Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth have now exhausted all legal routes to oppose the approval for the test frack at Kirby Misperton.
The only weapon they have left is social media, and the camp of protesters near the village. Their intention is to slow walk the trucks to disrupt Third Energy’s operations. Sadly, they may also disrupt the lives of residents and businesses. Ultimately, they will make no difference to operations as all the company will do is build the delays into their work schedule and life will go on as normal.
I have always campaigned in favour of shale gas because I recognised a supply of natural gas is of national importance. Undeniably, gas is an essential commodity and will be for decades. The UK has an extensive existing gas distribution infrastructure built over the last few decades. Gas is not only used domestically in 22 million homes but for industry and as a building block to create a vast range of everyday products including medicines.
In Ryedale we sit on potentially the best natural gas reserves in the whole of the UK. I was convinced that this gas could be an amazing asset and not a liability or handicap. Why would we want to import gas rather than utilise our own resources and the energy security that would bring in an ever more volatile world? The asset is ours to deliver and if our council acts intelligently and with foresight they can start ensuring that Ryedale reaps the rewards.
Now is the time for the council to engage, communicate and work with the gas companies rather than battle against them.
Far more can be achieved by opening lines of communication between the two entities. Imagine if through dialogue our council could guide the companies in the planning of their operations helping to minimise any inconvenience to local communities? History tells us that councils who work with companies rather than against, create the best outcomes for all.
Councillors need to ensure the companies observe their promises of local jobs and contracts for local businesses in the supply chain. They must be held to account and our council should be working hard representing local businesses and local communities now, right from the start. If our district council continues to bury its head in the sand, they leave us vulnerable to being exploited. Just because the council voted against the application it does not mean that they cannot now start to work with the gas companies involved. Will our council representatives now bury the hatchet and do what is best for our communities?
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