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