Hypocrisy from Greenpeace, Double Standards from UK HSE

I am all for the right of citizens to protest anything they like, and consider it to be a cornerstone of a civilised society, but I’m not so happy about this:

Greenpeace has built a 10-metre high mock fracking rig outside Parliament, to protest the Government’s support for the controversial drilling method.

The rig, accompanied by lorry and drilling sounds and featuring a flare which fires up every hour, was erected to coincide with the opening of a public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s proposals to frack for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire.

“We have installed a life-like fracking rig and drill at Parliament Square to show them what people in Lancashire and beyond will have to endure if so-called communities minister Greg Clark forces fracking on a reluctant nation.”

Let’s take Greenpeace at their word and assume the rig is “life-like” (I assume they mean “representative of a real rig”).  When an oil company wants to erect and operate a rig, they must carry out noise, emissions, and flaring studies to ensure that they are not only kept beneath predetermined levels but also that they are kept as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).  This is expensive and time consuming, and must be performed to the satisfaction of the UK HSE in advance of the operations starting.

So why does Greenpeace get an exemption to operate their rig, in the middle of London no less?  Now it may be that the Greenpeace rig is about as realistic as a Jason Statham film, but that can only be determined after the appropriate tests have been carried out.  And I am quite certain, given how long these things take and how much they cost, they haven’t.

Protests are fine.  Deliberately causing noise and flaring emissions which may harm the public is not, and ought to be as unacceptable for Greenpeace as it is for an oil company.  These protestors should be hit with a class action lawsuit.

HSE rules don’t apply to the virtuous.


4 Responses to Hypocrisy from Greenpeace, Double Standards from UK HSE

  1. dearieme says:

    It’s the right sort of size for hanging the buggers from.

  2. Stonyground says:

    As I understand it the drilling rigs are temporary structures that are taken down after a short while. All that is left then is a little square of concrete with some metal pipes sticking out of it. Usually this is then hidden by an embankment and some trees so that often even locals don’t know that it is there.

    • Jake Barnes says:


      That is exactly correct: the rig is only there for between a week and a couple of months while drilling takes place, after which the well is a 2-3m vertical pipe stack on a patch of concrete that you need to be pretty close to if you want to see it.

      Oh, and welcome!