Regulation

West Newton: Eviction costs and noise complaint

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Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A site, East Yorkshire, 11May 2019. Photo: Tad Pole for Maple Leaf Media

Eviction of monitoring camps outside an oil and gas site in East Yorkshire cost the county council a total of £33,983.34.

The figure, disclosed this week, was for three evictions of camps outside the West Newton-A exploration operated by Rathlin Energy in Holderness, north of Hull.

ERYC cost of evictions

Extract of letter from East Riding of Yorkshire Council on eviction costs

Campaigners had said the camps were needed to monitor operations at the site round-the-clock.

They said the official regulators did not have the resources to carry out adequate monitoring.

Today, residents living near the site reported unacceptable night-time noise from the site.

See Noise complaint

Lawyers acting for the campaigners had written to ERYC saying eviction amounted to an unlawful interference with human rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

But the council said the camps, on roadside verges, must be removed for “road safety concerns”. Officials used emergency procedures in section 149(2) of the Highways Act 1980.

190225 eviction WNGttGF5

Eviction of West Newton Monitoring and Information Station, 25 February 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gasfields

The evictions were carried out on 25 February, 22 March and 16 April 2019.

On each occasion, police supported enforcement officers working for the council. The total cost to the council did not include police resources, equipment or time.

A monitoring camp at West Newton-A was first established in January 2019 when the company began to install equipment to drill a second well at the site.

In February 2019, people living near West Newton-A appealed to the council to drop the eviction plans.

But the council leader, Stephen Parnaby, said ERYC and Humberside Police were concerned about the safety issues of the encampment outside the well site. He said:

“Due to these safety concerns the council will not withdraw the notice served.”

190522 West Newton UWOC

West Newton rig from family home in Withernwick. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Noise complaint

Today, a family from Withernwick, which overlooks the site, wrote to Rathlin Energy and ERYC to complain about drilling noise from West Newton-A.

They said they had been in contact with Rathlin Energy on several occasions this year about the site.

They added:

“Last night reached a new low. We were unable to sleep, virtually all night, due to a loud thrumming, vibrational noise coming from the drill site.

“We look straight at the site with no trees or buildings as buffers.

“The noise went on and on. It was like a plane engine throbbing in the distance that just never stopped. It is absolutely unacceptable.

“We are a hard-working family and one of us has a 2 ½ hour commute twice a day. Being unable to sleep is tortuous.”

A spokesperson for Rathlin Energy said “the company deals with all comments it receives directly [with those who contact them]”.

to comment on the family’s complaint. This article will be updated with any response.

In February, monitors filmed contractors at West Newton-A lose control of an operation to lower the vent pipe of a mud treatment rig. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive concluded that site contractors breached regulations and failed to follow best practice. (DrillOrDrop report)

During operations at the site in 2014, the Environment Agency warned Rathlin Energy after 14 breaches of environmental permit conditions. (DrillOrDrop report)

28 replies »

  1. Phil C

    You say that wind generation does not cause subsurface seismic vibration.

    However there has been some issues from vibration et al caused by onshore wind farms.

    https://docs.wind-watch.org/Windfarms-seismic-disturbance-Eskdalemuir.pdf

    https://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/2011/seismologists-say-wind-turbines-produce-airborne-infrasound-plus-ground-borne-vibration-up-to-6-8-miles-from-the-wind-farm-italy/

    And some people find the effect troubling.

    https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wind-turbine-placement-must-consider-vibration-effect-on-animals/

    Drilling, on the other hand produces very little subsurface seismic vibration from the drill bit. So little that you would struggle to detect it I suspect.

    Vibration from a drill site is more likely to be from the rig, pumps, generator and so on, as noted below, rather than the bit. So vibration from both wind power and drilling would seem to share a common cause ( surface equipment vibrating ) resulting is vibration felt by someone on the surface.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308624973_Ground_vibrations_caused_by_geothermal_drilling_operations_a_case_study_from_the_Rittershoffen_EGS_project_Alsace_France

    Hence both industries provide a threat in terms of seismic vibration, and, therefore I disagree that in this case that the exploitation of the gas provides a greater seismic vibration threat over time than a wind farm.

    Some sectors of the oil and gas ( and coal ) industry provide a threat from seismic activity due to fracking or subsidence, of course, but in terms of seismic vibration, it seems that it’s likelihood is to closely related to installed horsepower at the surface.

    Perhaps the best place to put wind turbines is offshore.

    • “PhilC – you have no such X-Files vision – nor do I. However I have plenty of experience of drilling rigs and noise, perhaps you lack this and would prefer to rely on X-Factor methods?”

      Nope, as i have explains so many times here, the work i did was mostly for ARAMCO when it was the Arab American Oil Company on the downstream side, and later with other middle east companies, but you know that don’t you, since i said it so often, hence the little jibe from you in reply to mine.

      Fun isnt it?

      Perhaps Paul, if the people you mention had supplied a photo, you could have helped them with identifying the noise?

      Are you saying that the example on this page is noise from a motorway? Perhaps you could tell us where you think it does come from?

      What is X-Factor BTW? Sorry i don’t do television. Rots the brain.

      And another BTW, BTW, I think you have just answered hewes62’s question on this page too that the noise claimed to be from wind generators may have come from a nearby motorway, or other source?

      Thanks for that, well done. And i was just about to answer that as well.

      Aww, shame?

      Never mind, you can always discuss that between yourselves. Have Fun!

      • ARAMCO downstream? I don’t recall this but not to worry. No rigs downstream, only upstream, but you know this? And ARAMCO upstream would not have any noise limits imposed.

        • Ha! Ha! Actually there were many very noisy rumbling rigs in the area in SA, and massive flares that roared like speeding trains and burned your skin and lungs from a mile away, or were they actually speeding trains?

          I should have taken a photo shouldn’t I? I am sure you could have told me where the noise was coming from.

          Maybe the speeding trains were underground under the desert that were causing all that seismic vibration and ear splitting roar?

          Where is that motorway at West Newton BTW? Maybe it is underground speeding trains and not a motorway at all?

          This is fun isn’t it?

          • “Unfortunately I have no such X-Files vision, perhaps Scully and Mulder could assist you there?” – I wonder who said this and doesn’t watch TV….

            Regarding seismic vibrations from wind farms giggle: “seismic vibration wind farms”

            Enjoy…..

            Back to the article:

            Eviction – great!

            Noise complaint – there are planning conditions and the Council will investigate to determine any breach.

            “Monitoring equipment at the two nearest residential properties to the site, recorded noise levels of between 30 to 35dB according to Rathlin. Thats within the 42dB night time limit.”

            I assume Rathlin make this data public.

            If you had taken photos in Saudi of oil and gas infrastructure upstream, downstream or mid stream you would probably still be there…

            • Dear me, still fishing?

              Sorry, not biting today….

              But you should be more careful with those hooks and barbs you know, they can snag a bit!

              Oops!

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