The co-leader of the Green Party, Jonathan Bartley, was dragged by police away from the entrance to Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton this afternoon.
Mr Bartley was making a speech to opponents of plans to frack the KM8 well at the site when police asked people to move away from the entrance to allow a delivery.
A single unlabelled tanker, escorted by three police vehicles, was waiting to enter the site.
Livestream video showed people at the gate shouting “arms together, lock together”. Members of the crowd were removed from the area by police. Some people were pushed and fell over
A spokesperson for Kirby Misperton Protection Camp said:
“At this point, Jonathan chose to sit to establish a sense of calm and hold a peaceful protest at the gateway. He was lifted by two policeman who dragged him aside to a verge where police held people in containment.”
Superintendent Alisdair Dey, of North Yorkshire Police, said:
“A number of people were standing, sitting and lying in the road outside the hydraulic fracturing site at 1.15pm today. Officers explained they were blocking the road, and asked them to move on several occasions, but they refused to do so. Several people were then moved away by officers.
“We know that there are very different views about hydraulic fracturing, but as the local police, our responsibility is to carry out our duties impartially. That means we have a duty to make sure that people who want to assemble and protest do so safely, balanced against a duty to ensure that businesses can go about their lawful commercial activity.”
Before the police action, Mr Bartley had been speaking to a crowd of about 50 people as part of Green Friday. This is the Green Party’s adopted day of support for those fighting fracking in Kirby Misperton.
“It is simply unacceptable to go and pursue another industry like fracking that is going to contribute to climate change. We should be showing leadership
“The scientific consensus is absolutely clear, and going down this fracking route is entirely the wrong thing to do.”
The atmosphere had been described as calm and jovial. Among the crowd were children, dogs and group of friends who had visited the site as part of a local school reunion.
Mr Bartley said:
“The fact that the government has to bribe, has to pay local communities in order to allow fracking to go ahead, I think, speaks volumes.
“Michael Gove, Theresa May, where is your localism agenda now? Where is it? This is where it’s happening, on the ground, locally, people are making their voices heard.
“They are saying very clearly what they want for their local communities and you’re not respecting it.
“What kind of government allows local communities to stop onshore wind, but doesn’t allow them to stop fracking in their back yards? It’s frankly unacceptable.”
The Green Party’s energy spokesperson, Andrew Cooper, send a message to people outside the site:
“I’m very aware that you, at Kirby Misperton, are in the front line against climate change.
“All the work that you are doing to highlight the dangers of fracking both to our local and global environments is invaluable.
“Everybody who locks on, everybody who surfs a lorry, everybody who turns up, everybody who makes a cup of tea for the protectors there, is doing an amazing job.
“So my message to you is keep on doing it. Keep on fighting, keep on protecting, and let’s stop that fracking.”