Residents organising led to activist retreat in Ryedale

National activists are leaving their Kirby Misperton Protest Camp after village residents got organised.


Lorraine Allanson, founder of the Friends of Ryedale Gas Extraction (FORGE), has worked tirelessly in recent years to make the case for fracking in North Yorkshire in the face of much bullying and criticism from activists trying to stop it. 

She has done much to highlight the misinformation spread by the industry’s detractors and deserves special recognition and thanks for those efforts which have finally paid off: the inhabitants of the Kirby Misperton Protest Camp, established in a field in which they’ve been trespassing since December 2016, have announced that they are packing up and leaving. 

They claim it’s because Third Energy are no longer going to be doing any imminent fracking at the Kirby Misperton site after its contractors removed fracking equipment there in the last two weeks.

That’s a lie the activists are telling in order to try and save face, because the truth is that Lorraine Allanson and the other supporters she’s managed to bring together with FORGE have helped to see them off. 

But the thing that appears to have tipped the balance was the emergence last week of a campaign called Unite Kirby Misperton launched by a young mum called Tori Winn-Atkinson who lives in the village. She penned a letter to the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner asking her to insist on a tougher policing response from the Chief Constable, for repeat offenders to be bailed away from the village by local magistrates, and for help establishing a binding code of conduct for how protestors would behave in the future — all in an effort to restore order and peaceful village life.

Her letter was signed by over 80 local residents and as soon as that became public, the activists knew it was game over for them. They’ve spent the past 15 months claiming to have the support of Kirby Misperton residents but Tori’s letter proved this to be a hollow claim. 

It’s a massive vindication for Lorraine Allanson because she’s been saying for ages that the portrayal of widespread local support for the camp was fake.

And it’s a massive blow to the anti-fracking campaign because they now know that lock-ons and lorry surfing that causes disruption for locals is a bad idea and that affected residents will eventually organise and mobilise to get it stopped.

It will be interesting to see if they return the stolen field to its original condition (considering they broke their other pledges to the community ages ago). 

Next, we can probably expect them to head over to Lancashire to go and swell the numbers living in makeshift camps at the rear of a B&Q store and a local windows company. They’ll no doubt be licking their wounds and wondering how they can try to stall Cuadrilla’s operations at its Preston New Road site. But if they engage in actions that cause distress and disruption to locals, they can probably expect residents there to get organised now too...

Take note activists: you’re not welcome in the communities you invade, who haven’t invited you and don’t appreciate your “protection.”

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