Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

*URGENT* PRESS RELEASE: 92ND FRACKING EARTHQUAKE STRIKES LANCASHIRE

At approximately 11.02pm on Saturday 24 August, a fracking earthquake measuring 2.1MLhit Lancashire, with impacts felt across a wide area, from Blackpool, Lytham, St Annes, Wesham and surrounding rural areas.

This was the 92nd earth tremor in just nine days and the community are enraged that this industry has been forced upon them, with no concern for the safety of residents.

Hundreds of reports of the quake have been noted across social media and via email to Frack Free Lancashire, such as houses shaking, books falling off shelves, widespread property damage and people being awoken from sleep from the noise and impact.

A spokesperson from Preston New Road Action Group, one of the local campaign groups said:

“Measuring at 2.1ml, this tremor was the biggest yet with reports of it being felt in Blackpool, Weeton, Westby, Kirkham, St Annes and Wrea Green within minutes of it occurring.

“Several reports of windows and buildings shaking. This terrifying experience is being imposed on our community by an unnecessary and unwanted industry. The government should see sense and re-impose the fracking moratorium immediately before any serious injury or damage is done. Enough is enough.”

A spokeswoman for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“We are livid that we are once again, being put in harm’s way for an experiment that we didn’t ask to be part of.

“Why are our communities being forced to accept this dangerous and contemptuous industry, when it is clear that they have zero control over the impacts that fracking brings with it? There was no fracking today, and yet, the after-effect it has caused, is a sizeable earthquake with widespread reports of property damage. We are angry and demand an urgent reconsideration of a fracking moratorium.”

 

Largest earthquake yet – 1.6 – from Cuadrilla’s operations at Preston New Road

Comment from Frack Free Lancashire
On Wednesday night 21st August at 20.46,  local residents felt the largest earthquake yet – 1.6 – from Cuadrilla’s operations at Preston New Road. Having abandoned their attempts to frack their first well after only being able to fully fracture just two of the planned 42 stages, Cuadrilla are now trying to repeat the process. Therefore, it was a certain grim inevitability to Wednesday night’s events, but what should really give local residents pause for thought, is the fact that these were trailing events and there is nothing that can be done to mitigate them in real-time.
We deplore Cuadrilla’s attempts to downplay and trivialise these quakes by making facile comparisons with milkshakes and bags of shopping being dropped. This is a serious issue and we know that seismic activity at similar levels deformed the well bore at Preese Hall, which Cuadrilla failed to report to the relevant authorities for six months.
This is, in fact, a perfect illustration of why the limits on the seismic traffic light system must not be relaxed. The safety of residents must be prioritised before a private corporation’s greedy drive for profits at any cost.

 

New peer reviewed report declares fracking has ‘dramatically increased global methane emmissions’

PRESS RELEASE

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

NEW PEER-REVIEWED REPORT DECLARES FRACKING HAS “DRAMATICALLY INCREASED GLOBAL METHANE EMISSIONS”

A brand-new study [1] led by world-renowned scientist, Professor Robert Howarth, entitled Ideas and perspectives: is shale gas a major driver of recent increase in global atmospheric methane?has revealed a damning conclusion for the oil and gas industry: fracking for gas has increased global methane emissions

Howarth’s conclusion correlates with previous papers, including the Mobbs Report [2] which was the centre of a recent High Court case by campaign group, Talk Fracking, where a judge declared the government’s policy on fracking planning policy, specifically taking climate change into account, as “…so flawed in its design and processes as to be unlawful.”

Emerging scientific evidence that has been published since 2015, dismissed the UK government’s claims that fracking has a lower carbon footprint than imported liquid natural gas (LNG). The suggestions have been that fracking in fact, exacerbates climate change.

Commissioned in 2017 by Talk Fracking, Whitehall’s Fracking Science Failure: How the Government Has Misled Parliament and the Public on the Climate Change Impacts of Shale Oil and Gas Development in Britain, also known as the Mobbs Report, debunked much of the government’s heavily relied upon, Mackay-Stone report. Evidence outlined in the Mobbs Report was never considered before publishing the revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework in July 2018.

Professor Howarth’s findings include that natural gas, from both shale and conventional sources, is responsible for a large amount of the recent methane increases, and to keep in line with the 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that we should be rapidly moving away from natural gas to reduce emissions from both carbon dioxide and methane.

“Natural gas is not a bridge fuel,” says Professor Howarth, and as well as contributing to climate change, methane emissions impact upon ground-level ozone concentrations which is a public health hazard.

Today, Nick Cowern, Emeritus Professor at Newcastle University, said:

“This work partly explains why the global climate has warmed so strongly in the last few years, affecting summer temperatures, melting sea ice and accelerating sea-level rise. Instead of cutting the atmospheric concentrations of powerful greenhouse gases like methane, fossil industry emissions – dominated by emissions from fracking – have forced up methane concentrations to unprecedented levels.”

A spokesman from Frack Free United said:

“The results in this report confirm the suspicions of climate campaigners everywhere, and shows that fracking is driving climate change: one third of the total increase in global methane emissions since 2008 has come from shale gas, and that shale gas makes up more than half of the global increase in emissions due to fossil fuels.

“Methane is driving climate change faster than ever, and it’s not just that, methane emissions have significant damage to public health and agriculture and the cost implications alone are huge. Time to act. Time to ban fracking.”

 

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

 

  1. Final citation: Howarth, R. W.: Ideas and perspectives: is shale gas a major driver of recent increase in global atmospheric methane?, Biogeosciences, 16, 3033–3046, doi:10.5194/bg-16-3033-2019, 2019.
  2. Mobbs, P. (2017): Whitehall’s Fracking Science Failure: How the Government Has Misled Parliament and the Public on the Climate Change Impacts of Shale Oil and Gas Development in Britain

Another well failure for Cuadrilla

PRESS RELEASE

FRACK FREE LANCASHIRE

10 AUGUST 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A well failure on a fracking site in Lancashire has raised further complications for Cuadrilla

The ongoing saga of fracking in Lancashire hit yet more complications this week, as Cuadrilla disclosed that the first well to be fracked at Preston New Road on the Fylde Coast, has suffered a cement failure.

Two sleeves within the well (PNR1z) have been unable to be closed, due to a cement failure, rendering the well unable to be hydraulically fracked again unless this blunder can be corrected. Problems with the sleeves were first mentioned in November 2018, so appears this could be an ongoing/recurring problem.

PNR1z has been beset with technical problems, from Cuadrilla racking up the environmental and planning regulation breaches count (including a nighttime convoy breachto the traffic management plan and the unauthorised cold-venting of methane) to triggering 57 earth tremors, forcing Cuadrilla to work on a stop-start basis and under great scrutiny from the national media and local concern.

Additionally, in November 2018, they managed to lose some working tools – a milling tool, a crossover unit and a section of a motor drive assembly – into the well and were unable to retrieve them, so these had to be pushed to end of the wellbore where they will reside forever.

So far, Cuadrilla have only managed to frack just 5% of PNR1z, which clearly is not a commercially viable amount.

It is therefore inexplicable, how they have managed to receive final sign-off from the Environment Agency and the Oil and Gas Authority (whose paradoxical purposeis to “regulate, influence and promote the UK oil and gas industry”to proceed to frack the second well, considering the array of failures with the first well.

Alongside being told about the sleeve failure, local residents attending the Community Liaison Group this week were informed that Cuadrilla needed another 12 months’ time extension for completing the fracking operation, but the next day, Cuadrilla confirmed to the press that the time required was actually 18 months.

A member of the Preston New Road Action Group said:

“Cuadrilla still have a 100% failure rate with their wells. With two sleeves in the well stuck open and failed attempts to cement them closed it seems further fracking of PNR1z is out of the question.

“This highly-monitored, highly-regulated well is no longer fit for purpose. Having got problems with their first fracked well at PNR they now want to frack well 2.

“Let’s hope that they don’t do something that will have a more detrimental effect on people or the environment.”

Miranda Cox from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Residents have long suspected that Cuadrilla were experiencing some issues with the well. We have little confidence in Cuadrilla’s technical abilities, and this does nothing to allay residents’ very real concerns about future operations.

“It is also troubling that the Environment Agency and the Oil and Gas Authority have only last week granted final permissions to frack well 2, despite Cuadrilla’s inability to successfully frack and seal this first well.”

ENDS

Frack Free Lancashire’s Response to Cuadrilla’s Announcement of Their Intention to Resume Fracking in Lancashire

Responding to today’s announcement by Cuadrilla of their intention to resume fracking at Preston New Road, Nick Danby from Frack free Lancashire said:

“This is an unwelcome but not unexpected announcement. It seems extraordinary that with the government just announcing a climate emergency, we are contemplating a resumption of fracking on the Fylde.

“Let us remember that Cuadrilla have a long history of failure and that they caused 57 seismic events last time that they fracked.

“They have also recently been taken to task and are being investigated by the Environment Agency for failing to properly monitor water quality, having previously failed to record a methane leak. They simply cannot be trusted to put the health and welfare of the community ahead of their commercial interests.

“Yesterday, we held an event at Preston New Road to mark over two years of peaceful protest and over 150 people attended.

“We will continue to strongly oppose fossil fuels and demand an immediate transition to renewable energy.”
 

Call for Calm: Anti-fracking Nanas to Host 100th Week of Fracking Vigil

 

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Lancashire anti-fracking community, the Nanas, are delighted to announce their 100th Call for Calm taking place on 10 July 2019, Maple Farm Community Hub, Preston New Road from 10.00.

The gathering will be open to any and all visitors and the Nanas will be offering vegan and vegetarian refreshments on the day. Visitors are invited to enjoy a range of community-run activities such as hair chalking, entertainment such as Morris dancing, a samba band and to hear from independent climate action speakers.

The Nanas are a collective of compassionate individuals, fighting to protect communities from the harmful effects of unconventional energy techniques like fracking.

The 100th Call for Calm will be a special gathering designed to honour almost two years of the women from the anti-fracking community holding a weekly Call for Calm, where women have gathered in peaceful solidarity against violence and aggression experienced by protesters against fracking.

 

 

 

 

 

Former chairman of Cuadrilla says that fracking in the UK is not needed

Frack Free Lancashire notes with interest, that the former chairman of Cuadrilla and ex-chief executive of BP, has stated that fracking in the UK is not needed and the extraction technique is illogical.

During an interview in Saturday’s Guardian, Lord Browne stated[1]

“Fracking in the UK doesn’t make much sense. I think it was a test to see if it worked. We probably don’t need to do it.

Lord Browne, who left Cuadrilla in 2015 to work for Russian oil and gas firm, L1 Energy, was implicated as being involved in heavy lobbying within government on behalf of the fracking industry during his time with Cuadrilla, revealed through Freedom of Information requests as having held a series of “urgent” [2] meetings with the Environment Agency over regulations

Back in 2011, the current Cuadrilla chief executive, Francis Egan and Lord Browne strongly lobbied for Cuadrilla to be excluded from environmental regulations adopted in 2011, with Egan stating, “that the Mining Waste Directive does not apply”. [3]

During 2013, the meetings between Browne, Cuadrilla, the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson and the Environment Agency, were held over fracking in both Lancashire and Balcombe. Also involved in meetings, were Lord Chris Smith from Environment Agency and Michael Fallon MP, the then Business and Energy Secretary.

Through Freedom of Information requests, it was claimed by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that “no notes were kept” for the secret meetings between Cuadrilla and government agencies.

This is in strong parallels with the recent failures by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and former Shale Gas Commissioner, Natascha Engel, where meeting notes with residents and industry groups were destroyed and data was not recorded or stored along with GDPR best practice.

A spokesperson from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Democracy has always been neglected when it comes to the government’s fracking agenda. Private corporations have taken clear priority over the residents and communities that fracking has been inflicted upon. It is only through persistent efforts of campaigners through Freedom of Information requests, that we find out any of this information.

“Lord Browne appears to have confirmed the irrelevance of fracking in the UK’s future, claiming it was only a test run to see if it can actually be done.

“In the ongoing climate crisis, our opposition to this climate-damaging dirty energy source will strongly continue in Lancashire and beyond.”

 

1.    Guardian. (2019). Ex-BP boss John Browne: ‘It’s going to take a long time to take oil and coal out of the energy system’

2.    Unearthed. (2014). Lord Browne held ‘urgent meetings’ with environment minister to speed up fracking project  

3.    Unearthed. (2014). Lord Browne held ‘urgent meetings’ with environment minister to speed up fracking project

 4.  Unearthed. (2019). UK fracking commissioner admits to deleting correspondence with industry

 

INDEPENDENT SCIENTISTS & ACADEMICS CONDEMN GOVERNMENT BACKING FOR FRACKING & WARN OF URGENT CLIMATE CHANGE RISK

Frack Free United are pleased to support the letter in today’s The Times, in response to the fracking industry’s recent pleas through the media, to relax the seismic traffic light system for the benefit of shale gas extraction.

Today’s letter carries a powerful message, counter-signed by a host of international, independent leading academics and scientists. Their warning on climate change and the further burning of fossil fuels must be adhered, in light of the undeniable scientific evidence on this subject.

By the UK government backing further extraction of fossil fuels through fracking, will only serve to increase dangerous climate-changing emissions. We fully advocate the call to withdraw support for fracking and push forward with renewable energy infrastructure to meet the urgent challenge of climate change.

A spokesperson from Frack Free United said:

“We are pleased to support the independent scientists’ call for the government to withdraw their backing for fracking. The global climate change breakdown we currently face requires urgent action and a need to divest from fossil fuels. Fracking is not a “bridge” to a carbon-neutral future: it is yet another fossil fuel cheque that our climate cannot afford to cash. We are in a climate crisis and the UK government should declare it as one.”

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

  1. EFFECT OF FRACKING ON CLIMATE CHANGE

The Times, letters, 27 February 2019

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/times-letters-broad-church-political-parties-and-pr-voting-gbkwwql22

 

Sir, Recently Ineos and Cuadrilla, which both have significant interests in the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, have demanded that the “traffic light” system that monitors seismicity at fracking well sites should be relaxed to allow larger earthquakes (reports, Feb 5 & 7). Following this a group of geoscientists signed a letter to The Times (Feb 9) in support of this demand.

This month the UK Institute of Public Policy Research reported that as a result of climate change “a new, highly complex and destabilised ‘domain of risk’ is emerging, which includes the risk of the collapse of key social and economic systems, at local and potentially even global levels”.

Climate change is already causing an increase in extreme weather events and driving accelerated melting of the polar ice sheets and Himalayan glaciers. Its primary causes are carbon dioxide emissions from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels and rising methane emissions from fossil fuel extraction — particularly fracking. Meanwhile a new era of cheap, clean renewable energy and storage is arriving, with volumes doubling every two to three years. Is it not time that our leaders and scientific community withdrew their support for fracking and engaged in the challenge of transforming our society to meet this existential challenge?

Nick Cowern, Emeritus Professor, School of Engineering, Newcastle University; Professor Peter Strachan, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University; Keith Barnham, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Physics, Imperial College, London; Professor Andrew Blowers, The Open University; Dr Adam Broinowski, Visiting Research Fellow, Australian National University; Dr Matthew Cotton, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Environment and Geography, University of York; Professor Richard Cowell, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University; Professor Mark Diesendorf, University of New South Wales; Dr Paul Dorfman, The Energy Institute, University College London; Professor Geraint Ellis, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast; Dr Ian Fairlie, Scientific consultant, UK; Denis Hall, Emeritus Professor, Heriot Watt University; Professor Stuart Haszeldine, FRSE, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh; Robert W Howarth, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Cornell University; Professor Mark Z Jacobson, School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University; Dr Phil Johnstone, Research Fellow, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex; Professor Calvin Jones, Professor of Economics, Cardiff Business School; Dr Peter Kalmus, Associate Project Scientist, Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles; Dr Dominic Kelly, Dept. of Politics and International Studies, Warwick University; Dr Jeremy Leggett, social entrepreneur and writer, director at Solarcentury; Dr David Lowry, Institute for Resource and Security Studies, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Professor Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards, University College London; Professor Majia H Nadesan, Risk Innovation Fellow, Arizona State University; Sir Jonathon Porritt, environmentalist and writer; William Powrie, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, Southampton University; Andrew Simms, Research Associate, Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex; David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow; Dr Matt Watson, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Sheffield; Professor Andrew Watterson, Public Health and Population Health Research Group, University of Stirling

 

Say NO to weaker earthquake rules for fracking

The Campaign to Protect Rural England is calling on residents everywhere to write to their MPs and demand that fracking rules on earthquakes aren’t weakened.

The fracking industry – mainly Cuadrilla and INEOS – is calling on the Prime Minister to weaken the rules on earthquakes

Write to your MP today to oppose this proposal

At the moment, fracking must be halted if an earthquake occurs over 0.5 magnitude – something that has happened numerous times since drilling started again last year. The industry wants to raise this limit, allowing them to ignore bigger earthquakes and continue to frack.

We can’t allow the government to give in. Please write to your MP and ask them to urge the Prime Minister and the energy minister to dismiss these attempts to soften the regulations.

The government itself has hailed the current regulations as ‘world leading’, which were designed with the very industry that is now calling for them to be weakened. It is only now, when these rules are doing what they were designed to do – stopping bigger earthquakes – that the industry is demanding a change.

New polling shows the public feel their voices should take precedence over those in the fracking industry. Yet just 13% of people think the government is actually listening to them. This has to change to restore public faith.

The government must reassure the public that it won’t weaken these vital protections and will put community, not industry, voices first.

You can either write directly to your MP or fill in a pre-formatted form and letter here

Please do this as a matter of urgency.

Declare Climate Emergency and Divest From Fossil Fuels – Saturday 2 March, St Annes on Sea

We are going to march around St Anne’s Square, led by a samba band! At the end of the march which concludes in Ashton Gardens with speeches and declarations.

This march will highlight climate injustice and we will be encouraging local people, business and councils to declare climate emergency and divest from industries and suppliers that support environmental breakdown.

Encourage your friends to come out for what we hope will be a family-friendly, informative day!

Please bring your own Banners and Instruments.

Route:

Start from St Annes Road East ( opposite Our Lady Catholic Church) 11.00am
Turn right and over the Crescent, down through St Annes Square.
At the traffic lights (main junction) turn left on to Clifton Drive.
Turning first left onto Wood Street
Turning second left onto Park Road
Turn left back into St Annes Square
Turn right onto Garden Street
Into Ashton Gardens through the main gate to Memorial for speeches.

Travel to St Annes on Sea:

Train…..Preston Station P2 9.54am to arrive, St Annes Station, 10.20am
Bus…….Preston Bus Station No 68 Stand 4 stops St Annes Square
Blackpool town centre No 17 Stops St Annes Square
Car:

Parking in town centre car park on St Georges Road.

On arrival in St Annes make your way over the Crescent out of the Square to the meeting place, turning left at the bottom of the hill, a 5-minute walk from the Square.

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