On Saturday 30th July, community groups from across Yorkshire will come together for what is likely to be the biggest ever anti-fracking rally ever held in Yorkshire. Over 2,000 people are expected to attend the rally, which will begin at Clifford’s Tower in York at 12.00. The march will then make its way to York Minster, where there will be speeches from community leaders, local politicians and anti-fracking campaigners.
The rally comes in the wake of the decision by the North Yorkshire County Council to approve fracking at Kirby Misperton, despite receiving 4,375 letters opposing the application and only 36 letters of support. The application was also opposed by the Ryedale District Council, all the local Parish Councils, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, CPRE, the Castle Howard Estate and Flamingo Land, which is only a mile from the proposed fracking well-site.
The government has granted Petroleum Exploration and Development (PEDL) licences, which allow companies to frack for shale gas, across most of Yorkshire, including Ryedale, Hambleton, Driffield and the Wolds, Scarborough, Doncaster, Barnsley and York itself.(1)
Graham Martin from Frack Free York, who are helping to organise the rally, said, “This will be a peaceful, fun, family-friendly event, and we urge everyone who is opposed to this unsafe, unnecessary and unwanted industry to come along and show their opposition to fracking in Yorkshire.”
Sarah Houlston, whose family farm is very near Kirby Misperton, said, “We hope that everyone who is opposed to fracking will come along to the rally and make their voices heard. By doing so, you will be helping to protect thousands of rural jobs in tourism, agriculture and food production, which would be severely threatened by widespread fracking in the area.”
Russell Scott, from Frack Free North Yorkshire, said, “Most people don’t even know that they live in a fracking licence area, even though these cover almost every town and village in Yorkshire. People need to wake up and smell the methane – fracking is now in everybody’s back yard.”
Ryedale District Councillor Paul Andrews said, “For fracking to produce meaningful quantities of gas, it will require tens of thousands of wells, as 84% of fracking wells become uneconomic in 1-3 years. Widespread fracking would therefore lead to nothing less than the industrialisation of the countryside.”
Tim Thornton, a GP from Pickering, added, “A recent paper from John Hopkins University in the USA showed that there is a marked increase in asthma for people who live near fracking wells. Nine months ago they also reported an association between fracking and premature births. I would urge people to treat industry and government claims that fracking is safe is at best unproven, at worst dangerously complacent. I certainly would not want to risk the health of my children or grandchildren by living close to a fracking well.” (2)
Steve Mason, a father of two who lives within a mile of the wellsite at Kirby Misperton, said, “The latest scientific reports from the USA, which show that people living near fracking wells are more likely to develop asthma, is extremely worrying. I don’t want my kids to grow up in the shadow of a fracking well.”
Professor Nick Cowern, a climate change expert who lives in Oswaldkirk, near Helmsley, said, “The idea that fracking is some kind of ‘green energy’ is a myth. The latest report from the Committee on Climate Change confirms what scientists have known for some time, which is that it is practically impossible for widespread fracking to be compatible with our climate change commitments. In view of clear evidence that climate change is happening much faster than previously supposed, it is the height of irresponsibility to extract new sources of fossil fuels such as natural gas from fracking”.(3)
1 Map of PEDL licences in Yorkshire (click on the box and it opens in a new page): https://drillordrop.com/could-your-area-be-fracked-under-the-new-oil-and-gas-licences/
2 See reports in the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3695912/Asthma-risk-4x-higher-near-fracking-sites-US-study.html
3 See report in the New Scientist: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2096369-uk-will-struggle-to-meet-climate-target-if-fracking-goes-ahead/ and our news post.