Government is reimbursing Lancashire Constabulary £1.28 million towards the cost of policing the Preston New Road fracking site. Last year Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, made a Special Grant application to cover £1.5 million of costs in relation to Operation Manilla. The claim was reviewed and officials decided to award £1.28 million on the basis that the remaining costs (£220k) are met by Lancashire Constabulary.

Clive Grunshaw said: “I am grateful for the reimbursement from the Home Office, which is thanks to the ongoing lobbying of central government from not just myself, but from cross-party support from Lancashire MPs. 

“This is positive news for Lancashire residents who should be reassured that the money is being returned and will now be used for the benefit of the wider police service in the County, especially in the current climate of uncertainty around Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

“The decision to frack in our county was borne in Whitehall after the judgement made by Lancashire County Council was overturned. The expectation on Lancashire Constabulary to cover the costs of this decision was not a fair deal, so I am pleased this has been recognised and additional costs for this operation are being met.”

Home Office rules state Police and Crime Commissioners can only claim for additional costs of a police operation – these are any costs where officers are working beyond plain time, such as overtime and mutual aid from other forces.

Operation Manilla, the policing of the Preston New Road fracking site and protests, has cost Lancashire Constabulary almost £13 million since it began in January 2017. As police forces can only apply for Special Grant funding on additional costs, £8.43 million has been applied for in grants to date with the government awarding 85 per cent of this at £7.166 million.


Planners oppose oil test plans at Balcombe

Proposals to test the Balcombe oil well in West Sussex would compromise the protected landscape of the High Weald, council planners said today.

In a report opposing an application by Angus Energy, the planners recommended permission be refused.

They said the proposal for three years of testing would “establish a continued presence of industry which is not appropriate to the area”.



Government’s shale support fund underspent by £3.8m

A government fund to help English councils deal with shale gas planning applications appears to have paid out just 20% of what was available. A ministerial answer last week revealed that the shale support fund, which ran for five years until February 2020, paid nearly £1m to mineral planning authorities. But analysis by DrillOrDrop shows that the government allocated £4.8m to the fund during that period.



Cuadrilla breaches pollution rules again



In September 2019, the company received its third formal warning from the Environment Agency (EA) in just over a year. It had failed to monitor key substances in groundwater and failed to tell the EA about missing data. It was also accused of poor communication and supervision of the company carrying out the monitoring.  In December 2019, the EA said Cuadrilla had  breached a condition on methane monitoring.



Support for worldwide fracking ban


A group of environmental activists, public health professionals and campaigners are fighting fracking, climate change, petrochemicals and plastic pollution.

Activists from Mexico, Ireland and and Germany joined frontline residents and campaigners from Pennsylvania and New York in a meeting with Satya Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of New York Office at UN Environment.

The group met with the United Nations to discuss the harms and threats of gas drilling and petrochemical expansion in their communities. They argued that we must stop further extraction to combat the global climate crisis.


The meeting was the result of an open letter sent to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres last September.

That letter was organized by Food & Water Action, its European arm Food & Water Europe and the Breathe Project in Pittsburgh. It was signed by nearly 460 grassroots groups, faith communities, celebrities, activists and organizations, including actors Mark Ruffalo, Emma Thompson and Amber Heard, authors and activists Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, fashion icon Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré as well as iconic children’s singer Raffi.

The group stated that the “continued production, trade and use of fracked hydrocarbons for energy, petrochemicals and plastics torpedoes our global efforts to tackle climate change and violates basic human rights.”

Campaigners appealed to the United Nations to consider the critical findings it has issued over the years. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESR) and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) have expressed concern that fracking will make it all but impossible to achieve emissions reductions targets outlined by the Paris Agreement, as well as the impacts of fossil fuel drilling on human rights.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) issued a “Global Alert” on fracking in 2012, and concluded that it may have adverse environmental impacts under any circumstances.

UK Fracking Companies Exploit Loophole to Continue Their “Exploratory” Works


Companies covered by the UK’s apparent moratorium of fracking operations haven’t exactly sent all their staff home for the rest of the year and put a pallet board over the holes they made, as any site works they can declare merely “exploratory” may continue apace – a loophole some MPs are now asking to have closed.

In response to a question from MPs, business minister Kwasi Kwarteng pointed out that the UK’s specific definition of fracking is what’s being used here, and that piece of legislation only covers the injection of water. Any exploratory work, drilling, or controversial use of acids may continue, leading opposition MPs – and the fracking haters across all parties – to call for the government’s soft fracking suspension to be firmed up and made legally final, lest Cuadrilla start pumping thousands of gallons of tea into Lancashire rock.

Joe Corré from campaigner Talk Fracking said: “The fracking moratorium is and has always been an electioneering lie. The moratorium does not even consider the other associated fracking techniques like acidisation where they pump huge volumes of hydrochloric acid into the ground to dissolve the limestone and release the gas or oil.” 

By Gary Cutlack on  at