Quakers’ warning over fracking

Anti-fracking protesters at Northallerton.
Anti-fracking protesters at Northallerton.
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QUAKERS have become the latest to speak out against the hugely controversial decision to allow fracking to go ahead in Ryedale saying it is “incompatible with the responsible use of the earth’s resources.”

Pickering and Hull Area Quaker Meeting, which represent Quakers in Ryedale, the Yorkshire Coast and East Yorkshire, said fossil fuels “had to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change.”

Earlier this week two Ryedale district councillors called on their council to help pay for legal action being considered by Friends of the Earth in the wake of North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to approve plans by Third Energy for a test site at Kirby Misperton.

In a statement Quaker clerks Phyllis Wicks and Heather Woolley said renewable sources of energy were “urgently needed” to tackle climate change. They said: “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.”

Ryedale District Council’s Ed Jowitt and Paul Andrews will table a motion at a meeting of the council on July 7.

It proposes that if there is a prima facie case for judicial review, the district council contributes at least £20,000 towards the cost of the review application, or “to institute legal proceedings for judicial review in the Council’s name”.

North Yorkshire County Council is currently considering a pre-action letter from Friends of the Earth.

The campaign group claims the decision on May 23 could be unlawful as it was made “without properly considering” climate change. During the hearing, dozens of speakers voiced their concerns over the possible impact of fracking on water, farming, tourism and the wider environment.

Third Energy, however, insisted that the objections were based on misunderstandings and scaremongering, and highlighted its record of mining gas in the area through conventional means.

The threat from fracking - using sand and fluids under pressure to split rocks to allow gas to escape is beginning to galvanise East Riding councillors, ahead of seismic testing being carried out in the Yorkshire Wolds.

On Wednesday Cabinet member Coun Symon Fraser won support for a motion calling for a “precautionary approach” to proposals which could impact on the chalk aquifer, a source of drinking water. The Wolds are a prospective shale area for drilling firm, Cuadrilla, while areas around Goole have been licensed to Europa Coal and Gas for potential coal bed methane. Further north, licences are held by chemical firm Ineos.