We joined the uplifting ‘Rally for Ryedale’ in Northallerton on May 20 to oppose Third Energy’s plans to frack in North Yorkshire. It was a great event with perhaps as many as 500 people from across Yorkshire and the North of England joining Frack Free Ryedale as North Yorkshire County Council met to decide on Third Energy’s plans.
Throughout the day, we were able to hear people’s objections to fracking, broadcast by speaker from the hearings inside the council buildings. During breaks, there were speeches, chanting and communal singing. Protesters were on the road outside the council grounds, too, holding up placards and banners and chanting. Every few seconds cars honked loudly in support.
Right next to the area cordoned off for anti-fracking protesters was another area cordoned off for supporters of Third Energy’s plans to frack. It was empty!
Early in the day, we performed our ‘Dave and George’ stunt to remind people that this wasn’t just about North Yorkshire County Council and Third Energy. It was about a government going ‘all out for shale’.
If we oppose fracking, then politicians and fellow citizens can, quite reasonably ask us, ‘What’s your alternative? If you’re not going to have fracking, how are you going to create jobs and energy security?’ With that in mind, we wanted to promote the ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ campaign.
The One Million Climate Jobs pamphlet outlines how we could create one million jobs in renewable energy, public transport and energy efficiency over the course of the year, how this could be funded and what the economic and environmental benefits of such a programme would be.
We took our ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ banner and distributed 300 copies of the PCS ‘No to fracking, Yes to one million climate jobs’ leaflet and had our best day’s sale of the ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ pamphlet. Perhaps even more importantly, we had hundreds of conversations with people about the initiative.
The hearings at North Yorkshire County Council – and the protests – will continue on Monday 23 May when the council will also make its decision. Watch the live broadcast of the council hearings on Monday.
Media coverage of the day:
The decision in Northallerton – whichever way it goes – will be of national significance. Shale gas is now only supported by 19% of the public. Either People Power – in the form of protest, the weight of objections and the views of local residents – will have triumphed or the power of a right-wing government and corporations to begin to drive through an industry that is dangerous and unnecessary will have triumphed. In either case, it won’t be the end of the story but an important milestone will have been passed.
Hey! Ho! Third Energy has got to go!
Ho! Hey! Clean energy is the only way!