Lorry protest as Rathlin delivers drilling rig to East Yorkshire exploration site

190408 lorry surf West Newton WNGGF

Lorry protest near Rathlin Energy West Newton-A exploration site, 8 April 2019. Photo: Pippa Hockey

A woman campaigner has climbed on top of drilling equipment on its way to an oil and gas site in East Yorkshire.

The lorry-surfing protest happened about half a mile from Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A site at about 10.30am. At the time of writing, the action was continuing. Humberside Police said a 43-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a road traffic offence. Another man has since been arrested.

At least 10 lorries were reported to have delivered infrastructure to the site this morning. More than 30 police officers were said to be on duty in the area.

Campaigners, who have been monitoring the site since January, said they were prevented by police from slow walking the lorries, a widespread form of protest at drilling sites.

Film posted online showed up to five police officers travelling on the back of other lorries carrying drilling equipment.


190408 rig delivery Katrina Lawrie

Delivery of drilling equipment to Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A well site, 8 April 2019. Photo: Still from video by Katrina Lawrie

Asked by a protester why the police were on the vehicle, one officer said:

“It’s to stop you climbing on to it while its moving because it’s safer for us to deter it than it is for us to be trying to get people from …. on top of the vehicle.”

190408 Rathlin Energy to West Newton residentsRathlin Energy wrote today to people living in the area about the deliveries.

The company returned to West Newton in December 2018 after a four-year pause in operations at the site.

It drilled the first well in September 2013 and tested it during the summer and autumn of 2014.

Planning permission, first granted in January 2013, has been extended twice, most recently in November 2018.

The new, second well, will be drilled to a depth of about 2,000m to evaluate two target formations, Rathlin said. Data from the first West Newton well indicated there could be both oil and gas.

Rathlin said in its letter:

“Once the main drilling operations commences it will take approximately eight weeks during which time the site will be active 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“On completion of the main borehole drilling, the well will either be suspended pending further testing or plugged and abandoned if unsuccessful.”

The company said work “may occasionally be seen and heard from neighbouring villages. Please rest assured that our aim is to keep any disruption to an absolute minimum.”

It has provided contact information:

Emergency 24-hour line 0800 1959154
Non-emergency office line 0207 2689860
Email: rathlinenergy@rathlinenergy.co.uk

A neighbouring site, called West Newton-B, received planning permission in June 2015 but there has been no work apart from an archaeological survey.

DrillOrDrop key facts and timeline about West Newton-A

DrillOrDrop key facts and timeline about West Newton-B

12 replies »

  1. Interesting that after weeks of no activity to monitor on the site, that the minute there is, those based at the camp choose to disrupt.

  2. Legal right to peaceful protest against the fossil fuel industry by slow walking, lorry surfing and other tactics has just been established and the Ineos injunction against peaceful protest has just been declared unreasonable!
    The Peoples Tribunal has just requested that Fracking be banned due to its link to Climate Destruction.
    People fighting this industry do so because they believe it is their duty, not for pecuniary advantage!
    They should be respected not criminalised!

  3. Including those charged with assault upon an emergency worker??


    Strange world. I shall focus my respect upon the emergency workers.

    How about the activists who drive to such events in their fossil fuel driven vehicles and park them on verges to take part? Locals much amused by such antics but not that sympathetic.

  4. Martin, charged but not yet convicted!
    I am local to PNR so know what I’m talking about having witnessed many things in the last disgraceful 30 month’s of policing actions.
    Everything now combining against the fossil fuel industry, local, national and international.
    Should be terminal before the year is done.

  5. You witnessed that outburst by a protestor (I think it was outside a party conference), and the one a while ago where a “lady” was screaming abuse in the face of a policeman at PNR-both recorded? Neither convicted, but a focus for respect? Don’t think so.

    Terminal? Yes, a lot of ships coming in and out of terminals currently. I suspect by the lack of posters this week many will have disappeared through airport terminals this week as well.

    But interesting times. I understand UK is to be “blessed” by the visit of a young lady from Sweden who travels without the use of fossil fuel!! Hmmm.

  6. Oh, you are still with us John.

    Might surprise you that those who are not against UK oil and gas are not against using it! Maybe the two are linked? DOH.
    Heard today my new car is on its way to the ferry, so I continue to do my bit, but moderate my consumption and impact upon others. Kiddies will be safe from my actions, and happy to get transported around to their numerous activities.

    What is surprising, is those that are against UK oil and gas are ALSO not against using it! Interesting you quote one as a reference who is not inclined to practice whilst preaching. Others, have made the comment that watching antis turning up in their vehicles must be due to them being fuelled by Unicorn wee-and that is the polite version.

    Don’t give up the day job-your apprenticeship as a defence lawyer has been cancelled due to the sudden influx into the prison system.

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