The government is to pay almost all the extra costs of policing protests outside Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.
The county’s police and crime commissioner announced yesterday (6/3/2019) that the Home Office would contribute £614,000. This is 85% of the extra costs, the maximum allowed under government special grant funding.
North Yorkshire Police estimated that the protests had cost an extra £700,660.
The protests started in September 2017, when the first deliveries of fracking equipment were made to Kirby Misperton, and ended in spring 2018, when the site was cleared.
Third Energy did not frack at the site because the government delayed granting final consent. DrillOrDrop understands the company failed an assessment of its financial resilience, required by the energy secretary, Greg Clark.
Last month, DrillOrDrop reported that the company had made commitments to frack one well a year in Ryedale up to 2022.
Under revised terms of its exploration licences, Third Energy is required to frack at Kirby Misperton by the end of 2019. It has also agreed to drill and frack another three wells in the area in the next four years.
Responding to the Home Office grant, North Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, Julia Mulligan said:
“It is right that the Government has agreed to pay these costs. The police operation had a significant and visible impact on the local community, but it has also had an impact more widely across North Yorkshire given the number of officers involved.”
She said the Home Office and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police had carried out a review of the North Yorkshire policing operation at Kirby Misperton. It concluded that policing was efficient and effective, Ms Mulligan said.
“The hydraulic fracturing may resume later this year and I fully expect that will bring with it the protests. I know plans are already in being put in place for this. It is a contentious issue with passionate views but the police have upheld the law fairly and in conjunction with the Human Rights Act, and I know they will do so again.
“Despite the overall success of the operation, there are always lessons to be learned and I am confident they have – from community engagement to a drive to bring further efficiencies and effectiveness.”
- In December 2018, Lancashire councillors called for more money to fund protests outside Cuadrilla’s site at Preston New Road. Lancashire Police estimated that its operation had cost more than £9m since protests began in January 2017.
Updated at 13.42 on 7/3/2019 to correct figure for total extra costs