Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Lancs County Council launches public consultation – there’s still time to object

Lancashire County Council has announced that it has launched its public consultation on the extra information submitted by Cuadrilla for its two planning applications for shale gas development at Little Plumpton (Preston New Road) and Roseacre Wood. The consultation is on-going and will run until Friday 17th April. The applications will be decided on 30 April.

Earlier this year, LCC recommended that Cuadrilla’s two planning applications be refused on the grounds of noise and traffic. Cuadrilla asked for a deferment in order to gain extra time to address the objections. All the formal information on the two applications, the reasons why they were rejected and current activity is available on the Lancashire County Council website here.

 

RAFF, together with other anti-fracking groups, has been busy obtaining signatures for objection letters for  both the Preston New Road and Roseacre sites. This campaign has, so far, been hugely successful and LCC have received an unprecedented number of objections. The determinations will be heard 30 April 2015. There is still time to lodge your objections:

Post: Outline your objections in a letter or print out the pro-forma letters below and post them to: The Development Management Group, County Hall, PO Box 100, Preston, PR1 0LD. Preston New Road Pro-forma Letter   Roseacre Wood Pro-forma Letter

(IMPORTANT: Please include your name, signature, full address, post code and date in all correspondence to Lancashire County Council, otherwise your letter may not be valid).

Email: Compose your own comments or copy and paste comments from the pro-forma letters above and email them to: devcon@lancashire.gov.uk

Phone: You can talk to someone and list your objections by phone: 01772 531929

Online: To object online follow these steps: Step 1 – Click here then select ‘make a representation online’ Step 2 – Fill in your name, address and email, then click ‘Next’ Step 3 – State why you oppose Cuadrilla’s plans. IMPORTANT – Include the following details Application number – Preston New Road: LCC/2014/0096 Roseacre Wood: LCC/2014/0101; Location of development – Can be left blank; Your objection – Explain your concerns and consider using the pro-forma objection letters above for guidance; Step 4 – Click ‘Submit’.

*  Write to your MP and tell them why you think fracking is a bad idea. The website www.writetothem.com provides details of all MPs, how they voted, what they have spoken on and other information.

Lobby your Fylde Borough Councillors and Lancashire County Councillors

Please don’t delay. These two sites are in the heart of two communities, close to homes, schools and farms. Cuadrilla’s plans show that they will:

  • Use 9 million gallons of water per well
  • Produce 5.6 million gallons of radioactive waste
  • Supply sites via 20,000 truck movements
  • Use 7% of entire region’s spare water capacity – with EACH well

Remember too that the recent passing of the Infrastructure Bill means that should Cuadrilla obtain planning permission they can drill under your house without your permission. The Bill also makes it easier to dispose of radioactive waste in the gas boreholes left behind after the well has been fracked and abandoned – again under your house.

Frack Free Lancashire and all the local groups will be organising events over the next four weeks. Please keep an eye on our Events page for news.

 

New energy saving centre opens in St Annes

In order to stop the rapid acceleration of global warning we need to develop renewable energy and implement energy saving measures. We’re delighted to hear of a new Energy Centre opening in St Anne’s on the Fylde which aims to promote new technology energy as well as trying to make fossil fuels more efficient. If you’re local do go along and have a chat to Frank and Caroline, and wish them luck. Their press release is below.

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George Brown’s are pleased to announce they are opening their new Energy Centre on Orchard Rd Lytham St Annes on March 21st 2015.

The concept of the Energy Centre will be to promote new technology energy as well as trying to make fossil fuels more efficient by encouraging upgrades of controls and regular appliance services

We will be able to offer a wide range of energy solutions to both commercial and domestic markets with flexible finance packages available for both.

george brown2Our aim is to reduce energy consumption on the Fylde coast which in turn will help reduce the carbon footprint of our area.

LED bulbs are just one example of how everybody could help to make a difference and at the Centre we have working examples to show how effective this can be against traditional light sources

Keep an eye out for our mascot “George” featured at the top of this release. He will be featured heavily in his fight to defeat “Runaway Bill!!!!”

Hope to see you soon at the centre.

Kind Regards,

Frank & Caroline

iGas & Ineos cut a deal despite UK fracking being out for the foreseeable future

 

The UK’s largest shale gas developer iGas has cut a £30m deal with Grangemouth owner Ineos, which gives the latter access to 50% stakes in seven shale gas licence areas in north west England – mainly Cheshire – and the remaining 49% stake in a an area in central Scotland, which includes the Grangemouth refinery area. Ineos is also to invest £138m for developing various shale gas fields across England.

The news led to a small increase in iGas’ dismal share price which has diminished over the last few months. We predict the increase will be temporary as the financial reality of shale gas extraction kicks in- ie, it is utterly uneconomic. Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, has blogged under the title, ‘Fracking in the UK is out for the foreseeable future.’ He says:

“Since mid 2013 crude oil prices have fallen 60% from $115 per barrel to about $45 now.    This price collapse was not accidental or purely the result of market forces.   It has happened in large part because of the surge in the US shale oil industry (hydraulic fracturing) which has increased the world supply of oil, which in turn has depressed oil prices.   Normally in such circumstances Saudi Arabia, the leader of the OPEC cartel and the world’s single largest oil producer, would cut back on production and thus stabilise the oil price around the pre-existing level.   But not this time.   The Saudis have simply sat on their hands and let the oil price plummet.   So why not this time?

“Apart from Saudi pique that the Americans are not playing their part to try to stabilise the world price of oil, there are two deeper possible reasons.   One is that the Saudis are acting in synch with the US to put maximum pressure on some of the biggest oil producers who happen to be their main enemies, namely Russia, Iran and Venezuela.   These countries depend heavily on oil (and gas) exports for their foreign currency reserves, so a plummeting oil price hits them hard.   But there is another possible explanation.   If the Saudis do nothing to halt the collapsing oil price, it will decimate the US shale oil industry, much to the benefit of the Saudis (a good example of predatory capitalism!).   The floor for profitability of shale oil is a price of about $80 per barrel, so $45 a barrel is a wipe-out.   Moreover when most of the shale producers are bankrupted, the loan defaults will be passed through to the banks which made the loans – exactly as happened with the housing sector in 2008 (maybe this is Sub-prime fiasco Mark II?).”

These economic factors, together with the huge and increasing  public opposition that is evident in proposed fracking areas, mean that shale gas is a non-starter in the UK.

 

Evidence of contamination at Barton Moss site

Evidence of contamination around the iGas exploratory drilling site in Barton Moss has been heard at Manchester Magistrates Court. The findings show dangerously high levels of PAHs wich are toxic. Judge Prowse acknowledged the “dangerously high concentrations” of PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) found from samples taken near the iGas site. PAHs contain toxic carcinogenic substances which have major affects on human health, as well as on livestock and crops.

Dr Aidan Foley, expert witness for the defence, told the court he had tested for 16 compounds but needed to go back to the site to get more samples so that he could discover the actual source of the contamination. Peel Holdings, the owners of the land, and iGas, which rented its site from Peel and carried out the drilling, have both refused access.

According to the Salford Star, “Dr Foley named a number of sources from where the contamination could have come from, including the M62 which goes past the site, historical dumping, Barton Aerodrome or from plant and machinery used at the iGas drilling site. “Would the logical conclusion be that it must have come off the site?” asked the Judge, “Yes” replied Dr Foley”.

If iGas is found guilty, it will have enormous repercussions for the legal status of the many protectors who were arrested at Barton Moss by the Greater Manchester Police. The Salford Star says that it expects the case to be back in court in June.

LCC rejects Cuadrilla’s planning application for Singleton

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Lancashire County Council has today (25 February) refused Cuadrilla’s planning application to carry out seismic and pressure monitoring at a site at Singleton. The decision came a surprise as the planning officer had recommended that the planning committee pass the application and it is rare for a committee to go against its officer’s advice. Planning permission was originally granted for the site in 2010, and in 2011 a well was drilled to a depth of 10,700 feet. The well wasn’t fracked but Cuadrilla applied for an extension of their planning permission to carry out seismic and pressure monitoring. Lancashire County Council voted seven to six against with one abstention. A webcast of the meeting is available here. A number of objections were raised:

  • Breach of National Planning  Policy Framework
  • Well abandonment issues
  • Emissions (climate change)
  • Pollution
  • Disruption to wildlife and wintering birds
  • No monitoring in place by EA

 

The councillors voted as follows:

Voted for approval:

  • Munsif Dad                         Lab
  • Marcus Johnson                Lab
  • Barry Yates                       Tory
  • Graham Gooch                Tory
  • Michael Devaney             Tory
  • David Howarth                  Lib Dem

Voted  against:

  • Kevin Ellard                        Lab
  • Terry Aldridge                   Lab
  • Nikki Penney                    Lab
  • Steve Holgate                   Lab
  • Kim Snape                        Lab
  • Keith Sedgewick               Tory
  • Peter Buckley                    Tory

Abstained:

  •  Paul Hayhurst                   Ind

Paul Rigby left the room and did not vote as he had previously declared an interest.

Congratulations to the anti-fracking group SAFE (Singleton Against a Fracked Environment) and to all our colleagues who gave such brilliant presentations to the committee. Plus, a huge thanks to those councillors who voted against this. Meanwhile, those of us waiting outside County Hall decided to do a bit of artwork on the wall near the entrance. And that is a huge wall! singleton

Farmers warned not to allow fracking on their land

The Farmers Guardian recently included a leaflet as an insert in the paper which goes out to their 20,500 subscription readers. This action went on to generate interest from the online publication National Farmer.  The National Farmer has subsequently done a news editorial piece based on it, and they are now sending the  leaflet out as an email to their 54,000 readers.  This will include a hyperlink to the Frack Off website and it has a couple of films imbedded in it too.  Apparently they have a click rate of at least 40,000 which means that it will get extensive coverage.

 

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The farmers are a powerful force in the fight against fracking. Please do alert any farmers you know to this leaflet.

Meanwhile, there has been lots of discussion on social media about insurance for farmers. The Farmers Guardian has recently carried an item about insurance on its web site, where NFU Mutual clarified its position. It said “a farm not involved in fracking but which suffered damage as a result of the process, for example shale gas extraction on a neighbouring property caused building subsidence, would be covered. So too would other rural properties in the area who insured with it.

“However, any farmer who had chosen to make a commercial decision to be involved in fracking would not be covered for damage incurred as a result of the process.”

Lancashire County Council has delayed deciding Cuadrilla’s planning applications until 30th April

Lancashire County Council has announced that it is extending the time allowed to decide Cuadrilla’s planning applications for Little Plumpton and Roseacre until 30 April.

The LCC press release is below:

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Lancashire County Council has agreed with Cuadrilla to extend the time allowed to decide the planning applications for shale gas development to 30 April 2015 to allow for consultation on new information mainly relating to noise and traffic.

The county council’s Development Control Committee decided last week to defer decisions on applications by Cuadrilla to develop two sites in Lancashire after the company asked them to consider new proposals to reduce the impact of noise and traffic.
The applications are to drill, frack, and test gas flows, with associated separate applications for environmental monitoring, at two sites in Lancashire – Preston New Road at Little Plumpton, and Roseacre Wood at Roseacre.
The council’s planners are currently considering the new information on noise and traffic and will hold a further consultation with regulators and the public before putting their recommendations to the committee.
Dates for the consultation and the meetings at which the Development Control Committee will decide the application will be announced in due course.

In response, Friends of the Earth’s North West campaigner Helen Rimmer said:

“This extension is yet another delay for the industry at a time when fracking is becoming increasingly unpopular and politically toxic.

“A recent poll shows twice as many people in the North West oppose fracking as support it, while both the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Government have voted for a moratorium.

“Councillors must listen to the mounting concerns and tens of thousands of objections, and prevent Lancashire communities from becoming the UK’s fracking guinea pig.”

New poll shows that twice as many people oppose fracking outright – more than double those that support it

A new poll, conducted by Usurv, shows that half of those questioned in the North West (45%), where much of the shale gas resources are thought to be, said they were against it going ahead, with just 22% in favour of it. The press release is below.

RAFF says: “Independent surveys of Lancashire and the North West repeatedly show that people do not want fracking.  As residents become more aware of the implications of fracking on their environment, they are flocking to the anti-fracking groups for more information and to offer their support. People are very angry and this anger, coupled with that of a number of Lancashire County Councillors, who are disgusted that our local democratic processes are being meddled with from above, shows that fracking companies have no social licence to drill for shale gas in the North West.”

 

ENVIRONMENT Fracking Poll
Jan 28, 2015 3:09:18 PM

By Emily Beament, Press Association Environment Correspondent

More people are opposed to the controversial process of fracking in the UK than back it, a new poll shows. An online survey of 1,000 people found that two fifths (40%) were against fracking, while a quarter (25%) were in favour of it going ahead in the UK.

Around one in 10 (11%) were happy for fracking to go ahead but “not in my backyard”, while almost a quarter (24%) did not know whether it should happen in the UK, the poll by Usurv revealed.

Men were much more in favour of fracking, with 37% backing it in the UK compared with just 13% of female respondents, and wealthier people – those earning more than GBP40,000 – were also more likely to back it.

Almost half of those questioned in the North West (45%), where much of the shale gas resources are thought to be, said they were against it going ahead, with just 22% in favour of it, and 13% saying it could happen but not in their backyard.

In Scotland, where energy company Ineos has purchased licences to explore for shale gas, just 15% of people thought fracking should go ahead, while 54% were against it, and less than 8% were happy for it to happen elsewhere.

And in the South East, where companies are looking to exploit shale deposits in the Weald, 35% were against it going ahead in the UK, 25% were in favour and 12% said they were in favour but not near them.

The figures come as the debate over the future of the shale industry in the UK intensifies, with the Government forced to rule out all fracking in protected areas such as national parks and tighten rules on giving it the go ahead under pressure from MPs.

A decision on two planning applications by Cuadrilla has also been deferred by Lancashire County Council, as the shale company submitted new information after planning officers recommended the sites be refused planning permission due to noise and traffic.

Please click here for an analysis of the results

 

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