Fracking ban frees up £1 million to fight crime in South Yorkshire

A fracking ban has free up £1 million for policing in South Yorkshire now that the cash will not been needed for policing protests.

By Claire Lewis
Monday, 4th November 2019, 12:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 5:13 pm

South Yorkshire Police had set aside a £1 million budget for costs associated with fracking protests, but now that the government has halted fracking amid earthquake fears, the cash will now be spent on fighting crime instead.

Because of protests and issues at fracking sites elsewhere in the country, South Yorkshire police chiefs had set aside cash in anticipation of similar incidents here.

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South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings

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Applications for test drilling had been made for sites in Harthill and Woodsetts, with permission granted for the Harthill scheme.

The Woodsetts scheme was still under review when the government ban was announced over the weekend.

South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “I welcome the decision by the government to halt fracking – a decision based on the science.

“Fracking has been hugely controversial and experience elsewhere in the country has shown that fracking has caused worry and anxiety in many communities, stirring deep passions, and has the potential to impact adversely on policing.

“On the one hand it has cost forces considerable sums of money to police the fracking sites and the protests that have followed. In Lancashire the cost has been £7 million and in Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire the costs were running at more than £110,000 per month.

“On the other hand it has often meant that the police were caught in the middle between contractors going about their work and protesters trying to stop them.

“We set aside £1 million in the budget towards these costs ahead of work beginning at two sites in South Yorkshire – Harthill and Woodsetts. Since this will not now happen that money will be better spent on fighting crime.

“In the meantime, South Yorkshire Police will play their part in reducing the force’s carbon footprint with measures such as solar panels on police station, telematics in cars to ensure better fuel consumption and electric vehicles.”