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RAG Newsletter July 2019

In This Newsletter

RAG Award from Friends of the Earth
Glastonbury 2019
Myerscough Open Day
Gina Dowding
PNR  UKOG extend deadlines
          Application to frack second well
          Warning for Cuadrilla
          Survey of PNR residents

            100th Call for Calm – 10th July
Green Mondays at PNR
41 Tories Support a Fracking Ban
Illegal Planning Guidelines
US Study – “Fracking a Profound Threat”
Other Sites
Blackpool declares Climate Emergency
Bridging Fuel?
Quote of the month

 

NEWSLETTER

 

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Fracking chief rapped by opponents for calling for safety limits to be raised

“We are surprised to read that Mr Egan thinks that his industry is ‘being held back by a micro-seismic Traffic Light System, set with an upper limit of just 0.5 on the Richter scale, with no credible scientific basis’.

“This is a very strange claim to make given that he wrote to the then Energy Minister, when this Traffic Light System was devised seven years ago, claiming that Cuadrilla themselves had developed it ‘in conjunction with with industry experts and [his] team at DECC’.

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Mistrust and earthquakes: why Lancashire communities are so shaken by fracking tremors – Anna Szolucha

Mistrust and earthquakes: why Lancashire communities are so shaken by fracking tremors. 

Anna Szolucha                 December 14, 2018

On high alert
Local residents are concerned the earthquakes may cause cracks in the fracking well’s casing,  which could potentially lead to contamination issues. Some scientists claim the impact of these seismic events at surface is equivalent to dropping a melon onto the floor. But government officials and those in the fracking industry have dismissed the tremors   suggesting they are inconsequential. 
As a social scientist living in Lancashire, I have been researching the social impacts of shale gas developments since 2015. From what I have seen, there is much more to the tremors than just ground movements. The impact of the quakes that occurred far below ground reverberated strongly throughout the community living on the surface. To understand why this is the case it is important to understand local people’s experiences of shale gas exploration in the UK.
Fracking on shaky ground
 
The same operator, Cuadrilla, was fracking for shale gas in the area seven years ago. Two bigger and around 50 smaller earthquakes occurred over an eight-month period as a result of injecting fluid into a geological fault zone.In 2018  and under new seismicity controls   Cuadrilla was required to halt its fracking operations twice when the monitoring equipment detected tremors bigger than 0.5 local magnitude. The system was introduced to set “gold standard” regulations for this new industry. After the quakes, Cuadrilla’s CEO warned that making fracking commercially viable would be extremely challenging under the existing seismic monitoring system in the UK. He wanted the government to reconsider its position on seismic monitoring within weeks. 
Weeks passed by, the activity at the site was subdued for a month and no further seismic events were recorded until December 10 2018. Cuadrilla did not publicly confirm it had suspended hydraulic fracturing between early November and December. But it did say it was planning to engage with the regulators to change the upper limit on seismic monitoring.
 

Continue reading Mistrust and earthquakes: why Lancashire communities are so shaken by fracking tremors – Anna Szolucha

LETTER TO THE EDITOR SOUTHPORT REPORTER

Letter To the Editor:- “Fracking firms Cuadrilla and Ineos”

“HOW dare Fracking firms Cuadrilla and Ineos demand a change to the regulations they helped to develop and boasted about to gain planning permissions? In 2011 Cuadrilla operated free from proper controls and look what happened. They were forced to halt following the public outcry about the tremors they created because it was obvious they could not be trusted. The “safeguards” are thin enough (and constantly eroded by Cuadrilla once planning permission was granted at Preston New Road near Blackpool in 2018). To allow the companies to call time on the Traffic Light System which monitors the impact of fracking after a matter of weeks would be wholly irresponsible. Fylde residents and others around the country know that the claims the companies made about what fracking would be like in reality were fake : tremors came thick and fast and the red warning light (a rare occurrence residents were told) proved not that rare at all!! They cannot meet the standards they once commended and want to see them altered. This is not just moving the goalposts, but dismantling them! Since 2014 Cuadrilla has harassed fracking opponents with allegations of fear mongering. When experience shows (again) that fracking is incompatible with England’s geology (so different to the American shale beds) and population density (so different to America and Australia) they really can’t demand a new bar to be set, preferably one a snake could wriggle over!” Rowland Taylor, Lytham St Annes.

Open letter from RAG Chair

Dear County Councillors Nash and Ashton
I was both shocked and disconcerted to hear your comments yesterday, made at the full Lancashire County Council meeting, regarding the two motions being proposed about fracking on the Fylde. 
Your comments seem to demonstrate a complete misunderstanding and disregard for the genuine issues and concerns being raised by ordinary residents of the Fylde, such as myself, over fracking in general but more specifically over the spate of recent earthquakes, at the Preston New Road site, and alleged behaviour of protestors. 
I was born and raised in Preston and a consider myself a true Lancastrian. I especially love the Fylde. I am retired but I spent over 40 years working in the IT industry, in a relatively high paid job, choosing to move to the rural Fylde to enjoy the peace and quiet it offers, the fresh air, country walks and cycle rides and being part of a strong local community; all of which I found and enjoy. 
When I heard about Cuadrilla’s plans to frack in the heart of our community alarm bells started to ring. I was not anti-fracking at first, but I soon realised upon doing my research, and 4.5 years later I am still of the same opinion, that this industry has no place here or anywhere. It is not wanted and not needed. 
This industry really does pose serious risks to our communities, their health and well-being, our environment, our economy and ultimately our ability to meet our climate change targets. 
We are not talking about one or two exploratory sites. We are talking about what would happen if it moves to full scale commercial shale gas extraction. This will necessitate hundreds of sites, thousands of wells and tens of thousands of HGV movements on our rural lanes and main roads. to make it commercially viable. 
The recent earthquakes at Preston New Road are just a warning sign. This is a densely populated area with a very complex, and highly faulted geology. There have been 48 tremors to date, the largest being 1.5ML. They are clearly increasing in both frequency and magnitude and this is Cuadrilla operating cautiously with one low level frack a day, if that!
It is time you stopped listening to industry lobbyists and started listening to those directly affected so you can better understand why thousands of ordinary residents, not rent-a-mob as you so kindly referred to us, have genuine concerns over this industry.
People come from far and wide, even from overseas, because this is major issue and, if you really love the Fylde, you will take note of our concerns. 
I have presented at two All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Shale Gas, met Natascha Engel, the Shale Gas Commissioner and I am Chair of a local resident’s group. I have also met our MP many times to discuss the issues. I am not political. I have never protested, or campaigned, before in my life but I do so now because I am genuinely horrified by what impact this industry will have on communities. 
Please do us the courtesy of at least listening to us. Come and visit the site to have a meaningful dialogue, in a rational manner, rather than bandy about such disingenuous comments in a full Council meeting. 
This industry does not have any social license. At the recent Public Inquiry, over the proposed site at Roseacre Wood site, seven town and parish councils stood united to oppose the plans. 
You need to understand the cumulative detrimental impacts of commercial scale fracking. The industry and their supporters deliberately over play the benefits and play down the adverse impacts. 
To ignore residents’ concerns is not only disingenuous but also foolhardy especially with local council elections due in May. Are you so sure ordinary people really support this industry? Not in my experience, if the amount of support from residents is anything to go by.
The recent spate of earthquakes at Preston New Road is a serious and genuine concern. Fracking should be suspended until a full independent inquiry takes place or the problems at Preese Hall will repeat themselves. 
To vote against such a motion is extremely short sighted. To make claims about significant traffic disruption, and rent-a-mob protestors, most of whom are ordinary local residents, need to be substantiated. 
Coincidentally, I am meeting our MP, Mark Menzies today to discuss these matters further. I look forward to what he has to say as our elected MP.
Regards,
Barbara Richardson
Chair of the Roseacre Awareness Group

 

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First red-level tremor at PNR

A 0.8 magnitude earth tremor was recorded today near Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road on the edge of Blackpool. The event, at 12.30pm (bst), happened while fracking was taking place, the company has confirmed. It qualifies as the first red event near the site under the government’s traffic light system regulations for induced seismicity. It is also the largest seismic event near the site since fracking began on 15 October 2018.

 

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