Updated 6.30pm with new information and pictures
Three opponents of Third Energy’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire occupied the workover rig at the site early this morning.
The action comes as Third Energy has given notice of its intention to begin hydraulic fracturing later this week. (See Notice of fracking at the end of this post)
North Yorkshire Police said officers were called at about 3am by site security who reported three people had gained access to the site. Third Energy has condemned the protest.
A police statement issued on Facebook just before midday said:
“Two men and a woman climbed onto a platform 60ft up a rig inside the site and have remained there since.”
“Once again, emergency services resources will have to be deployed to deal with this situation”.
Since then, at 3.45pm, one of the men has come down. He was arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage. Third Energy has provided safety harnesses to the remaining two campaigners.
The campaigners posted short videos this morning explaining that they have food, blankets and a tarpaulin. They said in a statement at 3.30pm:
“This is both a local and international emergency. It’s not just about Kirby Misperton – once fracking happens in one area of the UK, the rest of the country will be affected. We had no choice, democracy is being overruled again and again and the government and corporations are ignoring our wishes. We have no choice but to stand up and mobilize, take action!
The statement added:
“It is loud up here because of the wind and there is a movement in the rig. We have a tarp so we hope to stay dry as possible. We also have supplies and we will be here for as long as possible, as long as it takes for Third Energy, other fracking companies, and the government to listen.”
On the ground, other campaigners have been sending messages to the people on the rig by megaphone. Messages are also being attached to the site fences.
Earlier today, the campaigners posted pictures from the rig platform.
Third Energy condemns protest
Third Energy issued a statement at 11am today
“Third Energy can confirm that one female and two males have broken into the KMA live gas well site in Kirby Misperton early on the morning of 21 October. The intruders have climbed up the workover rig, currently mobilised to the KM8 well, and are occupying the platform known as the monkey board.
“The company strongly condemns this reckless action that potentially has serious health and safety consequences for both the intruders and the people working on the site. In particular, the intruders have been advised by police loud hailer of the serious risk created by open flames and sparks on a live gas site.
“The current work programme with the rig has been completed and the rig is ready to be demobilised.”
Third Energy made a second statement at about 5.30pm:
North Yorkshire Police said it needed to take action when peaceful protest turned to what it described as “deliberate acts that are unlawful, cause unreasonable disruption to others or are dangerous”. It added:
“Our immediate concern is the safety and welfare of the protesters. Officers are on site assessing the situation.
“If the safety of those on the rig is put at risk then we will take appropriate action to bring the protest to safe conclusion.”
“Compelled to take a strong and visible stand”
In a statement this morning, the rig campaigners on the rig issued statement explaining the reason for the protest:
“We took this action because we feel compelled to make a strong and visible stand against this industry which threatens so much for all of us and future generations; drinkable water, clean air and the very stability of the land beneath our feet are in danger.
“Fracking only benefits a few at the expense of the many. We want to inspire others and demonstrate the power we have when we take a stand.”
The Kirby Misperton Protection Camp, which has been protesting against Third Energy since December 2016, said this morning:
“Our community has fought fracking within the planning and legal systems for years, and continues to do so whilst our evidence and testimony is thoroughly disregarded. The company currently has permission to work 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so this weekend’s action has effectively closed them down.
“The fracking of our communities is not acceptable to us, and this industry provides no answer to the serious problem of energy security in times of a climate emergency. Whilst we fight for a sustainable approach to our national resources, we are taking responsibility for their protection.
“This peaceful, non-violent action harms no-one.”
A letter emerged yesterday, sent by Third Energy’s planning consultant to North Yorkshire County Council giving notice that fracking would begin from next week.
The letter said:
“This letter constitutes notice under the agreed Deed dated 11th September 2017, that our client, Third Energy UK Gas Limited, will commence Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation and Testing, the KMA wellsite, on or after 26th October 2017.”
This will be the first use of high volume hydraulic fracturing in the UK since the process at Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall well led to small earthquakes in April and May 2011.
Two days ago, the energy minister, Richard Harrington, said the government was assessing the application for hydraulic fracturing consent from Third Energy and would “respond appropriately in due course.”
He was responding to a question by shadow energy secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey.
In another question yesterday, Ms Long Bailey asked for applications for fracking consent and the government’s assessment to be published.
Mr Harrington replied:
“The majority of information contained in a hydraulic fracturing consent application will already be in the public domain. The Department [of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] plans to publish its response, as appropriate, an in line with its obligations under the Environmental Information Regulations.”
- We are updating this post with new details as they become available