‘Hippy’ fears keep Greens
away from gas drilling site

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GREEN Party activists have claimed that they would be dismissed as “hippies” if they protested outside an exploratory drilling site in the East Riding.

Despite the high-profile Balcombe anti-fracking protest, demonstrators have been noticeably absent from the site at High Fosham between Withernwick and Aldbrough, where drilling will continue until the end of the month.

Shan Oakes of Hull and East Riding Green Party said: “If the Greens just turn up and sit in the road they will say it is those hippies.

“I think the reasons people are not protesting is they don’t have the information.

“They are given smooth comfortable words making them think it is nothing really. They are not made aware of the bigger picture.”

The company involved, Rathlin Energy (UK) Ltd, has used conventional drilling to date at High Fosham and Crawberry Hill, near Walkington, where it finished exploratory work earlier this year.

It has not ruled out fracking – the hydraulic fracturing of rock with high-pressure liquid to release gas. A spokesman said: “We are still at the exploratory stage.”

Meanwhile anti-fracking campaigners have vowed to return to the site at Balcombe, as more people appeared in court charged with disruption.

Eleven campaigners pleaded not guilty to causing disruption at the site where energy company Cuadrilla has spent the past few weeks looking for oil. Activists began to pack up and leave the site yesterday, following the protest which began last Friday.

A small camp was cleared by police using their powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 where fireworks and drugs had earlier been seized.

But No Dash For Gas, which organised the main Reclaim the Power camp, said they would return to the area in the future, calling the campaign a “marathon” not a “sprint”.

Protesters believe the drilling could lead to fracking, which they claim imposes risks including water contamination and small earthquakes.