Work continues on new oil and gas wellpad in East Yorkshire as climate emergency motion rejected

Campaigners have expressed frustration after East Riding councillors voted against declaring a climate emergency.
The new West Newton B pad being completed for drilling near Burton Constable HallThe new West Newton B pad being completed for drilling near Burton Constable Hall
The new West Newton B pad being completed for drilling near Burton Constable Hall

Protestors gathered outside a meeting at County Hall in Beverley on Wednesday which saw a motion by Yorkshire Party councillor Andy Walker defeated by 44 votes to 16,.

Coun Walker called for leadership saying they were "among the largest emitters and the least improved".

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He said a year had gone by since it was last debated and it was "no longer sufficient to say we are dealing with it."

It comes as work continues on a building a new wellpad at West Newton, near Hull.

Last year investors in Rathlin Energy (UK) Ltd said the biggest gas and oil field in nearly 50 years may have been found in the area, near Burton Constable Hall in East Yorkshire.

A spokeswoman for monitoring group West Newton Gateway to the Gas Fields said: "It is just frustrating - people need to show leadership.

"They are just getting out of being accountable.

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"The council's pension fund has over £300m invested in fossil fuels - how can they suggest they are green?."

Deputy council leader Mike Stathers claimed the Conservative-run authority was "ahead of the game" in terms of carbon reduction, listing projects including a £16 million street lighting upgrade which has saved 4,000 tonnes of carbon a year.

He said: "Some local authorities have already declared a climate emergency but did so without a plan. Too many are still sucking their thumbs and wondering what to do next."

He added: "Some accuse this authority of being complacent, even embarrassed. Let me assure them this is not the case - there is no complacency here."

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Coun Mike Medini, who is chairing a climate review panel, urged councillors to reject the motion so the panel could complete its work.

The panel was convened after Coun Walker put a motion to the council last June about declaring a climate emergency.

Coun Medini said they hoped to complete the review "as soon as possible".

But Lib Dem councillor David Nolan said the "ice cap was not going to stop melting because the East Riding scrutiny panel is still in progress."

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He added: "We are not in the vanguard - we are just trying to catch up."

Rathlin Energy UK expects the West Newton B wellsite to be completed later this year and it to be tested next year.

A statement on its website said a study had given the West Newton "notional field development scenario" the best possible rating for low carbon emissions.

East Riding councillors approved plans for a three-year extension to explore reserves in 2018.

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