Huddersfield Friends of the Earth and Fossil Free Kirklees are calling on Barclays Bank to pull out of investing in fossil fuels and to cancel their financial support for fracking in Ryedale North Yorkshire. Barclays Bank owns 97% of Third Energy which is planning to develop their plans to frack in the Ryedale village of Kirby Misperton, despite growing opposition from parish councils, businesses and residents. In recent evidence to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, Third Energy’s John Dewar described plans to expand fracking in Ryedale to 19 sites containing up to 50 fracking wells.
Fracking is a technique used for shale gas exploration whereby water and toxic chemicals are pumped underground at high pressure to extract underground shale gas. Shale gas is the same as ‘conventional’ natural gas but held within shale rocks thousands of feet underground. A well is drilled but, unlike conventional gas which flows freely, the shale rocks have to be hydraulically fractured (or fracked) to get the gas. This is done by pumping down at extremely high pressure millions of gallons of water mixed with a small amount of often toxic chemicals which help the gas to flow more freely. About half of the water comes back to the surface and has to be treated. The other half stays underground where its movement cannot be controlled.
Michelle Atkinson from Huddersfield Friends of the Earth said:
“Barclays Bank’s plans to frack in North Yorkshire will have unacceptable levels of risk for the local environment and for the global climate. 80% of known fossil fuel fuel reserves need to stay in the ground to stop dantheme parkgerous climate change. Looking for yet more fossil fuels is clearly reckless and incompatible with a liveable planet. Barclays have a staggering £16 billion tied up in risky fossil fuels. We are calling on Barclays bank to move their money out of fracking and fossil fuels. Instead they should be putting their money into positive investments like energy efficiency and renewables.”
The action took place outside Barclays Bank branch in Market Place, Huddersfield this Saturday 18 April. Barclays customers and passers-by were encouraged to write to the Chief Executive of Barclays Bank to oppose the fracking plans in North Yorkshire and also to consider moving their bank account to a fossil free alternative like Nationwide and the Co-op Bank. Children also took part in the action dressed as ‘Flamingos against Fracking’ highlighting the proximity of some of the proposed fracking sites to the Flamingo Land theme park.
Next Thursday 23rd April Friends of the Earth and Frackfree Ryedale are organising a peaceful demonstration of public opposition outside the Barclays Bank AGM in London to tell the bank’s shareholders that their fracking plans are not wanted.