Updated at 2.30pm
Two campaigners who spent about 30 hours on the rig platform at Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton have been brought down to the ground.
The operation to remove them was completed at 10.25am. It involved a specialist climbing team from Surrey, which had attended the eviction of a camp at the Europa Oil & Gas site near Leith Hill. (DrillOrDrop report). They were later arrested with criminal damage and hindering work under the Trades Union and Labour Relations Act.
A third campaigner came down at 3.45pm yesterday. He was arrested and charged with aggravated trespass and criminal damage. (More details in DrillOrDrop report)
The action follows notice by Third Energy that it will frack the KM8 well at Kirby Misperton from next Thursday (26 October 2017). This will be the first high volume hydraulic fracture in the UK since a series of earthquakes near Blackpool in 2011. They were linked to fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall well.
The operation to bring the woman campaigner took about an hour, according to a statement from Third Energy. The other campaigner, a man, was brought down 30 minutes later, the company said.
When one of the campaigners was escorted to the ground, a member of the Protestor Removal Team could be heard on a video livestream saying:
“Well done by the way, very impressive, I’ve got a lot of respect for you. It was really cold up there last night as well.”
North Yorkshire Police said in a statement issued at about 2.15pm:
“A man and a woman, who climbed up a rig at the hydraulic fracturing site in Kirby Misperton in the early hours of Saturday 21 October, have been brought down safely from the rig.
“The 21 year old woman and the 28 year old man have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage. They both remain in custody at this time.”
Alan Linn, a director of Third Energy, said:
“We are relieved that the two remaining protestors have now been brought down from the rig. Their actions put both themselves and people working on the site in jeopardy. Setting off an emergency flare on a live gas site – essentially an open flame – was exceptionally reckless.
However, I am pleased that we were able to ensure their safety overnight by providing them with proper harnesses and also hot drinks. I would like to commend the rescue team for their professional and sensitive approach to resolving this situation.”
The workover rig at the Kirby Misperton site will now be demobilised, Third Energy said.
“We can stop this”
In a statement this morning, one of the campaigners said:
“Staying on this rig isn’t just about highlighting fracking as a serious threat. It’s about proving that we, the public, have the means to shut down and sustain the closure of a dangerous industry. Sitting through the storm felt like nothing compared to the very real consequences if we allow fracking to continue.
“Our part in this demonstration was only possible due to everyone else’s actions. We are united. We can make a difference. We can stop this.”
The campaigner who came down yesterday said:
“We just went for it, we just ran. I was in front, I just climbed up as fast as I could and pulled the bag up after me. I got to the top and remembered I was petrified of heights! It was spontaneous and went just how it should have, it was perfection. We knew we had to do something so we thought, yeah, let’s take the rig. Third Energy say they’re gonna frack this week. No, they’re not.”
A group of opponents of Third Energy’s operation gathered near the wellsite to watch the operation yesterday. They posted banners on the fence reading: “Whose rig?”, “Keep Ryedale Frack Free”, and “Can’t take down water protectors until every fracking rig is down”.
This post will updated with new information as we get it