Opposition

Updated: Campaigners occupy rig at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton fracking site

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Rig occupation at Third Energy’s KM8 fracking site in Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, 21 October 20117. Photo: Leigh Coghill

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.

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Rig protest at Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton, 21 October 2017. Photo: Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

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Rig protest at Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton, 21 October 2017. Photo: Eddie Thornton

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!

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Protest on rig platform at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site, 21 October 2017. Photo: Eddie Thornton

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.

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Protest at the Kirby Misperton site fence, 21 October 2017. Photo: Eddie Thornton

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Protest at the Kirby Misperton fence, 21 October 2017. Photo: Eddie Thornton

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Campaigners talking to people on the Third Energy rig from the ground, 21 October 2017. Photo: Eddie Thornton

Earlier today, the campaigners posted pictures from the rig platform.

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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:

171021 KM Third Energy statement

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.”

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Third Energy’s workover rig at the Kirby Misperton fracking site, 21 October 2017. Photo: Eddie Thornton

Notice of fracking

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.”

Link to question and answer

  • We are updating this post with new details as they become available

94 replies »

  1. Martin, I muse about modern times with Mugabe being honoured by the WHO, Mr Trump in power, North Korea playing war games, ISIS erasing anything pre or post 7th Century, Mr Putin denying his annexing of Crimea and destabilsing Eastern Ukraine & a new version of the little red book now emerging from the East, etc. we should not be surprised that what we observe is truly the beginning of an Orwellian Age age where truth is increasingly ignored, despised, distorted and derided. It is a Mad World.

    • I would also add – that what I have posted above are the REAL issues that face us. The anti-frack movement is at best, and understandably so, in my opinion, a psychological displacement symptom toward a soft target where mostly well meaning people think they can make a “token” difference in a world that needs real leaders in the right places at the right time, who can confront the real issues that threaten humanity.

      • So Dr Nick, a real issue that threatens humanity?
        Here’s a few:
        Increased production of fossil fuels will escalate climate change and cause an environment unfit for human habitation.
        In the meantime, aggressive business and those sympathetic to their cause are riding roughshod over the population.
        Lip service ‘democracy’ is herding the population into ‘reservations’ and the ‘feeding stations’ rationing provisions through increased numbers on a computer, formally known as money (now aptly renamed slave tokens by a well known activist ).

  2. … and now Spain appears in the brink of violent fragmentation – democracy is underpinned by the law. Those who do not respect that, risk anarchy.

    • The law you refer to here is that of ‘take and take’.
      Eventually those who are ‘taken’ will eventually ‘take back’.
      Anarchy only ensues when the law no longer serves the people.

    • Anarchy arises when politicians in positions pf power and the offshore corporations who fund them abuse and change the law in their own evil interests.

    • No Nick, democracy is underpinned by freedom and a fully informed and enabled motivated populace, law and government should be the servant of the people, the people should not be servants to the government and law.

      In a true democracy, the government and law should be regulated and regularly overseen and improved by the people through an unbiased and uncompromised system of law and social ethical and moral values that everyone holds dear. That is what we have lost by a process of surreptitious infiltration and dumbing down and institutes of bread and circuses to distract us from what is really going on here.

      Any government, system of law and private business that seeks to take freedom away from the people by use of force and financial terrorism is not a democracy, it’s a dictatorship.

      The government and the law should be scared of the people, not the other way around.

  3. Sherwulfe, if only you would stop, think, and question your reasoning? I fear you really do not understand how dangerous your point of view is. It would be admirable, perhaps to justify what you say, but in the context of the REALLY BIG big issues I have defined above, you seem to project your understandable concerns onto the soft target of fracking. You appear to be missing, inadvertantly, the real target of your concerns (and to some extent mine).

    • Nick, for the avoidance of doubt.

      A did not mention fracking.

      The extraction of shale gas or oil however is another contributor to the more than needed or wanted reserves currently accessible on the planet. To continue would contribute to climate change, even as many of you use the the argument it will ‘replace’ current stocks. It is you who needs to get real.

      And who is my point of view actually dangerous to? I think only to you and your ‘excusercise’ of fracking being a soft target? Maybe it makes you feel better? Maybe it turns your head and lets you sleep at night?

  4. Why news cover these attention seekers? Just remove them and ignore them. Talking about their illegal action only fuel their personal gratification.

    • ‘Talking about their illegal action only fuel their personal gratification’

      So TW you know these individuals personally? You know they are only doing this for themselves? I’d say a resounding NO to that.

      To remove and ignore them will be a step towards removing and ignoring freedom of speech. Eventually you and I wont be able to express our views on here and elsewhere.

  5. Even the Sunday Times, previously a fracking cheerleader, seems to be opening its eyes in today’s edition.

    ‘The Sunday Times tracked down Terry Atkinson, a former operations manager for the site who is dying from myeloma, a cancer of the marrow. There is no suggestion that his illness is related to his work with the company.
    It is understood Atkinson signed a “compromise agreement” when he left in 2008 that may have involved a payment and prevents him discussing the company. When he was approached, Atkinson said: “I cannot speak about any of these issues.” Asked if he believed fracking was safe, he replied: “No, I do not.”
    Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Environment Agency (EA) has had concerns during the site’s 20-year history as a conventional source of gas.
    Third Energy was criticised by inspectors after an “odour” in 2015 was not reported to the EA, in breach of the company’s permit, despite 74,000 cubic metres of gas being released while a leak was repaired. The company had reported the leak to the district council.
    The operation was instructed by the EA to “review the management procedure for notification and reporting” and the company says it has made changes.
    Another EA report shows that in 2003 an inspector found the company had been pumping glycol, a toxic antifreeze chemical, down a waste disposal well for about a year in breach of the site’s licence. The company says it was later awarded a licence to dispose of the chemical and the amounts involved were minimal.
    It was criticised in 1998 and 2003 for having no “recognised environmental management system” (EMS). It should have kept proper records of its environmental safeguards. Third Energy says it has EMS systems in place that are constantly updated.
    One document revealed the leak of 100 litres of acid that was then flushed into the local watercourse. The company said the incident was “controlled” and the situation “neutralised” and the EA had taken no enforcement action.

  6. Almost all common-law and statutory definitions of the necessity defense include the following elements: (1) the defendant acted to avoid a significant risk of harm; (2) no adequate lawful means could have been used to escape the harm; and (3) the harm avoided was greater than that caused by breaking the law. The highest social value is not always achieved by blind adherence to the law; second, that it is unjust to punish those who technically violate the letter of the law when they are acting to promote or achieve a higher social value than would be served by strict adherence to the law; and third, that it is in society’s best interest to promote the greatest good and to encourage people to seek to achieve the greatest good, even if doing so necessitates a technical breach of the law. [The Free Legal Dictionary] According to Cornell University professor Robert Howarth natural gas is already worse for the climate than other fossil fuels once taking into account methane leaks throughout the full supply chain.According to Howarth, over the next 20 to 30 years the Earth could reach temperatures high enough to trigger a catastrophic release of methane currently locked up in Arctic permafrost. Such a result “would dwarf any possible benefit from reductions in carbon dioxide emissions over the next few decades (e.g., switching from coal to natural gas…).” It remains a favorite claim of the oil and gas industry to say that natural gas is reducing risks to the climate — despite abundant evidence to the contrary”.

    • WilliamManwaring: Whose version of “greatest good” should be promoted? That of a few extremist activists, or that of society? Anti frackers may believe they occupy some sort of morally superior position, but the plurality of voters disagrees.

      As to Howarth, he is nothing more than an activist with an agenda, and has admitted this himself. More important, his work has been exposed as activist quack-science by the scientific community. Independent research has confirmed that methane emissions are a small fraction of what Howarth and Ingraffea imply, and that the growth in methane is coming from expanded agricultural operations. https://www.oilandgas360.com/noaa-study-agriculture-wetlands-triggered-earths-methane-rise-not-oil-gas-operations/

  7. clinch-you are confused between the Sunday Times and the Times. Their editorial policies are very different. I would not get too excited about something which is a non event, but then, others will.

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