Category Archives: News

Fracking and Earthquake Hazard

A REPORT PUBLISHED BY DECC that includes a BGS co-author concludes that the earthquakes near Blackpool in April and May 2011 were induced by hydraulic fracture treatments at the Preese Hall well (PH1), operated by CUADRILLA RESOURCES LTD. The report also concludes that further small earthquakes cannot be ruled out, however the risk from these earthquakes is low, and structural damage is extremely unlikely.

The report also recommends a number of measures to reduce the likelihood of earthquakes associated with hydraulic fracturing in future

See more from the British Geological Society on Earthquake Hazard (here)

Environmental Agency Permits for Little Plumpton

Cuadrilla have applied to the Environmental Agency for 3 permits associated with the planning application for Preston New Road (Little Plumpton).  Comments/objections are invited before 8th July


Cuadrilla Bowland Limited – Preston New Road

The aim of this consultation is to ask members of the public whether you have any comments relevant to the permit application
We want to make the best decision when permitting. Listening to the views of others helps us to take account of concerns, or local environmental factors, that we may not be otherwise aware of.
We are seeking comments on the applications from Cuadrilla Bowland Limited for the Preston New Road exploration site, Plumpton, Fylde, Lancashire PR4 3PJ. Please use the reference numbers below when making comments on this application.
1. Environmental Permit for onshore oil and gas exploratory operations.
Permit Number: EPR/AB3101MW/A001
Regulated facility type: Permit for the management of mining waste involving waste facilities, the flaring of gas in plant with a capacity of over 10 tonnes per day and a groundwater activity.
2. Environmental Permit for a radioactive substances activity permit
Permit Number: EPR/KB3395DE/A001
Regulated facility type: Radioactive Substances Activity – Accumulate radioactive waste and Dispose of radioactive waste.
3. Environmental Permit for a groundwater activity.
Permit Number: EPR/BB3093RH/A001
Regulated facility type: Permit for the discharge, from oil and gas exploratory operations, of pollutants that might lead to an indirect input of those pollutants to groundwater.

NGR discharge point: A groundwater activity centred on SD 37408 32740

More info

New action group formed against fracking proposals – Lancashire Evening Post

New action group formed against fracking proposalsVisualisation of the Preston New Road exploration site with Cuadrillas drilling rig.


Visualisation of the Preston New Road exploration site with Cuadrillas drilling rig.

Published on the 15 June 2014

Neighbours closest to a proposed fracking site in Lancashire have formed an action group, fearing the area is “unacceptably close” to their homes.

An application for drilling up to four exploratory wells on Land off Preston New Road, to the west of Little Plumpton, has been lodged with County Hall chiefs.

But members of the newly-created Preston New Road Action Group (PAG) say they are “deeply concerned” about the impact of shale gas exploration so near to their community.

Patricia Davies, who helped form PAG, said: “The group is designed to raise awareness in the area – a lot of people don’t seem to understand what fracking is about.

“The main concern is that Fylde is a tourist location, and the first thing you’re going to see coming off the M55 will be these drills which will flare methane gas.”
She also said residents had health concerns about the plans.

Cuadrilla said they listened hard to local people before submitting their plans, but Patricia said families were concerned about the proximity of their homes to the proposed site.

She said: “There are 10 families within 230m of the drill site, and at the moment it’s just green fields with cattle and sheep grazing.”

Patricia described the site as “unacceptably close” to the homes, and she said 300 elderly residents would be living within 1,000m of the site.

She said: “Because this is the first real fracking site in the UK, the impacts are unknown so to do it so close to family homes is an unnecessary risk.

“From my home, everywhere you look you see fields.

“We bought into a lifestyle – we’ve got birds, foxes, rabbits – it’s all very rural.

“But that will all change once it becomes industrialised.”
She added: “The real concerns are the health impacts of siting something so close to the community.”

Cuadrilla said they had worked hard to take on board feedback received during their consultations with local groups.

Chief executive Francis Egan said: “Where it has been reasonably practical to do so, we have amended our plans to incorporate feedback and suggestions.”

via New action group formed against fracking proposals – Lancashire Evening Post.

Growing Evidence of Fracking’s Health Risks

Growing Evidence of Fracking’s Health Risks

  • By Jennifer J. Brown, PhD, @jjunebrown
  • Experts are saying that extraction of natural gas by fracking may have health risks we are only beginning to understand. Here’s why they’re pushing back against the fracking boom.

Links between fracking and potential health risks raise concerns.


Among water contaminants found at fracking sites are chemicals that can disrupt normal hormone function.

Polluted air is potentially dangerous for people with health problems like asthma.

Radioactive materials can contaminate water after fracking.

A growing body of medical evidence links fracking, the politically controversial process of natural gas extraction, to specific health risks, said a group of health professionals in a recent open letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and acting state health commissioner Howard Zucker.

Fracking, also called hydraulic fracturing, uses water and chemicals mixed with sand to blast open hidden gas reserves deep under the earth’s surface.

Fracking has faced opposition around the globe because the chemicals used in the process may contaminate air and water, and also affect the food supply, according to the nonprofit advocacy group Food and Water Watch. One public health concern about fracking is the potentially toxic and hormone-disrupting chemicals Continue reading Growing Evidence of Fracking’s Health Risks

A new report by FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

Press release
Fracking regs tarnished – new report

An immediate moratorium on further unconventional gas and oil exploration and production – including fracking – is essential because regulation of the industry is inadequate, flawed or ineffectively applied and enforced, concludes a new review published today by Friends of the Earth.

The Coalition Government and industry have repeatedly claimed that UK fracking regulation is the world’s toughest and ‘gold standard’. But Friends of the Earth’s analysis identifies serious shortcomings which pose major risks from carbon emissions as well as to the local environment and nearby communities.

Friends of the Earth’s energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said:

“The Government and industry claim that the regulation of fracking in the UK is gold standard, but all that glitters is not gold.

“Where regulation exists, much of it is inadequate, flawed or ineffectively applied and enforced, which means big risks for the local environment and for the health of people living near drilling sites as well as increasing the risks of climate change.

“It’s time to suspend further activity while these risks are fully assessed to see if they can be controlled.” Continue reading A new report by FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

A recent in-depth article on fracking

This piece by Matthew Langham Content & Online PR Executive

has been well received and below are a few of the key experts involved:

• Dr James Verdon – Geologist at the University of Bristol
• Ed Hough from the British Geological Survey
• Dr Robert Allan – University of Huddersfield

The experts involved with my article have supported the article already and helped us promote it, the more people we can make aware of fracking and instil interest, the better

you can read here –


Michael Meacher MP on Fracking

The dreams peddled by the oil and gas industries turn out to be fantasies

May 2nd, 2014

The one thing Osborne loves to tell us, constantly, is that the future of energy production lies in fracking and that he will do everything in his power to maximise shale drilling in Britain, even to the extent of allowing drilling to be carried out on private land without permission.   However this oasis of future riches has received rather a knock from the latest information in the US.   It has now been reported that the top 15 players in US shale drilling have written off no less than $35bn since the boom started, and that investors are beginning to pull out.   It has also become clear from the big shale basins in the US that production rapidly peaks, but then equally rapidly falls away.   This has been the experience in all but one of the major shale-gas drilling regions in the US.   The boom shows ominous signs a bust before too long.   The energy industry’s narrative of plenty in long-term extractable unconventional gas has been proven wrong. Then there is another narrative of plenty, this time denying peak oil and insisting there are growing global supplies of affordable oil far into the future.   This is now turning out to be equally flawed.   The truth is that capital expenditure on finding new reserves has soared whilst at the same time discoveries by major oil companies has dropped, and is still dropping.  In fact crude oil production, which meets some three-quarters of global demand, peaked nearly a decade ago in 2005.   And third, there is a growing risk of carbon fuel asset stranding whereby policy-making on climate change, or the possibility of it, causes investors to abandon significant amounts of oil, gas and coal assets underground, unburned.  Already some major financial institutions are starting to pull out of carbon-fuel investments.   Other institutions are holding their investments in place for the moment, but are pressuring carbon-fuel corporations to rein back capital being expended on efforts to turn resources into reserves.   That is bad news for an energy industry needing ever more capital to keep its narratives of carbon fuel plenty on track. Thus the fossil fuel industry likes to speak of the US becoming the new ‘Saudi America’ – a nation self-sufficient in oil and gas that exports to help allies in trouble, like Ukraine.   This is a blatant myth: US oil consumption is 18.5m barrels a day, but its production is only 8.9m barrels a day.   One wonders what part of that equation they’re going to export any time soon to save Ukraine and others from the clutches of Kremlin-controlled pipelines?

Fracking industry bosses at heart of coalition

Revealed: Fracking industry bosses at heart of coalition

Industry figures Lord Browne, Baroness Hogg, Sam Laidlaw, and Lord Howell all advise the government
Getty Images; Rex
Campaigners warn of potential conflicts of interest from energy-sector leaders advising on policy.
The coalition may be promoting the controversial practice of fracking for gas because senior figures from that industry sit in the heart of Government, campaigners have warned. The former BP boss Lord Browne, Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw and BG Group director Baroness Hogg have all been accused of the potential for conflicts of interest, as they hold senior advisory roles at a time when the Government is heavily promoting fracking. This involves fracturing tightly packed shale rock with a high-pressure water and chemical mixture to release oil and gas.
Cuadrilla, which is chaired by Lord Browne, is searching for shale gas in Lancashire, but suspended operations there in 2011 after its drilling was found to be the likely cause of tremors in Blackpool. The Government has signed up to the potential of shale gas after it transformed energy policy in the United States, despite severe criticism from environmentalists. Last month, George Osborne spoke of “tax and planning changes which will put Britain at the forefront of exploiting shale gas”. A recent report by the British Geological Survey found that the UK could have trillions of cubic feet of the gas in the North-west alone, but critics argue that it would be difficult to extract from deep beneath the ground even with modern drilling techniques. Anti-fracking campaigners and industry insiders are concerned that major energy-sector figures have roles that gives them access to ministers in Whitehall. Among those said to be worried is a top executive at EDF, who believes that the Government’s new-found commitment to shale has ended up hurting the French group’s negotiations over building a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. There are more than 60 “non-executives” (Neds) who sit across Whitehall departments, largely drawn from Britain’s most impressive corporate talent. Their job is to help ministries be run in a more business-like manner, and Lord Browne is the overall lead for this group. Lord Browne sits within the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude’s constituency includes Balcombe in West Sussex, another area where Cuadrilla is drilling. On his website, Mr Maude acknowledges that fracking “understandably rang alarm bells” after the tremors in Lancashire, but argues that “shale gas could help significantly by contributing both to improving our security and independence and to keeping prices down”. Mr Laidlaw has been the lead non-executive at the Department for Transport. Centrica, which owns British Gas, recently bought a one-quarter stake in Cuadrilla’s most promising licence, which is the one in Lancashire. Baroness Hogg sits in the Treasury, but she is also a non-executive director at BG Group, which has extensive shale gas interests in the US. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by any of these advisers. Elsie Walker, a campaigner with the anti-fracking group Frack Off, said it is easy to argue that there is a “line blurred between the shale-gas lobby and Government”. She added that the Government is “littered” with people who have current or recent ties to the fracking industry. Ms Walker argued: “It doesn’t take a genius or a cynic to realise that those who stand to make a serious amount of money from the success of a particular industry should be nowhere near those who will be making decisions that will influence the future health of that industry.” A Government spokesman said: “All non-executive directors declare their interests to their departments to ensure there is no conflict of interest, and departments will make the necessary arrangements to manage any potential conflicts in the normal way. None of the Neds named sit on the board of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and therefore there is no conflict of interest.” Conflicts of interest? Lord Browne The former BP boss is chairman of Cuadrilla, which is exploring for shale gas in Lancashire and West Sussex. He is lead “non-executive” across Government, meaning that he helps recruit other non-executives to Whitehall. Baroness Hogg The non-executive for the Treasury sits on the board of BG Group, which has significant shale gas assets in the United States. Sam Laidlaw The non-executive to the Transport Department is also chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, which recently bought a 25 per cent stake in Cuadrilla’s most promising shale gas prospect. Ben Moxham A former executive at BP when Lord Browne was at the helm, he followed the peer to Riverstone Holdings, which owns 42 per cent of Cuadrilla. Moxham was energy adviser at No 10 but quit in May. Lord Howell George Osborne’s father-in-law is also president of the British Institute of Economics, whose backers include BP and BG Group.

Continue reading Fracking industry bosses at heart of coalition