£900,000 bill for Notts shale gas policing

190401 Misson protest Tina English 1

Protest at IGas shale gas site at Springs Road, Misson, 1 April 2019. Photo: Tina English

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.

190401 Misson protest Tina English 2

Protest at IGas shale gas site at Springs Road, Misson, 1 April 2019. Photo: Alan Finney

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.

32 replies »

  1. A few more cut backs locally as a result. Won’t be long before more of the community realise their taxation is being wasted to control a minority who are happy to waste public funds, and the majority are suffering the consequences and costs.

    • Absolutely! You are so right Martin Collier. Igas being the minority happy to waste public funds whilst we all have to suffer the consequences of an unwanted toxic fossil fuel industry- using our police force like their own private security to facilitate forcing their filthy industry on us. It’s a good job the industry is on its knees and opposition is growing.
      A selfish and greedy minority trying to force this industry on communities will not work- they have no social licence.

  2. These protesters make me so angry. How dare they hold up business operations that have went through our democratic system. We pay a lot of tax to make sure everyone has a say and these protesters cost us even more tax if a decision doesn’t go their way. Their benefits should be stopped to pay for the inconvenience and Police costs they themselves have cost the local community.

    • David Oswald, no relation I hope, how dare you assume that anti-fracking activists and Climate Angels are as an entity claiming benefits?

      By the way Government Pensions and Disability Benefits are actually our Rights in this supposedly civilised country.

      And if they were why should their Human Rights to peacefully protest be threatened?

      Your comment sounds attitudes from the 1930s also relating to Human Rights issues!

  3. What a load of nonsense, Mr Collyer. Local people in areas threatened by fracking (which you obviously don’t live in) are always strongly against this invasion of their countryside by fracking companies, and have the right to protest. It is the fracking companies who are causing the ‘waste of public funds’ by insisting on drilling in areas where they are not wanted and are opposed by the vast majority of local residents. No wonder the Conservative government are quietly trying to sideline fracking as they know it will never fly.

    • Nonsense Ellie? Reality seems to bother you-not recommended to show the anti weakness so readily.

      How many activists have been ARRESTED so far regarding UK fracking sites?

      Of course people have the right to protest within the law. But when you get hundreds who step outside of the law then the law has to take action. The fracking companies are causing no one to be arrested. The actions of the activists are causing the need for arrest.

      Misrepresenting the reality of a situation may get you excited but you will find it merely cements the opinions of the majority of the population who do not support such actions-including many locals.

      The Conservative Government will change totally within the next few weeks. Do you really expect anyone in UK to believe their policies will stay as is-on many matters, including fracking? I think you might find recent months of virtue signalling might be replaced with some decisions. Not sure you will like them.

  4. Martin, you are missing the point. Do you honestly think people are “happy to waste” the police’s budget on policing these sites?
    People do not want this industry as it makes no sense economically or environmentally. I have been at sites where there have been 4 protesters 3 of which were women that could be described as in their senior years and a dozen officers standing around twiddling their thumbs. while when someone’s house gets burgled, you are just given a reference number and a fob off like “we are severely stretched with our resources and are unable to send someone”. If these companies want police, then they should dip their little oily hands into their pockets to pay for it.
    Don’t show yourself to be such a simpleton Martin, surely you’re better than that???

    • Oh, I am better than that, One. I don’t speculate about the economics of an “industry” that is still being tested.

      I recognise that the police are responsible for keeping law and order outside of the actual sites.

      And maybe there were only 4 protestors because there were a dozen officers. Crime prevention, I think it is called.

      So, maybe not wise to throw simpleton tags around when you post such, ermm, poorly thought through contributions.

  5. It must be questionable whether the high profile police presence was ever really commensurate with the risk to public order involved. And whether its effect was provocative rather than conducive to maintenance of the peace. I am not a site protester but some of the video footage suggests that there was some heavy handed ploddery.

    • septuagintablog As a 72 year old local who has been part of the roadside protests at PNR since the beginning I can confirm that what you say is correct. The heavy handed and completely disproportionate, one sided policing demonstrated there appears to be intended as a deterrent to peaceful protest and to portray protectors in a bad light to the public, with unnecessary violence and closing of the road etc. Thankfully, the public are not so gullible and our protest enjoys plenty of public support, which cannot be said for Cuadrilla.

    • Martin, this is a first for me so I hope you’re sitting comfortably. I have to congratulate you for such an unrivalled sense of imagination, in the way you understand the law and public protest. Yes, you’re right, people have got arrested, and some even charged. However, when a law is broken it is down to a judge to determine whether or not the law has actually been broken. The Police on many occasions have come under scrutiny over their wasteful power of resources and their very heavy-handed tactics. when you see an 83-year-old getting dragged by her limbs you think that the police are being “lawful”. Why don’t the companies provide security Martin like other businesses? why aren’t the companies being made to pick up the bill?

      In the wake of the extensive coverage on climate change a few weeks ago, the momentum is growing for more protection towards this fragile earth. People are simply not willing to stand by and let a few greedy politicians and investors add further to the destruction of our climate, largely caused by fossil fuel companies.

      • Interesting!

        So, the police are to blame! Don’t think so One. They do a difficult job but enjoy the overtime, that we all pay for.

        The companies do provide security for their sites. What happens outside their sites and impacts the public is obviously the responsibility of the police. You should welcome that One. There are many who without the police present may decide not to be the silent majority. I seem to recall antis calling in the police because the silent majority were getting annoyed with them, and they needed protection.

        No, climate change-or the part of it that could be attributed to activity of man-is largely caused by the growth in human population. Only 18% of the world population have been on a ‘plane but now more than 50% of the world population is categorised as middle class. So, where is aviation heading? Get your facts correct then you may understand what you are objecting to! Nip over to China and tell them to revert to a one child policy. Fantasy worlds make a nice cartoon but the reality is that the majority live in the real world.

        Meanwhile, you are only contradicting Greta. Just trying to impose creative carbon accounting via imports rather than “produce your own”. Strange how it is great for food production but taboo for oil or gas. Must be some greedy investors concerned they maintain their fossil fuel exports or sales of alternative energy systems.

      • One flew over

        Re security, the companies do employ security. However, that security is for the site and is not for the road.
        Hence the police deal with people who break the law on the public highway ( whether one agrees with the law or not ).

        Security should not be removing protestors off cars on a public highway, for example ( as occurred outside the Third Energy Site I believe ).

        But they cannot, by law, do what you are suggesting, and employ a security force to carry out the duties of the police.

  6. How many arrested so far at PNR, Pauline? No, the public are not gullible, they look at the facts rather than the fiction.

    • Arrests don’t necessarily result in charges. Many are dropped ‘No case to answer’ and of those that have resulted in court appearances, many have been acquitted. Arrests on ridiculous charges such as ‘dancing or crossing the road’ are all part of the regime I have described above. Petty policing in order to remove people from the scene for a day or two is all part of a plan which has more to do with politics than proportionate policing. Meanwhile, peaceful members of the public have suffered broken bones, torn ligaments, been rendered unconscious and suffered numerous cuts and bruises inflicted by the police for no worse crime than attempting to slow down a truck for a few minutes.

    • Martin,

      Please investigate and compare the number of individuals arrested at PNR with the number convicted?

      Please then find out the punishment meeted out by the Judges and Magistrates to those convicted and what they were convicted for?

      One fellow activist has been arrested 5 TIMES without conviction, his actions against the Lancashire Constabulary are ongoing!

      Another has been violently arrested 3 TIMES, again without conviction! His legal actions against Lancashire Constabulary are also ongoing!

      Disgraceful violence designed to deter local residents from showing their resistance to the undemocratic imposition of fracking on their Community!

      • Peter,

        What point are you trying to make??

        Numbers arrested and numbers convicted are related to the costs of prosecution more than anything else, nothing to do with wrongful arrest. Equally, how were the ones locked away “local”??

        Reality Peter. Might be inconvenient but the majority take notice of that.

    • If fracking wasn’t inflicted on communities where it wasn’t welcome there would be no need to protest. Fact.

    • Martin. On what evidence can you state that numbers arrested and numbers convicted are related to the costs of prosecution more than anything else, nothing to do with wrongful arrest? The truth is that many of the arrests and subsequent prosecutions have resulted in acquittals. Once the judges see the flimsy evidence supplied by police who are making political and tactical arrests they throw the cases out. Nothing to do with costs.
      As far as being local is concerned. Everyone is local to the effects of the climate crisis. Since when was the right to protest dependent on being local to a certain area?

  7. Fracking is not being inflicted on the community at West Newton Pauline Jones, but police resources are still having to be wasted on people who do not agree with a democratic decision.

    • John Harrison The industrial shambles at West Newton may not be classed as fracking but that’s just nit picking. As I’ve seen first hand on several occasions, it is an ugly, disruptive damaging and dangerous practice attempting to produce more fossil fuel which the world cannot afford to use. It’s a waste of time, money and energy that should be being used to develop a far more sustainable future.

  8. Pauline Jones, why do you class it as just nit picking, when it’s pointed out that there are protests, disruption to locals, emergency service resources and time wasted, along with costs being run up for local tax payers, all based on a lie?

  9. What lie? Can you deny that what is going on behind that fence at West Newton is ugly, disruptive, damaging and dangerous? It’s also the beginning of a very slippery slope which if allowed to carry on to commercial production will be disastrous on many levels. More importantly, as I said it’s taking us away from developing a more sustainable way of life. We can’t keep burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the signs that are already happening. Nature doesn’t care about us. Two or three people lying in the road for a few hours is chicken feed to what Mother Nature can wreak on us and all creatures on earth if we ignore what is going on under our noses.

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