2 people are still occupying the rig at the fracking site in Kirby Misperton, where they have been for a whole day and night.
An inspirational comment from the tower this morning read:
“Staying on this rig isn’t just about highlighting fracking as a serious threat. It’s about proving that we, the public, have the means to shut down and sustain the closure of a dangerous industry. Sitting through the storm felt like nothing compared to the very real consequences if we allow fracking to continue. Our part in this demonstration was only possible due to everyone else’s actions. We are united. We can make a difference. We can stop this.”
Another heroic protector descended mid-afternoon yesterday, after over 12 hours on the rig, where he was kindly received by security and the police, and enjoyed a hot coffee with bourbon biscuits in the police van. He was arrested and charged with aggravated trespass, and has returned to KMPC.
“We just went for it, we just ran. I was in front, I just climbed up as fast as I could and pulled the bag up after me. I got to the top and remembered I was petrified of heights! It was spontaneous and went just how it should have, it was perfection. We knew we had to do something so we thought, yeah, let’s take the rig. Third Energy say they’re gonna frack this week. No, they’re not.”
While our protectors are braving the elements on the rig, supporters will be present at the back of the well site, where they are closest. Yesterday a large crowd gathered all day, waving and cheering. Refreshments were shared and families made banners which were attached to the fracking site fence reading “Whose rig?”, “Keep Ryedale Frack Free”, and “Can’t take down water protectors until every fracking rig is down”. The wider anti-fracking campaign has united in celebration behind this courageous act.
Ian, a father who lives nearby said:
“I can see the lights on the site from 5 miles away: what an awesome feat and tremendous impact, the anti-fracking movement has had an enormous boost thanks to you. Thank you and well done.”
The current situation makes it impossible for Third Energy to progress their plans for fracking Kirby Misperton.
Those wanting to visit the rig support team (at the back of the well site) should travel down the bridleway, past Alma Farm, off the Kirby Misperton Road, YO17 6UU.
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Sunday Time article below.
A village with a population of 370 became the front line in the war over Britain’s energy needs yesterday, as protesters invaded the site where the first fracking operation in six years could start this week.
A woman and two men broke into a gas extraction site in the North Yorkshire village of Kirby Misperton, climbed a rig and started waving flares — leading police with a loudhailer to warn them against “the serious risk created by open flames and sparks on a live gas site”.
The campaigners acted after seeing a letter to say that fracking — a method of accessing oil or gas by injecting liquid at high pressure to force open cracks in underground rocks — will begin “on or after” Thursday.
The fight is over a modest metal lattice tower, but the stakes are high: success in Kirby Misperton could see fracking across large areas of England.
National parks, protected wildlife habitats and historic city centres are among the 6,000 square miles of England chosen for potential fracking.
The occupation was described as “reckless” by the site owner, Third Energy, while activists promised a “grand show-stopping spectacular” this week to stop fracking going ahead. One activist climbed down later while Third Energy offered the other two safety harnesses amid a forecast of high winds and rain.
Leigh Coghill, a protester, said: “This action of breaking in and climbing the rig harms nobody. All they have done is occupy the space by putting their bodies in the way. We had to do that, because we said no to fracking and we meant it.
“We are preparing to pull out all the stops on Thursday to stop the first frack. People are prepared to put their lives at risk to stop this from happening, because they are putting our lives at risk by fracking.”
Kirby Misperton has changed beyond recognition in recent months. Reaching the front gates of the site means passing through an encampment of protesters’ caravans and tents. Police vans and cars line the road outside the plant, and crowds of villagers and campaigners jostle at the gate as a lorry leaves the site.
The local Tory MP, Kevin Hollinrake, believes fracking is safe and says it is vital for the country’s gas supply. A 2013 study by the British Geological Survey estimated that shale rock in northern England holds 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas. Extracting a tenth would meet Britain’s gas needs for more than 40 years.
Hollinrake thinks the regulations are tough enough: “It has to be done sensibly. But this is an untapped resource. The US does it safely. Why can’t we?”
Some of his constituents are less confident. “That’s the new fracking well,” said Claire Head, who can see it from her garden. “I don’t want to live here any more. I’m scared for my children. I want to sell the house and leave.”
Head, 44, who has a young son and daughter, says her home was engulfed in fumes from the site last Tuesday, although the company says these were harmless, caused by maintenance and had nothing to do with fracking.
“I went to hospital with breathing problems and a sore throat,” she said. “My 11-year-old son had the day off school because he felt sick. My husband felt ill and I’m terrified.”
One of the protesters is Tim Thornton, a GP who served the area for 30 years. He worries that fracking has health risks if, despite the industry’s efforts, wells leak chemicals into the water supply.
Third Energy has said it has been operating in a “safe, discreet and environmentally sensitive way for two decades”.
However, The Sunday Times tracked down Terry Atkinson, a former operations manager for the site who is dying from myeloma, a cancer of the marrow. There is no suggestion that his illness is related to his work with the company.
It is understood Atkinson signed a “compromise agreement” when he left in 2008 that may have involved a payment and prevents him discussing the company. When he was approached, Atkinson said: “I cannot speak about any of these issues.” Asked if he believed fracking was safe, he replied: “No, I do not.”
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Environment Agency (EA) has had concerns during the site’s 20-year history as a conventional source of gas.
Third Energy was criticised by inspectors after an “odour” in 2015 was not reported to the EA, in breach of the company’s permit, despite 74,000 cubic metres of gas being released while a leak was repaired. The company had reported the leak to the district council.
The operation was instructed by the EA to “review the management procedure for notification and reporting” and the company says it has made changes.
Another EA report shows that in 2003 an inspector found the company had been pumping glycol, a toxic antifreeze chemical, down a waste disposal well for about a year in breach of the site’s licence. The company says it was later awarded a licence to dispose of the chemical and the amounts involved were minimal.
It was criticised in 1998 and 2003 for having no “recognised environmental management system” (EMS). It should have kept proper records of its environmental safeguards. Third Energy says it has EMS systems in place that are constantly updated.
One document revealed the leak of 100 litres of acid that was then flushed into the local watercourse. The company said the incident was “controlled” and the situation “neutralised” and the EA had taken no enforcement action.
The EA confirmed that no breach was classed as a category 1 or 2 incident, the most serious, and any minor breaches had not caused serious pollution. It added: “Our staff will continue to
carry out regular on-site checks and audits to ensure that the company is meeting the high standards we require.”
Third Energy said: “Third Energy has been safely exploring for gas for more than 30 years and producing natural gas and generating electricity in North Yorkshire for more than 20 years. All its operations are stringently regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and the mineral planning authority, North Yorkshire county council.”
via Eddie Thornton facebook