Opponents of fracking in North Yorkshire held a candlelit vigil to mark 12 months since the first equipment deliveries began to arrive at Third Energy’s site in Kirby Misperton.
But despite the preparations, no fracking has been carried out on the KM8 well. The government has still not granted consent and most of the site was cleared in April 2018.
This week, it emerged that two veteran city figures had resigned as directors of Third Energy (DrillOrDrop report). The company said it was not pushing the government over the final fracking consent because the equipment was not now available.
The deadline has now passed for the start of three months of groundwater monitoring required before fracking could start this year.
The vigil, outside the KM8 site, was organised by Hazel Winter, who lives nearby.
“It is unbelievable that we look set to have a frack free 2018, with a respite from lorry movements, pollution and tension.
“This vigil has been a celebration of peace returning to our rural village, and it’s given us the chance to say thank you to all who helped make that happen. We were also able to reaffirm our commitment to opposing any return of the industry, whether here or anywhere else.”
Bishop Graham Cray, also from Kirby Misperton, led the gathering in prayer, and reflected on the effect the year has had on village life:
“The time between September to April was very stressful in the village in multiple ways.
“The fracking equipment leaving was like a weight being lifted from us, and we are grateful for peace restored. Throughout the year we have held vigils at the entrance to KM8, and in St. Laurence Church. Now it’s time to give thanks, to reflect, and to remain alert.”
Eddie Thornton, from the Kirby Misperton Protection Community said: “Tonight is about people power.”
“One year ago we were fearful it wouldn’t be long until the well was fracked. But we didn’t stop fighting, and here we are 12 months later: Third Energy still haven’t fracked, their top two directors have recently resigned, and they still haven’t proved they have the financial resilience to carry out fracking.
“Against all odds it looks like 2018 is going to be another frack free year in Ryedale. But we’re not resting; our job now is to ensure the government doesn’t further stack the system against communities by removing local council’s control of fracking applications. Communities across the country are rising up against this attack on local democracy, and thankfully it looks like their councils are standing with them”.
Arrests, charges, convictions
19 September 2017 saw the first arrests outside the Third Energy site. Figures compiled by North Yorkshire Police up to the end of August 2018, indicate there have been 86 arrests and 65 charges. Over the same period, there were 34 trials, resulting in 28 guilty verdicts and six not-guilty verdicts. There were also six guilty pleas and nine cases withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service.