Fracking protests hit Whitby firm

Protesters at the Sky Scaffolding Site in Whitby. Pictures by the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp.
Protesters at the Sky Scaffolding Site in Whitby. Pictures by the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp.

A Whitby business says it has been the victim of disruption tactics after campaigners turned up on its doorstep, protesting against the company’s involvement in a fracking site near Pickering.

Sky Scaffolding has been contracted to do work for the company behind the project, Third Energy, at the site at Kirby Misperton, but has faced obstacles from those opposed to hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

Protesters at the Sky Scaffolding Site in Whitby. Pictures by the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp.

Protesters at the Sky Scaffolding Site in Whitby. Pictures by the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp.

Some of the protesters from a group known as the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp, produced placards as they attempted to block vehicles from leaving the Sky Scaffolding site, meaning the business has been hindered in getting to jobs.

Jeff Hill, manager at the Whitby site told BBC Look North: “It feels like bullying tactics, trying to stop us going and working for Third Energy, but if we weren’t doing it, someone else would be doing it. We are a big enough company to take this bullying.”

Signs and placards displayed by protesters at the site show a series of messages, including: “Fracking at Kirby Misperton, 99.2% said no” and “people and planet before profit.”

One of the protesters, Eddie Thornton, told the Gazette why the group believe the action is necessary, he said: “North Yorkshire police have banned all forms of peaceful protests at the fracking site apart from banner waving.

“So we took the protest to a business in the supply chain. Our intention was to highlight the community’s opposition to the industry and ask the local company to put local people before profit.”

Fracking involves blasting quantities of water, chemicals and silica sand down into the earth to fracture rocks in order to release gas. But the process of obtaining gas in this way has divided opinion, with people upping their protests in recent weeks.

Supporters of fracking say it allows drilling companies to access oil and gas that would otherwise be difficult to reach. While those opposed to it cite a series of environmental concerns.

Police have made several arrests at the Kirby Misperton site near to Flamingo Land, with some protesters locking themselves into metal tubing on the road near the site.

A total of 24 people have been arrested at the site so far in September. Two were released with no further action, two accepted cautions, and the other 20 have been charged to court, for offences including obstructing the highway, assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer.