Regulator objects to second oil plan over failure to assess risk to water

The Environment Agency has objected to plans to drill for oil in Dorset because there was no assessment of the risk to water.

The regulator said the application by South Western Energy Limited at Puddletown had “insufficient information” about the risks to drinking water and to a nearby chalk stream.

It said there was no objection in principle to the application, but added:

“We will maintain our objection until we receive a satisfactory risk assessment that demonstrates that the risks to controlled waters posed by this development can be safely managed”.

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Government lets fracking companies drill exploratory wells despite ban on extracting shale gas

The Government has opened the door to future fracking by refusing to ban the drilling of exploratory wells, campaigners fear.

Before the general election ministers placed a moratorium on fracking for shale gas, saying the process cannot be done safely without disrupting local communities.

But they have now confirmed that the ban – which is not written into law – does not cover exploratory drilling by energy companies to work out which areas of land is most suitable for shale gas extraction. 

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Fears fracking just a mile away from Merseyside will go ahead despite government halt

Residents in one part of Merseyside are concerned fracking plans just one mile away may still go ahead despite a government halt on the controversial process.

People living in Formby are worried about plans to frack for shale gas at Great Altcar – submitted by energy company Aurora – just a mile from the area and a few miles from Ainsdale, Hightown and Lydiate will cause ‘damage to their health’ and ‘cost jobs’.

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Major Cuadrilla investor backs out amid UK fracking ban

Private equity firm Riverstone has sold its stake in Cuadrilla, the UK’s only fracking firm, as the company remains thwarted by Government red tape.

The US firm has lost its patience with the nascent UK fracking industry, selling its 45% stake to Australian mining firm AJ Lucas, which was already Cuadrilla’s largest shareholder.

The value of the deal, which has seen AJ Lucas increase its stake to approximately 93%, has not been disclosed.

Cuadrilla said the remaining stake in the company is primarily owned by current and former employees.

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Radioactive water disposal plan would turn national park site into toxic dump

IGas should not be allowed to dispose of radioactive wastewater in a well at its Singleton oil site in the South Downs, campaigners have argued.

The company has applied for an environmental permit to continue reinjecting fluid from sites across southern England. The waste contains naturally-occurring radioactive material, known as NORM.

The Weald Action Group has objected to IGas’s application, accusing the company of not providing enough information and underestimating risks.

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