Have Your Say on The Joint Minerals and Waste Plan

The final round of consultation is now open on the Joint Minerals and Waste Plan (JMWP). This very important document will determine the way in whcih planning applications for waste and minerals development in the region are decided in future. The local authorities covered by the JMWP are City of York Council, North Yorkshire County Council and the North York Moors National Park, so the consultation is your chance to influence policy accross a large area. The types of development covered by the JMWP include drilling for oil and gas and fracking. The JMWP also covers disposal of  waste water from the oil and gas industry by reinjection wells, or into rivers and the sea. For this reason it’s vital that you take part in the consultation to make clear that there is strong public interest in the issue of fracking and that we won’t accept a laissez-faire approach to the issue of fracking. The deadline for responses is 5pm on 21 December.

Please visit this page to download the published version of the JMWP and the response forms for the consulation.

Friends of the Earth have produced a guide to issues you may want to include in your response here. This guide does not include a call for a complete ban on fracking, or unconventional gas in the region. While such a ban is what we would all like to see, local authorities are constrained by national policies that stop them imposing such a ban. What we can do is argue for policies that limit the harm of the oil and gas industry as much as possible. Whatever policies are included in the final version of the JMWP Frack Free York will continue to oppose all unconventional oil and gas exploration and production.

The guide from Friends of the Earth gives detailed explanations of arguments to use in your response, as well as details of which policies to respond to. Although their document is a great guide to the consultation, you should write your response in your own words instead of copying and pasting the entire Friends of the Earth guide. However you may want to copy their ammended versions of the policies, where they show how the wording should change. The Friends of the Earth guide includes an argument against the scope of the consulation. The official scope of the consultation is that they only accept arguments based on the legality or soundness of the JMWP. Legality and soundness have very specific meanings in this consultation and are defined here (pdf). If you want to make a response that covers issues other than legality and Soundness, you should refer to this argument, in which Friends of the Earth dispute this limited scope.

The Friends of the Earth guide deals with policies M16, M17 and M18. You may also wish to repsond to policies W10 and W11, which govern the siting of waste disposal sites. Waste disposal is an important aspect of the uncovnetional oil and gas issue, as the industry generates vast quantities of toxic waste water. Friends of the Earths arguments on, local impacts on environment and health and cumulative impacts are also relevant to waste water disposal from the oil and gas industry and should be considered in these policies.

If you don’t want to complete your consultation response alone, you can join us for the Frack Free York Christmas Consultation Party  from 7pm on 13 December at the Crescent Community Venue off Blossom Street (YO24 1AW). You’ll be able to respond to the consultation in a friendly social atmosphere and get more advice on how to respond.

 

I am Tina Too

tina_rotheryLancashire anti-fracking campaigner and nana Tina Rothery will be in court in Preston on 9 December, facing the threat of prison and Frack Free York will be there to support her.

She has been found guilty of contempt of court after she refused to pay £55,000 damages or, disclose her financial details at an earlier court appearance.  These damages were awarded against her to cover costs that Cuadrilla and a group of farmers are said to incurred during an eviction of an anti-fracking camp in 2o14. This is despite the fact that when the eviction occured the anti-fracking campers had already cleared the site. She has now been told that she will go to prison for 14 days if she does not provide the information on 9 December. At her previous court appearance, Tina said, “I feel in this case that our law courts are not being used to seek justice but instead being applied like a weapon and a threat against peaceful protest. As this case has nothing to do whatsoever with justice, I will not be complying with any request for information or payment” You can read more about the case, here, here and here on Drill or Drop.

Please come with us to Preston, to support Tina. It’s vital that we support a campaigner who has done so much for the anti-fracking cause and who has shown such courage in the face of this misuse of the legal system. We must show that we won’t be silenced. Frack Free York have arranged a coach to Preston for the day, which will pick up passengers at Scarborough at 7.15am, Malton at 7.40am and York at 8.15am. Tickets are available on Eventbrite at £18 for waged and £12 for unwaged.

Meet the Regulators on 29 November

The Environment Agency, Oil and Gas Authority, Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England will be in York on 29 November to answer your questions about the oil and gas industry and fracking. You will be able to meet them during a drop in session between 2pm and 7pm in the Merchant Taylors Hall on Aldwark (YO1 7BX).

A statement from the Environment Agency said, “As regulators and agencies involved in assessing the impacts of the oil and gas industry, our role is to help ensure that any exploration and development, including fracking operations, is done in a way that protects people and the environment. Local communities rightly look to us to provide information on how health and environmental risks are being controlled and managed properly, and to hold oil and gas operators to account. This session will be a great opportunity for us to meet with local people, explain our respective roles and discuss some of the key issues before sites are identified for development. It is not linked to a consultation or any site specific proposals.”

You may find, when you talk to the regulators, that the real situation is not as reasurring as the Environment Agency would like you to believe. What ever your view on the regulation of fracking, the drop in session is a great opportunity to learn more about the subject.

Say No to The Dakota Access Pipeline

On Tuesday 15 November there will be a rally and a vigil in St. Helens Square to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline and stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and all those who are affected by the violent imposition of the pipeline.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is an oil pipeline under construction in the United States. The pipeline is intended to carry oil from the fracking wells in North Dakota to market. The pipeline has faced strong opposition due to the threat it poses to clean water and its routing through sites held sacred by indigneious people. Opponents to the pipeline have established protection camps. These peaceful protectors have been attacked with dogs, sprayed with teargas, and subjected to mass arrests and strip searches.

Although North Dakota may seem a long way from York, the events taking place there will have impacts facing around the world. Unconventional oil, such as that produced in North Dakota,  extends the horizon of fossil fuels and worsens climate change. Repressive measures used to drive through fossil fuel projects in the United States are replicated around the world. We have already seen the givernment and North Yorkshire County Council ride roughshod over local obejections to fracking. The Dakota protectors cause is our cause. Please join us on 15 November.

 

Seismic Surveys are Coming to Yorkshire

thumpertrucks

Thumper trucks like these are used in seismic surveys

Last year large areas of Yorkshire were opened up fo shale gas under the 14th onshore license round. Companies like INEOS, IGas and Cuadrilla now plan to carry out widespread drilling and fracking in the county. However there are several steps they will have to complete before they drill. The next step is likely to be seismic surveys.

Seismic surveys are a way for oil and gas companies to find out where they want to drill and frack. The survey team lay down strings of geophones before using explosives, thumper trucks or vibroesis trucks to send vibrations through the earth. They then use the geophones to pick up the echoes of these vibrations and find out what is under ground. Frack Off has a guide to seismic surveys here.

geophones

Contractors placing a line of geophones for a seismic survey

Seismic surveys are noisy and cause disturbance to local residents. They have been known to cause damage to property. The contractors sometimes trespass on people’s land in their eagerness to gather data. These problems are one reason to oppose seismic surveys, but the most important reason to oppose them is that they are the first step on the road to shale gas drilling and fracking. Without data from seismic surveys, drilling would be a massive gamble for oil and gas companies. What’s more they will not be allowed permission to frack without data from seismic surveys.

Seismic surveys are part of the license conditions for license blocks in and around York, including PEDL282 held by INEOS, which covers most of the East half of York, as well as Strensall, Dunnington, Holtby and Stockton on the Forest , PEDL283, also held by INEOS and located to the North of York and PEDL287 and PEDL342, held by Cuadrilla and located to the East of York. These companies have to carry out seismic surveys to meet their obligations to the government and could loose their license blocks if they don’t complete the surveys. You can find a map showing onshore license areas, including those in an around York here.

Seismic survey contractors often offer land owners money in return for allowing they surveys to take place on their land, but whatever they offer is not worth sacrificing the future of our county and the planet for. They have been known to coerce landowners. If they are refused access to land they can, with permission from the Secretary of State, take the owner to court to force them to give access. Even though such unjust measures exist, this does not mean we should give them an easy ride.

It’s vital that we act to oppose seismic surveys. There’s no reason to have this data if we are to achieve the frack free future we want. Here’s what you can do to oppose them:

  • If you see strings of geophones, or trucks like those shown in the photos above, contact Frack Free York, or your local anti-fracking group. Please let us know where you saw this equipment and provide photos if possible.

  • If seismic survey contractors trespass on your land remember that you don’t have to let them on to your land,even if they say you do. Ask them to leave and record any damage caused with notes and photos.

  • If you are approached by contractors asking for access to your land for seismic surveys, refuse and let Frack Free York, or your local anti-fracking group know.

  • If you know local farmers or landowners, let them know about seismic surveys and what they lead to fracking. Ask them to refuse to allow seismic surveys on their land.

  • Sign up to our mailing list to learn more about future actions on seismic surveys.

Frack Free York Meets Green Party Co-Leader Jonathan Bartley

jonathan-bartley-meeting-anti-fracking-groups-yorkOn 3 November, members of Frack Free York and other Yorkshire anti-fracking group, as well as local members of the Green Party met Jonathan Bartley, one of the co-leasders of the Green Party. He listened with interest to our concerns about the links between unconventional gas and climate change, air pollution and water pollution and expressed his support for the anti-fracking cause.

After the meeting he gave an interview to Minster FM, in which he said the decision to approve fracking at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale, was. “reckless.” and, “rode roughshod over local opinion.”

Boycott Barclays the Fracking Bank

 

On 29 October, Frack Free York held a protest outside Barclays Bank on Parliament Street. We did this to highlight the fact that Barclays Bank own 97% of Third Energy, the company that plans to frack the KM8 well in Ryedale. Barclays participation in the Fracking Industry is unacceptable and we call on Barclays customers to leave them and make clear they are doing this because of their involvement in fracking. During the protest, Alan, a Barclays customer did exactly that and spoke about his reasons for leaving Barclays in the video above. If you have an account, a credit card, or a mortgage with Barclays you can do the same as Alan and help to stop fracking in Yorkshire.

 

 

Free Screening of Groundswell Rising on 8 November

groundswellFrack Free York are holding a screening of Groundswell Rising from 7pm on 8 November, with a live Q&A with Executive Producer Mark Lichty. This insightful documentary brings us into the lives of those directly impacted by fracking and those on the front line dedicated to stopping it.

The screening is in the Crescent Community Venue, (The Crescent, off Blossom Street, YO24 1AW) and is free. We hope to see you there.

Unite Against Fracking on 12 November

unite_against_fracking

Frack Free York will be in Manchester to join the Unite Against Frack Demonstration on 12 November. This national demonstration will draw anti-fracking protesters from across the country. We hope you will be there to join us. With the government showing it is determined to push through fracking against the wishes of local residents and opponents throughout the country, it is vital that show that we are united against fracking. Please take part in this important demonstration to show that fracking is not acceptable in Lancashire, in Yorkshire, or anywhere.

The demonstration will start in Picadilly Gardens at 11.00am. A coach will take protesters from York. It departs from the Leeman Road coach stop at 9.00am. Tickets can be booked on eventbrite. Tickets cost £18 for waged and £12 for unwaged.

Take Action on Barclays Fracking on Saturday 29 October

On Saturday 29 October, Frack Free York in Parliament Street to draw attention to Barclays involvement in fracking and ask people leave Barclays. This is part of a nation wide week of action organised with Friends of the Earth and anti-fracking groups across the country.

Barclays are a key player in the British fracking industry. They own 97% of Third Energy, the company that has been given planning permission to frack in Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. This planning decision is now subject to a judicial review, but we still need to make clear to Barclays that we do not accept their support for and participation in, fracking.

There will be a Frack Free York street stall near the Barclays branch in Parlialment Street between 10am and 2pm. Please drop by if you want to learn more about Barclays involvement in fracking, or about our campaign. We are particularly interested in hearing from you if you have any business with Barclays, such as a bank account, credit card, or mortgage. This day of action will be an opportunity for you to not only leave Barclays, but also make clear that you are doing so, in order to say no to fracking. There will also be a chance for you to send a message, as we will be on hand to make a video with you, if you want to say on camera why you’re against Barclays fracking in Ryedale.

At 1pm there will be a rally. Whether or not you are a Barclays customer, please gather in Parliament Street at that time to show your opposition to Barclays fracking plans.