MORE than 150 people took part in a march through Beverley in what organisers say was Yorkshire’s biggest protest against fracking. Armed with banners, the protesters marched through the town centre on Saturday, before congregating outside East Riding Council’s offices at County Hall. Their aim was to send a clear message to East Riding Council that they do not want fracking in the area.
Their protest was aimed squarely at Rathlin Energy, who have installed drilling test rigs at nearby West Newton and Crawberry Hill. Pippa Hockey of Frack Free East Yorkshire, said: “We believe Rathlin is planning to start its operations shortly to carry out a mini-outfall test or mini-frack.”
Rathlin continue to protest that they are not planning to frack the area. However, Rathlin said in a letter dated 4th August that “Very shortly we hope to be able to announce that, at West Newton, we have completed all the work we intend to do in the lower formations of the well, including the evaluation of the Bowland Shale.” We wonder why they would spend thousands of pounds evaluating the Bowland Shale if there were no plans to frack it?
As we have discussed elsewhere on our Ryedale page, it now appears to be standard procedure for gas companies to set up conventional gas and oil test drill sites first – which are easier to get planning permission for – then apply for fracking permits at a later date, once the infrastructure is in place. This ‘softly softly’ approach has become known as ‘fracking by stealth’ and seems to be designed to draw protestors’ fire and allow the companies to protest their innocence until the last moment.