Opponents of oil and gas exploration at West Newton in East Yorkshire have set up another camp to monitor operations in the area.
They say this is the seventh camp established by campaigners since local operations by Rathlin Energy began more than seven years ago. Others were removed by bailiffs or closed when operations ended.
The most recent camp will monitor what is happening at the company’s new West Newton B site, the campaigners said.
The site has planning permission for two years for construction of a well site and access track and the erection of a drilling rig up to 50m high.
In April 2020, Rathlin Energy’s partners, Reabold Resources and Union Jack Oil, confirmed that work had begun at West Newton B.
The 1.5km access track has now been built and recent drone pictures show work is now underway on the site compound.
In 2014, a camp next to the West Newton A site alerted officials to problems during well testing. It later emerged that Rathlin Energy had breached at least 14 environmental permit conditions in four months.
A spokesperson for the current camp said:
“The protectors at West Newton and Sproatley observation camp believe that the UK government and East Riding Council have been complicit in the destruction of the northern countryside for long enough.
“It is outrageous that this development has been allowed to go ahead when we are facing a climate change catastrophe.
“We will carry on our monitoring of Rathlin, Reabold and Union Jack Oil and will highlight their incompetences, like we did at West Newton A. We want the wider public to see and understand the destruction they are bringing to our beautiful countryside, both to humans and wildlife.
“They may get away with what they intend to do, but we will be there 24/7 in one form or another to monitor, record and publish their failings.
“Rathlin have taken full advantage of the Covid crisis and ploughed on unabated with construction of their private access track and wellpad. Now we are here and intend to stay and carry out our promise from last year to the local communities that are and will be affected.
“The impact of high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) was highlighted massively at Preston New Road. Although this is not HVHF, it is our belief that acidisation will be used at West Newton B and that alone is fracking by stealth. We will not stand by and allow this to happen.”
Rathlin Energy said it had carried out an evaluation to understand the carbon footprint and potential climate impact of the West Newton exploration sites.
“A recently completed Carbon Intensity Study of a notional West Newton development plan, conducted by Gaffney Cline and Associates, has given the plan an AA carbon intensity rating. This is the best possible rating for low carbon emissions based on the Oil Production Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator developed at Stanford University.
“Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited, as operator of West Newton, is encouraged by the results of the study and will strive to ensure that any development proposed for West Newton will employ best industry practices to deliver a domestic source of low carbon energy to help meet the energy requirements of the UK.”