Socialist Worker

Fracking returns to Britain in shameful Ryedale decision

Issue No. 2504

Protesters in Northallerton on Friday as North Yorkshire County Council began its fracking debate

Protesters in Northallerton on Friday as North Yorkshire County Council began its fracking debate (Pic: Neil Terry)


An angry crowd of anti-fracking protestors from around Britain vowed to fight on today, Monday, as Tory-controlled North Yorkshire County Council accepted Barclays-backed Third Energy's application to frack at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.

This would be the first frack in Britain since the earthquake linked to fracking in Lancashire five years ago. But the crowd outside County Hall in Northallerton shouted, "We say no", and then sang civil rights song "We shall overcome".

A Peoples Declaration written by Frack Free Ryedale, which has led a sustained campaign in the area, said that Third Energy and its backers "are the only ones that stand to benefit from these plans.

"We resolve to protect our communities and the future of the planet."

The council planning officer had recommended councillors accept the application. But a consultation saw 4,375 respondents object to the proposal compared to just 36 who supported it.

An independent councillor speaking in the meeting said he had never known a planning office so swayed by an applicant.

Jo, a campaigner from Frack Free Ryedale, responded, "This isn't democracy, it's a whitewash."

The Tories are determined to push ahead with fracking. When Lancashire County Council voted down Cuadrilla's application last year the government took the decision out of their hands.

Anti-fracking protestors are starting to realise that means a centralised fightback is needed.

People signed a petition calling for a lead on fracking from Labour and the Green Party. Kim Hunter of Frack Free Scarborough told a rally at lunchtime, "They're playing a dangerous game because they are forcing us to make common cause with other people fighting austerity and fighting for truth and justice."

Elizabeth from Frack Free Lincolnshire added, "It's not often organised workers mobilise against an industry, but we need a return to the 70s, when unions worked with environmentalists at Faslane. Unite, Bfawu and PCS all have good policies on fracking now. We need more and we need their active support."


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.