North Yorks council meeting shelved after protest over fracking question

171115 NYC meeting KMPC

Women at the North Yorkshire County Council meeting this morning, 15 November 2017. Photo: Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

A North Yorkshire County Council meeting was suspended this morning when opponents of fracking demanded action to address concerns about imminent operations at a site near their homes.

A group of women living near Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton asked to be allowed to ask an emergency question at the Ryedale Area Committee, meeting in Malton.

But the council said the question had arrived after the deadline of last Friday and it was too late to be heard.

A decision by the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, on whether to approve fracking at Kirby Misperton is expected any day. If approved, it would be the first high volume hydraulic fracture in the UK onshore since 2011.

One of the women, Sue, told the committee:


“We are not troublemakers. We are here because we are desperate. We are not going to leave until we get answers, because you refuse to give us our answers and we have a right to be answered on these questions.”

The women held placards about issues they think the council should raise with Third Energy. The captions included:

Recent H2S release investigation = Tardy,

Wildlife Assessment = shoddy and worthless,

Evacuation Plan…???.

In response, the council adjourned the meeting. Council leader, Carl Les, said:

“Anti-fracking campaigners are entitled, as are other citizens, to put questions to be considered at council meetings and we answer them in the proper way.

“In this case the chair was overwhelmed by the orchestrated level of disruption and felt she could not continue with the business of the committee.”

One of the women, Michelle, said:

“This is an emergency situation. They are about to start fracking.

“We are demanding an answer to these questions. We are told over and over again that we have gold standard legislation, but they don’t have any teeth.

“There have been so many breaches, but Third Energy have not been made to answer for any of them: We demand an answer to know what’s being done about these breaches.”

A council spokesperson said an answer to the question “What would the Council do about potential breaches of planning conditions regarding the KM8 site?’’ had already been answered on its website.

The answer reads:

“Prior to the start of the operations, North Yorkshire County Council highways will be provided with a contact from Third Energy who will deal with any concerns or issues raised in respect to traffic management. The Third Energy contact will be available 24 hours a day and will ensure that issues are dealt with promptly and investigated.

“County council officers will monitor traffic movements on the ground and we will be monitoring and visiting the site.

“We will work with the company, the police and other statutory agencies to ensure compliance.”

The council said:

“We will be open to members of the public bringing issues to our attention and we have set up a dedicated web page where any issues can be raised with us. Enquiries and complaints will be dealt with appropriately and as quickly as possible.

“We are a large authority and we are effective enforcers on planning. Ultimately, we can use prosecution if necessary.”

11 replies »

  1. “Orchestrated level of disruption”-that has really added to the cause! Ineos will only add to their injunction file. Maybe self serving, but not considered within the wider debate.

  2. These ladies have my upmost sympathy. The answer on the council website is wholly inadequate. When concerns are raised via the suggested channels they are usually ignored, in my experience, and once something has gone wrong it is too late! The fact that they turned up with the questions on placards illustrates how desperate they are for answers.

  3. But they couldn’t get the question in on time? Err, no, because that would have not caused the “orchestrated level of disruption” and there would be little need to promote desperation, and there would have been little publicity. Keep up these strategies and the injunctions will be upheld. Local tax payers do not want to continually fund the disruption from a particular group. The council meeting has been shelved, but costs will still have been accrued.

  4. The thought of an evacuation plan is interesting. The council and emergency services do not consider that the risks from the site warrant such a plan, otherwise there would be one that they ( the villagers ) knew about I guess.

  5. “Enquiries and complaints will be dealt with appropriately and as quickly as possible.”
    My request/ enquiries of about a month ago requesting confirmation that the alternative routes used by Third Energy contractors to access the site had been assessed for safety have still not been answered or addressed. Impressive!? The committee’s reluctance to face the public’s questions serves to confirm what we know of these people and reinforces our lack of trust in them and their machinations.

  6. What happens to the void left behind when oil is extracted? It’s filled with water. Is water heavier than oil? Yes. What happens when you alter the pressure in relation to seismic activity? Earthquakes, see Oklahoma fracking sites.

    • Hi Paula,

      You’re misunderstanding geology here, or you’ve been listening to people who don’t understand it themselves. The quakes in Oklahoma were down to water injection, which is a process already banned in the UK. However, if you read the paper ‘Myths and Facts on Wastewater Injection, Hydraulic Fracturing, Enhanced Oil Recovery, and Induced Seismicity by Justin L. Rubinstein and Alireza Babaie Mahani’ you’ll see that the vast majority of wastewater injection wells cause NO seismicity. This is because any occurrence is down to both the specific local geology, and the specific local regulations. You can see this by looking at a current graph of seismic activity in Oklahoma since the regulations were changed (about 2 years ago). You will notice the large drop off in seismic activity.

      Please also read the paper ‘Oklahoma’s recent earthquakes and saltwater disposal F. Rall Walsh III* and Mark D. Zoback’. Here you will see that after several years work it was proven that the Oklahoma quakes are due to hydraulic communication between the crystalline basement and the injection of wastewater through a subset of the states wells over a period of years. Following this they changed the regulations, so this is now out of date (as are any frequency or occurrence of seismicity in Oklahoma you might be quoting that are more than a year or so old).

      The Oklahoma quakes are due to human activity, but they are not related to fracking. The wastewater being injected is not even from fracking.

      However, fracking itself can, and has, created seismic activity, including in the UK. The difference and the crucial bit that is making your statements about Oklahoma egregious is that fracking-related seismic activity is very rare and is low energy. However, that has not meant that UK regulations have remained unchanged. Several adaptations have been put in place to further minimise any risks – primarily the introduction of a traffic light scheme for seismicity that shut down any fracking operations well before anything is felt on the surface, as well as the planned use of microseismicity, which can show fault interactions.

      Both of these papers can be found free online.

      Until you take these into account, especially that the information you are quoting about Oklahoma is false, you are party to spreading fake news, something I am sure you did not intend to be doing – or thinking.

  7. Paula-yes, the last time I visited the beach in Yorkshire the sea was a long way away from the shore. The locals told me the tide was out but of course that was all fake news, and the North Sea had really disappeared down into all those empty spaces!

    Suggest you do a little scientific experiment and visit Kimmeridge, pick up some shale and set light to it. It might give you some understanding then of why fracking is required in certain circumstances. Watch out for the nodding donkeys though. They are different beasts to those found in Blackpool.

    • Hi Martin,

      Sometimes you see the old myths and fake data recirculating with new faces. I am led to wonder whether it is ‘new anti-frackers’ who have more recently joined, perhaps after only seeing the disproved claims of previous years. If there is one personal bugbear of mine it is that the anti-fracking movement has continuously shown no interest in being honest with the science.The way new people seem to more often repeat stories like the Oklahoma quakes backs that up. When Greenpeace gave evidence to the House of Lords they stated that there was no good evidence that fracking caused groundwater contamination. Something that is very very hard to imagine them doing except very reluctantly and certainly not something they would admit unless they absolutely had too. So there is this discrepancy; when put in a legal position the NGOs and activist organisations DONT say these things. They’ve never once tried to claim that the Oklahoma quakes are anything akin to the UK, or even to do with fracking, but they push it in meetings to the public to scare people. This, I think, underlies their greatest immorality. They fully believe that the ends justify the means, and people fall for it.

  8. This nonsense has all come about due the government being weak. Clark needs to get pen to paper immediately.
    I thought brexit would have given the government some balls but I’m not seeing it so far.
    Once the markets start to feel we’re being influenced by a vocal leftie minority it’s game over for this country.

  9. Brexit Britain will be nice and vulnerable to investment vultures once clear of those pesky EU clean air and water regulations. I note New Brunswick has joined the growing list of states, provinces and countries with fracking bans and moratoriums.
    Meanwhile the pro-frackers continue their game of bluff on the science front (which I’ve called many times).

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