Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Bolton says ‘NO’ to fracking

Well done to Bolton Council whose leader Cliff Morris has stated that it will oppose any attempts to carry out fracking in the borough. The announcement comes a week after the latest licensing round whereby the government gave the go-ahead for tests to be carried out in the borough, including parts of Smithills, Horwich, Blackrod and Astley Bridge.

Anyone who has visited Bolton recently will know that the town is not looking particularly prosperous, so all credit to Bolton Council who have not been taken in by the false promises of wealth, job creation and the like, put forward by the government and fracking companies.

Bolton is the latest council to join an ever growing list of local authorities who are saying ‘NO’ to fracking:

  • Bath and North East Somerset Council
  • Brent Council
  • Brighton and Hove Council
  • Bristol City Council
  • Ceredigion County Council
  • Cheshire East Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Deal Town Council
  • Dover District Council
  • East Sussex County Council
  • Glastonbury Town Council
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Hull City Council
  • Kirklees Council
  • Liverpool City Council
  • London Assembly
  • Manchester City Council
  • Mendip District Council
  • Monmouthshire County Council
  • Newcastle City Council
  • North Lanarkshire Council
  • Norwich City Council
  • Pendle Borough Council
  • Preston City Council
  • Sheffield City Council
  • Trafford Council
  • Waltham Forest Council
  • Westhoughton Town Council
  • Wirral Town Council
  • York City Council

Preston Council votes against fracking

Preston City Council has voted against fracking taking place within its boundaries.

According to a Frack Free Lancashire representative, the vote was split along major party lines.  On the Climate Change Amendment the council concluded: “Many of the effects of fracking may be contentious but there is no scientific doubt at all about the effect of fracking on Climate Change. Extraction of shale gas causes leakage of high levels of methane, which is far worse than carbon as a greenhouse gas. For these reasons Council oppose fracking. Consequently Council will do all in its power to oppose any attempt to extract shale gas within its boundaries as well as any planning applications outside Preston which will have implications for people living in the Preston area.”
Apparently all the Conservative councillors voted in support of fracking.
A brief report has been published on the Lancashire Evening Post website.

Which areas in Lancashire are covered by the latest fracking licences?

The two new areas in Lancashire that are up for exploration include the area between Samlesbury, Little Harwood , Wheelton and Darwen; the other area includes land to the east of Chorley, comprising Healey Nab, Belmont, Rivington and Horwich.

Another 132 areas are up for grabs and are dependent on further environmental assessments. Two of these are in Lancashire, one around Glasson Dock and Cockerham, and another that covers Quernmore and Dolphinholme. Other areas in the North West include land surrounding Wigan and Skelmersdale.

Northern communities vow united front to stop fracking

Northern anti-fracking groups today vowed to unite to prevent any fracking in the north of England. The statement follows the announcement of the 14th round of licensing for on shore petroleum exploration and development licenses (PEDL).

The long awaited announcement made earlier today (18/08/15) showed that the majority of licenses to be issued are based in the north of England and cover huge swathes of Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Furious campaigners from more than thirty groups responded quickly to say they will show a united front and support each other in their fight against fracking and onshore fossil fuel extraction.

Bob Dennett from Frack Free Lancashire said “The fact that the vast majority of the licenses being issued are based in the north shows the governments contempt for our communities. Obviously they have listened to Tory Peer, Lord Howell and decided to focus fracking in the ‘desolate north’. They will get a shock if they think we will be so easily pushed around.”

Frack Free Lancashire recently won a major victory against the fracking company Cuadrilla when Lancashire County Council turned down their planning applications. A community campaign in East Yorkshire also won a victory this month when Rathlin Energy was forced to abandon an exploratory well at Crawberry Hill in the face of massive local opposition.

Pippa Hockey from Frack Free East Yorkshire said, ‘The more they try and push fracking on us, the harder we will fight back. We have made friends all over the UK, especially with other groups in the north, and now we will all work together to stop fracking happening anywhere.’

The announcement of the 14th license round follows a recent announcement that the government plans to give itself more power to rush local councils into making decisions and be able to overrule decisions they do not agree with.

Rachel Thompson from Manchester Reclaim the Power said, “They can change any laws they want, what they fail to register is that we have a really strong movement here in the North West. This is not just about the destruction of our local environment and potential water contamination; this is about stopping climate change and local communities making our own decisions about our energy future.”

Fracking company IGas, faced massive community opposition at Barton Moss, Salford and a local group has now set up its own energy cooperative in response to the threat of fracking in their community. In Upton, Cheshire the local community have been occupying land earmarked fracking for over a year.”

Riley Coles from Frack Free Leeds said “Frack Free Leeds has been supporting anti-fracking campaigns across the north because we know fracking is a dangerous, polluting technology which doesn’t even bring down people’s energy bills. Now the threat of fracking is on our doorstep and we know that people across the north will join together to put a stop to fracking in the UK.”

Geologist, Biff Vernon from Frack Free Lincolnshire said, “Any support for extracting fossil carbon is a denial of climate change. Campaigners in Lincolnshire are delighted to be joining up with so many other groups in the north to stop this addiction to fossil fuels.”

Notes

1, Groups who issued this press release:

Frack Free Greater Manchester, Northern Gas Gala, Reclaim the Power Manchester. Frack Free Lancashire, Lancashire Nanas, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, Ribble Estuary Against Fracking, Frack Free Blackpool, Fleetwood Folk say no to Fracking, Roseacre Action Group, Preston New Road Action Group, Frack Free Inskip, Frack Free Freckleton, Singleton against a Fracked Environment, Frack Free East Yorkshire, Frack Free Lincolnshire, Transition Town Louth, York no to TTIP, Frack Free York, Frack Free Dee, Ellesmere Port Frack free, Frack Free Scarborough, Wirral Against Fracking, Frack Free Upton, Frack Free Mickle Trafford, Bolton Against Fracking, Frack Free Wervin, Picton, Croughton,  Stoak andLittle Stanney, Frack Free Irlam and Cadishead.

2, Diagram showing latest licensing round: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/454338/Onshore14thHRAv5.pdf

3, Government press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-onshore-oil-and-gas-blocks-to-be-offered

4, Lancashire County Council refuse planning permission to Cuadrilla: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/29/fracking-application-cuadrilla-rejected-lancashire-county-council

5, Rathlin Energy: http://www.rathlin-energy.co.uk/latest-update/

6, Mancunians oppose fracking at Barton Moss: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/three-quarters-mancunians-oppose-fracking-6778067

7, Barton Moss Energy Coop: http://mosscommunityenergy.org.uk/timeline/

8, Anti-fracking camp in Cheshire celebrates one year anniversary: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/the-northerner/2015/apr/10/upton-community-protection-camp-anti-fracking-cheshire-celebrates-first-anniversary

 

Fracking risk for a further 27 areas as new licences are awarded

key-licence-areas

A full map, together with the legend can be viewed here.

 

The first results of the 14th round of onshore oil and gas licences have been announced today (18 August 2015), with 27 licences due to be issued later this year to 12 operators, which include the usual suspects – Cuadrilla, IGas, INEOS and others. The areas under consideration include large swathes of the North and the Midlands.

According to the Drill or Drop website:

“Of the 27 unveiled at lunchtime, eight are in Lincolnshire, nine in Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire, and four between Sheffield and Leeds. Seven of the new licences have acreage in the single parliamenrary constituency of Gainsborough held by the Conservative backbencher Edward Leigh. Only two first-stage licences have been awarded in north-west England, the area already targetted by IGas and Cuadrilla.

“Across the country, there are no first round licences south of Leicestershire. No licences were announced for Scotland or Wales today because of plans to devolve responsibility for licencing to the Scottish and Welsh Governments. The most successful companies in the first stage are: IGas with seven licences, Cirque with four and Ineos with three. Cuadrilla, which wants to frack for shale gas in Lancashire, won a licence in East Yorkshire and one around Barnsley.”

The licences will be awarded in two stages. The Government claims the first stage covers areas that they regard as less environmentally-sensitive – ie, the “Desolate North”. The second group, which will be announced later in the year, will take into consideration environmental factors – it includes areas such as the West Country and the Isle of Wight.

According to The Guardian, Initial analysis by Greenpeace indicates that the areas covered by the announcement will affect the constituencies of high-profile MPs including former Labour leader Ed Miliband, party leadership candidate Yvette Cooper, the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, and the shadow energy and climate minister Caroline Flint.

Daisy Sands, head of Greenpeace’s energy campaign, said: “This is the starting gun on the fight for the future of our countryside. Hundreds of battles will spring up to defend our rural landscapes from the pollution, noise and drilling rigs that come with fracking. It seems clear that the government is responding to the vigorous lobbying from the fracking companies by ignoring both the economic and environmental evidence that clean, renewable energy is a far better bet for investment and the planet.”

Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth head of campaigns, said: “Opening up huge swathes of Northern England to a fracking blitz will only provoke more anger and controversy, because wherever fracking has been proposed, it has been opposed by local people.

“The Government’s own report into the rural economy impacts of fracking highlights a myriad of concerns, including a drop in house prices, impacts on tourism, and increased noise and traffic congestion – not to mention local environment and climate risks.

“These offered licences to frack will cause yet more anxiety for people living under the cloud of fracking, now that the Government is allowing companies to drill right through aquifers that are used to supply household drinking water.”

The news was announced on the same day that French gas giant Total said that it is pulling out of its controversial shale gas exploration project in northern Denmark, after failing to find sufficient shale deposits.

Renewable energy incentive: please sign now!

There is a scheme called FIT (Feed in Tariff) that was launched to support the renewables sector. It basically pays the owner of the renewable technology for every kWh that they generate and has been the main incentive that has allowed renewables to be economically viable. The government has a consultation out on it at the moment because they want to make drastic changes or even kill it completely. There are only two days left of the consultation so could you please log on to Friends of the Earth link below and sign to oppose the proposed changes.  Thank you

Stop the Government’s attack on solar power.

Localism is dead: Government announces it will override local councils’ decisions on fracking applications

As we predicted, the Government has announced that it is to fast-track fracking planning applications through a new, dedicated planning process. These measures, announced by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd and Communities Secretary Greg Clark, will mean ministers will consider calling in any application for shale exploration, and will recover appeals on a case-by-case basis. Basically councils will be given a deadline of 16 weeks to approve or reject applications; after then, ministers will have the power to call them in and make a decision themselves. The Government will also consider ruling where companies appeal against a refusal of planning permission.

What does this mean? It’s part of the Government’s strategy to get fracking started as soon as possible by taking planning decisions on shale gas out of local authorities’ hands and forcing a shale gas industry on local communities, who will now have little say in the planning process. This is posturing by a government that is prepared to use bullying tactics in order to get its own way. It’s also a recognition, by Cameron, that he has lost the argument – there is no social licence to frack – and that the only way he can ‘go all out for shale’ is by denying communities their basic democtratic rights and forcing a shale gas industry on them. Lancashire County Council worked extremely hard in coming to its decisions to reject Cuadrilla’s two planning applications – what right do ministers based in London have to overturn these decisions in order to favour the industry? Sixteen weeks is the normal time for planning applications. Amber Rudd needs to get her facts right – the delaying tactics in Lancashire were due to Cuadrilla requesting more time, not Lancashire County Council. Will the government turn down future requests for extensions by drilling companies? We doubt it.

In one swoop Cameron has swept away localism and democratic rights at the expense of communities and the environment. Remember two of his main election pledges – greenest government and  localism – instead they have weakened safeguards for protected areas, and are creating a regime that favours shale gas companies and developers over local communities and the environment.

Skills workshops for campaigners

Seeds for Change are running some training sessions for anti-frackers in the North West:

  • Effective Campaigning – 15th August
  • Skills for Stronger Groups – 12th September
  • How to Run your own Workshops – 26-27 September

If you are a grassroots campaigner, organiser and/or activist, and you want to get skilled up to campaign, help your group get stronger, and/or you’re intersted in sharing your skills in these, or other areas with others, then this workshop is for you! Whether you’re new to anti-fracking, or you’re a veteran, you are welcome at these workshops.

Please feel welcome to ask us any questions, or to book a place: lancaster@seedsforchange.org.uk.

The workshops will take place in Preston.
Suggested donation £0-£15 per workshop day.

Event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/463355607163872/.

Government survey shows that public support for fracking has fallen to an all time low

The latest DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change) Survey shows that public support for shale gas has fallen to its lowest ever level, with just one in five people saying that they support shale gas. At the same time support for renewables has risen. These latest Findings are from the 14th quarterly wave of the DECC Public Attitudes Tracking survey.

DECC admits that as people become more aware of what fracking involves then support for it has fallen. DECC says: “There is more opposition than support amongst those who know a lot about it (54% vs. 32%), know a little about it (35% vs. 27%), and those who are aware of it but don’t really know what it is (23% vs. 13%)”.

The Government is clearly out of touch with what people want.

Daisy Sands, Greenpeace UK Head of Energy, said: “The government’s own survey shows ministers’ priorities on energy are at the polar opposite of what the British public wants. Popular technologies like wind and solar are having their support axed, whilst the more-unpopular-than-ever fracking industry keeps getting preferential treatment.”

Friends of the Earth Senior Energy Campaigner Donna Hume said: “It’s little surprise that the more people find out about the risks of fracking, the more they oppose it. Instead of blindly championing dirty fracking, the Government should throw its weight behind the UK’s huge clean energy potential, which is far more popular with the public – and give David Cameron a much-needed credibility boost ahead of this year’s climate talks in Paris.”

A summary of the key findings is available here.

 

Stop fracking and invest in green energy – please sign the petition

We need to develop renewable green energy and scrap fracking. A petition has been created suggesting just that. Please sign it – if 10,000 signatures are received the government will respond to this petition; at 100,000 signatures the petition will be considered for a debate in Parliament.

The petition states: Scrap Fracking UK Wide & Invest in Green Energy. We should be a country leading the way in renewable energy. Why would the government invest time & money into an energy alternative that can cause so much damage? Scrap it all together and focus on making the UK 100% energy sustainable. You can sign the petition here.

Petitions do make a difference. Please also consider the following:

Cuadrilla has appealed to overturn the Council’s decision. Friends of the Earth have an electronic petition which you can sign online, asking David Cameron to respect Lancashire’s decision. You can sign here.

David Cameron said communities would have a voice in whether fracking would happen near them. People in Lancashire, and now their representatives in the council have clearly rejected it and we need to tell the Government that this decision is final and it must not be decided by the Secretary of State. You can download and print a petition form here and get people to sign it.

Thank you.

 

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