A group of intrepid anti-fracking cyclists are travelling across the ‘desolate north’ from Blackpool to Hull to raise awareness of fracking in the UK and to promote sustainable energy alternatives.
Beginning in Blackpool, the ride started at the front line of fracked gas production in the UK and will finish at the country’s only live exploratory drill site. The route will include part of this year’s Tour de France route in Yorkshire and will arrived in York on Thursday. They will arrive in Hull on Saturday to take part in a local anti-fracking march there.
Yorkshire has two contested exploratory drill sites that both appear to be ‘fracking by stealth’. At remote West Newton a protection camp has been bearing witness to test drilling since May. Rathlin, the company responsible, are disingenuously claiming that they don’t intend to frack the site, leading to local confusion. While this may be technically true – they are gathering data to sell on to a third party should gas be discovered – their application to the local council explicitly requests permission for hydraulic fracturing. Community concern and resistance is growing, with the first big community rally last week, but there is an urgent call for more support, particularly with awareness raising.
Up the road at Crawberry Hill a well was drilled last summer under the guise of being purely conventional, but also penetrated the Bowland Shale to take core samples. Rathlin now want to return to continue testing the well, including a mini-frac on the Bowland Shale. A camp has been set up outside the site and the community is getting organised to resist Rathlin’s plans.
Follow their journey on the Tour de Frack Facebook page.