Anti fossil fuel campaigners to protest outside Yorkshire council headquarters

Protestors will gather outside a Yorkshire council headquarters today to oppose a potentially massive oil and gas drilling development.

Campaigners will be joined by residents close to the West Newton site at County Hall in Beverley where councillors are being asked to vote on a motion to declare a climate emergency.

It comes after investors in energy firm Rathlin Energy (UK) Ltd claimed that the biggest gas and oil discovery in nearly half a century had been made under fields eight miles east of Hull.

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Opponents of drilling at West Newton say it will be a "colourful, loud and peaceful" demonstration.

Green Party MEP Magid Magid joined protestors at the site recently

They say they want to keep the pressure on East Riding Council to fall in line with councils including Leeds, Sheffield and York, who have already declared a climate emergency.

Tackling climate change is like fighting a war we must not lose - Ed MilibandLocal resident Harry Clark, from Ellerby, said people "all of a sudden" were stopping and asking questions about the impact that large-scale drilling may have, adding: "If that mass in the middle becomes mobilised it could be much more powerful."

He added: "We have the fastest eroding coastline in Europe (here in Holderness) and here we are drilling for fossil fuels - it just doesn't make sense.

"The Government has said finding fossil fuels will give us some security and allow this transition phase to renewables.

Aerial view of the West Newton site

"There are a few problems in the Middle East, but there are a lot of other supplies of oil and gas we can depend on - we don't need to be exploring and exploiting on the UK mainland."

Campaigner Pippa Hockey added: "We know for a fact we can't burn what we have already found, let alone be prospecting for more, if we want to stay within the 1.5C limit which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said last year we have to stay within if we want to avoid irreversible, catastrophic climate change."

Earlier this month Pipers Lane, Marton, and Fosham Road, Withernwick were closed by East Riding Council for up to six months, and possibly 18 months, citing public safety as a reason.

Locals have also been aggravated by the closure of several footpaths under a 21-day order.

Residents will join activists at today's demonstration in Beverley

Campaigners said it was a "further attempt to deny the right to protest".

Rathlin has described initial results from testing as "encouraging". They have planning permission for an extended well test.