Potential Health Impacts of the Proposed Shale Gas Exploration Sites in Lancashire

The Lancashire County Council Cabinet will be asked to:

 

–  Receive the report on the initial health impact assessment of the proposed shale gas exploration sites in Lancashire;

–  Authorise the Director of Public Health to take the necessary steps to address the potential influence of shale gas exploration activities on the health and wellbeing of local communities.

See Full Report here.

Are Fracking Workers Being Poisoned on the Job?

A new study published in Environmental Health reveals air pollution data on major, in some cases previously underestimated, health risks from toxic contamination at gas production sites related to fracking. Air samples gathered around “unconventional oil and gas” sites by community-based environmental research teams contained unsafe levels of several volatile compounds that “exceeded federal guidelines under several operational circumstances,” and that “Benzene, formaldehyde, and hydrogen sulfide were the most common compounds to exceed acute and other health-based risk levels.”

See the Report here.

Who’s Important?

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HOW THE GOVERNMENT TREAT THE VOTING PUBLIC

Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 15:00
The Rt Hon Matthew Hancock
 
We are writing to you as our new Energy Minister. We are the chairs of the Roseacre Awareness and Preston New Road residents Groups (representing two groups of over 200 residents) who will be directly affected by Cuadrilla’s two recent planning applications to drill and hydraulically fracture for shale gas here at Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton in the heart of rural Fylde, Lancashire. If permission is granted (determination due November) these will be the very first wells to be high volume, intensively ‘fracked’ in the UK since the earthquakes at Preese Hall in 2011, just 6km from here.
We would like to invite you, and your representatives, to come and personally speak to our residents, from the villages of Roseacre, Wharles, Treales, Little Plumpton and Westby, i.e. those people who will be directly affected should these plans go ahead. We have had several meetings with our MP Mark Menzies on this issue, plus numerous discussions with local councillors, but there are still matters to be addressed. In view of the intense media attention (we have already been the subject of several press and media reports), we feel it would be a politically astute, and beneficial, move for you to come and speak to the people first hand about their concerns rather than hearing from government departments, industry experts and the actual operators. So far, we feel we are not being listened to despite months of effort to try and make our voices heard and we implore you to come and see us for yourself.
We appreciate you are a very busy man which is why we are inviting you now so we can set a date possibly to coincide with another NW visit.  We previously invited the Prime Minister but he passed onto Michael Fallon, the then Energy Minister, and we heard nothing more. This was a missed opportunity considering fracking is such a major issue at present and will continue to be so for some time to come. 
If you agree we would also invite our local parish councils and local press. We can assure you we are not a bunch on uneducated ‘nimbys’ but a well educated cross section of society. Peviously most of us were life long conservative voters but unfortunately this is no longer the case.
There are specific issues we would want to discuss including the DEFRA report, socio-economic benefits as well as the potential impacts on our health and environment. We could agree these, and Agenda, before hand.
Please, please consider this invitation seriously. You would be most welcome here and we are sure you would appreciate seeing first hand that this is not the desolate North!
Looking forward to hearing from you.
 
Kind regards
Barbara Richardson 
Chair of Roseacre Awareness Group                                     
Pat Davies
Chair of Preston New Road Residents Group

What Next?

02 September 2014 11:30
Dear Sir/Madam
 
We have not had an acknowledgement to our email below sent to the Rt Hon Matthew Hancock, on 27th August regarding fracking in Lancashire.  This is not just a generic letter regarding the issue but a serious invite from the two communities who may well be the first to experience full blown fracking in the UK since the earthquakes of 2011.
I am sure you would want to hear our views and this is a sincere invitation to come and meet us face to face so you can hear for yourself the views of local residents and, hopefully, reassure us the Conservative Party have our best interests at heart.
 
I have also invited our MP Mark Menzies to join us if we can agree a suitable date. If this is the wrong email address I apologise and I hope Mark will forward  to you or speak to you directly. 
Kind regards
Barbara Richardson
Chair of Roseacre Awareness Group

What Next?

Sent: Friday, 19 September 2014, 15:02
Subject: RE: Fracking – Invitation to Roseacre Wood proposed fracking site
Dear Ms Richardson,
 
Apologies in the delay in responding to this email. 
 
The Minister is grateful for your kind invitation to visit Roseacre and other local villages.  Unfortunately, due to diary pressure, he is unable to meet with you at this time.  We will be in touch if a visit to the North West is planned in the near future, to discuss whether it would be possible to arrange a meeting.
Kind regards,
Rosie Birchall
Private Secretary to Matt Hancock MP
And Next!!
Wednesday, 12 November 2014, 13:51
Dear Rosie
I have just found out that the Minister has indeed visited the NW today, with much publicity, yet extremely disappointed that he did not find time to come and speak to those residents who are likely to be directly affected by plans to frack in Lancashire. I find this discourteous and alarming.
The Minister can find time to visit local colleges so why not take time out to me with us as we kindly offered in September. Is he afraid of what we will have to say?
Can you please pass this on to the Minister and let him know our invitation is still open to him, and that next time he is in the NW, we hope he will find time to come visit us.
Regards
Barbara Richardson
Chair of Roseacre Awareness Group

EU Fracking Boom Becoming Less Likely

Pro-fracking campaign in the global media is fading fast. A year or two ago the extraction method suitable for the Arizona desert was presented as a key component of the EU’s energy security policy by high-ranking officials in the European Commission. Many large corporations that announced an influx of investment into Eastern European fracking projects between 2010 and 2013 are now gradually reducing the scope of their planned work. Their decision was prompted by environmental and political problems that receive insufficient coverage in the industry media. It’s becoming clear that fracking technology can’t be brought to the EU “as is” from the United States.

Recently published data by Rice University, Texas indicates that simple recycling of the tainted waste water is not safe, OilPrice.com writes. A year or two ago supporters of hydraulic fracturing used to preach about “green innovations in the shale revolution” with the passion of small-town televangelists, but now, after the publication of new data, they have switched tactics and simply remain silent about environmental problems. Yet concerned citizens of New York City are more aware.

“Making fracking safe is simply not possible, not with the current technology, or with the inadequate regulations being proposed,”

Louis Allstadt

See full article

The government is getting desperate

The government just declared war on the British people over fracking.

It’s going to allow companies to frack under our homes without our permission — despite 99% of responses to a public consultation saying an emphatic  NO.

A massive 40,000 people formally objected to proposals to change trespass laws so that fracking companies can extract oil and gas from under people’s land without permission. Showing utter disdain for democracy, the government has decided to ignore this outpouring of public opposition, and go ahead with changing the law in favour of the frack-happy 1%.

It’s clear that this government is far more interested in helping fossil fuel companies than it is in building a green economy or being democratically accountable. But we can still stop this.

Tell the government to ditch plans to frack under our homes without our permission.

Thousands of communities across the UK are facing the threat of fracking. The shale oil and gas boom in the US has led to contaminated drinking water, air pollution, health problems from headaches to cancer, multiple earthquakes, water shortages and rocketing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s blindingly obvious we can’t allow that to happen here.

Industry have licences to frack on more than 60% of British land already, but local communities everywhere are saying no. Action camps have sprung up all over the country.

The government is getting desperate, which is why it’s resorting to removing people’s basic right to control what happens under their own land. We have to make this shocking move backfire, and lead to even greater opposition, until the frackers are forced to back down.

Sign the petition to stop forced fracking under people’s land.

Objecting to the Monitoring Sites

1. Objecting to the Monitoring Sites Information.

The impacts of Shale Gas Development in Lancashire may be far more serious than any of us have imagined. We thought Cuadrilla were just applying for 2 sites to drill and frack at Roseacre and Little Plumpton. We were wrong they have also applied for planning permission for industrial development on a further 184 parcels of land and this we believe is their real prize.

The Roseacre application to drill and frack 4 wells is referenced LCC/2014/0101 but there is another application referenced LCC/2014/0102 for monitoring works.
The Little Plumpton application to drill and frack 4 wells is referenced LCC/20140096 and the application for the monitoring works is referenced LCC/2014/0097.

If you haven’t specifically objected to the second applications for monitoring works, it is vitally important to do that now because the Roseacre one is applying for planning permission on 91 parcels of land, (please see table 1a – Roseacre Wood Monitoring Sites to see where these are) and the Little Plumpton one is applying for planning permission on 93 parcels of land, (please see table 1b – Little Plumpton Monitoring Sites to see where these are).

The significance of this, is that once the principle of development is established, planning officers would find it very difficult to refuse any future development and so therefore, if these applications are approved, Cuadrilla will have the choice to develop any of the 184 sites right across the Fylde from Preston to Blackpool.

Frances Egan was quoted to say – “you need to understand the scale of this, this will be the largest gas field in the whole of Western Europe”. Now we see how this could become a reality!

So, please find attached a template letter to help compose your objection letter. 2 – Template Letter

You can write a general letter objecting to both planning applications covering the 184 monitoring sites (see template number 2 to assist you). As well as this, we recommend also writing to object specifically to the monitoring site /sites nearest to where you live (for the points you will need to consider when objecting to a specific site, please see    3 – Points to consider for specific monitoring sites

In Table 4 – Table of the Locations of All the Roseacre Wood Monitoring Sites you find find the exact location of all the monitoring sites in the Roseacre application LCC/2014/0102

In Table 5 – Table of the Locations of All the Little Plumpton Monitoring Sites  you will find the exact location of all the monitoring sites in the Little Plumpton application LCC/2014/0097.

Finally you will find a map – this is 6 – Distribution of Monitoring Sites – Little Plumpton and Roseacreand this shows the distribution of all 184 monitoring sites, all 184, 20m x 20m square parcels of land across the whole of Fylde, Wyre and Preston.

Send your letters either by e-mail to devcon@lancashire.gov.uk or post to The Development Management Group, Environment Directorate, P.O.Box 100, County Hall, Preston, PR1 0LD.

Let us encourage as many people as we can to realise the significance of this potential threat and together we can help to save Lancashire from the blight of Shale Gas and prevent Lancashire people from becoming the guinea pigs in this experiment.

DECC Undemocratic? What do you think?

Just in case you haven’t heard yet (you may well not have heard because the media have barely mentioned it), the Government has responded to the “Underground Drilling Access” Consultation.

40,647 of us replied to DECC.  Only 82 responses (mainly by oil industry insiders) were in favour of the proposed changes to the trespass law to allow fracking under our property without our consent.  99.8% of us were opposed to the changes.

You can read the Government’s response here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/358521/Government_Response_FINAL.pdf
The Government’s view is that not one of the 40,565 of us who replied raised any single point which would make them change their decision to press ahead with their proposed changes to the trespass law, whereas the 82 people who were in favour of it raised some very good points about why it is needed.

So they will be forging ahead with these changes as soon as possible. They’ve also decided that the proposed changes should now apply also to Coalbed Methane Extraction even though that was not included in the consultation.

I think our first step in continuing our opposition to these undemocratic changes must be to try to raise awareness amongst people we know and also to bombard our own MPs to let them know that we do not want this.  Tessa Munt claims to be against this change (she wrote a very good letter about it encouraging us all to respond to the consultation).  I will write to her asking what she proposes to do now that the Government has decided to ignore what 99.8% of respondents have said.  Perhaps we should all do the same. I would be keen to hear your ideas about what other actions we could take.

Our awareness raising event in Wells on 21 September went well.  Around 160 people put dots on the Frackometer to show their feelings about fracking.  25 were 100% in favour, 80+ were 100% against and the rest said that they didn’t know enough to express an opinion about it yet.  We had good discussions about their questions about fracking.  Most people were concerned about contamination of the water, the geology of the Mendips, the impact of the infrastructure and our health.  Our next step is to try to get answers to specific questions from people on either side of the debate.  I’ll keep you posted about any answers we get….

The Government continues to put those in sympathy with fracking into positions of power – John Manzoni (an ex BP  exec who was fined in the US for breaching fracking regulations) has just been appointed CEO of the Civil Service.  His appointment seems to have been engineered by Lord Browne.  The new head of the Environment Agency, which will be responsible for regulating fracking to a large extent, is Philip Dilley, who was previously chairman of Arup’s and involved in advising Cuadrilla.

All very depressing, but there is some good news – UK Methane – the fracking company which holds the PEDL 227 licence in Somerset has just had it’s planning application in Neath rejected by the Council. Lets hope Somerset County Council will stand up to the frackers too.

In case anyone you know hasn’t already signed this:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-fracking-in-somerset