Gas fracking industry warned off Herefordshire

COUNTY councillors have made it clear they do not want to see fracking ever take place in Herefordshire.

Professional consultant Kirsten Berry told this week’s general scrutiny committee meeting that there had been important changes to the plan. 

“One of the key changes is in relation to unconventional hydrocarbons, fracking as it is commonly known,” she said.

“When we prepared the draft plan, national policy was very much recognising the benefits of using fracking and onshore oil and gas for transition to low carbon. “But ministerial written statement last year that intention has been removed. “I’m aware of the resolutions in Herefordshire that are against fracking and recognising from the evidence we have it looks very unlikely that you would actually experience an application for working on unconventional hydrocarbons in Herefordshire.

“So, in recognising the update in the national position we’ve taken that policy out altogether.

Councillor William Wilding said he thought a policy which said the county would never have fracking would be positive.

“We should have a policy which absolutely says no to fracking.”

However, officers told the meeting a policy specifically banning fracking could make their plan legally unsound.

Yorkshire MP calls for end to fracking exploratory work after Government ban

A Yorkshire MP has called for preparatory work for fracking in his constituency to be stopped after the Government put in place a moratorium on the practice last year.

The Government ended its support for fracking – a drilling technique used for extracting oil or natural gas from deep underground – in November after new scientific analysis showed it was not possible to rule out earthquakes were caused by the activity. But Rother Valley Tory MP Alexander Stafford said that despite the ban on fracking itself, the preparatory and exploratory work surrounding the sites in his area – in Woodsetts and Harthill – had continued.

Mr Stafford said: “If fracking is banned – and it is essentially a ban – we want to make sure residents are not adversely affected [by exploration work].”

 

Speaking last year, then Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:” Whilst acknowledging the huge potential of UK shale gas to provide a bridge to a zero carbon future, I’ve also always been clear that shale gas exploration must be carried out safely. In the UK, we have been led by the best available scientific evidence, and closely regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority, one of the best regulators in the world.

“After reviewing the OGA’s report into recent seismic activity at Preston New Road, it is clear that we cannot rule out future unacceptable impacts on the local community.

“For this reason, I have concluded that we should put a moratorium on fracking in England with immediate effect.”

Mr Stafford said it was up to the council to approve traffic management plans, but that this was now a futile point. And in a debate secured in Parliament tonight, he will attempt to gain more detail.

He said: “I am incredibly pleased to have secured this important Parliamentary debate and deliver on my election pledge to do so.

“I hope to put forward our case that fracking should not be taking place in our beautiful Rother Valley community, and that we must protect the ancient villages of Woodsetts and Harthill.”

 

Continue reading Yorkshire MP calls for end to fracking exploratory work after Government ban

Councillors alarmed over change to fracking policy

THE COUNCIL has suspended its draft local development consultation, with immediate effect, after it emerged a section intended to strongly oppose local fracking had been changed without councillors’ knowledge or consent.
Enquiries are currently underway as to how the careful wording that had previously been agreed unanimously by the elected representatives was changed in the strategy document, which had been out for public consultation.

Continue reading Councillors alarmed over change to fracking policy

Anti-fracking campaigner says communities needs protection following Department’s research request

A leading anti-fracking campaigner has called the Department for the Economy’s research into the impacts of oil and gas production as a last “hurrah” for the industry. 

Tom White has also said that the communities of Fermanagh still need protection against fracking. The Department is seeking to procure research into the economic, societal and environmental impacts of future onshore petroleum exploration and production, including Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG), in Northern Ireland, including fracking.

“Many in Fermanagh thought the spectre of ‘fracking’ had long since disappeared but it seems to me that we’re preparing the way for one last ‘hurrah’ for this industry,” said Tom White of Belcoo Frack Free.

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Funding in fracking firm Cuadrilla to be slashed – forecast

A major cut in investment in the shale gas company, Cuadrilla, is likely in the coming months, its owner has predicted.

The Australian mining group, AJ Lucas, forecast investment in Cuadrilla would be reduced by 90% in the financial year to June 2021, compared with the previous 12 months.

The AJ Lucas annual report, published on 28 August 2020, blamed the UK government moratorium on fracking in England, imposed 10 months ago.

As a result of the moratorium, the report said Cuadrilla had “scaled back” its shale exploration operations in the UK”. Operating costs and overheads had been “very significantly reduced”, it said.

Cuadrilla’s funding requirement has been significantly reduced, largely as a result of reduced staffing and operations. Cuadrilla will engage in limited analysis of prospective areas of its licences, in preparation for activity when the moratorium is lifted.

“A small team currently operates in the UK, maintaining Cuadrilla’s UK licences and statutory obligations.”

Fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire was suspended by regulators a year ago, on August bank holiday Monday 2019. The company’s operations caused the UK’s strongest fracking-induced earthquake, measuring 2.9ML.

By then, Cuadrilla had fracked just seven of the more than 40 planned stages of the PNR2 well, the second of four planned horizontal boreholes at the site.

Continue reading Funding in fracking firm Cuadrilla to be slashed – forecast

Department for the Economy seeking research into impacts of oil and gas production.

The Department for the Economy is seeking to procure research into the economic, societal and environmental impacts of future onshore petroleum exploration and production, including Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG), in Northern Ireland, including fracking.

The £75,000 worth of research will analyse relevant contemporary qualitative and quantitative information and research across economic, social and environmental issues with focus on the interaction between these factors in determining the viability of onshore petroleum and, separately, UOG development.

Policy makers will use the research to formulate evidence based policy options and provide Ministers with the information required to make fully informed decisions about future petroleum development.The potential for UOG in Northern Ireland is greatest in the parts of Fermanagh that constitute the Lough Allen Basin.

In May 2019, Tamboran Resources (UK) submitted a petroleum licence application which could eventually lead to fracking and which covered an area of 608 square kilometres.

Continue reading Department for the Economy seeking research into impacts of oil and gas production.