Policing at two IGas shale gas sites in Nottinghamshire has cost nearly a million pounds, campaigners have revealed.
Frack Free Misson said this morning it had been told the total cost of police operations at Tinker Lane, near Blyth, and Springs Road, near Misson, stood at £900,000 up to April 2019.
The figure, provided by Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping, represented nearly 0.5% of the Nottinghamshire force’s spending on policing services for 2017-2018.
The PCC’s office confirmed to DrillOrDrop it would not be seeking government reimbursement for the costs because they were below the Home Office threshold.
There have been regular protests against operations at the IGas sites since January 2018.
The Tinker Lane exploration well, drilled in November 2018, failed to encounter the Bowland shale.
At Springs Road, the company is currently analyzing results from the first of two permitted wells, drilled in January-February 2019.
If the results at Misson predict commercial success, a planning application to frack is expected.
Frack Free Misson said that on one more than one occasion there had been in excess of 30 police personnel present at Springs Road, along with vehicles and support units.
But at the time there had been small numbers of protesters, the group said.
Frack Free Misson described the total figure as a “considerable financial outlay” especially when pressure on police services was acute.
It said in a statement:
“Apart from the financial impact, the imposition of the fracking industry upon our community has led to the diversion of police resources away from their duties of serving and protecting the communities who pay for them.
“Council tax payers and local businesses have had to contend with increasing levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, whilst dozens of police are deployed at the behest of a private corporation to facilitate the unjustifiable extraction of fossil fuels.”
Mark Watson, a member of Bassetlaw District Council, which includes the two sites, said:
“It seems very unfair that residents should bear the costs of a high-profile police operation to protect the interests of a commercial organisation when the residents do not support the development in question and the company involved does not make any financial contribution to the police costs.
“If a football club requires policing for a match, they have to pay for it. Why does the same not apply to IGas?”
Campaigner, Dennis May, who sought the data on policing costs through freedom of information requests, said:
“The hidden issue is the diversion of personnel and resources away from community policing, in the wake of government cuts and at a time when crime is rising.
“This is just another of the immeasurable socio-economic costs being borne as a result of the governments imposition of this unjustifiable and unsustainable ‘industry’ upon our communities.”
Lock-on protesters deny obstruction
Two anti-fracking campaigners from Sheffield have denied obstruction of the Springs Road site in a protest, during a Fossil Fuels day of action on 1 April 2019.
The pair locked themselves together inside a reinforced concrete tube, blocking the entrance for nine hours.
Their trial is due to take place at Mansfield Magistrates Court on 29 August 2019.