Plastic streamers, used to deter birds from an Ineos shale gas site in south Yorkshire, have turned up as rubbish in nearby woods and hedgerows.
People living near the site at Harthill collected waste from the streamers during a litter pick last night. They said they would deliver the rubbish to a senior Ineos executive, along with a bill for their time.
Ineos said the streamers, installed in the field off Common Road, had been vandalised. A company spokesperson said:
“Ineos Shale has been made aware that some of the streamers currently operating in a scarecrow function on the Harthill site have come loose.
“These streamers have previously been the subject of vandalism – we are investigating the cause of the latest incident. The previous incidents were particular disappointing as they added an environmental impact to criminal activity.”
But participants in the litter pick said the ribbons had been blown off the site twice in recent storms.
Deborah Gibson, of Harthill Against Fracking, said:
“On two occasions the bird scaring plastic ribbons have blown off in high winds. On both, not just the most recent, occasions the plastic rubbish has littered the environment.
“I am aware that new bird scarers have been installed now, for the third time. This time it is after the deadline for bird nesting season, when birds should not be disturbed. It is not only the small nesting birds that are at risk, it is the owls and larger raptors that are also endangered by this activity.”
Ms Gibson said the litter pickers had gathered a box of plastic waste. She said:
“This is going by post, directly to Tom Pickering, Operations Director of Ineos, along with an invoice for the cost of our time and labour. Ineos must be held to account and pay for their irresponsibility, and their carelessness for our environment.”
Ms Gibson added:
“It was bad enough that the ribbons were fluttering to deliberately keep wild birds away, but now the plastic waste is spread out everywhere.
“They were not fit for purpose and now we have to remove Ineos’s plastic rubbish as soon as possible. I sincerely hope Ineos’s slipshod, slapdash approach to materials and techniques does not translate into their fracking practices.”
Another participant, Wendy Barlow, said after the litter pick:
“It was harder work than I thought it would be. It’s too dark to go on now but I know there is more. It’s getting to be smaller and smaller pieces now and what we don’t collect will go further in the undergrowth. Their thoughtlessness makes me so angry.”
“The real irony is that Ineos want the fracked shale gas for their own plastics manufacturing feedstock, and here they are littering our environment before they even start.”
Anti-fracking campaigner, Christina Whalley, who lives near another Ineos site, joined the litter pick. She said:
“This lack of respect for communities seems typical of this industry wherever they go. A bit of plastic rubbish may appear a small thing but it is potentially devastating to small birds and animals at this time of year.”
She also complained that the perimeter hedge at the site had been cut recently:
“No birds are able to nest here at all, and the shiny ribbons made sure they wouldn’t even come looking. This borders on a wildlife crime, I’m sure”.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to destroy, damage or disturb a nest at any time of the year. The RSPB recommends not cutting hedgerows or using bird deterrent methods during the nesting season, which generally runs from March to September.
- DrillOrDrop asked South Yorkshire Police whether it had received formal complaints of either vandalism or wildlife crimes. This post will be updated with the force’s response.