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Living with Fracking

Over sixty people came to Staintondale village hall on 7th September to learn more and discuss their concerns about fracking. Organised by the recently formed Frack Free Scalby, Burniston & Cloughton, it was one of a series of events organised to raise awareness about the potential consequences of unconventional extraction of gas from shale through ‘hydraulic fracturing’.

Local concern has been prompted by the recent decision by North Yorkshire County Council to grant planning permission for fracking operations by Third Energy at Kirby Misperton (a decision currently subject to judicial review), and by the granting of a licence to a consortium including Third Energy and Europa Oil Gas Limited to explore for oil and gas over a 110 square kilometre block to the north of Scarborough. Europa’s CEO Hugh Mackay is on record as saying that they will be exploring prospects for unconventional (fracking) as well as conventional oil and gas.

The meeting saw a film produced by Steve and Joanne White from Ryedale who went to Pennsylvania in the USA to hear from local residents what it is like to live in an area where fracking has been a feature for several years. Their experience convinced them that fracking is against the interests of local people. The film showed how communities have suffered from toxic chemicals in the air, pollution of families’ groundwater sources, massive trucks carrying sand, water and chemicals to fracking sites – and toxic waste water in the other direction. In the discussion that followed, concerns focused on the potential impact on traffic in the area, threats to our health through water from polluted boreholes used in homes and on farms, air quality, and climate change through the escape of methane from the fracking process – and the fact that there is no clear plan for how the millions of gallons of toxic waste water would be disposed of. A key question was how local people can influence, even stop, fracking in the area.

Steve’s response was to encourage us not to sit tight and let it happen, but to find out more about the process and the dangers, and bring these findings to the attention of decision makers and elected representatives at all levels from Parish Councils to MPs. In particular it is important to be able to counter the industry’s bland statements about safety and benefits of fracking through informed and reasoned argument.

The next regular meeting of the Frack Free Scalby, Burniston and Cloughton group is on Monday 19th September at the Cloughton Reading Room at 7.30pm. Then on Wednesday 21 st September at 7.30 pm a presentation and panel discussion on ‘Facts before Fracks’ will take place at Burniston and Cloughton Village Hall. Invited speakers from Ryedale and York at this event are Dr Tim Thornton, Dr Liz Garthwaite and Rev Graham Cray. Their expertise includes the public and human health consequences of the kinds of pollution that can come from fracking, and the moral and ethical dimensions of fracking. All are welcome to both meetings. You can contact the group at

Yorkshire’s Biggest March Against Fracking

Up to 3,000 people – including many from Scarborough – marched through the centre of York on Saturday to highlight opposition to fracking, here and everywhere. According to some reports, it was the biggest protest against fracking ever seen in Britain, and was supported by groups from Yorkshire, Lancashire and beyond.

The crowds gather in York.

Organised by Frack Free York, the demonstration started at Clifford’s Tower in a colourful array of banners and placards, and the mood was defiant and upbeat. The Lancashire Nanas, in their distinctive yellow tabards, were in fine voice as always, and were joined by a large contingent of their Yorkshire counterparts in light blue – including at least two ‘Mananas’!

With chants of ‘No fracking Yorkshire – no fracking anywhere!’ and ‘Once you frack you can’t go back – ban fracking now!’, the march snaked around the city centre, leaving on-lookers (many of them supportive) in no doubt as to our cause.

 Thanks to the majority decision of a small clique of mainly Tory councillors willing to do the Government’s bidding, Kirby Misperton in Ryedale has been chosen to kick-start the dash for ‘unconventional’ gas, but there were no ‘Nimbys’ among us as anti-frackers see a threat to one community as a threat to all.

Graham Martin, one of the organisers of Saturday’s demonstration, said:

“We were absolutely overwhelmed by the turnout, which exceeded all our expectations. This shows that more and more people across Yorkshire are waking up to the threat of fracking to the countryside, rural jobs, tourism, the environment and climate change.”

The march ended in a large rally outside York Minster, where activists spoke eloquently of the threat posed by fracking – or whatever the industry and its backers might choose to call it.

John Ashton, who was the government’s special representative for climate change between 2006 and 12, said:

“You can be in favour of fixing the climate. Or you can be in favour of exploiting shale gas. But you can’t be in favour of both at the same time.”

Kim Hunter, of Frack Free Scarborough, said our movement should draw strength from the different campaigns mobilising around the country challenging the status quo and business-as-usual politics. Just the day before the march, Jeremy Corbyn had filled St Helen’s Square in York.

Scarborough's Anti-Fracking Nanas.

Some of the biggest cheers of the day were for reluctant heroine Tina Rothery, who put her name to a protest in a field near Blackpool ear-marked for fracking.

“We keep hearing about what’s good for the economy. But we don’t live in an economy, we live in a community,”

said the Lancashire Nana.

There was also a good response to the public debut of Frack Free Scarborough’s own anti-fracking song, written by and accompanied by our own Dave Mason.

Don't Frack Yorkshire.

An Evening, Living With Fracking…

Last night Burniston & Cloughton residents met local North Yorkshire couple and producers of ‘Living with Fracking’, Joanne and Steve White, to learn about the potential impact of unconventional fracking in the villages.

Ryedale couple Steve and Joanne White went to the heavily-fracked US state of Pennsylvania to find out what it is like living in a gas field. Their trip, captured on camera, convinced them that fracking should be banned.


Joanne and Steve’s film ‘Living with Fracking’ sparked an interesting discussion. Joanne and Steve explained the differences between ‘conventional’ and ‘unconventional’ fracking, and concerns were raised with the likely risks posed by ‘unconventional’ fracking on services, homes and health in Scarborough.

Fracking in this way does not appear economically viable, as the industry estimates that it will be 10 to 15 years before unconventionally fracked gas could contribute to energy supplies in the United Kingdom. By this time, there will be a greatly increased need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, which is emitted in great qualities through the new fracking process.

Support for renewables among residents was strong. By the end of the evening, the majority united against the imminent threat of ‘unconventional’ fracking in Scarborough, and elsewhere in the UK.

A follow up fracking meeting will take place at 7:15pm at Burniston & Cloughton Village Hall on Wednesday 3rd August. All local residents and interested parties are welcome to attend.

Please watch this space for further public information sessions in the coming weeks!

Yorkshire’s Anti-Fracking March – 30th July 2016

All welcome to attend Yorkshire’s march and rally to ‘Say No To Fracking’.

When: Saturday 30th July 2016, 12:00pm to approx. 2:00pm.

Where: Meet 12noon at Clifford’s Tower, York.

Marching to: York Minster for a rally with campaigners, experts and political representatives starting around 1pm (speakers TBC).

Details: A demonstration of solidarity for all of Yorkshire’s anti-frackers to show how strongly we feel about not letting any unconventional gas extraction in our area, marching on the streets of York against Fracking. Organised by Frack Free York.

Getting to Clifford’s Tower:

  • No.3 Park & Ride service stops on Tower Street, 200m from the assembly point – catch it from Askham Bar Park & Ride site (off the A64) or York Rail Station.
  • Nearest Coastliner bus stop: Stonebow.
  • Nearest Arriva/East Yorkshire stop: Piccadilly.

Please r.s.v.p. and share the Facebook event with your friends and family. 1.6k people are invited so far!

Sign the People’s Declaration

Please add your name to the growing number of people, committed to saying no to fracking in Yorkshire and no to fracking anywhere.

Sign the People's Declaration

“We, as people united across Yorkshire and across Britain, declare that we remain opposed to fracking in Yorkshire, in Britain, and across the world. We know that fracking carries serious risks to local people, to our health, our water, our wildlife, and contributes to climate change.

We are extremely disappointed that North Yorkshire County Council has not listened to the overwhelming wishes of the locally elected representatives of Ryedale and local people and has approved Third Energy’s application to frack in our county.

This decision is not in our name.

We know that Third Energy and their backers Barclays bank are the only ones that stand to benefit from these fracking plans. This application would put at risk Yorkshire’s beautiful landscape and the tourism industry that inspires millions of visitors each year and supports thousands of jobs.

We have a positive democratic vision for Yorkshire and the UK with thriving rural economies, clean air and water, producing the green energy like solar power we need to protect our children’s future, and creating the thousands of green jobs along with it.

We urge and will support the Government to develop a balanced long term energy policy that will achieve our globally agreed climate change targets.

Today we resolve to continue to fight to remain free from fracking, to protect our communities, our beautiful countryside, our air and water, and to protect the future of the planet. We ask people across the country to join us by supporting this declaration.

Why is this important?

North Yorkshire County Council have said Yes to dangerous fracking.

This is despite the opposition of thousands of local residents, businesses and Ryedale District Council.

Fracking poses unacceptable risks to people’s health, homes and goes against everything we need to do to tackle dangerous climate change.

The people of Yorkshire want to make it clear that this decision is not in their name, and they will continue the fight against fracking. Will you stand with them?

Together, our people power has kept the UK free from fracking for 5 years now. Let’s stand with Yorkshire and make sure Britain stays frack free.

Please add your name to the declaration launched by communities across Ryedale and Yorkshire- and help keep us all safe from fracking.”

TM 38 Degrees | 2015
Limited by Guarantee Registered Company No. 6642193 in England and Wales.
Registered office: 40 Bowling Green Lane, London, EC1R 0NE.

FFS is delighted to share Pickering and Hull Area Quakers‘ June statement on fracking:

“Following the decision by North Yorkshire County Council to allow fracking at Kirby Misperton we wish to make a statement on behalf of Pickering and Hull Area Quaker Meeting (representing Quakers in Ryedale, the Yorkshire Coast and East Yorkshire), emphasising our objections, on the basis of our spiritual discernment, to fracking on any scale.

Most fossil fuels need to stay in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. The impact of climate change globally is understood to be the greatest threat facing our generation, and our children’s generation. It is widely recognised that we need to reduce and eventually eliminate our dependence on the use of fossil fuels and that we urgently need to turn to renewable sources of energy which do not contribute to increasing damage caused by human induced climate change.

We believe that the search for new fossil fuels and new methods of extracting fossil fuels is incompatible with the responsible use of the earth’s resources. In 2011 Quakers in Britain made a corporate commitment to become a low-carbon, sustainable community. Local Quakers support this commitment through our management of our meeting houses, our choice of suppliers of goods and services, and in our personal, daily lives. For example, we have invested in sustainable energy with solar panels at Scarborough Meeting House and an air-source heat pump at Pickering Meeting House. The refurbishment of our retreat centre, Worfolk cottage, created the first fully ‘carbon- neutral’ development within the North York Moors National Park.

We believe that all people have the right to affordable energy that does not harm the planet.

Lack of current technology to support this goal should drive us to greater effort, not endorse technologies which increase the damage confronting us.

We believe in sustaining life before profit. Quakers are not opposed to business, but we are committed to ethical business decision-making and strongly urge companies to adopt best practice in considering the full social impact of their activities.

As Quakers we believe that we do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will. We seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world and work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life.”

Read the societies’ statement in full here: Quakers Statement.

Signed on behalf of Pickering & Hull Area Quaker Meeting.

Phyllis Wicks, Heather Woolley, co-clerks.

15 June 2016