Disabled campaigner demands council release his car towed from drilling site

190226 Richard Wise eviction

Richard Wise in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council yard, 26 February 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gas Fields

A disabled campaigner whose blue badge car was removed yesterday from outside an exploration site says he will stay at a council vehicle pound until it is released.

Richard Wise said he paid East Riding of Yorkshire Council £300 this morning for the release of the vehicle, which was towed away by enforcement officers during the eviction of a monitoring camp (DrillOrDrop report). But he said officials would not tell him where the car was being held.

He said he later tracked down it down to a council yard in the village of Skirlaugh but the car was clamped and the keys were missing.

No one at the yard was able to release the vehicle and the caretaker went home at about 6.15pm, leaving the gates open, he said.

Mr Wise, who is registered disabled because of osteoporosis and emphysema, has vowed to stay at the pound until the vehicle and four caravans, also seized in the eviction, were released.

190225 eviction WNGttGF11a

Eviction of West Newton Monitoring and Information Station, 25 February 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gasfields

Since January, Mr Wise and a group of environmental campaigners have been monitoring of activities at the Rathlin Energy oil and gas site at West Newton, north of Hull.

They established a verge-side station to monitor drilling of a second well. They argued that official regulators did not have the resources to keep a check on the site.

During well testing of the first well at West Newton, observers raised concerns about operations which resulted in the Environment Agency recording at least 14 breaches of the site’s environmental permit.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council threatened the eviction of the monitoring station last week and the group moved to another road overlooking the drilling site. The eviction of the new location went ahead yesterday. The council cited emergency powers under section 149(2) of the Highways Act 1980.

The monitoring group said today the eviction was illegal and it was seeking advice to take action against the council.

Citizens Advice said enforcement officers should not clamp or remove cars displaying valid Blue Badges. Nor, the organisation said, should caravans be removed if they are a home.

190226 Richard Wise eviction2a

Richard Wise in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council yard, 26 February 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gas Fields

Speaking to DrillOrDrop this evening, Mr Wise said:

“I told the police they could not take my car. It’s like they’ve taken my legs. I can’t walk far without getting breathless. They also took my home because they seized the caravan I was living in.”

Mr Wise was arrested during the eviction on suspicion of breach of the peace and obstructing police. He was later re-arrested on suspicion of affray and possession of an offensive weapon.

Today, Humberside Police dropped all the matters against Mr Wise, saying there was not sufficient evidence to proceed.

Mr Wise said he had a receipt for the payment to the council to retrieve his car.

“I told them at the yard that I would stay here in protest. I am not leaving until they release my car. I’ve got my sleeping bag and will stay as long as it takes.”

Other members of the monitoring group had been told they could retrieve their caravans for the payment of £300 by 20 March.

A spokesperson for the West Newton Monitoring and Information Station said:

“The council have been continually hostile towards us. We believe we are being discriminated against because of our beliefs as environmentalists. This breaks the law. Under the Equality Act 2010, beliefs are one of the Protected Characteristics. Climate change has been proven in case law to be a belief under the Act.”

DrillOrDrop asked East Riding of Yorkshire Council to respond to comments by the group and Mr Wise.

A spokesperson for the council said:

“On Monday (25 February), the council took appropriate action to remove all caravans, tents, wooden huts and other items from an encampment at Fosham Road – a narrow, unclassified road with no road markings that is used regularly by farm machinery and heavy goods vehicles.

“Cars and caravans parked on the sides of narrow roads cause obstructions and visibility issues for drivers and therefore increase the danger of accidents.

“It was because of these serious road safety concerns and the priority that the council places on the safety of road users together with the safety of individuals at the encampment that action was taken using the emergency procedure contained in section 149(2) of the Highways Act 1980.

“As part of the operation, a car was removed and the council has since returned this to the owner.

“The council first served notice on 15 January, under sections 143 and 149 of the Highways Act 1980, requesting the removal of all caravans, tents, wooden huts and other items from the roadside at Pipers Lane as soon as possible, but no later than 20 February.

“Last week, however, the vehicles, caravans and other items were moved to the even narrower stretch of nearby Fosham Road, thereby posing an even greater danger to the people themselves and to other road users.

“Under the provisions of section 149(2) (a) of the Highways Act 1980 together with section 41(11) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, the council is entitled to recover the reasonable expense of removal and storage of the items.

“The council has been clear throughout that it would seek to recover costs and the release fee charged is, at the discretion of the council, only a contribution that is considered to be reasonable and is not the full cost attributable to each item.”

Updated 27 February 2019 with council statement

20 replies »

  1. Why is a disabled person who suffers from osteoporosis and emphysema living in a caravan during the winter at a location where they ought not to be and thus facing eviction?

    [Edited by moderator]

    Wise by name, only.

    • Obviously the Gentleman puts our children’s future well being at the top of his priority list!
      Unlike the fossil fuel Oil and Gas Industry which intends to commit climate destruction in the reckless and desperate chase for profit!
      R8 LMX, thanks for asking by the way!

      • He seems to be trying to stop hydrocarbon production in the UK meaning that we will have to buy it from abroad so we will have less to invest in renewables – seems an odd what of helping ones children’s future. But less face it – a bit like you, he hasn’t really thought about it in much depth.

        • JUDITH,

          He’s trying to protect, ALL our grandchildrens futures, by bringing to the attention of the authorities the immediate need to switch to renewables . There is NO more time left, the burning of Fossil Fuels must be drastically cut, RIGHT NOW.

          Here is something to consider , taken from the Guardian Newspaper, 26th February 2019

          NASA scientist study found ……. quote , ” The study found that melting of the ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years. Unless DRASTIC action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming, scientists estimate that Antarctica’s melting ice should add more than 25cm to total global sea level rise by 2070. ”


          • JacktheLad – well maybe he would be better spending his time trying to disrupt coal and gas fired power stations instead of an activity that isn’t going to impact GHG emissions. Of course you don’t do that because you can’t spread the same scare stories to the public about power stations can you?

          • And the lady charged with assault upon an emergency services worker, Jack??

            [edited by moderator]

            Don’t bother with the fog, it has all been done before. Just understand that injunctions will get easier and easier, not through any undemocratic actions but the antis inability to control what they are exciting.

        • Or maybe he wants clean air to breathe … saving the already stretched NHS money and our children’s future environment with clean air and water supplies.

          • Perhaps you need to target sources of pollution? Cars / school runs etc? Oil and gas well sites are insignificant. If you want to save the NHS look at sugar / obesity / diabetes / ready meals / lack of exercise / crap TV programs which most of the Country seemto like watching sitting on their arses / twitface / computer games…….

  2. I suspect he would rather be somewhere else but the strength of his beliefs has overcome his severe health problems. R8 LMX, why not take issue with the fact that a) the police & council have broken the law of the land by removing his car and caravan and b) a similar monitoring camp revealed 14+ breaches of the site’s environmental permit. Mr Wise has gone out of his way to provide a considerable public service and has been treated shamefully by those who should be protecting him.

  3. If he had moved his car when asked, weeks ago, he wouldn’t be a “victim” now.

    It has been clearly documented at the site that he is capable of climbing up and down ladders

    He has been using an axe to chop fire wood.

    [Edited by moderator]

    He is also on film climbing on to the back of a lowloader. That is why he got arrested.

    If he had not been arrested, he might have been able to drive his car away.

    If he had taken the direction to leave – which he had weeks to do it in, he would still have his car.

    Instead the council had to evict which is a shameless waste of taxpayers money because some people will not respect the law.

    [Edited by moderator]

  4. Some ludicrous storytelling on here, everyone knows that any fracked gas or oil that is ever obtained from this land will be sold on the international futures market just like all other hydrocarbons, just in the same way Scottish oil was and is. In the neo-liberal thuggery that is claimed to be the free market, oil and gas purchasers buy from the cheapest source because they are interested in making a profit, not whether their supply of energy is national to their nation. All this talk of energy security is just Daily Mail hogwash. The industry itself has said so way back in the Preese Hall days. Not only that, it was then calculated that even with 40,000 fracking wells plastered across the north of England, all at optimum production, it would only account for 6% of our energy needs.

    Ineos is already importing US fracked gas (to waste on eco-system destroying plastics and fertilisers I must add), if a UK source turns out to be cheaper, they’ll buy it there. Unless for example a French or Dutch or Turkish or any other nation outbids them, and it goes there instead. There is absolutely no guarantee that any gas or oil fracked or drilled within the UK will solely be used within the UK – unless of course the entire industry was nationalised and the government that did that then undertook to break international trading rules. It will be totally random where it ends up.

    So can we stop the pathetic bleating about fracking being essential for our energy security? That arguement was put to bed years ago.

    Yes, I agree, there is an energy deficit crisis looming for the whole of Europe, not just the UK, due to population overshoot and reducing EROEI, not just the lack of investments by national governments since 1970s; but fracking and these tiny oil wells here and there won’t alter that. The world is using 100 million barrels of oil a day, new finds that generate 400-500 bpd are too tiny to make any difference. Even those massive “new finds” off Scotland are no longer impressive – 176 million barrels of oil in one, 250 in another, between them thats 4 days worth of oil for the planet, that might take 10-20 years to exploit.

    It’s got to the stage where we have to accept a future in which we are going to have to learn to get by with a lot less energy in the western world – anybody who doesn’t get that is signing the death certificates of millions of species worldwide and ultimately of humans as well.

    • Mark, you have really been taken in all the nonsense talked on protest camps haven’t you. I disagree that shale gas will be exported because that just adds to the costs of something that is only marginally economic to develop. However, I don’t have a problem if it was exported. The fact is that the UK will have to import an increasing amount of gas for the foreseeable future and simply on material balance grounds it would mean that net import (imports-exports) are less, which is good for the UK economy and will provide more money to invest in renewables.

      In terms of energy needs, I would think about gas usage as that is what is being produced. We currently use around 900 TWh of gas per year and this is decreasing at a rate of around 1.5% per year. Even at that rate we would be using around 15500 TWh in total in the next 20 years. 40,000 gas wells with a EUR of 5 billion scf would total 20,000 TWh. Of course we don’t want to only decrease at a rate of 1.5%, to meet our green house gas commitments then we need to cut gas production far quicker.

      OK gas might be cheaper abroad – so are most other things. Do you think we should all sit on our arses outside of protest camps and just import everything? Just pick a few pounds off Jeremy’s money tree every time we want a beer and a fag?

      I agree that we need to use less energy but until we get to a zero carbon economy I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t produce our own if we can. Quite frankly, your attitude that we should let the world provide for us seems to be something from colonial times.

      • Well, Mark, looking at the Drax figures, nearly £800m in subsidies in 12 months to allow conversion to burning trees, shipped from overseas!

        Everyone would be expected to believe there is no energy poverty in UK. Just add it to the bills, with the £500m/year for the overpriced off shore wind farm reported last week, and hope climate change doesn’t produce another Beast from the East.

        Gas and oil from overseas will be sold to those who pay most. So, unless you can solve all of the international conflicts to stop supply problems there is no energy security and those with lower incomes suffer most. Check the 1970s-and that was without huge demand from China and India.

  5. Comment removed, I wasn’t even harsh. If you want to live in a one sided fairytale environment then so be it. Bye bye DoD.

  6. [edited by moderator]

    the monitoring of the monitors by East Yorkshire Police is taking Police directly off the streets of East Yorkshire. Great idea?

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