Doncaster councillors to boycott Tour de Yorkshire due to fracking firm Ineos and their takeover of Team Sky

Councillors Nikki McDonald, Dave Shaw, Lani-Mae Ball and Tosh McDonald have said they are boycotting the Tour de Yorkshire due to fracking firm Ineos and their takeover of Team Sky
Councillors Nikki McDonald, Dave Shaw, Lani-Mae Ball and Tosh McDonald have said they are boycotting the Tour de Yorkshire due to fracking firm Ineos and their takeover of Team Sky

A group of Doncaster councillors have said they are boycotting the Tour de Yorkshire in protest at fracking giant Ineos and their takeover of Team Sky. 

Town ward councillors Dave Shaw, Nikki McDonald, Tosh McDonald and Conisbrough representative Lani-Mae Ball, have all said they will not be supporting the race as it comes through Doncaster on May 3. 

The Tour de Yorkshire returns to the borough for the third time in four years and regularly attracts 50,000 fans along the Doncaster route. 

The cyclists are due to ride out past the Mansion House, Hallgate, Christ Church and then over St George’s Bridge on to the A19.

The route will then go through Bentley, Toll Bar, Owston, Askern, Campsall and Norton. 

But events behind the scenes have prompted the group of councillors to boycott the race. 

Fracking group Ineos and their takeover of Team Sky has caused derision with environmental an anti-fracking campaigners. 

They say the use of fracking to extract shale gas is harmful to the environment.

Coun Dave Shaw said Team Sky had portrayed ‘rank hypocrisy’ after riding with messages highlighting ocean pollution and were now accepting money ‘from one of the largest sources of that pollution’. 

Doncaster Council voted to ban fracking on council-owned land last year. Ineos has a drilling test site near the village of Misson just over Doncaster boundary. 

Coun Shaw said: “Its rank hypocrisy that last year Team Sky rode out with an orca whale on their backs, to highlight ocean pollution, are now the very team accepting money from one of the largest sources of that very pollution.

“So to find out that Ineos, the UK’s largest fracking company wants to use the Tour De Yorkshire to launch its sponsorship of the former Sky Cycling team, could not go unchallenged.

“Ineos want to lock us into a future of fossil fuels at a time when the scientific community all agree we are in the middle of a climate crisis.

“This is just a cynical attempt at green wash on the part of Ineos, but the truth is they spend vast sums lobbying government and EU to ease environmental controls on fracking and at there various chemical plants across the UK and Europe.

“They are also one of  the largest producers of raw products for the plastics industry in Europe. The very plastics that now choke our oceans.

“Ineos are rarely far from controversy, and they are currently carrying out exploration work at Misson right on the doorstep of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, home to a number of very rare species including breeding owls.” 

Posting on social media, Coun Ball said: “I too will not support this event. We were lucky to have this in my community a few years back but I cannot allow a company that has licences to destroy the very areas that cyclists love to ride in.

“I will be at the protest instead - I hope lots can be there too.”

Team Sky declined to comment. 

An Ineos spokesman said: "INEOS is proud to create the essential products that make modern life possible.

"If you drive a car, ride a bike, fly in a plane, heat your home, use electricity, have a phone, use medical products, drink mains water, wear clothes, use a computer, rely on renewable energy, or even use a wind turbine or solar panels, it is likely that our products helped make it possible.

"We operate to the highest safety and environmental standards and utterly refute the claims of a fringe, anti-progress minority.

"As a society we live very privileged lives that would be impossible without the products we manufacture.”