Residents in Pocklington and surrounding areas are taking a stand against the controversial extraction technique known as fracking.
Last Sunday, a demonstration organised by the anti-fracking group Frack Free Driffield and Wolds was held on Market Place in Pocklington. About 60 people attended from Pocklington and across East and North Yorkshire with banners and placards to inform people about what fracking is and to raise awareness of the possibility of fracking taking place in the area. During the protest, dozens of residents signed a petition against any form of fracking.
It comes after the Government recently offered energy firm Cuadrilla Resources, in partnership with GDF Suez E&P UK, licences to explore for shale gas for areas all over East Yorkshire, including land around Pocklington.
Speaking about the demonstration in Pocklington, Iris Gaughan, of Frack Free Driffield and Wolds, said: “We stopped people in the street and spoke to them. We handed out leaflets with information. A lot of people don’t know that licences have been awarded across East Yorkshire and they aren’t aware of what fracking is.” She added: “Fracking is bad for the environment. Methane, which is what is released from fracking, is actually worse in the long run than coal. It is a fossil fuel. We need to get away from fossil fuel.”
Frack Free East Yorkshire - a coalition of groups opposed to extreme fossil fuels - and concerned local residents are holding a fracking information evening in Pocklington, on 9 February, at the Christian Fellowship Church, on Chapmangate. Another will be held in Market Weighton, on 15 February, at the Community Hall, on Station Road.
Both events start at 7.30pm. The events are being held to inform people about what fracking is and the possible effects it could have on communities.
Richard Howarth, of Frack Free East Yorkshire, said: “We are holding the meetings because the whole region has been licensed for increasingly extreme fossil fuel extraction. This is like nothing we have seen before. This is despite what the industry says, it’s relatively new technology with massive impacts which people need to know about.”
The events will feature talks about information gathered from international experts, oil industry insiders, water safety engineers and doctors.
Campaigners, including Frack Free East Yorkshire, are opposed to a number of licence blocks which were granted to Cuadrilla and its business partner GDF Suez E&P UK.
It comes as part of the government’s 14th round onshore oil and gas licensing, and swathes of land across Yorkshire, including the Pocklington area, have been earmarked for shale gas exploration. Environmental campaigners are worried that fracking could contaminate water supplies, cause earthquakes and increase air and noise pollution as well as exacerbate traffic conditions in rural areas.
A spokesperson for Cuadrilla told the Pocklington Post said: “It is a national imperative that the UK establishes the viability of a much-needed new gas resource as part of the country’s medium term energy mix. This point was underlined by Professor John Loughhead, the Department of Energy’s chief scientific officer who said “if we are to meet our future carbon targets, the UK’s energy supplies should be mostly made up of gas, nuclear, and wind in 2030. Most notable is that gas will continue to play a central role in our energy mix in the coming decades.” With over 80% of the country relying on gas for heat and cooking and our current indigenous supplies running out, we face a stark choice between more imports which are less environmentally friendly or exploring for new British supply.
“In regards to the concerns made regarding ground water contamination, noise and air pollution Cuadrilla will fully comply with all regulations from a planning and environmental perspective. In particular we are happy to reiterate and reassure people that there is no risk to water contamination as UK regulation states no hazardous chemicals to ground water can be used in the fracking process.”