Comment: output from shale wells declines so quickly that they will never be profitable – when investors realise this, the industry will collapse, writes Tim Morgan
Many chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, can disrupt not only the human body’s reproductive hormones but also the glucocorticoid and thyroid hormone receptors, which are necessary to maintain good health, a new study finds:
Interview with Tina Louise
Really well worth watching.
Two items below contain ways to help you object to the planning application for Exploratory Drilling for Shale Gas and Fracking at Roseacre Wood.
There is a standard objection letter which you can copy or download (LCC Objection Letter), or some guidance (Last Chance..) to help you construct your own objection letter with reference to the relevant planning policies.
You can email comments and objections to email@example.com
Don’t forget to include planning ref LCC/2014/0101
Lancashire County Council,
Transport and Environment,
Development Management Group,
County Hall, PO Box 100,
Preston, PR1 0LD
Dear Sir or Madam,
PLANNING APPLICATION NO. LCC/2014/0101
“CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF A SITE FOR DRILLING UP TO FOUR EXPLORATION WELLS, HYDRAULIC FRACTURING OF THE WELLS, TESTING FOR HYDROCARBONS AND OTHER USES ANCILLARY TO THE EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES INCLUDING THE CONSTRUCTION OF A PIPELINE AND A CONNECTION TO THE GAS GRID NETWORK TO LAND WEST, NORTH AND EAST OF ROSEACRE WOOD, ROSEACRE ROAD AND INSKIP ROAD, WHARLES”
I am writing to object to the above planning application by Cuadrilla Elswick Ltd. There is growing evidence that shale gas extraction poses serious risks to human health and the environment, as a result, many countries and towns around the world have banned this practice. For this reason, the precautionary principle should be applied in order to protect Lancashire residents from the unavoidable impacts of shale gas development. I wish to object on the following grounds:
– Well integrity – This is a chronic industry problem that they are unable to solve, all wells fail with age resulting in a toxic legacy for current and future generations. They remain unmonitored in the ground forever.
– Ecology – Unavoidable negative impacts to the environment, Lancashire wildlife including protected species and their natural habitats and rural character. The site is close to Medlar Meadows and Medlar Ditch BHS Sites, Wyre Estuary SSSI, Morecambe Bay RAMSAR and Ribble Estuary SSSI RAMSAR site, an internationally important site for wildlife, including wintering wildfowl. Roseacre is the home to protected species such as bats, brown hare, barn owls and great crested newts.
– Lack of regulation and enforcement – Cuadrilla have demonstrated numerous breaches of their planning permissions in Lancashire and Balcombe evidencing a dangerous gap in regulatory enforcement.
– Air pollution & Greenhouse Gases – Unavoidable due to flaring, methane emissions, particulate matter, ozone & traffic.
– Water pollution – Contaminationof nearby Thistleton Brook could result in pollution of local water sources used by local farmers for their livestock.
– Unsuitable geology – Professor David Smythe stated that Lancashire is unsuitable for fracking due to it’s faulted geology. Subsequently, there is a risk to communities from induced seismic activity.
– Seismicity – The traffic light system is a warning system and cannot prevent seismic activity once it has been induced.
– Health impacts – Evidence from the USA suggests vast negative health impacts, inc. neurological, dermatological and respiratory illness. A Cornell university study evidenced low birth weights in infants in communities close to gas drilling, whilst the Bamberger Oswald study discovered stillbirths and birth defects in animals due to air emissions from flaring, traffic and chemical exposure. The cumulative health effects have not been adequately studied.
– Noise – An unavoidable negative impact for local residents. There is very little noise pollution at present. Cuadrilla exceeded noise levels set in planning permission at Balcombe.
– Light pollution – An unavoidable impact that would significantly affect local residents as little light pollution at present.
– Visual impact – The development would impact the rural character of the local area. The site is situated between two hamlets which are part of a single community effectively dividing a community in half.
– Traffic – The narrow country lanes are totally unsuitable for HGV’s especially on Dagger Road and Roseacre Road where HGV’s would not be able pass safely and would endanger other road users.
– Cyclists/horse riders/walkers – the route is used by hundreds of cyclists, riders and walkers. Use of this route by HGV’s would present a serious risk of injury to cyclists, riders and other road users and also loss of social amenity.
– Waste disposal – There are inadequate measures in place to treat and dispose of the vast quantities of waste water nor is there sufficient capacity for such huge volumes of hazardous waste at treatment facilities.
– Unsustainable water usage – Public drinking water must be preserved at all costs. Such vast amounts should not be utilized for gas drilling, especially given the water shortages in recent years.
– Depreciation of property value – An unavoidable impact due to a substantial nearby industrial development.
– Liability for damage – There is no assurance that Cuadrilla will accept liability for damage. Local authorities and communities will be left to bear the cost of any damage caused by the proposed development.
The proposal conflicts with Fylde local plan policies designed to protect the countryside, valuable habitats, agricultural land, water resources, groundwater and air quality, and the Lancashire minerals plan policy to protect water, air, soil and biodiversity from harm. LCC should acknowledge the short and long-term impacts that intensive shale gas development would have on Lancashire communities and the rural character of Lancashire. By granting this application LCC would be setting a precedent for intensive gas drilling in rural Lancashire for many years to come. This industrial development would have significant negative impacts on the environment, the quality of life of communities as well as the leisure, tourism and food production industries. On these grounds I strongly urge Lancashire County Council to reject the application.
POST CODE :
Download a copy here LCC OBJECTION ROSEACRE WOOD
The Last Chance To Save Your Village
Cuadrilla have now submitted their planning application to drill and hydraulically fracture (frack) up to 4 exploratory wells at Roseacre Wood, between the villages of Roseacre and Wharles.
The Planning Officers at Fylde Borough Council will submit their recommendations to Lancashire County Council on July 30th, Lancashire County Council will then decide the fate of Roseacre, Wharles and Treales.
Make no mistake, if this planning application is passed, then production development will follow thereafter. It will be just the beginning of the industrialisation of our Lancashire Countryside, as it will set precedence for the whole of Lancashire.
Without any objections, concerns or communications from us – the public – the residents of all Lancashire villages, the planners will only have Cuadrilla’s carefully tailored, very persuasive point of view and rosey picture of fracking.
So, before it is too late, please take to your PC, or put pen to paper and write to:- The Development Management Group, Environment Directorate, P.O. Box 100, County Hall, Preston PR1 0LD. With your name, address, postcode and the date. Reference:- Planning Application LCC/2014/0101 before August 29th , copy this also to Fylde Borough Council, Planning, Town Hall, Lytham St.Annes, FY8 1LW. before July 25th
You can email comments and objections to firstname.lastname@example.org
To Help Compile Your Objection Letter
Please use the following notes to assist. Choose the issues which concern you most, then state your own point of view and most importantly add the relevant planning policy, to give weight to your argument. The planning officers can only use objections which are backed up by policies. Duplicate letters are only counted as one objection. We have outlined some of the appropriate policies below, these can be found in the Fylde Borough Council Local Plan.
I’m concerned about the impact of traffic. Cuadrilla state 200 movements per day at peak times, of High Fraction HGVs. This will be unsafe, unpleasant and unhealthy on our narrow country lanes around Clifton, Treales, Wharles and Roseacre.
This application is contrary to Policy SP7 as the development cannot “be safely and adequately served by existing or proposed means of access and the local road network”. It is also contrary to Policy SP9 as it would “adversely affect the amenities enjoyed by nearby residents” in terms of fumes, risk of spills of toxic fluid, noise and vibrations and safety on the roads. It would also “prejudice the character of the surrounding area”.
My concern is the contamination of our water from leaking wells. 5% of all wells leak in their first year and 60% fail within 30 years – data from Schlumberger. (You may also wish to include – As my property also has a bore hole/well/septic tank/bio-tech I am very concerned that any damage to this would carry a risk of contaminating the land and subsequently groundwater.)
The wells drilled by Cuadrilla will never be removed, they will be simply capped, monitored for a few months and remain forever.
This application is contrary to Policy EP24 which states:-
“Development will not be permitted which would adversely affect the quality of ground water and the ability to utilise existing or potential resources within the Borough”.
I’m concerned about air pollution which will happen instantly the flaring starts and will continue over an initial two year period. Flaring burns off methane gas and causes air pollution. Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith senior advisor to the National Toxics Network, addressed MPs at Westminster on June 4th and explained that flaring “leads to over 250 pollutants”. I do not wish my family and grandchildren to be subject to these pollutants.
This application is contrary to Policy EP26 which states:-
“Development will not be permitted which is likely to give rise to unacceptable levels of air pollution where this would prejudice other adjacent or nearby communities or land uses”
I’m anxious about the affects of fracking on my health and that of my children’s. Studies in the USA have discovered chemicals in the air include benzene (carcinogen) ethylbenzine, tolune and xylene, plus heptane, octane and diethylbenzene resulting in an increase in cancer in surrounding areas.
Colorado school of public health have warned that those living within half a mile of the drilling site face the greatest health risks. So for the 100 – 120 drilling pads predicted to be necessary, to extract the Bowland Gas between Clevelys and Preston, there will not be many people who will remain unaffected.
This application is contrary to Policy EMP5 which states:-
“New developments which would unnecessarily increase the numbers of people at risk from hazardous installations will not be permitted”.
The area around Roseacre and Wharles is extremely quiet, so I’m anxious about the fracking noise which will be heard from 7.00am to 7.00pm and also from 7.00am on Saturday mornings and the noise from the drilling which will be in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Cuadrilla exceeded their noise limits in Balcombe and residents had to buy their own noise monitoring equipment. Constant noise is found to affect people’s health. Data – Environmental Health Perspectives.
This application is contrary to Policy EP27 which states:-
“Development which would unnecessarily and unacceptably result in harm by way of noise pollution will not be permitted”.
My concern is the effects on wildlife, especially as Cuadrilla are considering releasing surface water into the field drainage ditches. These drain into Thistleton Brook which runs into the River Wyre, which runs into the Wyre Estuary which is a very important site for wildlife.
This is contrary to PolicyEP15 which states:-
“Development proposals which may affect a European Site will be subject to the most vigorous examination and proposals which would affect the integrity of the site as a whole will not be permitted”. Also EP16 “development proposals likely to affect sites of special scientific interest, will be subject to special scrutiny, and will not be permitted unless the use of conditions or planning obligations would prevent damaging impacts”.
The site is comparable to Blackpool Football ground in size and the drilling rig is 53 metres high, which is comparable to Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, all surrounded by 4 metre high security fencing. All this in Roseacre; this cannot be acceptable as new development in the countryside.
This application is contrary to the Fylde Borough Council objective 1.50 (No.2)
“To limit development in the open countryside, to that appropriate to a rural area and necessary for the well being of the rural community”.
The site is going to be floodlit every night, 7 days a week and the site will be in operation 365 days per year, apparently for the safety of workers at night and for security reasons. My concern is the visual intrusion of this blight in the countryside.
Cuadrilla’s application clearly shows that it intends light to illuminate the site from site level and all elevations right up to the top of the 53 metre rig.
This application is contrary to Policy EP28 which states:-
“Development proposals involving external lighting should avoid or minimise harm relating to loss of local character, loss of amenity or reduction in highway safety”
Loss of Social Amenity
The roads around Roseacre, Wharles and Treales are used extensively by cyclists, horse riders, ramblers, and runners. The use of these narrow country lanes by HGVs will make these pastimes dangerous and unpleasant and could result in accidents. Together with the visual intrusion and pollution of this industrial site, will result in a loss of social amenity.
This application is contrary to Policy SP5
As the nature and extent of the proposal would “prejudice the character and appearance of the countryside”.
I’m worried that fracking will increase the risk of earthquakes. David Smythe, Professor of Geophysics, says that this area in Lancashire is heavily faulted. Cuadrilla still don’t know which fault caused the earthquakes in 2011.
This application is contrary to Policy DM2 from the Joint Lancashire Minerals and Waste Plan, which states:-
“Development will be supported if it can be demonstrated that all material, social, economic and environmental impacts that would cause demonstrable harm can be eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels”.
The risk of seismic reaction cannot be eliminated, nor because of it’s very nature can it be reduced to an acceptable level whether induced or through natural causes.
This application is not appropriate for this rural area, in terms of it’s visual appearance, it’s affects on the communities it is sited so close to, it’s dangers to all road users of the narrow country lanes and it’s potential harm to human health and to the environment and is contrary to Policy SP2. which states that “in countryside areas development will not be permitted except where proposals properly fall within” certain categories, none of which refer to a new industrial development, which will harm the character of the countryside. It should therefore be refused. Whilst there is doubt about the safety of high volume, hydraulic fracturing, it is irresponsible to go ahead with this planning application.
The National Planning Policy Framework states that authorities should “ensure that in granting permission for mineral development, there are no unacceptable adverse impacts on human health or the natural environment and take into account the cumulative effect of multiple impacts from individual sites and/or from a number of sites in a locality”.
This planning application cannot be judged in isolation as Cuadrilla say in their Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report, that this application is one of “potentially a greater number of temporary exploration sites within the Fylde”.
Francis Egan when addressing the business attendees at the Winter Gardens Shale Gas Conference, also said, that becoming a supplier was a long term investment and a long term relationship of 20, 30, 40 or 50 years. So, this is definitely not temporary, it is for a life time.
It is not unreasonable to assume therefore, that the next site really is coming next to you! Please for all our sakes forward your objection now. To arrive at Lancashire County Council by July 15th, and at Fylde Borough Council by July 18th.
We are holding drop in sessions on Monday July 7th and Thursday July 10th at the Derby Arms at Treales between 5.30 -7.00pm, to assist anyone who requires help with their letter. We will also have some drafts of letters for those who haven’t had the chance to compile their own.
To download a copy of this click on the link below
Planning Application from Cuadrilla Elswick Ltd has been validated and available to view/comment here
Cuadrilla have applied to the Environmental Agency for permits associated with the exploratory drilling and fracturing at Roseacre Wood. They need these permits to proceed if they manage to get planning permission.
The EA are seeking comments on the permit application,with the consultation period from now until 22nd July.
To view the application (which also contains much of the documentation submitted to Lancashire County Council as part of the planning application) and to input your comments/objections use the link below.
This link will also provide access to the equivalent for Preston New Road consultation which closes on the 9th July.
Don’t forget the EA are running a drop in session at Elswick village hall on Thursday 3rd July from 2:00 pm til 7:00 pm
A MILESTONE IN THE DEBATE SURROUNDING THE HEALTH RISKS OF FRACKING:
Oil and Gas engineer Mike Hill has strongly criticised the burgeoning fracking industry and government in the UK for failing to properly assess the health implications of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in dense populations. Today his opinions are being published in the world’s leading medical journal The Lancet.
Mike says “After a very thorough review of my correspondence on Shale gas regulation in the UK and health implications of fracking The Lancet will publish online this Friday and then it goes into the journal shortly after. Can I take this opportunity to thank The Lancet for their scrutiny of this piece and rigorous approach to ensure that the details were as accurate as possible. I am, of course, delighted and humbled that such a journal, with such a reputation throughout the world, has chosen to publish my words.”
The correspondence brings the reader up-to-date with the lack of regulation and monitoring in the UK at this time. The health studies emerging from the US are now opening up the debate on the health implications of fracking with some serious results (abnormality in new borns, low birth weights, chronic health conditions). The UK Gov is constantly re-assuring the public that fracking is safe and strictly regulated. The reality seems to be somewhat different. With just 1 out of 10 Royal Society recommendations implemented in 2 years despite the governments acceptance that all are needed and fracking about to resume in Lancashire, then this letter explains just how far we have to go in the UK before we can possibly think of fracking again.
Fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of chemicals, silica and water down a borehole and raising the pressure to thousands of psi to fracture the shale rocks. The silica acts to hold open the tiny cracks and this then allows gas trapped at a microscopic level in the rocks to flow back to the surface along with approx. half the waste material in the form of liquid flowback (approx. 12 million litres/well). The main operator in the UK is Cuadrilla Resources. They have fracked one well in the UK at Weeton near Blackpool, Lancs. in 2011 causing two earthquakes and damage to the well. No fracking has occurred in the UK since. The UK Gov recently announced a new law to make fracking easier for the operators by allowing them to drill underneath anyone’s property with no permission required. Cuadrilla now intend to drill 8 wells with vertical and horizontal sections ( approx. 4 miles) in Lancs this year and have recently applied for planning permission to do so.
Mike says ” We are not ready to resume fracking in the UK. Our regulatory regime is inadequate, we have not implemented the necessary recommendations and the health impacts which are now becoming known through serious research in the USA are being ignored by the UK Gov. I hope that the letter assists the government, health professionals and public in knowing just how serious the situation is and the risks we are presently facing.
Mike Hill is a chartered electrical engineer with many years’ experience in the oil and gas industry both direct (wireline, seismic) and indirect (process automation). Mike is an expert advisor to the EU Commission BREF Committee on Management of Tailings and Waste Rock (inc shale gas). He has written and presented several papers on the subject of regulation and monitoring of shale gas – most recently to the Institution of Engineering & Technology (old IEE) President, UK Gov and Royal Society Report authors on 20th May , assisted the DECC on inspection matters and was a contributor to the Royal Society/RAE Report on Shale Gas. He has also been a contributor to BBC Newsnight, BBC Inside Out, Private Eye, The Times, BBC Radio Big Fracking Debate and The Guardian. Mike has also worked with Friends of the Earth UK, Friends of the Earth Europe and The Greens in the EU Commission – advising on well integrity and engineering aspects of regulation.
Cuadrilla has submitted a planning application to Lancashire County Council (LCC) for its proposed Roseacre Wood shale gas exploration site. The proposal covers the works required to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells on the site.
A detailed Environmental Statement (ES), resulting from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) produced by consultants at Arup has been submitted with the planning application. Both the ES and the application will be available to the public once validated by the council, which is expected to be within two weeks. Following this LCC will launch a formal consultation process in order to allow the public to comment. We anticipate that the application to LCC will be decided within a 16 week determination period which will start on the validation date.