Concerned residents have revealed that fracking licence holder, INEOS has invited parish council representatives across Ryedale and York to a private meeting next month.
Details of the meeting, on May 11th in Malton’s Milton Rooms, appear in a leaked letter seen by Frack Free Ryedale. The meeting will take place behind closed doors with the public excluded from observing or contributing to the process of consultation.
Malton, Norton, Helmsley, Pickering and Kirbymoorside town councils and 10 parish councils in Ryedale have already passed motions against fracking, as has Ryedale District Council.
Ian Conlan, of Frack Free Ryedale, says: “Even some parish councillors, who are all volunteers, will be unable to attend because they have day jobs, and the wider public are being treated with utter contempt as they are completely excluded from this sham consultation.
“The meeting looks like it is little more than a slick PR exercise. Those councillors who are able to attend need to ask the many awkward questions about the real impact of fracking on local communities that INEOS hope to avoid by excluding the wider public.
“A key element of the INEOS presentation to the meeting will be to offer 4% of revenues to land owners who are willing to have a fracking site on their land and a further 2% to communities. It is interesting to note that payments in the United States range from 12% to 21% of revenues, so INEOS is also short changing the public in their effort to bribe people to accept fracking.”
Russell Scott, Frack Free North Yorkshire says: “This isn’t the first time councils have been offered private meetings in the area: it has taken our Freedom of Information request to reveal that Pickering Town Council has already met privately with Cuadrilla at an informal un-minuted private “briefing”.
“Given that it is Third Energy that hold the licence covering Pickering, it would suggest Cuadrilla, with their dreadful record in Lancashire, is looking to take over Third Energy’s P.R. and try to hoodwink councils just as INEOS are also looking to take over sites in the area.”
Cllr Paul Andrews says: “The amount paid to communities will never compensate individual householders and property owners for the loss in the value of their properties, blighted by fracking, or for the decimation of a tourist industry that relies on our reputation for beautiful unspoilt countryside.
“It will be of no comfort if the landscape is ruined with thousands of wells, water contaminated and lives disturbed by continuous drilling. All these things have happened in other areas, and recent research has now added cancer causing chemicals to the mix.
“INEOS should be turned away just as local district, town and parish councillors have said no to Third Energy’s plans at Kirby Misperton.”
Malton resident, Dr Liz Garthwaite says: “My town council in Malton gave short shrift to Third Energy. This issue has energised ordinary people who have never got involved in politics before, because it is their health that is threatened, as is displayed in a wealth of studies.
“It is exactly those ordinary people that this company shows contempt for. Let’s show them what local democracy is made of by demonstrating outside this meeting. If the public are excluded I think there are going to be a lot of empty seats inside this building, and rather more people protesting outside it.”
UPDATE: Here’s what Friends of the Earth Scotland had to say when Ineos launched a similar “lovebomb” PR campaign in their licence areas north of the border last year.
District Councillors have sent a clear message to North Yorkshire County Council that hydraulic fracturing is not welcome in Ryedale.
In a council chamber packed with over 100 anti-fracking campaigners, Planning Committee members voted to recommend to the county council, who will make the final decision on the Third Energy application to frack at Kirby Misperton, that they refuse planning permission.
Speaking after the meeting, Sue Gough, whose home is just two miles from the proposed site where Third Energy want to frack at Kirby Misperton, said:
“I am delighted that the Ryedale District Council Planning Committee has listened to the views of local residents, who are overwhelmingly against fracking coming to Ryedale, and sent a strong message to the North Yorkshire County Council against it granting this planning permission.
“A dark cloud will hang over Ryedale until the final decision is made in Northallerton, but I hope the county councillors will take a lead from Ryedale and reject the application from Third Energy.
“The risks associated with fracking in terms of health and well-being, wrecking of the environment and irreparable damage to our tourism, agriculture and other business is too high a price to pay and do they really want to be remembered as the committee who brought about the destruction of the beautiful area that we live in?”
Councillor Di Keal said:
“This was a great decision by members of the planning committee who have sent a resounding message to the county council that we don’t want to see this hugely damaging industry decimate Ryedale.
“But this is just one hurdle – the bigger battle will come when the County Council meet to make a decision on the Third Energy application next month. This is one of the biggest decisions that county council members will ever have to make which will have a major impact on the area for generations to come. I hope that they will listen carefully to the views of the local people they represent.
“Ryedale has shown that this is shouldn’t be a party political decision – tonight’s decision had cross-party support – it should be made on what is right for Ryedale residents now and in the future”.
And the final word from Ryedale District Council… ‘Recommendation to NYCC that Ryedale District Council recommends refusal of the application. The proposed development is likely to have significant adverse impacts in relation to noise, air quality, ecology, disposal of waste water, additional disturbance from HGVs and likely detrimental impacts on the tourist economy. The proposal is therefore contrary to planning policies contained in the adopted Ryedale Plan – Local Plan Strategy’.