A camp established to monitor operations at an oil and gas exploration site in East Yorkshire has been evicted for a second time.
About 30 bailiffs working for East Riding of Yorkshire Council cleared structures and tents from the verge outside the Rathlin Energy site at West Newton. Eyewitnesses said more than 30 police officers supported the eviction.
The West Newton Monitoring Station was established earlier this year to report on work at the site, where Rathlin Energy has permission to drill and test a second well. It has been recording operations at the site for about the past eight weeks. The council removed a previous camp last month.
During testing of the first well in 2014, observers reported concerns which resulted in the Environment Agency recording at least 14 breaches of conditions of the environmental permit.
The bailiffs arrived at about 9am this morning and began clearing the structures at about 11.30am.
One of the monitors, Ross Monaghan, said:
“After the first eviction we had a lot of support from the local community. We really thought that, rather than these snap evictions, the council officers would come and talk to us.
“We didn’t think they would want to spend thousands of pounds on another eviction.
“I am surprised and quite disappointed. It demonstrates that the local council is not listening to local people.
“We did say we would have a 24-hours a day presence and we do not intend to give up on that. We just have to figure out how to do it now.”
A spokesperson for the council said:
“East Riding of Yorkshire Council continues to have serious road safety concerns about the encampment at West Newton.
“The safety of road users and the safety of individuals at this encampment is our top priority.
“These are narrow, unclassified roads with no road markings and are used regularly by farm machinery and heavy goods vehicles. Obstructions and hazards, such as the tents and wooden structures erected, on the sides of these narrow roads can cause visibility issues for all road users and drivers, and therefore increase the risk of accidents.
“Because of these road safety concerns, the council, supported by the police, have taken appropriate action to remove all the items from this area.
“This action was taken under the emergency procedure contained in section 149(2) of the Highways Act 1980.”
Two caravans moved in the first eviction are still at a council compound. DrillOrDrop report