Twelve protesters demonstrated outside the Conservative Party building in Pickering this week, chaining themselves to the railings and wearing sashes reading “Ban Fracking #WeSaidNo”.
The group of women, who all live in Ryedale, then carried out a pop-up protest outside Pickering’s Barclays Bank, who are financing the fracking operation at KM8 through their subsidiary, Third Energy. The action was designed to draw attention to those in positions of power who are forcing fracking on the local community.
A spokesperson for the protesters said: “The Suffragettes had to battle for the most basic rights. We are determined to fight with the same dogged determination for our right to clean water and air. We will continue until our government listens to our voices. Every time we complain of poor practice or planning breaches we are told that fracking is safe, and we have gold standard regulation. This is simply not what we are witnessing.”
Barclays owned a 97% stake in Third Energy when they promised to divest from the contentious industry in May. However they have failed to follow through on their promise and both companies remain registered at the same address in the Cayman Islands. Third Energy had just 18 employees when they last submitted their accounts, which showed a record loss of £3.8 million. Companies House are still waiting for the overdue accounts from last year. (1)
Local MP Kevin Hollinrake, has been heavily criticised for failing to take local concerns seriously. Last Friday he made an unannounced visit to the KM8 site, coming out to speak to a few constituents but declining to talk to dozens more who were on the other side of a police cordon. He then left in a Third Energy security wagon after refusing to explain his intention for visiting.
On the campaign trail, Mr Hollinrake promised to be “a representative of Thirsk and Malton in Westminster, not a representative of Westminster in Thirsk and Malton”.
However, he has remained loyal to the fallacy that shale gas development is in the national interest, despite support for shale gas falling to a record low. (2)
One of the protesters, Carol, said: “When I wrote to Kevin with my concerns he assured me that he would call for a moratorium “if exploration cannot be carried out whilst staying inside acceptable environmental limits”. But last week a report showed inexplicable levels of methane in the Corillian aquifer"
"Some of the monitoring doesn’t even measure for methane, nor hazardous chemicals known to be present, such as benzene, mercury, toluene, and many more. The report, which was carried out by independent firm H Fraser Consulting, also showed that only 3 of a total 24 monitoring rounds in a 12 month period fully met the requirements of Third Energy’s environmental permit"
"These problems have not been reported, we have had to investigate to uncover them. How can we trust these unaccountable, off-shore companies, or Mr Hollinrake to keep us safe?”