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. How much does a noise monitor cost? A lot less that £34,000.00 i am sure, and it all could have been done for free too?

    But never mind, the council tax payer will pay….and pay….and pay….and pay………..

  2. Another library will be closed as a result, but who cares? The kids are not running to keep fit, they are on strike from school and now will have no library to visit.

    All part of the scheme to turn intelligent young minds into manipulated and uneducated couch potatoes, to fall prey to fake news spread over the Internet. Except that some fortunate young people are being educated to spot such fake news now.

    When I lived in E.Anglia we were quite used to grain driers running all night, droning away. But, as we all ate bread or drank beer we recognised it was required for a short period of time to achieve an end result-and, that happened every year. How about the noise complaints regarding wind turbines droning away, day and night? How about the night flying exercises all the way up the east coast?

    Looks like Stephen Nolan over in Lancashire should not think of moving East.

    • Noise and light flicker have been constant problems with the wind turbines Martin. The Withernwick windfarm has often exceeded the 40dB guidelines, reaching as high as 65dB on occasions.

  3. The Council (environmetal health) will investigate the noise complaint and assess if it is in violation of the planning condition. Looking at the photo taken from the complaining family home it is difficult to believe they can hear anything at all from inside their house.

      • Why don’t they complain to the Council? Environmental Health will send out noise monitors to substantiate their claims and determine if a breach of the planning conditions is being made. How far away is the rig from the home? Do they complain when the farmer ploughs the field or a truck goes past their house?

        • 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.

  4. The operations at West Newton are directed below ground, and sound travels through the ground as well as through the air, in fact the sub surface seismic vibrations can travel much further dependant upon the sub strata, and subsurface geology can absorb or focus and amplify seismic vibrational energy.

    So perhaps the noise vibration is twofold and the property may be at a sympathetically seismic resonant location.

    Perhaps some willing independent monitors would assist in tracking down the problem?

    Oops!

    How much could it cost for the council to provide monitoring gear? £34,000.00?

    Oops!

  5. Love that some folk think that they can assess noise levels from a photograph! What an amazing talent. The noise of a truck going past is fleeting and momentary – it is not prolonged. Continuous noise causes mental stress. Imagine someone ringing your door bell (or knocking on your door) at 10 second intervals 24 hours a day for 4 months. Neither of these present an excessive level of noise, however, I doubt that you would tolerate this for more than an hour or so.

    If you wish to know how loud a doorbell is I could post a photograph (lol!).

    If the family in question bought or rented a house next to an existing drill rig or an industrial site then they would have to accept the inevitable noise levels. This family selected a quite area to live in, which has since become an industrialised zone.

    • Waffle, the Withernwick windfarm was built, commissioned and started causing noise issues to local residents in 2012, Rathlin drilled the first well at West Newton in 2013/14.
      The property in question I believe exchanged hands in 2015.
      Industrialisation of the area since that date has been the monstrosity of the biomass plant at Tansterne, an extension to the windfarm and most recently the drilling of the second well.

      • Perhaps two wrongs do not make a right there either? It has become a common practice to divert from the activities of the fossil fuel operators and point towards another practice preferably a renewable energy activity, with the assumption that it must be OK for the fossil fuel operators then.

        But it isn’t is it?

        Perhaps their next diversion will be to point towards the extinction of the dinosaurs when we are forced deeper into the sixth major extinction event in history because of anthropogenic activities? Of course the extinction event asteroid must have been quite loud too? We appear to be making our own extinction event noise…..

        Perhaps we will now be told that the noise and vibration from West Newton is no worse than the noise and vibration from Nigel Farage driving over a manhole on a quiet day? We can always wish for rapid fossilisation in that respect I suppose?

        The sound of the door of number 10 slamming behind Theresa May, as she leaves with all those Tory knives stuck in her back will also create some very loud sisemic vibration in political circles as they claw and backstab their way to the top too?

        Listen to this space, the space between the Tory ears that is……

  6. If a Withernwick resident is willing to host monitoring equipment in their garden then we could monitor the noise levels come and talk to the folk outside of the West Newton site…. We have one set of advanced equipment looking for a a temporary home local to the site.

    • An excellent suggestion Stephen, let us know how you get on with that. Perhaps Drill or Drop have some information on their address, you can e-mail to Paul and Ruth on their direct comments address and ask them to reply direct to you.

  7. It has been interesting watching the reality of events as they have unfolded in this formerly quiet corner of Holderness.

    Two energy sites were approved and built within two miles of each other. The first, a renewable site, completed in 2012, the second a fossil fuel site completed in 2014. Both projects were far from perfect.

    Following completion of the initial work, both sites submitted planning applications for further work activities to take place.

    The planning application for further work at the fossil fuel site received objections from two parish councils and one hundred and twenty one individuals. The application was approved by the county council.

    The planning application for further work at the renewable site received objections from six parish councils and two hundred and eighty two individuals. The application was refused by the county council before final approval by the Planning Inspectorate following a Public Inquiry.

    It would appear that the experience and views of the local population effected by both energy projects, differs vastly to the views and opinions expressed by some on here.

    • From your comment John, it would appear that the anomaly is not the council or the individual objections at all, except for some apparent internal vested interests superseding their public constituents objections and opinion, but the Planning Inspectorate, who have some very odd conflicting agendas as we have seen from Sajid Javid, James Brokenshire and others.

      With the ERYC there appears to be a very deliberate effort to shut down a free and open debate on fossil fuel issues. One can either view that as an attempt to stifle debate and public inclusion in fossil fuel matters, or perhaps that is an indication that for some, matters have already been decided without the council having any public debate on the subject.

      Getting back to the noise issue however, from this brief diversion, the argument about fossil fuel operational noise and seismic issues relative to nenewable operations noise issues, though, not I guess of a seismic component on the part of renewable operations, is another circular argument that goes nowhere, since such an argument can be entirely reversed in noise terms, since you could also say that objections to renewable energy operations on noise grounds are in fact less than those from fossil fuel operations, since there is no additional seismic component.

      And thinking about the other off thrown about argument of wind generators killing birds, one might also say that gas flaring similarly takes its toll on birds because they get roasted in the flares?

      It is better and more accurate to say that fossil fuels have a long history back to the first industrial revolution in this country, and the renewable operations are relatively recent and as yet are very much in their infancy regarding methods and innovation and efficiency.

      The fossil fuel activities are relatively long in the tooth, and due to their reliance upon deep extraction by whatever methods and chemical complexity and consequences, that renewable resources are all ready becoming more sophisticated, more efficient, cheaper and innovation will no doubt iron out the unfortunate collateral damage such as noise and bird deaths and will then be not only the only acceptable way ahead, but will also be the cheapest and most efficient and the least polluting compared to the polluting and climate changing fossil fuel dark ages methods.

      There is one other over riding factor of course, and that is that within a very short time limit, we really have no other choice than to forge ahead with renewable energy innovation above fossil fuel energy resources, climate change and extinction event deniers not withstanding of course.

      Blame the Chinese or the Russians or anyone else if you wish, but it would be far more beneficial, politically, socially, financially corporately and intelligently, to bury our stoked up differences with all countries. Build new bridges and make new agreements with everyone who will still talk to us, that will be easier with this present bunch of parasites out of the way.

      We need as a matter of urgency above everything else, to share technology innovation and resources with our neighbours, together we stand, divided we fall, it goes beyond any previous imperative that has led us thus far into farce and utter political pointlessness and insanity.

      And not burn every possible bridge in sight and then some, as we are doing, just to preserve some self serving greedy political financial coporate and social flag waving and jealously guarded power bases at everyone’s ultimate expense and eventual extinction.

      Yes we need to avoid getting entrapped in the EU oligarchies and power mongering, but if we are awake enough to those dangers then we can, just as other countries have done, avoid that deep inside one take over of everything and everyone into its own insane version of our own political insanity.

      Time for that insane self destructive divide and conquer sh(!)t to stop, we simply cannot afford to be nice about the present insanity and it’s cheer leaders in all its forms any longer.

  8. The issue is noise. A resident has complained about being kept awake, that issue needs investigating and solving.

    However all the issues of noise pollution in the area should be considered, so that all the local residents reap the benefit from a permanent solution.
    In this area that should also include the regular breaches of the 40dB guideline for the windfarm along with problems from the oil and gas exploration site.

    When complaining about the industrial scar created on the rural area by a 35m high drilling rig. The industrial scars created by the windfarm 2 miles away, the biomass plant with a 65m high stack 3 miles away and the gas storage caverns 4 miles away from the West Newton site must be brought into the conversation to give balance and consistency.

    It is not about diversion or distraction, it is about truth openness and reality.

    The property in question used oil as the fuel for the central heating and aga when it was put on the market in 2015. It would be interesting to learn what fuel or energy source is now used in the property and which of the two nearby sites best suit both its requirements and the requirements of all the other properties in the area.

    It’s the problems and costs of the changeover from old to new that are the challenges here.

    • John Harrison

      You are right. The issue is whether any planning permission has been breached.

      If not, it will be thin gruel for the house involved, although they might take heart from the fact that drilling is an intermittent activity, and once drilled the exposure to such noise will be less. That is not the case for the wind farm which may be there in perpetuity ( with larger and may be quieter turbines replacing the existing ones in due course ) although that house may not be affected.

      However a consistent approach to breach of planning permission or Regulation would only be fair one suspects unless the breach is justified by the means.

      In regard to your comments about the industrialisation of the countryside, I feel that this is an inevitable consequence of our need to have local industry, be it energy ( biomass, wind or solar ), chicken sheds, rendering plants, pig farms, landfill sites, incinerators and so on.

      No one should kid themselves that living in the countryside is or will remain as it was when they were young or as when they bought a house.

  9. Nothing can be considered in isolation, everything is related, however I fail to see what relevance what forms of energy the house uses is a factor if you want to confine the issue to noise, being air transmission or be seismic means?

    Or is this one of those attempts at dictating what form of energy is used because they object to noise from a fossil fuel operation?

    I am sorry, but that is simply not rational, anyone is free to use whatever forms of energy they see fit, and that is decided upon what is available. Fossil fuel monoplies have consistently insured that only fossil fuels have been available until very recently.

    Simply because they object to noise from a fossil fuel operation should not and does not dictate what form of energy they use, the suggestion is bizarre and appears to insert an element of imposed guilt. We have seen that quite a lot here on Drill or Drop.

    Like I said, the noise argument regarding wind generation or fossil fuel operations is a dreadfully circular argument and is a double edged sword, also wind generation does not cause subsurface seismic vibration and is therefore a lesser threat than fossil fuel exploration and extraction, which is primarily, though not exclusively sub surface in scope and operation.

    As Stephen Smyth suggested, perhaps the owners of the property in question would appreciate the offer of being the hosts for sophisticated equipment that needs a good home at present, and that would also help to solve another associated problem with independent monitoring of the West Newton Rathlin operation, as ERYC claim to be so unable or unwilling to assist in that respect, unless of course it is a £34,000.00 police operation that can be wasted on needless evictions and victimisation of public spirited independent monitors.

    The various industrial scars are there and are unlikely to go away, arguing which is potentially worse is pointless and another diversion away from subject. Perhaps it could be said however that the Rathlin Energy West Newton rig provides the most recent of both air and seismic noise and is yet another nearby industrial scar that no one except Rathlin and the ERYC wanted,

    Though you do appear to exhibit a detailed knowledge of the property and its energy particulars, I would surmise that you are unaware of whether those other industrial scars and noise sources were also objected to by the porperty owners?

    Unless that too could be ascertained from a photograph a la Paul Tresto? Unfortunately I have no such X-Files vision, perhaps Scully and Mulder could assist you there?

    [Typos corrected at poster’s request]

    • 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? We were accused of breaking noise limits or causing noise nuisance in Hampshire by an anti local resident on a well I looked after. We shut the rig down, including gen sets. Guess what – they still complained. The Council came (or a Council initiated contractor) and undertook noise tests at the complainants house. The Noise was coming from the M3 – which had always been there…….

  10. Hmmm, i feel a song coming on….

    “East is east and west is west
    And the wrong one I have chose
    Let’s go where they keep on swearin’
    Those shills and powers and gluttons and crows
    Rigs and things and gluttons and crows.

    Don’t frack me in this prairie
    Take me where the dissent grows
    Let’s move down to East Ride town
    Where they love a gal by the cut o’ her prose
    And you’ll stand out, from gluttons and crows.”

    Have a nice day

    Thanks

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