a regular basis. Talking of ‘infringing on the rights of others’, thousands of people have died, been seriously injured and had all their property and livelihoods destroyed by record breaking floods and winds recently. These are all ‘weather events’ but the result of, and completely indicative of a hotter atmosphere and warming oceans i.e. man made global warming. It will continue and worsten as the earth’s atmosphere warms and therefore increases energy and moisture. We have very little time left to deal with this before it becomes irreversible. The Committee on Climate Change and many others say we must stop our reliance on burning fossil fuels right now and not exploit new sources – as in a new UK fracking industry. I consider this to be a violation of my ‘human rights’. What do you propose to do about it? Frack on no doubt.

        • You use the royal ” we” a great deal . In the UK your support is slowly going down the teens. And the evidence shows that when people do some research they are far more likely to be against it . The key word is ETHICAL .This could never be applied to this industry and companies have pulled out when they have finally done their research . I have often wished that Drill or Drop would have likes applied to posts [ edited by moderator] Peter Lilley , Fallon , Egan have all stated that there has not been one single incident of contamination of water in the U.S. .This is of course true .there have been thousands of incidents . Lord Howell , George Osborne s father in law spoke of the ” desolate north ” , he thought it was the North East , this man had not even bothered to find out which part of the country was being sacrificed . It is total corrupt for MPs and ministers with interests in shale gas to be involved in policy.

          • Lily, when you say “research,” you mean when they read anti frack propaganda that masquerades as science. The independent scientific research has found absolutely zero proof that fracking is a systemic threat to human health. Independent scientific research has also demonstrated the enormous benefits of shale gas in terms of reduced carbon emissions, lower energy prices, lower mortality, greater wealth, and greater renewable deployment.

            And when you speak of character, do you understand the great lack thereof on the part of the anti-frack movement? Do you understand the lies and exaggeration that have founded that movement?

            Can you provide any evidence that Egan said not a single instance of contamination occurred in the US? I think any learned individual is fully aware that isolated and limited accidents have happen, but they have not been due to the fracking process. They have mostly been linked to poor well completion or lack of safety precautions in transferring liquids. I would bet you 100:1 odds that the practice of farming has caused 1000x more “contamination” of water supplies as compared to fracking.

            • PLEASE, there is no need to thank me refricktion.

              I’m concerned that you have been blinded by the fake, fracking hype. Your health is my concern, therefore I feel obliged to answer your question to Lily regarding water contamination..


              Water Contamination – Physicians for Social Responsibility



              Stanford researchers show fracking’s impact to drinking water sources



              Fracking Has Contaminated Drinking Water, EPA Now Concludes



              Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water



              4 states confirm water pollution from drilling



              EPA Concludes Fracking a Threat to U.S. Water Supplies



              Fracking contaminated underground water in Wyoming



              Thousands of spills at US oil and gas fracking sites



              Fracking can contaminate rivers and lakes with radioactive material, study finds


              . ………….

              I can supply more links if it will help refricktion.

              Regards, jackthelad

            • Jack, you are the poster child for the Green propaganda machine. There is nothing but hot air behind any of your links. On the other hand, Independent scientific work continues to support the truth – that fracking has not caused systemic harm to human health, and that it has resulted in massive benefits to health and welfare.

            • Hi JTL,

              How did you get so many links through?

              I was told that having more than 5 would mean a submission being kicked out?

              Interesting reading though.

              I would encourage people to read the full EPA report, as a couple of the articles have cherry picked what they actually said.

              Can I also point out that the contamination in Wyoming was due to use of unlined pits – something have not been allowed to do in the UK since before I started in the early 1980’s.

              Also, I’m amazed that some States apparently allow frac’ing into the same formation that people have their water wells in. That’s just asking for trouble. Irrespective of the fact that our potential shale gas / oil are in formations several thousand feet below any producing aquifer, we would never be allowed to do that here.

              Finally, it’s really disappointing to see that a lot of the early problems with trust issues, were actually caused by the Pennsylvania State EPA’s refusal to release the results of investigations into contaminated water complaints – even when the oil industry wanted them to.

              It looks like the Pennsylvania authorities didn’t want a light shone on the fact that they don’t have a standard for water well construction, which apparently caused most of the verified problems. That decision clearly sowed the seeds of discontent with their regulatory system, which they – and as a result, the oil industry – are still suffering from today.

              • Regarding comments with multiple links:

                Comments with 5 links or more are automatically put in a moderation queue and have to be approved by myself or Ruth before appearing on the site.


            • Refricktion,
              Just my attempt at a little ” black humour ” my good man/woman .

              As we ride this endless merry-go-round of YOU saying there is no evidence prove that fracking is not safe, ME putting up the same links to prove YOU wrong, then YOU ignoring them …..

              The reset button pressed, WE then start all over again .

              It’s good to break the monotony with a little light entertainment.

              ” Poster child for the green propaganda machine ” ha ha ha.
              We may not agree on fracking , but at least we can have a laugh along the way . Keep them one liners coming refricktion.


            • Hello Injuneer ,

              You raise some interesting points regarding my above links .

              Yes, I will have to concede the point you raise regarding unlined pits in the US causing ground contamination in Wyoming.

              It’s correct to point out, that type of practice would NOT be allowed in the UK when storing toxic fracking waste.


              Fracking can contaminate rivers and lakes with radioactive material, study finds



              The above link I had previously posted was to highlight the US style GOLD STANDARDS .

              BUT WE HAVE ALREADY SUFFERED the same leval of GOLD STANDARDS in the UK .
              Remember when Cuadrillas 5 million gallons of radioactive fracking waste water was dumped into the Manchester Ship Canal by United Utilities ( water board ) ?

              MP demands answers on why waste water from fracking was dumped into the Manchester Ship Canal


              …………..It’s not a good start…………

              • Jack TL
                Re dumping Waste into the Manchester Ship Canal.
                Looks like the EA gave permission to dispose of this waste, post treatment into the canal.
                Then they changed their minds and said ….. no more.
                So….no laws broken and an issue resolved?
                Key issue for me is how radioactive it was. I will see if I can find out. It sounds bad, but it all depends on the level of radioactivity.
                No more radioactive than produced water offshore in guess. But maybe not something to pop into the canal on a long term basis.

            • Hewes62,

              YES, the EA, gave them permision and this little sordid secret would of remained a secret, but for a Freedom Of Information request several years later .

              United Utilities , Cuadrilla, and the EA, what a cosy little love triangle..

              KNOWINGLY ALLOWING…… Millions of gallons of untreatable, chemical , radioactive waste to be dumped in the Manchester Ship Canal is beyond belief .

              The so called chemical experts working at all three of the above would of known about the difficulties processing this type of waste ….. SURLEY THEY WOULD OF, wouldn’t they ??? After all, that is their job ……

              ( Surely there would of been some communication between these three bodies regarding this matter.)

              BUT THEY DECIDED TO KEEP QUIET , so as not to upset the residents living in that area.

              If this is what the industry and regulatory bodies call being fully open and transparent, then the public will rightfully so, remain concerned and highly sceptical of the promised ( safety ) Gold Standards .

              Even at this late stage , it would be interesting to find out, exactly how toxic this waste was. Was it, or was it not something for people to be concerned about ??? … Can anyone shed some light on this matter ???

            • hewes62,

              Yes , I’m aware that since October 2011 this type of fracking waste has been re-classified and therefore this practice would not now , for safety reasons be permitted .

              It just seems in this instance, the EA has been playing catch up regarding regulations…… Is it up to spec now I wonder .

            • Further to this little thread about disposal of contaminated waste water in the Manchester Ship Canal. I thought the idea of gold standard regulation was to start the industry up with that gold standard, not to start off by contaminating and dumping, then learn from the mistakes and gradually improve over an indeterminate period of time. Isn’t that what allegedly happened with the gung ho brigade in US etc?
              Also this mantra from the usual suspects about ‘absolutely zero proof that fracking is a systemic threat to human health’ is interesting. In the sense of ‘absolutely categorical conclusive proof’, it is perhaps a legitimate claim, but only on the basis that nobody in the US appeared to take any baseline data. They can (and do) therefore have a massive raft of circumstantial evidence around negative health impacts in the vicinity of fracking operations, yet say there is no conclusive PROOF of causal connection. In reality, a large enough body of such circumstantial evidence IS sufficient proof. It’s rather like knowing that when a certain house was burgled, a known suspect was in the close vicinity. Mere circumstantial evidence. However, if 100 or 1,000 houses were burgled and the same suspect was always known to be in the vicinity, the evidence would likely be overwhelming enough for a conviction. In another recent DoD thread, Ken Wilkinson claimed there was absolutely no evidence of water contamination from fracking (I didn’t have time to respond then). In this he is 100% wrong. What he meant of course was that, in the same way as above, there is no absolutely categorical PROOF, but a huge amount of evidence. All sorts of minor details can be evidence – similar to a well known fracker being in the vicinity, but no actual fingerprints on the illegally discharged waste water. Of course, what we need is a solid baseline of air, water, health, noise, light, ecology etc then ongoing monitoring for a significant enough time to note any changes. It comes at a cost. The alternative is dumping any social cost onto Lancashire, Ryedale and way beyond if this industry ramps up to full production. If the risks are so minimal/non existent, I wonder why the govt and industry are so opposed to bonds, where the money for reparations is safely up front in a savings account?

            • Hi JTL,

              I still haven’t been able to find the original EA report, but I did find this:


              It says that the level (in Radium equivalent) measured at Preese Hall was 90 +/- 12 (i.e. 78 – 102) Becquerel/cubic meter.

              So how does this compare with other sources?

              Well if you live in Cornwall, you get 145 Bq/cubic meter.

              Standing next to another human, you get 77 Bq (thanks to the Potassium in our bodies).

              Bananas you get 130 Bq/Kg.

              BTW, Google ‘Banana equivalent dose’ – yes, it really does exist – it was created to give people an idea of how much radiation they were exposed to from natural sources…

              Brazil Nuts are the bad boys of the food world – you get 444 Bq/kg from those.

              I may have mangled the conversion factors (been a long time since ‘A’ level Physics…), but I think one flight across the Atlantic gives you the equivalent of 52,000 Bq.

              In other words, the radio-activity in the Preese Hall flowback water was negligible, and for comparison, less than 1% of that allowed for the cooling water discharge from a Nuclear power plant.

              So nothing to get all het up about.

              United Utilities had permission from the EA to discharge the water (haven’t found anything yet w.r.t. the actual quantity), so they did so – it was all perfectly legal and the MP needs to wind her neck back in.

              IMHO, given the level of radioactivity, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to call it a ‘sordid little secret’ and saying ‘they decided to keep quiet’ as if what had been done was in any way illegal.

              Having lived and worked in the US, I can assure you that US Standards certainly not ‘Gold Standard’ (see previous posts w.r.t. unlined pits and frac’ing into the same formation as water wells) and are far below those of the UK (why the need to capitalize Gold Standards? I’m missing something here…) and that the UK’s are widely regarded as ‘best in class’ (see my response to Philip P on that subject).

              It’s a bit late, so I’ll dig up some more on the report in The Independent later. If it refers to the study I think it does, it was subsequently proved that the processing plant in question had never actually processed flow-back water, and the source of the contamination was the waste water from coal-bed methane operations –
              nothing to do with frac’ing.

            • Son of a….

              Just found the original EPA report here:

              Click to access 6th_Dec_-_Shale_gas_-_North_West_-_Monitoring_of_flowback_water_-_update_(3).pdf

              To sum up, the salt level is 3 – 4 times more concentrated than seawater, there are raised levels of iron (almost certainly from the casing) and everything else is negligable.

              So not toxic at all.

              BTW, before anyone misreads the summary table, it does NOT contain Plutonium, the overall level is expressed in Plutonium equivalent. The detailed breakdown of radio-actives shows no Plutonium present..

              • Injuneer
                Thanks for that.

                Gold Standard Regulation is a buzz phrase used by those who believe the existing regulations to be inadequate in relation to fracking, and ( in the Weald especially ) extended to all onshore HC activity, from the traffic plan and wheel wash requirements onwards.

                Somebody said it would be OK to frack as we have Gold Standard Regulations, so becoming a hostage to fortune. Any perceived breach, or actual breach, no matter what the significance, is seen as evidence that the regulations ( and by extension enforcement ) are not gold standard.

                They are what they are, of course, and will no doubt change as all regulation does. There is no such thing as Gold Standard Regulations, just better, or worse than others, or better or worse than you, as an individual, would want them to be. Likewise enforcement.

                But still worth discussing, Bronze Standard or not.

      • girl survivor

        Remember, for the majority of us in the U.K., water is treated by our supplier first!

        I think that methane in our public water supply at the tap, is not going to happen. Mine comes mainly from the Bunter Sandstone, which is well pierced with oil wells and coal mine shafts. I will re check but some I believe comes from the lovely river Trent. Yum, recycled sewage! There are no problems yet. Water is treated before it gets to me.

        Some Others in the West get there water from reservoirs in the Pennines and in Wales, with no danger there of fracking polluting the reservoirs I believe.

        If you rely on a well in your back yard, things may be different. I do not think many house owners in villages do this, it’s more likely to be out in the country….isolated farms and the like.

        Then there is the discussion about drilling and water contamination of your private well. Which has been on here before, so I will leave that subject for another post.

  6. hewes62-even wells/springs out in the sticks have to be checked routinely and cleared as suitable and pure for drinking purposes. (my family had such a source of water on their farm they bought. It was rejected (animal faeces contamination) and they had to bring mains water across 1 mile of fields.) I remember years ago visiting a farm in Wales, and they had the water arriving in a spring within a shed, and they had placed a nice trout in the pool to consume any flies that fell in the water-but those days are long gone.

    More fake news.

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