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Issue #1742      August 3, 2016

Thousands protest fracking

More than 3,000 people marched through York last week in opposition to plans for widespread fracking in Yorkshire’s countryside. The demonstration is thought to have been Britain’s biggest so far against the process.

The county has been designated by the Tory government as ripe for introduction of the controversial process – drilling deep into the earth and pumping in chemicals and water at high pressure to release trapped gas.

Parts of north-west England are also threatened.

Graham Martin, one of the organisers of the demonstration, said: “We were absolutely overwhelmed by the turnout, which exceeded all our expectations.

“This shows that more and more people across Yorkshire are waking up to the threat of fracking to the countryside, rural jobs, tourism, the environment and climate change.”

Tory councillors in North Yorkshire opened the floodgates to fracking operations by giving planning permission, despite vociferous opposition.

Opponents say the process causes pollution, and research in the US has revealed links between asthma attacks and proximity to fracking wells.

Frack Free North Yorkshire’s Russell Scott said: “People are now realising that with the whole of Yorkshire covered in fracking licences, fracking is now on everyone’s doorstep.”

But North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to allow fracking in Kirby Misperton is being challenged by Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth. The groups are seeking a judicial review.

John Ashton, who was the government’s special representative for climate change from 2006-12, spoke at the rally outside York Minster. He said: “You can be in favour of fixing the climate. Or you can be in favour of exploiting shale gas. But you can’t be in favour of both at the same time.”

Frack Free Ryedale’s Peter Allen said: “If we wish to preserve this county and this country as a healthy place for our children and grandchildren to live in, then this is a cause worth fighting for.”

Fracking firm Ineos has announced plans for up to 30 well sites with 396 wells in each site, which could mean more than 4,000 wells in North Yorkshire alone.

Morning Star

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