protest

Picture post: Shale gas villagers highlight ‘threat’ to owls

180804 owl day at Misson 2 FFM

Owl awareness-raising event outside the IGas shale gas site Springs Road, Misson, 4 August 2018. Photo: Frack Free Misson

Villagers have highlighted what they believe is the threat to five species of owl on land next to the IGas shale gas site at Misson, in north Nottinghamshire.

About 50 people from areas earmarked for fracking in three counties attended a protest and awareness-raising event outside the site entrance.

The event, hosted by Frack Free Misson, coincided with International Owl Awareness Day. It also marked the recent approval of IGas plans to continue construction work at the Springs Road site during the bird breeding season. (DrillOrDrop report)

Rare long-eared owls live and breed 125m away from the exploration site on the Misson Training Area Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  Four other native species, barn, little, short-eared and tawny owls, have also been recorded.

180804 owl day at Misson 3 FFM

Owl awareness-raising event outside the IGas shale gas site Springs Road, Misson, 4 August 2018. Photo: Frack Free Misson

The long-eared owl has become a symbol for Frack Free Misson in its campaign against the fossil fuel industry. Local resident, Julie Field, said:

“Frack Free Misson is fighting to save these beautiful creatures especially the long-eared owl which we are privileged to have at the adjacent SSSI. There are fears that the 24/7 noise, vibration and light will harm the ability of the owls to breed, forage and hunt.”

Sheelagh Handy, from Misson, said:

“We are still aiming to stop them and what better day to do this than on International Owl Awareness Day. The owls’ habitat will be recklessly damaged by the industry.”

Local people said they were concerned that the shale gas site would industrialise the area.

Mary Swindells, who lives a few hundred metres from the site, said:

“I am frightened by what it will do to my way of life – the lights and noise and effects on the local water supply as well as the disturbance to the bats which nest on my property.”

Bill Shaw, a longstanding Misson resident, said:

[I am] “dead against fracking and the damage it can cause to the environment. I am here to show support for the people who are working so hard to stop it.”

180804 owl day at Misson 1 FFM

Owl-themed craft event hosted by Frack Free Misson, 4 August 2018. Photo: Frack Free Misson

Frack Free Misson also ran an owl themed craft event in the afternoon on Misson village green. Kath Williamson was there with her family. She said:

“Fracking fractures communities. I am part of this movement to protect the future for my children and grandchildren.”

Work resumes

Construction work at Misson stopped at the end of March. But last month Nottinghamshire County Council gave IGas permission to resume the work during the remainder of the bird breeding season between 20 July and 31 August 2018.

A report for IGas, submitted to the council earlier this year, concluded that construction noise was unlikely to disturb owls or other birds. It said:

“predicted construction noise levels in the SSSI were well below the threshold for disturbance to owls contained in USA the Fish and Wildlife Service guidance”.

The report concluded:

“There is no reason why construction of the site compound and access
track should not go ahead at any time of year, including during the breeding season.”

11 replies »

  1. “predicted construction noise levels in the SSSI were well below the threshold for disturbance to owls contained in USA the Fish and Wildlife Service guidance”. Since when have we been subjected to the USA the Fish and Wildlife Service guidance. I must have been on holiday when that was agreed. This is not the USA. We clearly don’t have our own regulations let alone Gold Standard regulations, so lets look around the world to see what regulation might help the onshore oil and gas industry to get their own way. Just saying………

    • Waffle
      It’s not regulation that is missing, it’s a disturbance threshold. See the I Gas report.
      Maybe we should go disturb them to write our own, or use available world wide data instead?

  2. If these owls are that sensitive why allow these individuals to disturb them? Injunctions seem required for protection of the owls. Wytch Farm is now an oasis of nature, supporting rare species. Off shore rigs are an oasis for marine species. Let’s ban the protestors and increase the oases. Simples.

    • When did you see and hear an onshore exploration rig working for 24/7 in a UK rural setting? Lighting, generator noise and clanging of pipes reported by neighbours.

  3. Just to note that the location of the owls is not publicised as the greatest risk is thieves taking eggs and or owls.
    So they may anywhere in the reserve, but unlikely to be between the noise monitor and the site.

  4. John H: the owls weren’t there when it was an MOD site. They settled after the site closed. The area in which they nest was left undisturbed and uncleared by MOD, and subsequently categorised as a SSSI.

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