Updated: Campaigner remanded in custody

190801 WN protest

Protest against oil and gas drilling at Rathlin Energy’s site at West Newton, 31 July 2019. Used with the owner’s consent

A campaigner from Hull was remanded in custody by a court in the city today following a protest against local drilling for oil and gas.

The man, known as Peanut, climbed onto a tanker visiting Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A exploration site last week.

The protest began at about 4.30pm on Wednesday 30 July and ended when the campaigner came down voluntarily the following morning (Thursday 1 August).

He was arrested at about 11.30am. Eye witnesses alleged he was knocked unconscious during the arrest.


The campaigner was arrested for allegedly breaching section 241 of the Trades Union and Labour Relations Consolidation Act and remanded in custody to Hull Prison until today’s appearance at the city’s magistrates court. He was also alleged to have breached bail conditions.

Opponents of onshore oil and gas schemes were at the court this morning. The campaigner was remanded in custody again, until his next appearance for a case management hearing at 10am on Thursday 8 August.

Hull and East Riding Green Party said in a statement after the man’s arrest:

“We are disappointed to hear that a member of the public exercising their right to protest at the West Newton exploration site was violently arrested by police this afternoon. We hope there will be a public investigation into this treatment by police officers, who are meant to protect the public at all times and not engage in corporate policing tactics.”


At the hearing on 8 August, the campaigner, named as Pelle Kirkeby, was remanded in custody again. He did not request bail.

He denied charges of obstructing a police officer, obstructing the highway, tampering with a motor vehicle and preventing a person carrying out their work.

There is due to be a pre-trial hearing on 5 September 2019 and the trial is at Hull Magistrates Court on 13 September 2019.

19 replies »

  1. How interesting that Humberside Police are resorting to Section 241 having used it unsuccessfully in the very first anti-fracking campaign arrests in May 2014 at Crawberry Hill. The CPS stated that this law should not have been used and would not apply in future.
    This law refers to the use of “violence and intimidation” by groups of people, e.g. pickets.
    Looking at the photographs it appears that the wrong person was arrested because it is clear which group of people are handing out the violence and intimidation to one individual.
    Typically Humberside Police also appear to be unaware of the recent Appeal Court ruling in support of the right to protest. Boyd v Ineos.
    Ignorance of the law is no defence unless you work Humberside Police it seems.

    • You seem unaware of the evidence that once the impact of fugitive emissions of methane during shale gas exploration and production are included in the assessment of global warming, shale gas is more damaging than coal.
      You also seem unaware that fewer than 1 in 10 crimes are investigated now while huge police resources are devoted to preventing lawful protest against the shale gas industry.
      I would try to report the matter if I was burgled or mugged but would have to go in person to a police station if I wanted it to be recorded as a crime. The police have the discretion whether or not to record phone or e-mail reports of offences.

      • Jon

        Shalewatchers comments ( now removed ) related ( in my opinion ) to the use of police re the miners strike and that, if the NUM had succeeded, we may well still be mining and burning UK coal on coal fired power stations.

        Therefore there is no link between his statement and fracking, or any comparison between their contribution to global warming.

        Plus, the Rathlin Site is not a Gas frack site.

        Though you state that fracking for gas is worse than coal re fugitive emissions as a fact, but do not provide a link. Is this true for UK coal extraction and burning vs UK fracking or American coal and frack gas? Has everyone now agreed on the Howarth assumptions ( ie has recent data on leak rates confirmed the conclusions?)

        You note the investigation rate for crimes is 1 in 10 and comment on the police resources involved in fracking ( though you may also mean all oil and gas protests such as the one in the report above ).

        Scotland has a similar rate, but no fracking. Have you any thoughts as to why the ‘huge’ effort by English police has not resulted in a worse result that in Scotland where there is no effort required?

        [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

        • I know West Newton is not currently a shake gas site because I successfully persuaded the Planning Committee to insert a no fracking clause when permission was extended. The increase in methane from fracking correlates with the acceleration in greenhouse gas warming but are you aware that EA regulations here permit fugitive emissions from conventional oil and gas exploration and production including that now proposed for WNA?

          • Jon Mager

            Have you a link to support your assertion that methane from fracking correlated to increase in greenhouse gas warming? While this may be so, have you ignored any correlation with the increase in conventional gas production globally, much of which is bring converted into LNG and transported around the world. This type of gas production dwarfs US frack gas production. So is it a correlation, or a co incidence.

            I am also fully aware of the UK permitting regime and how gas escapes from gas production facilities and infrastructure. I am also aware of the various leak points from typical gas plants, how you detect the leakage ( a sniffer ) and how to put together a ‘fugitive emissions’ reduction plan. I am also au fair with various industry ‘no weeps leaks and seeps’ plans and how they function.

            But you need to be clearer on what your point is, unless it is just to test our knowledge. Are there any gas plants in the world operating in a regime where fugitive emissions are prohibited?

            The discussion is around the % of gas lost in fugitive emissions ( from valves, joints etc ) and from planned or unplanned venting. You do need to control the former, and you need a permit for the latter ( a vent concent ).

            Meanwhile, the majority of methane cold venting in the UK takes place in the English Southern North Sea sector where there are few flares by design ( you may have been unaware of this ).

            The west Newton site is required to flare any unwanted gas other than on an emergency.

            They may not be required, post exploration, to have a site vent system which connects the various vent points to a common header. One point to follow up on I guess.

            In addition you say that the West Newton site is not a fracking site due to your intervention. However, is it not the case that it is not a fracking site as the reservoir does not need HVHP fracking?

    • Jon Mager

      A late reply but prof Cowern makes the case that at a methane loss rate of >2% of production in gas production would make fracking and other gas production rates dirtier than coal. There are a few supporting links I am chasing up, in my favourite part re coal mining methane emissions.

      He also makes an interesting point that sulphur dioxide emissions have been keeping the planet cooler, hence moving from coal to gas has a double whammy. The law of unintended consequences.

  2. During a period of inactivity on the site, is targeting a tanker on its way to collect run off from the pad so that it can be safely treated and to prevent the perimeter ditch from overflowing onto farmland following storms and heavy rain, the act of true environmentalists?

    • John Harrison Fair comment, but one could argue that if these alien industrial sites were not situated in the midst of prime farmland, there would be no need to collect the accumulated, possibly contaminated, surface water. In the case of PNR, as many as 26 tankers per day have been used. That’s 52 extra HGV movements that were not included in the original assessment for planning purposes.

      • Pauline Jones, the site’s location is due to the geology beneath.
        The regulations and planning conditions are there to protect the surrounding farmland from contamination and harm.
        The activists claim to be there for similar reasons, but their actions show otherwise.

        • The activists have once again given a valid reason for the ERYCC to close the road again this morning.

          • John Harrison. Activities such as slow walking have been shown in Court to be a legal form of peaceful protest. The public highway is for the use of everyone. It has also been stated in Court that protest should be allowed to take place ” within sight and sound” of it’s target.
            Since the original reason given for closing the road was for work to take place on the road and there is no sign of such work, what justification is there for closing the public highway?

  3. Wonder how that prime farmland is farmed by the farmers, Pauline?

    Last time I looked it relied upon subsidised fossil fuel. Only fair that at least it comes from the UK so the UK tax payer is not paying a double subsidy. (Actually, a treble subsidy, including agricultural support payments sent to EU, jiggled about, and sent back to UK farmers.)

  4. John Harrison.
    You appear to be unaware of the history of weak regulation at West NewtonA and the complete lack of any planning enforcement by ERYC.
    There we no visits to WNA by ERYC officers during the first round of drilling there.
    A Protection camp was set up when Rathlin resumed activity in May 2014 and very soon various minor and more significant breaches of planning permission and environmental regulations were observed and reported both by Protectors camped near the site and local residents.
    Rathlin dismissed complaints as the work of troublemakers but after repeated calls to the EA and HSE a number of breaches were recorded and eventually the site was closed because of failure to manage gas emissions from the site.
    It was the activist Protectors and local residents who observed and reported gas pollution, water runoff, spillages on the highway and serious impacts on wildlife – not Rathlin or ERYC, HSE and the EA. Over the last 5 years ERYC have failed to enforce against planning breaches.
    The petroleum industry relies on secrecy to operate on the basis of self-regulation with a passive approach from the so-called regulators.
    This is why they have arranged to close roads and footpaths around the site before they restart operations.
    You can check the full story on Drill or Drop – search for “What went Wrong at West Newton”.

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s