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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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. Oh dear Sherwulfe-the rest of the “post” by clinch was the text of the Sunday Times article, nearly all of which is old history in terms of KM. Why on earth would I want to go over that again?

    I suspect there will be a VERY different story ref. KM shortly from the Times. The classic good cop/bad cop routine that gets two stories out of the same situation. Pretty regular event these days. (Remember the NT?-Oh, that was Jack.)

    • YES , Martin ,

      They all do remember the National Trust debate between the two of us and I’m certain they all had a jolly good laugh.

      SHOULD I, OR YOU , give the readers for the THIRD time the Drill Or Drop link information so they can all devour the details of this epic nail-biting saga once again????? …. Oh, I’m sorry Martin, you never provide links. When you make a statenent , you instead make suggestions like, we should all just nip along to our local libraries or subscribe to to an online newspaoer to back up something YOU are saying.

      Should we give the readers another good laugh and let them once again bare witness to the twisting, turning and outright avoidance of direct questions that ONE OF US so expertly performed ???

      • Ladies and Gentlemen,

        I choose my words carefully, so as not to fall foul of the Moderators code of forum regulations. I will therefore mention no names …

        I’m certain that you have taken note of how on this forum.

        After a frenzied debate, a certain member/members either, Suddenly Go Very Quiet or hide behind statements such as and this is ONLY AN EXAMPLE, I do NOT single out any one person in particular ,…….. ” we have been through this before ” OR ” I do not want to go through it again .”

        A classic move by someone who does not want to see or face the indisputable evidence put before them if it contradicts their belief.

        In the words of John Heywood, 1546

        “There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know. ”

        [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

  2. Diverting? I thought that was the content of the post, so where is the diversion? As I CLEARLY stated, the content of that post have been addressed many times before. I move forward Sherwulfe, you obviously just wish to recycle old information. Good luck with that, but I think events are going to pass you by.

    • The content was so simple;

      Terry Atkinson, a former operations manager for the site
      Signed a “compromise agreement” when he left in 2008
      That may have involved a payment which cuts off all his ‘chat’
      And when approached, he rightly said: “I cannot speak of that.”
      The journo said, one question please, and looked him in the eye
      Do you believe that fracking’s safe? “No, I do not.” was his reply

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