All posts by rowland

LANCS FRACKING: Local residents respond to LCC planning decisions

Lancashire County Council planning committee today (23 September) granted permission to shale gas company Cuadrilla for two planning applications – regarding ‘pressure monitoring’ at the Becconsall site in West Lancs, and an extension for the time period to restore the site at Preese Hall, Fylde.

Representatives of Ribble Estuary Against Fracking and Friends of the Earth spoke at the planning committee to express concerns including that:

•      A full Habitats Regulation Assessment should be carried out at the Becconsall site which is only 650m from the Ribble Estuary, an internationally protected site for wintering birds

•      Cuadrilla provided a lack of information on the key activities at the Becconsall site including the means of perforating the well, the pressure that will be reached and risks to groundwater as a result

•      Uncertainty remains regarding the steps taken to inspect the Becconsall well in the three years since it was drilled

•      The Becconsall site should have been restored to agricultural use by September 2012 according to the original application

•      Regarding Preese Hall, it is not clear that well integrity issues encountered at the site have been addressed and that the Healthy and Safety Executive (HSE) has inspected the site

•      Cuadrilla has failed to meet three time conditions by which it should have restored the site back to agricultural use, and the council should therefore take enforcement action.

Committee members approved the testing at the Becconsall site, and the time extension for restoration of Preese Hall, but raised major concerns regarding Cuadrilla’s operations and repeatedly breaking planning conditions. Cuadrilla also withdrew an application yesterday (22 September) for the Becconsall site that was connected to fracking.

John Powney from Ribble Estuary Against Fracking said:
“We are disappointed that the Committee granted permission for testing but are very pleased that there will be no fracking in the future at the site near the Ribble Estuary.

“Cuadrilla withdrew an application connecting them to fracking at the eleventh hour, following a challenge from our legal team. If they try to frack the site in future, we will be using the law to protect the people of Lancashire from this unwanted, unnecessary and dangerous industry.”

Helen Rimmer, North West Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:
“We are concerned that further testing has been allowed at such a highly sensitive site for ecology, but we are pleased the Councillors sent a strong message to Cuadrilla that breaching planning conditions is completely unacceptable.

“Cuadrilla’s record in Lancashire is appalling, and considering the high risk nature of operations and environmental concerns, the current applications to frack in the Fylde must be turned down.”

Bob Dennett of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking said:
“Our concern is that it is unclear whether the Health and Safety Executive have visited the Preese Hall site to verify that well integrity problems have been resolved, and they are relying on self-regulation by the operator. We are pleased that the Cabinet member for the environment publicly recognised the weaknesses in the regulatory framework”.

Responding to discussion amongst Committee members at the meeting on enforcement action against Cuadrilla due to breaching planning conditions at the Preese Hall site, Councillor John Hodson of West Lancs Borough Council said:

“Local authorities have the powers in situations where there is a hazard to the public, to enter land for the purposes of carrying out or arranging remedial works with costs charged to the landowner. This should raise questions in many farmers minds as to the extent of the liability they are exposed to.”

Lancashire County Council are due to consider the two applications for major fracking sites in the Fylde – at Preston New Road and Roseacre – in November this year.


General public encouraged to ask questions about natural gas from shale

UKOOG, the representative body for the UK Onshore Oil and Gas industry, has launched a new initiative aimed at encouraging people to ask questions about natural gas from shale.
‘Let’s talk about shale’ is borne out of the recognition that the general public are subjected to a stream of information from a range of sources and much of this information is contradictory. ‘Let’s talk about shale’ will give people the chance to ask the questions they would like to have answered.

Read full Article Here

Cuadrilla tries to ban the WORLD from Preston New Road

Even a High Court judge at Manchester Civil Justice Centre smiled as Cuadrilla and fellow claimants tried to ban everyone in the world who might be opposed to fracking from going to land in Little Plumpton – or `encouraging or instructing’ anyone to do so via social media. 

The injunction to try and stop anti-fracking protests in Lancashire, if applied, could have dire consequences for the upcoming fight against fracking in Salford.

Full details here

Want to know how fracking will affect you? Sorry, that’s a state secret!

Another week, another fracking fiasco. The Government has just published a report on the likely effects of the drilling on Britain’s countryside communities – including its possible impact on house prices – that is so heavily redacted it might instead be devoted to a military assessment of options for intervention in Iraq.

Read full story here:

A very interesting article – unfortunately the writer comes down with a luke-warm affirmation of fracking in this area right at the end and completely misses the fact that householders in the USA receive sizeable payouts for the activity on their land.


Shale gas and ‘fracking’: examining the evidence


Subject: Environmental protection

Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) have today published a report which reviews current evidence across a number of issues associated with shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). These include environmental and public health aspects and socio-economic considerations.

Importantly, the report is an independent assessment which draws heavily on academic research

Read Here



The Risks & Harms of Fracking


July 10, 2014

About This Report

The Compendium is a fully referenced compilation of the significant body of scientific, medical and journalistic findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking. Organized to be accessible to public officials, researchers, journalists and the public at large, the Compendium succinctly summarizes key studies and other findings relevant to the ongoing public debate about unconventional methods of oil and gas extraction. The Compendium should be used by readers to grasp the scope of the information about both public health and safety concerns and the economic realities of fracking that frame these concerns. The reader who wants to delve deeper may consult the reviews, studies, and articles referenced. (In addition, a fully searchable, near-exhaustive citation database of peer-reviewed journal articles pertaining to shale gas and oil extraction is housed at the PSE Healthy Energy Library.

Download full article