Protest camp set up at proposed fracking site near Doncaster

Anti-fracking campaigners have set up a protest camp at a site near Doncaster.

A group has set up a base on Springs Road, near Misson Springs, and are maintaining a vigil outside the site.

Protesters and police outside the test drilling site for fracking at Misson Springs, near Doncaster

Protesters and police outside the test drilling site for fracking at Misson Springs, near Doncaster

Island Gas (IGas) was given planning permission to explore for shale gas at Springs Lane, Misson Springs, in November 2016, despite concerns from residents.

Protesters have started standing outside the main entrance to the site, with a camp set up further down the road. They had established a makeshift brazier near the main gate for warmth and a kettle.

They have come from all across the country, and say they have been given support from nearby residents.

Around a dozen police officers were also at the site this week, keeping an eye on traffic and movements to and from the site.

Protesters and police outside the test drilling site for fracking at Misson Springs, near Doncaster

Protesters and police outside the test drilling site for fracking at Misson Springs, near Doncaster

Fracking involves pumping high pressure water into rocks to 'fracture' them, releasing gas. But opponents fear it causes environmental damage.

Protester Dennis May had come from Nottingham, and said he had been at several fracking protests previously, including Kirby Misperton, Clay Cross and Preston New Road.

He said: "I've been coming on odd days, but the camp has been here for 10 days. The locals have been really supportive, very welcoming. They have been very supportive, bringing us food and supplies, and giving us moral support. I think fracking is totally unacceptable - its not needed and its not welcome."

Deborah Gibson, of Harthill, near Rotherham, was also protesting. She said there were concerns about fracking near her home village. She said: "Unless we stand together there is no hope."

Protesters and police outside the test drilling site for fracking at Misson Springs, near Doncaster

Protesters and police outside the test drilling site for fracking at Misson Springs, near Doncaster

She said residents had said the current exploratory work had already made it difficult for people to sell houses near the site.

Another protester, who would only give her name as Roz, had come from the West Midlands to protest, and was among those in the camp. She had already protested at other sites.

She said they had met with local residents on Sunday at Misson Community Centre, and had received a positive reaction for their stance.

She said: "We will be here as long as it takes to stop the fracking."

Protester Roz outside the test drilling site for fracking at Misson Springs, near Doncaster

Protester Roz outside the test drilling site for fracking at Misson Springs, near Doncaster

Residents have expressed fears about noise pollution, water contamination, the impact on the site of special scientific interest, lorry routes and air pollution, the effect on local house prices and concerns that drilling would detonate unexploded ordnance on the former Cold War missile launch site where drilling is to be carried out..

IGas said in a statement: “We respect the views of every individual and recognise the right to peaceful protest. Our operations at the site are legal and have all the necessary permits and permissions.

"Today, eight out of ten homes use gas for heating, 61 per cent for cooking and up to 50 per cent of our electricity is derived from gas. It is clear that the UK needs a secure supply of gas as a bridging fuel until renewable sources can provide sufficient quantum and stability of energy for society’s needs.We are committed to meeting that need in a safe and environmentally responsible way.”

No test drilling has taken place yet, as the firm is currently looking to take rock samples to find out its make-up. They are constructing the necessary equipment at the site.

Misson Parish Council chairman Jayne Watson declined to comment on the protest camp but said the council has opposed plans for fracking throughout the planning process.

Green light for test drilling at potential fracking site near Doncaster