Monday, 21 July 2014

Legal stuff: Police guidance for protests + right to take pictures

Crown Prosecution Service - Legal Guidance: Public Protests

Click to go to the CPS website and read the guidance

ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) - Guidance for Photographers

click for pdf
  • You have the right to take pictures & video in a public place
  • The police do not have the right to delete photos

Another Damning Report

Brand new report- Scientists for Global Responsibility & Chartered Institute of Environmental Health: examine the evidence

This new report has been released today, and we've added it to our collection on the Get Informed page:

It concludes

  • Regulation of the industry in the UK is currently inadequate
  • Confidence in the practice is undermined by a series of disingenuous claims made by both the Government and industry
  • Virtually all economic analysts refute the claim that fracking will reduce energy bills
  • job creation potential has been substantially exaggerated, and is also significantly less than that of the low-carbon energy sector
  • Community benefits have been exaggerated
  • the exploitation of shale gas is dangerous and unnecessary
  • use of shale gas will undoubtedly be in addition to, not instead of, coal, and will therefore result in an overall increase in emissions

Friday, 11 July 2014

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Local Water Engineer explains risks of contamination & a little bit of chemistry

In this interview a chemist who lives a mile from Crawberry Hill well site, with many years experience of water treatment in the oil industry, explains in detail the risks of water contamination and air pollution, and why he thinks fracking shouldn't be considered in the UK at all.

Respected Anti Fracking Couple Arrests: Court case discontinued

The first arrests in the E Yorks anti fracking protests were a highly respected couple of Beverley residents, Jon & Val Mager- a former Director at East Riding Council, and a nationally exhibited artist.
  That story from May here:  Respected Beverley residents arrested for meditating

Their trial was set for 31st July- but the CPS have dropped charges.  They state this is due to, 'lack of evidence', despite the whole event being on video online here:

Statement by Val and Jon Mager
Crown Prosecution Service drop charges through lack of evidence

Val and Jon Mager have been informed by their solicitors that the Crown Prosecution Service have discontinued the court case which was due to be heard on the 31st

They would have been charged with “Using violence or intimidating another person or his wife or children or injuring his property with a view to compelling that person to abstain from doing or to do any act which that person has a legal right to do or abstain from doing.”

Val and Jon commented, “ We were simply exercising our right to protest at the attempt to drill at Crawberry Hill in order to test for frackable gas prior to high volume unconventional fracking across most of the East Riding. If fracking goes ahead it will devastate one of the most beautiful and productive rural areas of the UK.”

“Anyone who has watched the video of our arrest will agree that we did not behave in a violent or intimidating way. The charges against us were wrong, and it was a waste of public money to have allowed the matter to proceed this far.”

“When we complained about being kept in police cells for 10 hours we were told this was necessary to gather evidence. The police had a video of the arrest. The only conclusion is that we were arrested to stop us supporting the campaign against fracking by the use of bail conditions.”

“Since our first court appearance we have received hundreds of messages of support including personal contact from serving police officers who are “disgusted” by the way we have been treated. There have been packed public meetings in local villages and it is clear that there is growing support for the campaign to stop fracking before it starts. This is not surprising when local residents can go on-line and witness the havoc caused by fracking elsewhere: long-term water pollution, air pollution, earth tremors, with consequent damage to property and farmland, as well as risks to animal and human health.”

“We have been flattered by the support offered to us but of course the real heroes are the Protectors who continue to endure rough conditions by the road side to focus attention on the test drill sites at West Newton and Crawberry Hill. We will continue to give them our full support and urge others to do so.”

“Our solicitors, Robert Lizar Solicitors, are in the process of ensuring that our good character, as existed before our arrest, is re-instated. The CPS have just discontinued the case even though there is no reasonable prospect of success in prosecuting the case. Our good character is tarnished until the CPS formally offers no evidence in court. This is unacceptable.”

“We are particularly grateful for the legal support provided by Simon Pook and Helen White of Lizars. We also value the support of Richard Howarth, Shan Oakes and Bill Rigby of the Green Party and the ongoing work of the Protectors.”

Statement from H.E.Y. Frack Off

"Lack of evidence"?  Are the police too staggeringly incompetent to search the internet for the video of the incident?  Or was this in fact another blatant, wrongful arrest in an attempt to crush peaceful protest?  The video shows Val calmly and quietly talking with the police officer while Jon meditates- yet they were banged up for 10 hours for, ludicrously, "violence or intimidation".

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Mobil oil exec for 31 years warns of the dangers of fracking

"...fracking that's going on right now is the real wake-up call on just what extreme lengths are required to pull oil or gas out of the ground" - Louis Allstadt

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

East Riding of Yorkshire Council - Statement on Fracking by Portfolio holder Cllr Symon Fraser

Firstly, for the sake of clarity, the ERYC is not and does not promote and has not promoted fracking.
The Council, as the local planning authority is obliged to do two things:-

a)        We must determine planning applications submitted by developers.  We do this through our Development Control (planning) process.

b)        We must also have policies within our local plan which show how we, as the local authority, will support the energy sector.  These are included in the East Riding Local Plan Proposed Submission Strategy Document published in January 2014.

There are several other key regulators (not the Council) who are responsible for other aspects relating to fracking and other technical operations.

These other regulators and their respective responsibilities are as follows:

a)        The Department of Energy and Climate Change who issues Petroleum Licences, gives consent to drill under the Licence once other permissions and approvals are in place, and have responsibility for assessing risk of and monitoring seismic activity, as well as granting consent to flaring or venting;

b)        The Environment Agency who protect water resources (including groundwater aquifers), ensure appropriate treatment and disposal of mining waste, emissions to air, and suitable treatment and manage any naturally occurring radioactive materials; and

c)        The Health and Safety Executive who regulates the safety aspects of all phases of extraction, in particular responsibility for ensuring the appropriate design and construction of a well casing for any borehole.

The Council, as the local (minerals) planning authority is responsible for granting or refusing permission for the location of any wells and wellpads.  Where proposals are allowed the Council will impose conditions to ensure that the impact on the use of the land is acceptable.

Our policy (EC5) supporting the energy sector is summarised as follows:

a)        Proposals for the development of the energy sector will be supported where any significant adverse impacts are satisfactorily minimised and the residual harm is outweighted by the public benefits of the proposal.  Developments and their associated infrastructure should be acceptable in terms of:

1.        The cumulative impact of the proposal with other existing and proposed energy sector developments;

2.        The character and sensitivity of landscape to accommodate energy development, with particular consideration to the identified Important Landscape Areas.

3.        The effects of development on:

i.        local amenity, including noise, air quality, traffic, vibration, dust and visual impact;

ii.        biodiversity, geodiversity and nature, particularly in relation to designations, displacement, disturbance and collision and the impact of emissions/contamination;

iii.        the historic environment, including individual and groups of heritage assets above and below ground;

iv.        telecommunications and other networks, including the need for additional cabling to connect to the National Grid, electromagnetic production and interference, and aeronautical impacts such as on radar systems;

v.        transport, including the opportunity to use waterways and rail for transportation of materials and fuel, and the capacity of the road network to accommodate development;

vi.        increasing the risk of flooding; and

vii.        the land, including land stability, contamination and soils resources.

b)        Where appropriate, proposals should include provision for decommissioning at the end of their operation life.  Where decommissioning is necessary the site should be restored, with minimal adverse impact on amenity, landscape and biodiversity, and opportunities taken for enhancement of these features.

In conclusion, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has a good track record of doing its absolute utmost to reflect local concerns and aspirations in its planning process, but all of this must of course follow national guidance and law as appropriate.

local telly: "Protestors should go home" says MP! + lots more

Lots of local TV recently, including...

"Protestors should go home" says MP

Some local residents originally opposed to the camps are now in full support, as they realise the full extent of what's going on, the shock of police treatment of the protectors, and their vital role in recording environmental incidents- including numerous spills off the pad unreported by the media.
But the MP is still trying to turn the local community against the protectors camps.

Meanwhile the Conservative Police Commissioner laughably tries to claim that the police are protecting the public from the peaceful protectors!
In reality they are of course protecting Rathlin Energy's interests as they try to impose an unpopular and risky operation against the wishes of local people.

Martin Deane of Hull and East Yorkshire Green Party is interviewed on Look North (Yorkshire & Lincolnshire)

 about the risks of fracking, after a report by the British Geological Survey showing areas of shale that overlap underground water sources.

Report from the Crawberry Hill well site & anti fracking camp on Sunday Politics

Simon Bowens from Friends of the Earth then debates with 2 pro-fracking MPs, who seem to think the risks are manageable and acceptable.

There are currently NO REGULATIONS whatsoever for unconventional oil & gas extraction in the UK.  (All the regulations are for conventional, or mining waste etc.)

Many experts, including a former oil exec for mobil for 31 years, Louis Allstadt giving evidence to New York extending it's ban, believe fracking is so risky it is simply not possible to make it safe, even if it were tightly regulated.

More on our You Tube channel here.

March on Beverley!

When was the last time you witnessed a political march in Beverley?  This kind of think simply doesn't normally happen in this peaceful, conservative market town.

And that makes the demo on Saturday all the more remarkable- when 150 people from local villages marched through Beverley to oppose fracking.

Rathlin tried to imply that it wasn't locals organising the march- but sorry, H.E.Y. Frack Off had no part in it's planning, nor the protectors from the camp- it was entirely the villagers of nearby Walkington!

Banners also showed support on the day from other local villages, including Newbald and Cherry Burton.

Conservatives, Labour and the Greens marched side by side, united in their opposition to fracking.

Politicians take note- this is only the start.  And if you don't oppose fracking by the general election next year, don't expect to win.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Flagrant breach of planning at West Newton well site - massive convoys of test frack equipment to exploration well

Rathlin Energy yesterday, Wed 2nd July, brought massive convoys of equipment on to the West Newton test frack site near Withernwick.

This is in flagrant breach of 2 key Planning Conditions- they need to give 2 week's written notice before activities on site (Condition 2) and there must be no convoys of vehicles, with at least 10 minutes between vehicles. (In the Traffic Plan referred to in Condition 7)

There were multiple large convoys, totalling 64 vehicles. The well pad was extremely crowded with vehicles and equipment.

There was a very heavy police presence with numerous vans and riot vans, around a hundred police through the villages of New Ellerby, Marton and West Newton.
High Fosham road was closed to pedestrians and traffic.

West Newton has had anti fracking Protectors camping at the site since May 9th. There is another camp at Rathlin's other well site in East Yorkshire, Crawberry Hill.

Louise Castro, a protector camping at the site said, "It's chaos and mayhem here- local villagers were forced to trail across the fields just to see what was going on, and were devastated- some burst in to tears when the scale of it hit home. Rathlin have ridden roughshod over the traffic plan worked worked out with the villagers."

Ian Crane, a former oil executive also living at the anti fracking camps said, "Today the locals got a taste of what is to come on a daily basis if the unconventional oil and gas industry is allowed to go ahead with fracking in this area".

Pauline Hakeny, a resident of nearby Skirlaugh said, "I'm really shocked at the amount of vehicles- they promised us this would never happen- and also the amount of police- there were loads of vans and officers in all the surrounding villages."