More landowners in Yorkshire have joined a campaign opposing fracking and access to their property for seismic testing.
They included Nick Howard, of Castle Howard, Sir William Worsley of Hovingham Hall, Sir Richard Storey, of Settrington House and the television presenter, Selina Scott.
Yesterday, they were joined by another 27 names in a letter to the Gazette and Herald, the local newspaper in the area where Third Energy wants to carry out fracking. Full letter by landowners to the Gazette and Herald
The signatories said:
“We …. encourage all landowners of every type, shape and size here, to resist the blandishments of the fracking companies, and stand with us.”
The letter is aimed at INEOS, the UK’s biggest shale gas company, which is currently seeking access to land to carry out seismic testing in the area.
The landowners described seismic testing as “a likely precursor to the siting of well pads for fracking”.
The said they deplored INEOS’s action to bring a legal challenge against the National Trust, which has refused access for seismic surveying at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. They said:
“We are taking the same, perfectly reasonable, stand.”
The National Trust’s Clumber Park. Photo: Richard Watson
“We expect this resistance to be supported by all our political representatives, specifically including our MP, as we lobby national government to dispense with this flawed policy.”
The Thirsk and Malton MP, Kevin Hollinrake, told DrillOrDrop:
“Every constituent’s view is equally important to me. I do understand local concerns about shale gas exploration and am working extremely hard to make sure any development has no significant impact on the environment and landscape and is consistent with meeting our climate change obligations. Despite our huge investment in renewables, gas will still play an important part in heating 22 million UK homes and electricity generation for a number of decades and, given the above conditions, it does make sense to produce gas rather than import it. I will be responding to the letter in full in due course.”
Yesterday, the INEOS seismic surveys were raised in parliament at Prime Minister’s Questions. The Labour MP, Mike Amesbury, told Theresa May about a Weaver Vale constituent, who had, in his words, been “door-stepped” by INEOS agents. A few days after she refused access, she received an unsolicited pre-named contract giving INEOS the right to survey her land.
Mr Amesbury asked the Prime Minister if she knew what it felt like to get an unsolicited letter from “a group that won’t take no for an answer”.
On record in opposition to fracking
The Yorkshire landowners said in their most recent letter:
“We would like to place on public record our opposition to fracking not just in Yorkshire, but everywhere.”
They dismissed the arguments in favour of fracking that the gas was needed for national security or as a bridge fuel to a low carbon future. They also raised concerns about industrialisation of the countryside and landowner liabilities.
The letter continued:
“We remain deeply concerned about an activity which would industrialise this area of glorious countryside, bringing potential air and water pollution, as well as HGV nuisance on already potholed roads (and that’s without mentioning the plastic which could be created, as Ineos does – exacerbating the plastic crisis that the world currently faces).
“Landowners (of whatever acreage) in this PEDL area, which includes Malton and Norton, have already been offered licence agreements, with proposed schedules of payments, to allow seismic tests to be carried out on our land. This is a likely precursor to the siting of well pads for fracking.
“But you may be surprised to read that after the fracking company has gone (and the licence expired), the landowner is left with the residual liability for any well. Imagine the cost if the casing deteriorates and catastrophic water pollution then occurs. It, like asbestosis, could be devastating to all concerned (as well as whatever protection – eg insurance – might be put in place, after all possible proceeds have been exhausted), wherever in the vicinity you live.”
INEOS previously gave the following statement on this issue to DrillOrDrop. We have invited the company to respond specifically to the Gazette and Herald letter. We’ll update this post with any response.
“The key message here is that if shale gas proves to be successful in the UK it will become a vital piece of the nation’s infrastructure, and will provide the UK with highly competitive energy, meaning we will be less dependent on foreign supplies. It will also generate enormous levels of investment and jobs in the North of England where they are desperately needed, and will also help the UK to meet its climate change commitments.
“Manufacturing jobs are not created without investment and there is precious little investment in the North of England in manufacturing. Recent figures on jobs and investment estimate that the shale industry is expected to bring in £33 billion of investment into England alone over the next two decades
“The resources beneath our feet can be used to create jobs, heat our homes, go a long way towards self-sufficiency and improve our balance of payments and the environment all at the same time.”
Updated 2/3/2018 to include quote from Kevin Hollinrake MP