Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Support for Fracking Hits an All-Time Low

Thursday 28 April 2016A new Government survey of public attitudes on energy shows that support for fracking has hit an all-time low, while support for renewable energy has reached record highs (1).Only 19% of people support shale gas energy, with a significantly higher 31% of people opposing it outright, the highest level of opposition yet since the Government starting surveying public opinions on energy in 2012 (2).

Support for renewable energy in contrast is “consistently high” at 81% of people supporting the use of renewables, with opposition “very low” (3).

Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF) said:

“This survey shows that the Government has lost the argument on fracking – despite the millions spent on PR campaigns by the fracking industry and their friends in power, the public’s opposition to fracking is getting higher.

“The only way the Government could get fracking is by forcing it on communities against our wishes and democratically elected councillors.

“With support for clean renewable energy at record levels it seems the general public is way ahead of the Government in understanding the real solutions to our energy security.

” It’s clear from the results that fracking companies have no social licence to explore for shale gas.”

Notes
ENDS

A Message from Emma Thomson

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

As you read this, I’m occupying a field in Lancashire earmarked for fracking.

Very soon, Cuadrilla could be drilling for dirty energy at my feet – but not if I’ve got anything to do with it! I’m here with my sister Sophie and we’re using whisks and wooden spoons (and a bit of humour!) to expose the dangers of fracking.

We desperately need your help to amplify the noise we’re making. Click to watch and share our unique anti-fracking protest live from Lancashire:

https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/frackfreebakeoff

The people of Lancashire are our inspiration for this unusual, illegal protest. In 2014, twenty-or-so mums and grandmas – known as the Lancashire Nanas – set up a protest camp in the same field I’m stood in now. For three weeks they protested peacefully, giving out cakes and tea as they explained the dangers of fracking to people who passed by.

After the Lancashire Nana’s occupation, Cuadrilla got desperate – they took out a legal injunction to block more protestors from trespassing on their fracking site. But if Cuadrilla thinks their injunction will stop us making ourselves heard then they’re wrong.

That’s why today we’re back on the fracking site the Lancashire Nanas occupied. This time we’re using Bake Off – the UK’s best-loved TV show – to help get fracking onto the front pages of newspapers and onto politicians’ lips. You might have friends and family who don’t know much about the dangers of fracking, so please click the link to tune in to our Frack Free Bake Off and help get the message out:

https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/frackfreebakeoff

In Lancashire public opposition to fracking is overwhelming, just as it is in so many other parts of the UK. But it looks like David Cameron’s government could still give the industry the go ahead here.

That’s not what I call democracy – and I know that there are so many who agree. That’s why more than 100,000 of us have told the government not to silence communities that vote against fracking. So today it would mean a lot to me if you can spare a minute to spread the word about how we’re pushing back. Click here to join in:

https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/frackfreebakeoff

Thank you so much for everything you do!

Emma Thompson, together with Greenpeace UK

Coal dumped outside Energy Department as world signs up to climate deal

A tonne of coal has been dumped outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change by Friends of the Earth today [Friday 22 April] in protest at opencast coal mining in the UK. The pile includes one lump of coal for each of the almost 10,000 people who signed the petition calling for ministers to change the planning rules so that no new opencast coal mines are allowed.

The protest comes on the day politicians gather in New York for the signing of the historic Paris climate agreement, which commits governments to holding global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. If this aspiration is to be met, we need to stop burning fossil fuels, such as coal, and instead leave them in the ground.

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said:

“To meet the Paris Agreement, the Government must leave fossil fuels, like coal, in the ground – yet we’re still permitting vast new opencast coal mines to be dug up next door to communities and beauty spots across the UK.

“No-one likes a view of dirty coal outside their door, so we’ve dumped this pile of coal to remind ministers to do the right thing and leave coal in the ground.”

Last November, the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, pledged to phase out coal power stations within a decade. Three UK coal power stations are closing this year alone but new opencast coal mines are still being permitted. The Government has the chance to change this nonsensical policy with a simple change to the planning rules which would prevent new coal extraction in the UK.

Guy Shrubsole added:

“Encouraging solar and wind energy projects would create many thousands more jobs than new coal mines and would be good for our environment too.”

ENDS

Editor’s notes:

1. The coal dumped by Friends of the Earth has been sourced from opencast coal mines in the UK and it will be disposed of in a way that makes sure it never gets burned.
2. The Paris Agreement commits governments to “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”. It is being opened for formal signing this Friday 22nd April; 160 governments are expected to sign.
3. Analysis by Carbon Tracker has shown that to have a better-than-even chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees, 80% of proven reserves of fossil fuels have to be left in the ground. To meet the 1.5 degree goal, and for the UK to undertake its fair share of emissions reductions as a rich nation, this percentage increases.f
4. In November 2015, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd pledged to phase out all coal-fired power stations by 2025. At least 3 UK coal power stations are closing this year: Longannet (closed March), Ferrybridge C (closed March), Eggborough (closing April, with standby reserve for winter 16/17). Three out of four turbine units at Fiddlers’ Ferry are closing in April 2016. Rugeley is closing summer 2016. More details here.

Fundraising event at Beautiful Planet, Preston

Below is a message from Brett Lund, from Beautiful Planet in Preston. Brett has done a huge amount for all environmental and social groups over the last few years:

“We are to hold FRIDAY NIGHT FUNDRAISING EVENTS on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month 7.30pm till 11.30pm. We will be promoting/networking/fundraising for the many projects and causes we hold dear. It’ll be a donation of £1 to the chosen cause to get in and bring your own beer/wine! Tea and coffee will be available. So if you’re after mixing with like-minded people or just after a cheap night out … get yourself down. Please spread the word!

The first one of these will be held on Friday the 22nd April 2016!. It’s for a really great project that is to happen in Preston to combat food waste and feed hungry people – The Larder.

Future fundraisers will be on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month and be for…. LANCS AGAINST FRACKING, FoE, Greenpeace, CND, Preston People’s Assembly, local homeless, Earth First, a local animal action group, a local anti-racist group, Sea Shepherd, a Preston refugee support group, Let’s Grow Preston, Amnesty, Permaculture Association…. Watch this space!”

Screening of The Fourth Revolution film, Preston, 5 May

The Fourth Revolution is a film about renewable energy by Carl A Feschner. It tells the story of one man’s mission to create a renewable energy revolution. A screening and discussion, in conjunction with REAL (Renewable Energy Alliance Lancashire) and Coriolis.

The event will take place at the Mystery  Tea House, 23 Cannon Street Preston , PR1 3NR, on Thursday  5 May 7.00-9.15pm. Recommended  donation  £2.50

 

New North West website aims to be the ‘go to’ resource on fracking

This month sees the launch of a new website – Frack Free NorthWest (FFNW). The new site has been developed as part of an expanding national movement that opposes the development and extraction of shale gas worldwide. Still in its infancy, Frack Free North West aims to become the ‘go to’ resource for all matters relating to fracking, UCG, etc., providing news, information on events, links to groups, NGOs, businesses against fracking, opportunities to donate, and much more.

The site says: ‘Our mission is to protect our environment for our children and for future generations. Taking action now will safeguard the health and wellbeing of our communities from the effects of air pollution, water contamination, seismic movement and toxic & radioactive waste.

‘The anti-fracking movement is growing in strength. Hundreds of localised groups have developed across the UK over the last five years and communities have come together in solidarity to form their own anti-fracking groups.’

The area covered includes Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Liverpool and Merseyside, Manchester and Greater Manchester. A page of links to an ever increasing list of North West anti-fracking groups is testament to the strength of the movement in the NW region.

 

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.                                                 

Cuadrilla Public Inquiry

foe

 

 

The Public Inquiry is currently underway at Blackpool Football Club. Anyone can attend the hearings. Please do try and go along and offer support to the Roseacre and Preston New Road residents. After some members of the public were turned away for wearing Frack Free Lancashire T-shirts, Green Party jackets, etc, the issue has now been resolved and you can wear whatever you like. The taking in of banners and the like is forbidden. It is cold in there, so you are advised to wrap up.

 

Resources

Cuadrilla is webcasting each of the sessions and a live link is provided below. Previous broadcasts can be viewed here. There have been (still unresolved) problems with the sound of these broadcasts.

  • Link to live webcast – all sessions are being recorded and will be available to the public for 30 days only. The sound is very poor on some of them, especially the earlier ones. By the beginning of the third week the sound is much improved.
  • Core documents for the inquiry can be accessed here
  • Proofs of evidence can be accessed here
  • All the Public Inquiry details, and copies of the documents being presented as part of the Proof of Evidence, can also be found on the Programme Officer’s website
  • An inquiry programme  available here
  • Updates from Lancashire County Council

 

Please note that the most recent day’s proceedings is listed first. Please scroll down for previous days. Most coverage is provided by Counterbalance and Drill or Drop.

 

Day 19 – Final Day – Inquiry closes

The Planning Inspector heard the closing statements from Elizabeth Warner for Roseacre Awareness Group/Wharles, Roseacre & Treales Parish Council, Alan Evans for Lancashire County Council and Nathalie Lieven for Cuadrilla. Cuadrilla made an application for the costs of its appeal for Preston new Road.

A rally and photo opportunity was held during the lunch break.

Steve Becker

During the day we heard the very sad news that BBC Radio Lancashire journalist and broadcaster Steve Becker had tragically died on his way to the hearing. Steve had covered the Public Inquiry every day and was known to us all for his fair reporting and balance on fracking in Lancashire. We offer our sympathies and condolences to  his family.

We have set up a collection in his memory. If you would like to contribute the link is here

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop

 

 

Day 18 (11 March 2016) Closing Statements

Closing statements from Newton-with-Clifton Parish Council, Preston New Road Action Group, Roseacre Awareness Group, Friends of the Earth and North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop

Day 17 (10 March 2016) 72 Personal Statements

Today 72 people are providing personal statements to the Inquiry. Only three individuals are speaking for compared with 69 against. If you were unable to attend today listen to the recordings of the amazing statements made by our residents.

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop

 

Day 16 (9 March 2016) Newton-with-Clifton Parish Council Conditions

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop

 

 

Day 15 (8 March 2016) Preston New Road – Noise, Planning and Landscape

We attended this morning when noise expert Mike Stigwood was giving  Cuadrilla’s QC a good run for her money. The session spilled over well into the afternoon and at 3.00 pm Mr Stigwood was followed by Steven Scott-Brown, an independent planning consultant with 40 years experience.

This evening, from 5.30 – 9.30 pm, is for interested parties, ie both pro and anti-fracking supporters have the opportunity to speak for five minutes. There are only a handful of pro-speakers, the rest are all anti. Once again, no Conservative Fylde Councillor has elected to speak, nor has Fylde’s MP Mark Menzies. There’s maybe an excuse for Menzies not turning up personally mid-week but we would have thought he could have sent a representative. As for our Tory councillors, are they scared of being seen to be not toeing the party line? Is the party more important than their residents?

You can read more about the details of today’s sessions on Counterbalance and Drill or Drop.

 

Recordings

Counterbalance 

Drill or Drop

This evening’s session included some amazing presentations from local residents on a wide range of topics – technical aspects, economics, recreational activities, personal experiences of residing near the proposed fracking sites, etc. It’s humbling to see the expertise of ‘ordinary’ residents and we are full of admiration over the amount of knowledge people have acquired. Only five of the seven pro-fracking parties turned up, compared to 25 anti-fracking parties. Once again, Counterbalance and Drill or Drop has them covered.

 

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop Opponents of Cuadrilla’s fracking plans

Drill or Drop Supporters of Cuadrilla’s fracking plans

 

 

Day 14 (4 March 2016) Roseacre Residents

[From Counterbalance] The morning began with Cuadrilla’s barrister Ms Lieven producing two new documents: one explaining the issue of the alleged erroneous flowback figures which, as we thought and as we suggested to our readers  last Friday, is because the wording in Cuadrilla’s Waste Management Plan – (which was then re-quoted by the Environment Agency) – is inaccurate.

The figures are broadly correct, but the word ‘site’ has been omitted from one paragraph, thus one of the figures related to flowback per well, and the other to flowback per site, and because the proposals involve four wells per site one figure is 4 times the other.

We thought the fact that an error like this reached version 7 of the Waste Management Plan and it took those opposing the scheme to spot it, it didn’t increase the confidence we can have in the information that has been provided.

The second document was the spreadsheet of the raw transport figures which Cuadrilla had said they would prefer not to provide, but which the Inspector formally requested be presented to the Inquiry.

The Planning Inspector heard from Roseacre’s barrister and local residents.

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop Day 14

 

 

Day 13 (3 March 2016) Roseacre Residents Evidence

This was the day when discussing traffic numbers to the fracking sites, Cuadrilla’s QC, Ms Lieven said:

“We’re not at all willing to produce the detailed spreadsheets of every day and the calculations in respect of every day. I’m instructed there are commercial confidentiality issues around that and I don’t accept in the least that it is material to you or the Secretary of State.”

So decisions are expected to be made without the Planning Inspector or the Secretary of State having access to vital traffic data because Cuadrilla says it is confidential. This is unacceptable and is the second time we have been fobbed off with the ‘confidentiality’ plea at the Inquiry. Last week information on flowback treatment sites was also deemed commercially sensitive. For ‘commercial confidentiality’ read ‘something to hide’.

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop

 

 

Day 12 (2 March 2016) Health and Planning

 

Counterbalance
Drill or Drop

Day 11 (26 February 2016) Climate Change & Waste

Today’s hearings were on climate change and dealing with waste (blowback). Before the hearings began a group of Lancashire residents and supporters of Renewable Energy Alliance Lancashire -(REAL) gathered outside Blackpool Football Club to highlight the harmful effect of fracking and shale gas on the climate, and called for a greater ambition in renewable energy and green jobs. A press release is available here.

real1

Today’s evidence from waste management expert Alan Watson was compelling. His Proof of Evidence can be read here but for a real flavour of this witness’ knowledge and authority, it’s worth watching the video recording. Cuadrilla’s QC was plainly out of her depth. Watson’s evidence revealed that there are limited waste treatment facilities available to Cuadrilla; Cuadrilla’s statements about where the waste will be treated are confusing; information is being withheld because it is ‘commercially sensitive’ – some had been redacted; and much more.

However the most significant item concerned the amount of waste, with Watson claiming that Cuadrilla’s Environmental Statement had underestimated the amount of flowback  by four times. This revelation was one of the best moments of the hearing so far – Cuadrilla’s QC tried to pass of the error as a typo – Alan Watson pointed out that this was the revised 7th edition of the document, so how could they have made the same typo on seven separate occasions! Watching their QC stutter and flounder was pure entertainment.

What it does mean is that the planning authority was given incorrect data. Watson said that dealing with the true amount of flowback would lead to either greatly increased traffic movements or the storage of waste on the site – both of which are planning-related issues. On this basis he said that the planning applications should be rejected. Surely the revelation over the greatly increased amounts of flowback must be a game changer?

 

Recordings

Counterbalance 

Drill or Drop Day 12 Climate Change & Waste – topics include:
Kevin Anderson introduction
“Erroneous to regard any fossil fuel as low carbon”
Is shale gas “lower carbon”?
Will coal be replaced or displaced by shale?
The role of gas as a bridge fuel
Emissions for exploration alone “irresponsible use of carbon budget”
“Energy security should not be a driver for shale gas”
Wytch Farm “not a good comparison for shale gas”
Cost of electricity generation
“Cuadrilla under-estimated methane emissions”
Amber Rudd’s statement
“Foolhardy” to develop shale gas for a five year window
Professor says he would not support shale gas applications in the UK: the maths don’t add up
Inspector’s questions
Alan Watson
Flow back fluids
UK Treatment capacity
Capacity at proposed treatment centres
Big discrepancy in flowback figures, inquiry hears
“High flowback would threaten viability of projects”
Cuadrilla “between a rock and a hard place” on flowback
Is waste a planning issue?
Who is responsible for waste?
Preese Hall
Dispute over flowback data
Cuadrilla claims onsite treatment not possible
Inspector’s questions

 

 

Day 10 (25 February 2016) Planning Policy; Supporters & Opponents of Preston New Road

Today we heard from two supporters of fracking and 25 local residents, business people and councillors speaking against it. Presentations were varied and covered health, farming, damage to properties, the effects on well being, stress, animals, planning issues and so on. Some were rousing and others were very moving. The Planning Inspector showed patience and tolerance, as the audience clapped and cheered after each one.

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop Day 11 Top 10 points on planning issues

Drill or Drop Day 11 Planning policy

Drill or Drop Day 11 What Supporters say about Preston New Road

Drill or Drop Day 11 What Opponents said about Preston New Road

 

 

 24 February 2016 Site Visits

Today, the Planning Inspector, councillors, legal teams etc listed the Preston New Road and Roseacre sites. In an effort to show the Planning Inspector just how high and intrusive Cuadrilla’s proposed 53 metre fracking rig will be, the Preston New Road group organised a blimp (balloon) to fly at the 53 meter height. Comment and a press release from Preston New Road are available here.

That’s Lancashire provided good coverage of the event.

Drill or Drop Day 10 – includes lots of photos taken of the parties at both sites.

 

 

Day 9 (23 February 2016) Noise and Traffic

 

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop Day 9 Noise & Traffic – topics include:
“Preston New Road fracking could be refused on noise grounds”
Planning policy on noise
Continuous night-time noise for 8 months
”Inadequate” noise data
“No guarantee night noise can be achieved”
Questions from Cuadrilla
Noise complaints related to “unpopularity of fracking”
“39 decibels would meet planning policy”
Type of noise
Sleep disturbance
UK government guidance on sleep disturbance
Document “not relevant”
“Shifting attention to other guidance”
Daytime noise limit “not properly derived”
Noise effects at Preston New Road
“People will acclimatise to noise pretty quickly”
What happens if Cuadrilla broke night noise limits?
Re-examination
Questions from the inspector
Roseacre Wood HGV traffic would have unacceptable impact
Problems of big lorries on country lanes
Traffic generated by Roseace Wood “uncertain”
Predicted safety problems
Road safety audit

 

 

Day 8 (19 February 2016) Landscape

 

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop Day 8 Landscape – topics include
Lancashire County Council evidence begins
Preston New Road would have urbanising effect – landscape witness
Criticism of Cuadrilla landscape assessment
“Drilling rig should be reduced to 36m – if approved”
“Building monitoring stations would have significant landscape impacts”
“Lower rig would reduce impact on Roseacre Wood landscape”
Cuadrilla questions council landscape witness
Landscape value of Preston New Road
Change to Preston New Road landscape
Dominant features
“Fracking will inevitably be in rural areas”
Effect of lighting on landscape
53m v 36m drilling rig
Monitoring at Preston New Road
Rig height at Roseacre Wood
Lancashire county council advice
Council re-examination on landscape issues
Questions from the inspector

 

 

Day 7 (18 February 2016) Business and Economics

Day 7 began with a photo opportunity for those local businesses who are worried that fracking will destroy their livelihoods.

 

photo 1

 

A press release is available here. Read the press coverage here.

 

Recordings

Counterbalance 

Drill or Drop Day 7 Business & Economics – topics include:
Inskip route too expensive
Chamber of Commerce evidence
“Significant” job creation from shale
“Start of a supply chain”
Benefits “might”/”probably” accrue
Exploration “considered on its merits”
Preston New Road benefits: 11 jobs
Friends of the Earth questions Babs Murphy
Chamber membership in tourism and farming
“Vast majority of members” support shale gas
“Chamber survey elicited the response you wanted”
Farming support for shale gas
Report on rural impacts of shale gas
Industry-supported reports on shale gas benefits
House of Lords committee report on shale gas
American experience
Public questions to Babs Murphy
Lessons from Aberdeen
“Don’t take things for granted”
“Absolutely no guarantees”
“Gas compatible with a low carbon economy”
“Red carpet not rolled out for Cuadrilla”
Public questions to James Bream, Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce
36 job losses at PR Marriott
Lancashire drilling programme
Public questions to Paul Matich, PR Marriott

 

 

 

Day 6 (17 February 2016) Traffic; Supporters/Opponents of Roseacre Wood

This evening (17 February 2016), between 6.30 pm and 9.30 pm, local people had the opportunity to make comments on the Roseacre Wood application. twenty-four individuals spoke at this session, four pro-frackers and 20 against. The group of 20 comprised residents, farmers, engineers, a fire expert, market gardeners and more, all convinced that fracking would have a devastating effect on their livelihoods, lifestyles and physical and mental health. You can red more about the evening here.

 

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop Day 6 Traffic  – topics covered:
Hedges and wing mirrors
Peaks in lorry movements
Safety of the lorry route
Inskip and Wharles route
Junctions on route to Roseacre Wood
Width of Dagger Road
Pedestrians and cyclists
Enforcing traffic plans
Types of heavy goods vehicles
“Vast increase” in lorry traffic to Roseacre Wood
Roseacre traffic report “extreme” – Cuadrilla witness
“Lorry route is not practicable” – parish council
Cuadrilla barrister reviews traffic evidence
Roseacre resident questions traffic witness
Inspector’s questions

 

 

Day 5 (16 February 2016) Traffic and Landscape

 

Recordings

Drill or Drop Day 5 Traffic & Landscape – topics covered:
“Worst case scenario: three rigs on site at one time”
“No assessment of lighting on landscape character”
Shale gas extraction would have “minor impact” on landscape – company witness
Landscape assessment “did not follow best practice”
Review of landscape evidence
Inspector’s questions on colour and sound barrier
Speed limits
Layby parking for lorries
Broughton alternative route dropped
Safety audit
Passing places
Preferred route
Cuadrilla’s highways evidence begins
“No reason to refuse appeal”

 

 

Day 4 (12 February 2016) Noise and Landscape

 

Recordings

Drill or Drop Day 4 Noise and Landscape – topics include
Cuadrilla’s barrister re-examines noise witness
Inquiry inspector questions noise expert
Fracking effects on landscape
“Limited landscape impact”
How many rigs on site?
Questions to landscape witness
Measuring landscape effects
Harm to the landscape

 

 

Day 3 (11 February 2016) Noise

 

Recordings

Counterbalance

Drill or Drop Day 3 Noise – topics include
Cuadrilla’s noise expert witness gives evidence
Tonal noise
Noise at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood
Reducing noise at fracking sites
Noise no reason to refuse appeals – Cuadrilla’s noise expert
Council questions Cuadrilla’s noise expert
Noise impacts
Roseacre residents question Cuadrilla’s noise expert
Background and predicted noise levels
Proposed equipment at Fylde fracking sites
Preston New Road residents question Cuadrilla’s noise expert
Low frequency noise
Weekend working
Sleep deprivation

 

 

Day 2 (10 February 2016) Planning Policy

 

Recordings

Drill or Drop Day 2 Planning Policy – topics include
Climate change
Energy Security
Paris Climate Agreement
Capacity of waste treatment works
Health impacts of fracking plans
Costs and benefits of fracking applications
Ministerial statement supporting shale gas
Roseacre residents question Cuadrilla
Impact of fracking on tourism
Cuadrilla’s barrister reviews evidence on planning
Inspector’s questions on planning

 

 

Day 1 (9 February)

The first day of the Inquiry started with a rally outside Blackpool Football ground, the home of the Inquiry for the next five weeks. It was lovely to see old friends from Frack Free Lancashire as well as further afield and to meet new supporters from other regions, as well as Northern Ireland. Thank you to you all for supporting us in Lancashire, we really do appreciate it.

A double decker red buses hired to pick up supporters from Preston station and bring them to the ground. It was suitably decorated and gave us a lot of publicity as it drove round and round the outskirts of the football ground (unfortunately it wasn’t allowed to park.

There was a pathetic attempt by 30 or so pro-frackers to organise their own rally. We’d been alerted that they would have a presence but on arriving at the ground their allocated space was empty, with not a soul in sight. About an hour later, about 30 of them all arrived at once and exactly an hour later they all left together – everyone of them. Obviously they were being paid by the hour. They were mostly male and mostly of job age. We hope they were paid well and that it was worth taking a couple of hours off work. While they were there we were subjected to Blackpool Football Club’s anthem ‘Glad All Over’, which were blasted though their PA system – so loud that our speakers were drowned out.

Refraction has created a couple of amusing posts analysing just who these ‘rent a mob’ pro-frackers are.

So who exactly is backing fracking: unmasking the astro surfers 

Lost in transit- a sad tale

http://www.refracktion.com/index.php/lost-in-transit-a-sad-tale/

There was lots of media coverage  of the day including:

BBC online
The Mirror
The Telegraph 
Huffington Post UK (Tina’s piece)
The Ecologist 
Daily Politics BBC

RAFF was involved with the demo on the first day and we are planning to attend some of the Inquiry sessions over the coming weeks. The hearings are being webcast by Cuadrilla so you can listen to them in real time here This is a public Inquiry so anyone can attend. If you do make it to a session please do get in touch and tell us about it.

Recordings are being made of all sessions. Todays can be viewed and heard here.

The wonderful Drill or Drop creator Ruth Hayhurst is attending the Inquiry and is blogging about it daily on her web site Drill or Drop. Day One of the Inquiry can be read here. Topics included:

Inquiry timetable
Cuadrilla opening statement
North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
Lancashire County Council
Friends of the Earth
Roseacre Awareness Group
Final opening statement from Preston New Road Action Group
First Cuadrilla witness: Mark Smith
Cross examination of drilling rig
Local planning policy
Sustainability
Noise
Cross-examination of Cuadrilla’s witness
Mineral planning policy

 

Counterbalance attended for most of the first day and will be at other sessions. You can read about the first day here

Many of the local groups are in attendance and Tweeting in real time.

bus

 

The North tells Osborne: clean energy must power the Powerhouse

More than 80 organisations from across northern England have called on the Chancellor ahead of the Budget to ‘Keep it Clean’ and back renewable energy for their region.[1] The North of England led the Industrial Revolution, and they say it should be at the forefront of this new, global, clean energy transformation.

The signatories include the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, communities investing in their own small-scale renewable projects, business groups, faith groups, and nature conservation organisations. In a declaration sent to the Chancellor, George Osborne, they say:

 The future we want is one with clean air, healthy people and resilient communities … To make this vision real, the 2016 Budget must enable us to develop and grow renewables for our region into the 2020s. The UK government should be celebrating clean energy as core to its economic plan. To cherish what we love about our region and reassert our place in the forefront of the world’s economy, we ask the Chancellor to back clean energy for the North.”

The declaration also reflects concern over the extreme wet weather that badly affected parts of the North this winter linking this with the need to shift to renewable energy to reduce the risk of extreme weather from climate change. In December, countries across the world committed to take action on climate change, signing the historic Paris Agreement. Yet in the UK, this is a very uncertain time for renewable energy, with an influential committee of MPs warning last week that the government needs to restore investor confidence in the sector.[6]

So far negotiations about the Northern Powerhouse have ignored the need for new energy infrastructure. The groups backing the declaration are clear that this should be clean, renewable energy combined with the benefits of smart energy technologies and reducing energy waste. The call follows a recent report from industry body Energy UK calling for a ‘smart energy future’ and stating that the UK’s energy sector is ready to deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy.[7]

 

Renewables are the most popular energy source in the UK. According to government statistics, 78 per cent of the public support them, with only four per cent against.[8] Already, the North of England has enough solar PV to power half a million homes, enough onshore wind capacity to power one million homes, and enough offshore wind capacity to power 1.5 million homes.[9]

Councillor Kate Chappell, Executive Member for the Environment at Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester is proud to sign the Clean Energy Declaration. As a city which was integral to the Industrial Revolution, we now see ourselves as being ideally placed to help lead the Clean Energy Revolution we need to see in the 21st century. Along with other great Northern cities, we have signed a pledge to move towards being exclusively powered by clean energy by 2050. And we will continue to develop the emerging Manchester Strategy, which explains our commitment to reducing the city’s carbon footprint, including through the use of clean energy. We’re also working with other Greater Manchester authorities and partners to improve our collective understanding of low carbon energy, as we seek to discover innovative, locally generated renewable energy sources for the city.”

Jeremy Garside, chief executive of Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, said: “As an organisation concerned with protecting wildlife and important natural environments in the Tees Valley, we know climate change is a big threat and that we need to transition quickly to a low carbon economy to make sure people and wildlife can thrive in this area.”

Phil Davies, director at Community Energy Cumbria Ltd, said: “With Cumbria experiencing three major flood events in the last decade and with the rural economy struggling, it has been heartening to witness so many Cumbrian residents willing to invest their money and passion in community renewable energy projects. Whilst local procurement has undoubtedly benefitted Cumbrian businesses, the distribution of profits back into communities has begun a renaissance in true sustainability. We really need the Government to acknowledge that supporting community renewable energy represents the perfect vehicle for job creation, social well-being and environmental common sense. Surely this is what we all want a northern powerhouse to deliver.”

Gordon Watts, sustainability manager at the South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “South Yorkshire Housing Association is committed to improving the environmental sustainability of our housing stock. The use of renewables such as solar PV and solar thermal in some of our existing housing schemes helps to keep our customers’ energy bills down and to tackle fuel poverty. But, like all other stock investments, financial viability is a key consideration and as such SYHA would strongly back continued Government support for clean renewable energy in the North and across the UK until the renewables sector is fully mature”.

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Contact
Amy Mount, senior policy adviser, Green Alliance (available for interview)

amount@green-alliance.org.uk Mobile: 07813 474986

Local signatory contact details are also available on request.

Notes
[1] Full text of the declaration is below and list of signatories is attached, and here.

[2] The declaration is launched after an interactive art installation stood in Piccadilly Gardens on Wednesday evening (9th). It raised the question, what will power this powerhouse? The answer: ‘Keep it Clean’, spelled out in one-metre-high letters, which lit up when people held hands to connect the electric current. It was commissioned by the environmental charities Green Alliance and 10:10. See attached photo (more are available on request and also here).

[3] A new Green Alliance infographic, Renewables investment: building on UK strengths at the 2016 Budget, makes the case for continued government support for renewables and is available here: http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/renewables_investment.php

[4] Green Alliance is a charity and independent think tank focused on ambitious leadership for the environment. Since 1979, it has been working with a growing network of influential leaders in business, NGOs and politics to stimulate new thinking and dialogue on environmental policy, and increase political action and support for environmental solutions in the UK.

[5] 10:10 is about doing practical stuff that helps tackle climate change. It’s funded by a combination of individuals, charitable trusts and foundations and corporate sponsors. http://1010uk.org/

[6] The Energy and Climate Change Committee report, Investor confidence in the UK energy sector, is available here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/energy-and-climate-change-committee/news-parliament-2015/investor-confidence-report-published-15-16/

[7] The Energy UK report is available here: http://www.energy-uk.org.uk/press-releases/338-2016/5723-uk-set-for-smart-energy-future.html

[8] The latest Government statistics on the popularity of renewables, from February 2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/public-attitudes-tracking-survey-wave-16

[9] Figures from Green Alliance analysis of publicly available datasets such as installation reports of the Feed-in Tariff and Renewables Obligation Certificates and DECC Sub-National Electricity and Gas data, as well as securing Freedom of Information requests for different categories of the Renewable Heat Incentive.

THE DECLARATION:

We want clean energy to power the North

The North of England was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century, and the heart of British industry in the twentieth. Today, we want the northern economy to play a leading role in the biggest transformation of the world’s infrastructure since the switch from wood to coal power.

The world is rising to the challenge of climate change, which means using new ways to meet our travel, energy, and communication needs. Now, after a winter of floods, we know this change can’t be delayed, and that new infrastructure has to be futureproof. Representing diverse organisations from across the north, we want clean energy to power our future.

The North is already designing, building and exporting the new low carbon products and services that the whole world wants and has committed to buy, from wind turbines to electric vehicles. Renewable energy, efficient homes and workplaces, and smart technologies will all support local jobs and businesses. And they enable communities to shape their own energy futures, as towns and villages across the North have done since Baywind in Cumbria, which was the UK’s first ever renewable energy co-operative.

The future we want is one with clean air, healthy people and resilient communities. We want to protect our astonishing landscapes, like Lindisfarne in the east and the Ainsdale Dunes in the west, from the devastating impacts of climate change.

To make this vision real, the 2016 Budget must enable us to develop and grow renewables for our region into the 2020s. The UK government should be celebrating clean energy as core to its economic plan. To cherish what we love about our region and reassert our place in the forefront of the world’s economy, we ask the Chancellor to back clean energy for the North.

Call For Action on Climate Change at Lancs Fracking Inquiry

PRESS RELEASE 26 February 2016

 

Call For Action on Climate Change at Lancs Fracking Inquiry

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Lancashire residents and supporters of Renewable Energy Alliance Lancashire gathered at the public inquiry on fracking in Blackpool today (26 February) ahead of an evidence session on climate change. The group highlighted the harmful effect of fracking and shale gas on the climate and called for a greater ambition in renewable energy and green jobs.

Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at Manchester University gave evidence on the climate change aspects of Cuadrilla’s appeal to frack at two sites in the Fylde. Professor Anderson gave evidence that extracting shale gas in the UK is not compatible with the UK’s ‘carbon budgets’ and the Government’s international commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Ian Roberts, spokesperson for Renewable Energy Alliance Lancashire said:

“Lancashire has a wealth of clean renewable energy sources that we should be harvesting, making a positive impact on our climate, energy security and jobs.

“As the fracking inquiry has heard, fracking is not a safe option for climate or communities. We’re calling for a focus on the clean energy solutions which will power our homes and economy for generations to come.”

Dave Daly from Hyndburn Friends of the Earth said:

“Climate experts warn that shale gas and tackling climate change are incompatible. Any investor would be reckless to go anywhere near  fracking – far better to invest in a million climate jobs, including renewable energy production, than fossil fuels of the past.”

The inquiry, which is hearing an appeal by Cuadrilla against Lancashire County Council’s refusal of fracking at Roseacre and Preston New Road in the Fylde, is scheduled to last a further two weeks.

 

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