Blyth cyclists plan ‘Tour de Frackshire’ to highlight fracking impact

Grahame Layhe and Pat Marshall will be leading a 90-mile Tour de Frackshire bike ride through communities threatened by fracking on Saturday, September 22.
Grahame Layhe and Pat Marshall will be leading a 90-mile Tour de Frackshire bike ride through communities threatened by fracking on Saturday, September 22.

Two Blyth cyclists will hit the road this weekend for a 90-mile tour of communities around potential fracking sites, and are inviting residents to join them on the way.

Grahame Layhe and Pat Marshall will embark on the Tour de Frackshire from Blyth village green at 8am on Saturday, September 22, before visiting Tinker Lane, Bolsover, Marsh Lane, Harthill, Woodsetts, and Misson Springs.

They intend to raise awareness of the sites and ecology which will be affected if fracking gets the go-ahead, and will be live-streaming the event on Facebook then turning it into a short film.

Graham said: “We hope to highlight the industry driven dangers of fracking our countryside.

“We are fighting for our children and a frack free future. Pedal power and people power can make the difference.”

The pair hope to collect fellow riders along the route, and anyone is welcome to join for as much of the ride as they want.

There will be free food and drink stations at three stops along the way.

For details of the route and how to join, go to https://goo.gl/3ucZah.

The campaign against fracking at Tinker Lane is reaching a critical point with the 34-metre drill rig expected to arrive on site any day now to begin the second phase of exploratory drilling.

Campaigners are holding another public information meeting on the issues at the Memorial Hall in Blyth on Thursday, September 27, starting at 7.30pm.

Spokesperson Mel Downing said: “There are lots of implications for our village, our community and surrounding environment so many people are keen to ask questions and find out more about things like the effect on our homes, house prices and insurance.

“The talk will be from two local experts who have a good clear knowledge of the industry and what impact it will have on us.”

Mel added: “They will be able to answer any questions people may have. It should be a great way for our village and wider community to come together and find out what will happen next.”

Nottinghamshire County Council will meet on Thursday, September 20, to discuss a proposal from the Labour group to retain some local control over planning decisions related to fracking.

When faced with an earlier national consultation on the issue, council planning officers emphasised the need for the views of local people to be taken into consideration when considering such applications.

However, the Government has since called for a further consultation, which could allow certain types of shale gas applications to bypass local planning bodies.

Labour councillor Jim Creamer said: “Here in Nottinghamshire, we have many former coal mining areas which may be vulnerable to further drilling. This is about retaining local specialism and knowledge, which are vital in decisions as big as these.

“Removing the process from local planning officers also takes away local democracy, as people living around the proposed sites will not have the opportunity to voice their concerns the way they do now.”

To read the full motion put to the council, go to https://goo.gl/ARiTyM.