It is going to be a very different Tour de Yorkshire for me this year. The first time it came to Doncaster my Doncopolitan friends and I worked our socks off trying to support it in any and every way we could. This year, with the involvement of one of the ecologically damaging companies in the UK – founded by the richest man in Britain – I’ll be working my socks off trying to keep fracking out of cycling.
Doncopolitan has always loved the Tour de Yorkshire (TdY). So much so that we dedicated an entire issue to it – which included brilliant artwork by one of our favourite illustrators, Al Heighton. Like Al, I am a huge cycling fan, albeit for different reasons. I am a lifelong ecological activist and something of a ‘militant pedestrian’ who would love to see local traffic made up of bicycles instead of cars, with reliable and affordable public transport for longer journeys and the infirm. In fact, there would be fewer infirm people if we had cycling based traffic. Not only would the physical activity of cycling make us all healthier – you don’t get buns of steel sitting behind a wheel! – but fewer cars would make the air far less toxic for our children (a recent report found that Doncaster had one of the most polluted roads in the UK). Bicycles are brill!
The TdY is also a wonderful event for our communities. As a Bentley resident it is great to see the shops decorated with yellow bikes and Yorkshire references, and to witness the excitement growing in the town. Unfortunately, one of the most polluting, planet hating companies in the UK has tried to give itself some credibility by sponsoring Team Sky. Ineos is owned by Jim Ratcliffe, the richest man in the UK. He made his wealth from the single-use plastic which litters our oceans and waterways – a problem which Sir David Attenborough recently highlighted with his Blue Planet II series. Not content with this, Ineos are now heavily involved with fracking. We have reported on fracking several times in Doncopolitan, with a special feature on Mission Springs – where Ineos are currently operating – back in issue 30. The Ineos operation at Mission threatens local wildlife, the water supply of hundreds of thousands of people, is prone to causing earthquakes (in an area which sits on hundreds of miles of former mine works) and contributes to climate change. Climate change is the biggest threat we face as aspecies – again, the wonderful Mr Attenborough is enlightening us about this in his important eight part Our Planet series currently available on Netflix.
Click HERE to go check out issue 30 of Doncopolitan online.
Click HERE to find out about Blue Planet II by David Attenborough.
Here is the statement from your councilors:
Official statement from Cllrs re Tour De Yorkshire
We support the Tour De Yorkshire and the benefits it has brought to Doncaster and the Yorkshire region. It has inspired many of our communities to get out on their bikes and has promoted the beauty of our landscape and the wonderfully unique nature of Yorkshire people and our communities.
Doncaster has played host to Tour De Yorkshire on two previous occasions, which has been a real privilege.
However this year sadly we feel very different.
Our opposition started with one tweet, but quickly and organically grew.
While a few people have been critical of our stance, overwhelmingly we have received messages of support from right across the country. Most importantly from a huge amount of people in Doncaster.
We are not technically boycotting the race, we are protesting against the race being used to launch the take over of the Sky Team by Ineos. Ineos are one of the largest producers of raw products for the plastics industry. They are heavily invested in fossil fuels and chemical production and are the single largest holder of licenses to frack across the UK, many of which are within the Yorkshire region.
The hypocrisy of Ineos sponsoring the Sky Team, the very team that rode out last year with an image of an Orca Whale on their backs to highlight the Ocean Plastic crisis, could not go unchallenged.
The term “greenwashing ” which using Wikipedia’s definition of “greenwashing or green sheen is a form of spin in which green Public Relations (PR) or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organisation’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly” could have been written specifically about Ineos.
Doncaster Council recently passed a motion, banning Fracking on its land. The motion was passed unanimously and supported by all parties. It is also Labour Party Policy to ban Fracking.
Ineos have tried to depict us as a “fringe, anti -progress minority”. We are none of those things. Opposition to Fracking continues to grow, and people are fast waking up to the unimaginable damage done to our environment and our climate, driven by the activities and products that Ineos, are so proud to boast about.
There is nothing progressive about burning fossil fuels, and producing products the poison and choke the life out of our oceans.
Some of the above may be a little more palatable, had the majority share holder in Ineos, the richest man in the UK Jim Ratcliffe, not decided to move to Monaco to avoid paying billions in tax.
We will peacefully and legally protest to highlight our concerns, but would like to make it clear, we do not support any action that would disrupt the race or spoil the enjoyment of those who wish to support the Tour De Yorkshire.
Cllr Lani Mae Ball
Cllr Nikki McDonald
Cllr Tosh McDonald
Cllr Dave Shaw