Seismic Surveys are Coming to Yorkshire


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.


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.

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