What have we been up to since the Knostrop Campaign was conceived in August 2016?
- We began our campaign by identifying the key stakeholders:
First and foremost the local residents of Leeds; those in South Leeds live closest to the treatment works itself and would be affected by increased lorry traffic. But also affected will be those living downstream of the treatment works, where the water will be released into the River Aire. Plus all of those who fall within the Yorkshire Water drinking water catchment; as any spillage of untreated, toxic fracking waste water will contaminate groundwater and consequently drinking water sources.
The next stakeholder is FCC Environmental; this is the company who have obtained the licence to treat the fracking waste water at their facility at the Knostrop site. It is they who would enter into a contract with the fracking company (Cuadrilla/Third Energy/INEOS).
Closely linked to FFC is Yorkshire Water; located adjacent to the FFC site is the Knostrop sewage treatment works, run by YW. Once the water is treated by FCC is would have to pass through the YW site before being released into the River Aire. It has been determined that YW have a legal obligation to release the fracking waste water if it meets the required standards. This means that YW have an obligation to us as their customers to ensure that the water is tested properly before it is released into the river.
The final key stakeholder we identified is the Environment Agency. The EA are the government agency responsible for issuing the licences to treat the fracking waste water; they are also the agency who set the standards which FCC and YW must comply with before the water is released into the river.
- Once we had determined who the most important people were, we needed to learn more:
We arranged a meeting with Yorkshire Water, which was attended by representatives from YW, FFL as well as a chemical engineer, hydrogeologist and medical expert. This was an opportunity to learn about the role of YW and where their hands were tied. We also took the opportunity to learn about any concerns YW had in relation to fracking (though it is important to note YW have not publicly backed or condemned fracking).
During the meeting we learned of the importance of the Environment Agency. Consequently we followed up by contacting the EA and putting our queries and concerns to them. The responses we received we disappointingly vague, as a result we intend to attend the next ‘Meet the Regulators’ meeting to put our questions to them in person. (Frustratingly the last of these meetings was cancelled but it means we will work even harder to get the EA to give us a straight answer).
We also set up a working group focused on researching in more detail the various impacts that bringing fracking waste water to Leeds will have. This research has left us particularly concerned in several areas. This includes;
– the immediate increase in air pollution as a result of the increased lorry traffic bringing the waste to Leeds
– the long term impacts that increased traffic has on CO2 production
– the lack of knowledge surrounding what will be within the fracking waste water and therefore what substances should be tested for in order for the water to be deemed safe
– the potential for bio-accumulation of heavy metals in the River Aire, destroying animal habitats
– the possibility of a toxic spill which could contaminate drinking water.
- Now that we had this information we needed to spread it:
In order to gather a support base for our cause the outreach working group focused on setting up a public meeting. This was held in Hunslet on the 21st November and featured Coralie Datta (a member of Frack Free Leeds), Dr. Tim Thornton (an expert in the detrimental effects fracking has on health) and Tina Rothery (Fracking Nana). Despite the terrible weather the night had a tremendous turn out and successfully spread the message of our campaign.
Our next tactic was to speak the Council; as representatives for the people of Leeds and a City Council who have already declared that themselves anti-fracking we believed they would listen to our concerns. In order to speak to as many councillors as possible we gave a deputation at the full Leeds City Council meeting on the 11th January. Following the success of this deputation we are preparing for smaller, more focused meetings with Cllr. Yeadon (Executive Member of the Council).
We have also attended fairs around Yorkshire, including the Waterfront festival in Leeds and the Leeds University Fresher’s Fair to ensure that as many people as possible understand the threat that fracking poses to their local area.
But we’re not done yet, we welcome any opportunity to attend community meetings and answer questions. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch!