Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Ecotricity      Britain's leading green energy supplier     

Ecotricity promises 100% green electricity and Britain’s greenest gas, complete with a Frack Free promise – that it will never use shale gas as part of its energy mix. It offers one tariff and one price for all of its customers.

If you are considering switching to a greener energy supplier then please choose Ecotricity. Please go to the Ecotricity web site here and select RAFF  on the right hand side of the page. For each new customer RAFF will receive a £60 donation from Ecotricity, which will help us fight fracking in the Fylde and beyond. Thank you.                                                 

Meet the author of ‘Fracking the UK’ at Silverdell bookshop, Kirkham on 18 December

Well known anti-fracking campaigner Alan Tootill will be the guest at a Meet the Author and Book Signing event at the Silverdell bookshop Kirkham on Thursday 18th December. First published in 2013, his book ‘Fracking the UK‘ takes a look at the history of shale gas development in the US, the damage it is causing, and how a powerful industry wants not only to industrialise Britain’s landscape but throw concerns about climate change to the wind. His conclusion is simple. We should not allow this to happen here.

The book will be on sale for £5.99, with proceeds going to the anti-fracking campaign. Book shop owner Councillor Elaine Silverwood has also done much to raise awareness about fracking and is waiving her fee, ensuring that all proceeds go to the campaign.

Silverdell has a café, so come along and have a coffee, purchase the book, have a chat and know that you are contributing to the campaign!

If you can’t make the event, you can order the book off the Silverdell website. You can also download an  eBook version from Amazon

Thursday 18 December at 10.30 am at the Silverdell Bookshop, 61 Poulton Street, Kirkham, Preston PR4 2AJ.

Health Professionals, scientists & engineers release analysis of 400 peer-reviewed studies on fracking along with major scientific compendium update

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s  letter (see post below) from Dr David McCoy, Director of the medical charity Medact, to Lancashire County Councillors, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi (Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council),Jo Turton (Chief Executive),Andrew Mullaney (Assistant Director Environment, Planning & Countryside) and Stuart Perigo (Head of Development Management), there’s news from the USA od overwhelming evidence of the health hazards from shale gas.

A paper, ‘Towards an understanding of the environmental and public health impacts of shale gas development: an analysis of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, 2009-2014‘, reveals that independent, peer-reviewed studies are continually overwhelmingly identifying environmental and public health hazard from shale gas development. The study has been compiled by PSE (Physicians, Scientists & Engineers) Healthy Energy.

Key findings show that:

  • 96% of all studies published on health impacts indicate potential risks or adverse health outcomes.
  • 87% of original research studies published on health outcomes indicate potential risks or adverse health outcomes.
  • 95% of all original research studies on air quality indicate elevated concentrations of air pollutants.
  • 72% of original research studies on water quality indicate potential, positive association, or actual incidence of water contamination.

PSE says there is an ongoing explosion in the number of peer-reviewed publications on the impacts of shale or tight gas developments: approximately 73% of all available scientific peer-reviewed papers have been published in the past 24 months, with a current average of one paper published each day

Medical group objects to fracking in Lancashire due to ‘unacceptable risks to health’

Lancashire County Council should refuse applications for fracking at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood in light of further evidence of the unacceptable risks posed to local communities’ health and the environment, according to a letter from Dr David McCoy (1), Director of the medical charity Medact.  The letter was sent toselect  Lancashire County Councillors, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi (Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council),Jo Turton (Chief Executive),Andrew Mullaney (Assistant Director Environment, Planning & Countryside) and Stuart Perigo (Head of Development Management)

Medact is a public health charity with a membership of around 900 doctors, nurses and health professionals. In the letter Dr McCoy warns that industrial-scale fracking would “pose unacceptable risks to the health and well-being of local residents.” The letter also warns LCC that the current system of regulation is not fit for purpose and that risks in Lancashire are “particularly high” due to the “level of seismic activity, population density and agricultural activity”.

The objection letter highlights that fracking is an inherently risky activity that will cause environmental pollution and “these various pollutants include carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, respiratory irritants and neurological, endocrine and haematological disrupters/toxins.” Many pollutants are known to have “toxic and harmful” properties while others have “not been adequately studied” and the “cocktail” effects are unknown.

In addition it points to the fact that fracking is incompatible with the urgent need for the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Medact is currently writing a comprehensive and detailed report on the health implications of fracking which will be released in February.

Risks to health could occur due to the site characteristics including geology and proximity to local communities as well as the structural integrity of wells composition of fracking fluid. Impacts could also occur due to “noise pollution, heavy traffic, spoilage of the natural environment, and effects related to social and economic disruption”.

Pat Davies from Preston New Road Action group, said: “Health is a key concern to us as our community has a large number of elderly and vulnerable people within 1 km from the proposed frack site, and they need to be protected.

“The peer reviewed medical evidence from the US is compelling, carrying a clear message that fracking near peoples’ homes carries real health implications.

“Every day new evidence emerges of the dangers to health and risks of this industry. Lancashire County Council must carefully evaluate this evidence and conclude it simply isn’t worth risking peoples’ health for commercial profit.”

Barbara Richardson from Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “Roseacre Awareness Group represents over 100 residents some of whom live just 300 m from one of the proposed fracking sites.

“We are pleased a prestigious organisation such as Medact have recognised the dangers and, along with other prestigious health organisations such as Breast Cancer UK and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, are highlighting the inherent risks. Even LCC’s own Director of Public Health has made over 40 recommendations in his report to LCC.

“There are far too many risks to peoples’ health associated with fracking as emerging evidence from the US and other countries is proving – LCC must protect residents and reject these plans.”

Friends of the Earth’s North West campaigner Helen Rimmer said: “This latest objection, from a respected organisation of public health professionals, adds to the growing call for Lancashire County Council to refuse these risky fracking plans.

“With evidence of fracking’s harmful impacts on health, the environment and our climate – and the industry’s hype on the benefits amounting to hot air – it is clear fracking is the wrong solution for the Lancashire economy and communities and should be thrown out.”

Lancashire County Council is due to decide on the applications by Cuadrilla in January next year.
Notes to editors

Medact Objection letter was submitted on 12 December and is available to view here

2. A number of other medical professionals and organisations have raised concerns regarding the risk to health from fracking. The Chief Scientific Officer Mark Walport’s report urges caution on fracking to avoid “delayed recognition of adverse effects”. The Lancet has published a review of the risk to health which you can read here.

Contact:   Barbara Richardson, Roseacre Awareness Group 07918 106875;  Helen Rimmer, NW Friends of the Earth 07940 006783

Brochure explaining the dangers of fracking to Fylde residents

Fylde residents are currently receiving a 32-page brochure which examines the case against fracking in our area. RAFF welcomes any attempt to inform Fylde folk about the dangers and impacts of fracking and we are very grateful for and fully supportive of the effort that has gone into the compilation, printing and delivery of this brochure.

However, we would like to point out that despite our website address being included in the brochure, we have not contributed to this brochure in any way, nor did we see or approve any copy before publication. Any comments or queries about this brochure should be addressed to Maple Farm, Moss House Lane, Westby with Plumpton PR4 3PE.

New Greenpeace group for Blackpool

Great news! A new Greenpeace group is to be set up in Blackpool. An inaugural meeting has been arranged for 2.00 pm on Sunday 21st December at Gillespies, 89 Topping Street, Blackpool, FY1 3AA.

This is good news for Blackpool. Please go along and see how you can help get this group established. Further information: Gillian Wood

Canterbury fracking debate: watch the video footage

Last month (November) an audience of approximately 200 people listened to seven panelists debate the question ‘Should fracking be allowed in Britain? The debate was organised by Canterbury Christ Church University’s Sociology department as part of their new Engaging Sociology series. Each of the panelists spoke for about seven minutes and then answered questions from the audience.

The panelists included: Gerwyn Williams; Julie Wassmer; Professor Paul Stevens; Ian Driver; Dr Nick Riley MBE; Professor David Smythe; and Mike Hill.

You can watch a video of the debate here. Professor David Smythe, who is currently helping Fylde residents in objecting to Cuadrilla’s upcoming planning applications, can be heard at about 43 minutes, while Fylde oil and gas engineer Mike Hill is available at approximately 50 minutes.

Some lively press coverage and comments about the debate are available in the Canterbury Times

The excellent website Drill or Drop  provides access to the full text of the transcripts of all of the panelists. Below is a brief biography of each of the panelists, together with a link to the Drill or Drop transcripts.

Gerwyn Williams - Chair of UK Onshore Gas Group, which holds PEDL licences in south Wales, Somerset and Kent. Chair of an investment company raising money to extract unconventional hydrocarbons.

Julie Wassmer - Freelance writer and author, member of the campaign groups East Kent Against Fracking and Mothers Against Fracking. She also sits on the Environment Committee of Kent’s Campaign for Protection of Rural England.

Professor Paul Stevens - Distinguished Fellow at Chatham House, former oil consultant and professor of Petroleum Policy and Economics at the University of Dundee.

Ian Driver - Green Party Councillor for Thanet District Council, prospective parliamentary candidate for Thanet South, campaigner against fracking, including plans for exploratory drilling in the former East Kent colliery area.

 Dr Nick Riley MBE - Director of Carboniferous, formerly at the British Geological Survey, with experience of large infrastructure projects and in oil and gas

 Professor David Smythe - Emeritus Professor of Geology, University of Glasgow, who has been researching fracking in the US and Europe for the past four years

 Michael Hill - Engineer with 20 years in oil in gas. He is cited in the Royal Society 2012 report on shale gas and helped develop the 10 recommendations that the Royal Society produced. He is currently an expert adviser to the EU Commission on shale gas. His area of expertise is regulation of shale gas and has written a number of papers on the subject, most recently in The Lancet in June 2014.


LCC sets dates for presentations and determinations for Roseacre & Preston New Road

Lancashire County Council has announced the final dates for presenataions and determinations for Roseacre and Preston New Road. A resident received the following communication from LCC:

“The schedule of meetings for consideration of the applications has now been confirmed with County Councillors. Details of the site visits have yet to be confirmed.

“For your information presentations on the Roseacre Wood applications are planned to be heard on the afternoon of Friday 23rd January with the application being presented for determination to the Committee on Wednesday 28th January.

“Presentations on the Preston New Road applications are planned to be heard on the afternoon of Monday 26th January with the application being presented for determination to the Committee on Thursday 29th January.

“Friday 30th January is being safeguarded in the event consideration of any of the applications over runs.”

RAFF understands that Singleton has also been notified and that their hearing will be on Wednesday 10 December.

Fracking risk compared to thalidomide, tobacco and asbestos

The UK’s chief scientist, Mark Walport, warns that fracking could carry unforeseen risks in the way that thalidomide, tobacco and asbestos did. A chapter (number 3) in Innovation: Managing risk, not avoiding it – Evidence and Case Studies, written by Professor Andrew Stirling of the University of Sussex, claims that history shows us many examples of hastily adopted innovations, which later had serious negative environmental and health impacts. The chapter was commissioned to provide evidence for the first annual report by the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor.

The risks from fracking are compared to those from thalidomide, asbestos and tobacco. Prof Stirling said past innovations that ran into trouble included asbestos, benzene, dioxins, lead in petrol, tobacco, chemicals and endocrine disrupting compounds. He said: “Delayed recognition of adverse effects incurred not only serious environmental or health impacts, but massive expense and reductions in competitiveness for firms and economies persisting in the wrong path”. “Innovations reinforcing fossil fuel energy strategies — such as hydraulic fracturing — arguably offer a contemporary prospective example”.

The chapter is part of Innovation: Managing risk, not avoiding it – Evidence and Case Studies, which includes work by a large number of other scientists and academics.

The annual report can be downloaded here.

Survey shows two thirds of people in Lancashire don’t want fracking

Two thirds of Lancashire people want fracking moratorium, poll shows

Lancashire voters three times more likely to vote for anti-shale candidates

The overwhelming majority of people in Lancashire want a moratorium on fracking until more research is available on the impacts of the controversial industry, with many shale sceptics ready to take their  opposition to the ballot box, a new survey shows.

The fresh poll of 500 Lancashire residents released today shows nearly two thirds (63%) are in favour of a fracking ban, with an even stronger majority (69%) saying more time should be allowed for a public debate to take place before planning authorities decide on drilling licences.

The Redshift Research survey for Greenpeace UK also strongly suggests  fracking may play a significant role in the 2015 election race. The results show local voters are three times more likely to back an anti-fracking candidate (45%) than a pro-shale one (14%), indicating that those against > shale drilling are more willing to make this an election issue than those in favour of it.

A majority of respondents (56%) have also said they are against allowing energy companies to frack in the county, with nearly two thirds (63%) saying they are concerned about fracking being given the go-ahead.

The findings are a direct challenge to claims by the fracking industry that there is ‘a clear silent majority in Lancashire that supports locally sourced natural gas.’ [1]

The survey comes after a series of scientific studies recently highlighted the many risks posed by fracking, from groundwater contamination from leaky  wells [2] to the release of harmful airborne chemicals close to fracking sites [3] and the industry’s contribution to increased carbon emissions [4].

 More recently, UK government-funded energy experts at the UK Energy Research Centre warned ministers that they have ‘oversold’ the benefits of shale gas, as it won’t have a significant impact on bills or Britain’s energy security any time soon. [5]

The Lancashire County Council planning committee is due to decide on applications by energy firm Cuadrilla to frack at two sites in the county between December and January. [6]

Commenting on the findings, Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said: “The response to this survey is a vote of no-confidence for the fracking industry. They have tried to drown out people’s legitimate concerns in a barrage of propaganda and spin but have comprehensively failed.

Hardly a week goes by without a new scientific study warning of the damaging impact of fracking on our environment, from groundwater contamination, to air pollution and climate-harming emissions. The people of Lancashire are rightly concerned about their county being used as a  testing lab for an inexperienced industry that demands a lot from local people and may deliver little or nothing in return.

“Politicians should listen to local people’s concerns and resist the shale industry’s attempt to hustle them into taking a reckless gamble with the future of their communities.”





Survey methodology

The survey was conducted among 502 people in Lancashire. The interviews  were conducted online by Redshift Research in October 2014 using an email  invitation and an online survey.

Stefano Gelmini
Greenpeace UK press office
t 020 7865 8162
m 07506 512442


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