Road closure at West Newton drilling site extended up to 18-months, residents told

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Road closure at West Newton, 13 June 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Residents in East Yorkshire say they’ve been told the county council has extended a three-week road closure at an oil and gas site north of Hull to 18 months.

Earlier this week East Riding of Yorkshire Council closed two roads leading to Rathlin Energy’s West Newton exploration site.

That closure blocked Pipers Lane and Fosham Road to all but essential vehicles. DrillOrDrop report

Asked to explain the reason, the council told a local resident:

“For health and safety reasons and because the residents of High Fosham were, by the actions of the protesters, who had been responsible for 11 road closures, being prevented from having access to their homes.”

There have been a series of protest actions in the past fortnight, including lock-ons and lorry surfing.

A meeting of the West Newton site community liaison group this week heard that the road had been closed at the request of Rathlin Energy.

It also heard that an 18-month closure may be applied for. By the time one resident asked the council for more details, he said he was told by an official that the closure had been agreed.

He said he was told the extended closure would begin on 1 July 2019.

Yesterday, a local farmer was refused access to his land near the West Newton site.

BBC Radio Humberside reported that Ron Jagger was turned away by security staff. He said the council should have consulted people before blocking local roads. A spokesperson for Rathlin Energy said the company would speak to its security staff.

Council statement

Update: On 14 June, East Riding of Yorkshire Council said in a statement:

“On Monday 10 June the council, by notice in accordance with section 14(2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, put in place a temporary traffic order prohibiting persons from proceeding whether on foot, pedal cycle or on horseback or causing any vehicle from proceeding along the full extents of Pipers Lane, Marton, and Fosham Road, Withernwick, together with parts of Burton Constable footpath 1 and Aldbrough footpaths  9 and 18. 

“The period of restriction under the notice is 21 days from the date of the notice. 

“The council is intending to put in place a temporary traffic regulation order for the same area to start on Monday 1 July 2019.  The order will initially be for six months but may be extended to up to 18 months, in respect of Pipers Lane/Fosham Road only.

“The reason for the closure is because the council is satisfied traffic on the road should be restricted because works are being carried out near the road and because of the likelihood of danger to the public or of serious damage to the road, which is not attributable to such works. 

“The roads will remain open at all times for pedestrian and vehicular access to properties directly affected by the closure and for the emergency services.

“Rathlin Energy (UK) Ltd asked East Riding of Yorkshire Council to consider introducing traffic orders, which the council has agreed to put in place for the reasons stated above.”

Target depth reached

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View of the West Newton site from neighbour’s home, 13 June 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

The community liaison group also heard that the well being drilled at West Newton had reached the target depth of 2060m.

The well, the second at the site, is exploring the Cadeby and Kirkham Abbey formations for both oil and gas.

It was reported that a wireline log of the lower parts of the well had been taken and sent for analysis. The rest of the well casing would now be installed.

It was also reported that the rig at the site would be demobilised in the next 10-12 days. This would be followed by a period of low levels of activity at the well site.

40 replies »

  1. 11 road closures, 14 arrests, 16 charges and the company reports that site operations have been delayed by a total of 11 hours.
    I feel sorry for the families in High Fosham that have been caught up in the middle of all this.

  2. Looks as if the rig is needed elsewhere. Seems to be a bit of a growth spurt in this sector in spite of such activity.

  3. Closing the road will also give the council time to clean up the filth left in the ditches by those so called peaceful protesters to join the other rubbish thrown there. Before you all jump on your high horse like ex-councillor Miranda Cox from Kirkham, there is a video of Peter Lomas throwing a plastic milk type container into the ditch to join their other rubbish. Environmentalists, don’t make me laugh.

  4. Well, Jackie, not sure todays Times will make you laugh either:

    “Eco-warrior’s fraud.

    A disability benefits claimant who said she could barely stand up owing to arthritis and rarely left the house was seen shackled to equipment at an anti-fracking protest at a Cuadrilla site. Catherine Jackson, 51, admitted fraudulently claiming £5,392. Blackpool magistrates gave her a suspended sentence.”

    Says so much on so many levels.

    Meanwhile, final approval for the Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin, Australia, the size of the UK, estimated to contain 7750 million tonnes of coal. Construction could begin within days.

    UK to spend £1 TRILLION to achieve carbon net zero as others will follow! No. If a football coach says he is playing without a goalie as he thinks the competition will do the same then just hope the ref. has a good calculator to record the goals.

  5. I’m afraid I don’t know what a woman convicted of benefit fraud in Blackpool and who just happens to have been a protester at PNR has got to do with a road being closed at West Newton and I think that comments like this that have no relevance to the post should be removed.

    • Jon – it seems an important part of the picture. We often hear it argued that the protesters, who are a key reason why the road was closed, are local people trying to protect their community. The post above provides an example of someone whose presence has been partly responsible for he closure of the road, who clearly isn’t local and he who has a proven record of taking rather than giving to society. Those of us who have watched the protesters for the last few years know that she is actually far from unusual. Indeed, there have been several posts on local anti fracking sites lamenting the fact that few of the locals are bothered by the drilling activities

  6. Well, John, when the antis start moaning about Sir Jim wanting to control the amount of tax he pays, perhaps you might think where the huge amount of tax he is paying is going! Or, the tax that the guys/gals at West Newton site are paying. Or the Cuadrilla guys/gals.

    Seems the moral high ground is not just occupied by the moral. I am sure you would rather that be censored, but sorry, too late.

    • Nick, the case was reported on DrillOrDrop – see the June 2019 headlines, which have a link just below the main picture on the home page.

      Ruth did not write a standalone piece on this because she was not in court for the case (working instead in Rotherham, covering the Woodesetts public enquiry).

      She could have simply copied out what the BBC or some other source said but:
      1) This is a little pointless when you can provide a link to the original article
      2) Relying on other peoples’ versions of a court case can be risky – if, for example, their piece is in contempt of court, your piece might be also

      There is also the question of how the criminal actions of an individual, away from any drilling sites, is relevant to the issue of onshore drilling. Would your opinion of your local supermarket change if one of their employees was convicted of benefit fraud?

      On a more general point, we welcome tip-offs, links to stories we may have missed and so on. Please contact us via

      • And previously reported on Drill or Drop, Catherine Jackson found guilty of obstruction (is this not relevant Paul Moderator? Nothing to do with supermarkets or is it a different Catherine Jackson to the benefits fraudster?)…….

        “12 people, including three councillors, have been found guilty of obstructing the highway after a lock-on protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site in July. But they were cleared of trades union charges which can carry a more serious penalty.

        The verdict, given by District Judge Jeff Brailsford, this morning followed a trial earlier this week at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

        The protesters included Lancashire County Councillor Gina Dowding, Fylde Borough Councillor Julie Brickles and Kirkham Town Councillor Miranda Cox.

        They were joined in the lock-on by Sara Boyle, Barbara Cookson, Nick Danby, Daniel Huxley-Blythe, Catherine Jackson, Michelle Martin, Alana McCullough, Jeanette Porter and Nick Sheldrick. All 12, some of whom live near the Preston New Road site, denied the offences against them.”

        This is relevant as my MEP / County Councillor / District Councillor Gina Dowding was also found guilty of the same offence at the same trial.

  7. Eli-Goth, Drill or Drop claims to be independent. I have no doubt they are. But their editorial line is not neutral. Which is OK. But it should be made clear. It would be good though that, for the benefit of doubt, that Drill or Drop made a clear statement about their editorial policy. They are entitled to have an anti-frac editorial policy (it is their website after all) , but it should be made clear that “independent” does not mean ” neutral & objective”

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