“The size of the prize” …and the sound of public objection

The Onshore Energy Services Group held their conference today at Scarborough Spa. Despite the unseasonably cold weather, hundreds of protestors gathered to greet them.

The conference aimed to whip up interest in the North Yorkshire business community for the opportunities presented by shale gas. One presentation was entitled “The size of the prize” – words that were proudly emblazoned below a toxic waste sign on a huge fracking rig sculpture set up at the conference entrance. If there’s any doubt about the amount of money to be made there could be no doubt about the strength of local opposition.

Campaigners gathered to draw a symbolic line in the sand in front of the venue, before lining the approach to the Spa complex to greet the incoming delegates. Some protestors lay down in a symbolic ‘die-in’, blocking the main entrance. Activists from Frack Free York joined others from across the country, along with some of the famous Lancashire Nanas. Activists sang, chanted “No fracking here – no fracking anywhere” and “Shame on you” as delegates arrived. The whole area around the Spa complex was festooned with posters and banners.

Despite rain, hail, and later on, the high tide crashing over the sea wall, campaigners stayed on to greet delegates leaving the conference. BBC Radio and TV both broadcast live from the event – surely not the publicity that the OESG wanted.

Inside the hall, John Blaymires, the Chief Operating Officer of IGas, told delegates that if shale gas is successfully fracked in Yorkshire and the UK, France and Germany might well be unable to resist the lure. The need to resist here in absolutely clear. For now, Yorkshire is the front line in the global fight against fracking. To save our climate, and our aquifers, we need to turn this tide.

Read extensive coverage of the conference at “Drill or Drop?”.

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