Updated: Lock-on protest at East Yorkshire drilling site continues for 31+ hours

190509 West Newton lock-on

Lock-on protest outside Rathlin Energy’s oil and gas site at West Newton in East Yorkshire, 9 May 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent.

Updated 12.35pm, 10 May 2019

Opponents of oil and gas exploration at Rathlin Energy’s site at West Newton, north of Hull, have been protesting outside the the entrance for more than 30 hours.

At mid-day on Friday 10 May, two people were continuing to lock their arms together through a concrete and steel tube outside the gate.

The protest began at about 5am on Thursday 9 May.

Lorries had been manoeuvring around them to get into the site. On Friday, the gate was  blocked by other protesters.

190509 West Newton lock-on UWOC

Lock-on protest outside Rathlin Energy’s oil and gas site at West Newton in East Yorkshire, 9 May 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent.

Drilling started on a second well at West Newton on 26 April 2019. Rathlin Energy is exploring for both oil and gas at the site.

The protesters said the drilling equipment had created an “industrial scar on the landscape with a huge floodlit rusty structure dominating the skyline”.

They said in a statement:

“This new arrival has also brought 24 hour a day disturbance to locals and wildlife in the form of excessive lighting, constant low frequency and loud noises, increased emissions from generators and traffic, and a huge increase in heavy goods vehicles through the local villages, bringing increased pollution levels and danger to these country roads.”

The statement said of this morning’s protest:

“The group … feel this action has been necessary due to the continued investment in onshore oil and gas which flies in the face of all current research and government policy that suggest we should be aiming to reduce and eradicate the use of fossil fuels immediately in order to face a potential crisis for the whole of humanity.

“With recent declarations of climate emergency by administrations at all levels of power across the country, both locally and nationally, this group believe that if people do not step forward to highlight and take action against the industrialisation of the countryside we could be set to see many of our landscapes and precious species start to disappear.”

One of the people locked to the device said:

“As far I’m concerned I’m acting on behalf of humanity. This drill and industry is the destruction of the planet, not protecting it.”

190509 West Newton lock-on Ros Garland

Police at West Newton, 9 May 2019. Photo: Ros Garland

DrillOrDrop reported on a lock-on protest last month, which blocked the site entrance for eight hours. Also in April, a woman climbed on to a lorry carrying drilling equipment (details).

Road-side camps established by protesters near West Newton have been cleared by East Riding of Yorkshire Council three times.

27 replies »

  1. Had our government not long ago ceased to govern and had they paid more than lip service to matters of extreme planetary concern, and only then when confronted with incontrovertible, loud and disruptive proof that with the expansion of the fossil fuel industry and elsewhere we are embarking upon a course to nowhere, such brave and commendable actions would not have become necessary. Let us support these protesters wholeheartedly. For them it is a duty.

  2. “A Clean and Green Environment” is a key bullet point on a recent Mid Sussex District Council election poster for the Conservative party, along with “Protecting the Character of the villages”. Yet it is this very council, of which the two councillors serve that approved Cuadrilla’s activities at Lower Stumble, just outside the village boundary and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It seems to me that rather than protecting our environment this government is focussed on attacking it. Interestingly, they use the words Strong Local Leadership but omitted the word Stable!!
    THe Conservatives still have overall control of the council even with the loss of 19 seats.But finally the electorate in ‘safe’ Tory constituencies seem to be finally wising up to the fact that they do not fully act in the interests of the local communities, but remain subservient to the government.

  3. And if there is an emergency and vacation of the site required, with thise knobs chained to the gates could cost lives! How did they all get there? Walk? No, in fossil fuelled cars! Where did their blue plastic groundsheets come from I wonder?

    • I think you would find the protectors could de lock themselves immediately if the need arose. At present, they are doing a great job where they are. Having visited the site I would be more worried if there was an emergency on site, or anywhere along that single track lane, including the homes at the end, at the same time as the frackers’ enormous HGVs were using the lane. It’s far too narrow for emergency vehicles to pass HGV’s.

      • Pauline – phone Phil C. He will help you with therapy……all your issues will soon be sorted.

        • Don’t worry Pauline, Paul Tresto is mostly harmless, but he does have these odd delusional conspiracy theories and obsessional fixations with people, a sad but fascinating case.

          Now, come along Paul, back to the home, and stop frightening the protectors, and please, put your clothes back on at least!

          What did we say last time you thought you had escaped to the Kalahari? We had to show you that it was the pub down the road didn’t we?

          Claire in the community has a lot to answer for…..

  4. Once again these people need dealing with harshly and need to be held personally financially responsible

    • Interestingly Whine Mordred, that is precisely our position regarding the onshore fossilised fools,

      Ironic isn’t it…..

  5. The Conservatives increased their majority on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council in the recent elections, Labour were wiped out with not one councillor elected.

    The three Conservative councillors for Mid Holderness, the ward in which the West Newton oil and gas exploration is taking place were all re-elected. So the electorate are still happy with the actions taken on their behalf.

    It is worth remembering that the application to drill a second well at West Newton received 121 objections, whilst the extension to the neighbouring Withernwick windfarm that is also currently taking place received 282 objections.

    Fortunately the site does not appear to be blocked. Personnel and HGV’s are still accessing the site, drilling continues and locals remain undisrupted.

    • Mr Harrison, The East Riding area has always had a conservative majority, pensioners and farmers are the only ones who tend to vote.

      The situation at Withernwick is frankly down to the fact that at least one of the parish councillors works for the drilling company and any discussion of what’s going on at the site is discouraged, dare I say hushed up. Few in the village knew anything about it until it was too late. The locals who ‘remain undisrupted’ pipers lane is a no through road with two houses at the end. The locals of New Ellerby and Withernwick, on route to the site are having to put up with the noise, pollution and constant traffic.

      • They’ve taken a wrong turn, are heading in the wrong direction and deviated from the designated route, if vehicles to the site pass through Withernwick.

        The planing application was advertised and well known in the area, the only ones unaware were the activists who were expecting the work to be on Rathlin’s “B” site.

        Activities on the site have always and remain to be discussed well in advance by the liaison group. Newsletters are posted regularly to local residents and the minutes of the liaison meetings are not only made accessible to local residents, but also anyone else that is interested.
        The liaison group is a mix of councillors, local residents and Rathlin employees, it includes people who publicly spoke out and objected to Rathlin’s planning application.

  6. Doesn’t look like actively searching for employment!

    Maybe you will get what you want, Wise Merlin.

    • Mr Harrison, the drilling noise and lorries can be seen and heard from Withernwick it’s closer than New Ellerby. As for the liaison group, Withernwick is represented by a former PCC who when contacted, supports strongly the actions of the police. He also champions the cause of those who he says are most affected by the protests, This is the family who sold the land to Rathlin and those who are directly dependent on the same family for their housing. Newsletters and minutes, what when and where are these?

      • It may come as a surprise but there are a number of locals who support the actions of the council and police, but not those of the activists.

        The liaison committee comprises of a mix of people who are both for and against Rathlin’s exploration activities.

        Do you just want the views and cause of the antis to be represented instead of the community as a whole?

        • Mr Harrison, my point is that the views of those who don’t want to have poison acid pumped into the ground, are not being represented on the liaison committee from the Withernwick perspective.

          Rather they are being suppressed by ‘representation’ that favours Rathlin Energy interests. Your rather self righteous assertions are a perfect example.

          • If your not happy with the response from MG in Withernwick then contact HC in Ellerby. I am sure he will be more than happy to pass on all the information he has and highlight your concerns at the next meeting.

            Just a few points of interest on what you class as “poison” acid. Hydrochloric acid has been used safely for acidising nearly all the drinking water wells that have been drilled into the Chalk aquifer that runs from Flamborough down to Poole in Dorset, sometimes at twice the strength of what is allowed for use at West Newton.
            It also has many uses in the food industry. Food additive E507 is Hydrochloric acid. Many limescale removers and toilet cleaners including all eight products in the Harpic range that are regularly flushed into the water system contain 10% Hydrochloric acid.

            • Mr Harrison, you seem very knowledgeable about acids having such a lot of detail to quote. Do you work for Rathlin by any chance?

              • No I am retired, which gives me plenty of time to carry out my own research on subjects, rather than just listen to those protesting at West Newton continuously shouting black is white.

                • I’m retired too, and have plenty of time to counter your biased assertions. However your ‘research’ seems rather close to that put out by Rathlin’s Beverley office. I’m bound to be suspicious as it’s very easy to pose as someone else online. You seem rather poorly informed about what is actually happening.

  7. “As far as I am concerned, I am acting on behalf of the needy poor”, said the bank robber!

  8. Reality check

    They haven’t blocked anything, vehicles , including HGVs have been going in and out all day.

    Might I suggest the story be updated along the lines of, transient protesters, shipped into the area, do a lock on against a fence. The only thing they’ve achieved is to have a factually incorrect story published in drill or drop

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