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Urgent Call For Fracking Moratorium Following Royal Society’s Announcement of New Shale Gas Report

URGENT CALL FOR FRACKING MORATORIUM FOLLOWING ROYAL SOCIETY’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW SHALE GAS REPORT

 

 

FRACK FREE UNITED

PRESS RELEASE

 

21 June 2018 

For immediate release

 Frack Free United are pleased to learn that The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering will be reviewing their 2012(1) report on shale gas, for publication later this year.

However, due to the worrying fact that all of the government support and industry reports on hydraulic fracturing in the UK are based upon this pivotal 2012 report, Frack Free United are now calling for an immediate moratorium on fracking in the UK.

This would also halt any current fracking-related consultations on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project or permitted development until the review has been completed and a fuller evidence-based picture has been published, otherwise any consultation may be rendered invalid and legally questionable.

As reported in Drill or Drop today(2), the previous review by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering was written in 2012 and contained 10 main recommendations, including the creation of a single regulatory body for the UK fracking industry. Six years on, this has still not happened.

Another recommendation was to make priority, the public acceptability of the extraction and use of shale gas in the context of UK policies on climate change, energy and the wider economy. This is a clear failure, with only 18%(3) of the public supporting fracking. 32% of the public are against fracking and above 85% of the public back renewable energy.

Recommended critical points included mitigating induced seismicity risks. The latest geological report (4)from Professor Peter Styles has highlightedthat up to half of England’s license areas for fracking operations could trigger serious earthquakes, specifically, fracking within former coal mining areas. Professor Styles has suggestedthat the historical coal mining dataavailablehas been overlooked or worse, ignored.

Professor of Applied and Environmental Geophysics, Peter Styles, said of today’s news:

“These [National Coal Board] maps indicate that there are probably as many as 100 times as many faults of sufficient size to generate a seismic event of magnitude 0.5 Ml, which would trigger the Traffic-Light-Threshold and the subsequent operational constraints, than can be seen from even the very highest quality surface exploration.

“So, while warmly welcoming the return of the Royal Societies to the fray, I would urge that they take care to include appropriate existing UK mining data into their appraisal and do not rely too much on either USA analogies or numerical models no matter how sophisticated.”

A spokesperson from Frack Free United said:

“Whilst we welcome the news that the Royal Society is reviewing their desperately outdated report on fracking, we are concerned that this review appears to be taking place in secret, and all other academics, scientists and community groups are being prevented from submitting evidence for inclusion.

“This ‘behind-closed-doors’ approach is unlikely to win the trust of those communities currently threatened by fracking, and could allow the Royal Society to cherry-pick any reports to support the government’s pro-fracking agenda – as appeared to be the case when their first report was published in 2012 – while ignoring evidence that highlights the real and present dangers of shale gas production in the UK.

“We urge the Royal Society to open up the process and allow submissions of relevant research from other interested parties, or run the risk of their review being seen as another government-orchestrated fluff piece for the benefit of their friends in the fracking industry.”

Lib Dem Baroness Lynne Featherstone, spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change said:

“This is serious, the evidence that the Tory government currently relies on for justifying its pro-fracking viewport is being reviewed. This means the government could be relying on outdated science to prove that fracking is safe.

“It is not worth taking a chance on this. We no longer need fossil fuels to help us generate our energy. The government should halt its obsession with fracking and instead use the money to invest in more renewable projects instead.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to the Editor:

  1. Shale gas extraction in the UK: a review of hydraulic fracturing(2012) https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/projects/shale-gas-extraction/2012-06-28-shale-gas.pdf
  2. Landmark report on fracking to be updated and £7.6m shale gas research confirmedDrill or Drop 21 June 2018 https://drillordrop.com/2018/06/21/landmark-report-on-fracking-to-be-updated-as-7-6m-shale-gas-research-confirmed/
  3. Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker: Wave 25 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-and-climate-change-public-attitudes-tracker-wave-25
  4. Fracking and Historic Coal Mining: Their relationship and should they coincide?Professor Emeritus Peter Styles http://www.talkfracking.org/slider-3/talk-fracking-takes-new-fracking-earthquake-report-to-parliament/
  5. For further comment or more information, please contact Steve steve@frackfreeunited.co.uk- 07793 821242, or myself, as per below information.

 

CUADRILLA’S HIGH COURT INJUNCTION FACES CONTINUED OPPOSITION AT PROTEST RALLY

FRACK FREE LANCASHIRE

PRESS RELEASE

CUADRILLA’S HIGH COURT INJUNCTION FACES CONTINUED OPPOSITION AT PROTEST RALLY

30 May 2018

For immediate release 

Campaigners will gather from 09.30hrs on 31 May. The court hearing begins at 10.30hrs. A photocall will take place at 10.00hrs *

Communities opposed to fracking from across the North will be gathering outside the Civil Justice Centre in Manchester on Thursday (31 May 09.30am) ahead of a hearing into an application from Cuadrilla to extend an injunction related to its fracking site on Preston New Road in Lancashire (1).

The wide-ranging injunction seeks to prohibit obstruction of the site entrance, such as through ‘lock-ons’ or slow-walking in front of lorries and prevent blockading of suppliers – all tactics which have been used by local anti-fracking campaigners to try and delay Cuadrilla’s progress since work started at the site in January 2017.

A spokesperson from Frack Free Lancashire said:

“We are standing together today outside the High Court hearing in Manchester to show that our peaceful protest will continue against this dreadful industry that has forced its way undemocratically into our community.

“Our councils said no to this application, with a clear and knowledgeable understanding of the local area, environment, community and evidence of the devastating risk that fracking would bring. Central government intervened on behalf of their fracking friends, Cuadrilla, and overruled democracy.

“The global need for clean and renewable energy has never been more urgent. We believe that the government’s backwards vision for digging up yet more fossil fuels is both redundant and needless. Clean energy and climate jobs are needed now. Fracking has no place in our future.”

The High Court hearing takes place during the ongoing ‘United Resistance’ – a three-month campaign against fracking at the Preston New Road site organised by community groups. A mass rally of trade union activists will take place near the site on Saturday 9 June, calling for a ban on fracking and the creation of a million climate jobs (2).

The family-friendly solidarity day is for trade unionists and all other anti-fracking campaigners, with speakers and musical entertainment.

Fracking company Cuadrilla is currently awaiting consent to frack at Preston New Road from Energy Secretary Greg Clark, having applied for permission on 21 May 2018 (3).

 

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

  1. https://drillordrop.com/2018/05/21/cuadrilla-seeks-to-extend-protest-injunction-at-lancashire-fracking-site/
  2. https://www.facebook.com/events/164196737583363/
  3. https://cuadrillaresources.com/media-resources/press-releases/cuadrilla-applies-hydraulic-fracturing-consent/

New Lord Mayor of Sheffield to Join Campaigners at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road Anti-Fracking Site

UNITED RESISTANCE
PRESS RELEASE

NEW LORD MAYOR OF SHEFFIELD TO JOIN CAMPAIGNERS AT CUADRILLA’S PRESTON NEW ROAD ANTI-FRACKING SITE
20 May 2018
For immediate release

 

The brand new Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Green Party Councillor Magid Magid is due to speak outside of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site on Monday 21 May 2018 at 11.00.

A former child refugee from Somalia, Councillor Magid and his family took sanctuary in Sheffield at the age of five.

Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Magid Magid

Councillor Magid is the youngest Mayor that Sheffield has seen and additionally, a welcome sight championing diversity as a black Muslim and a Green Party councillor.
He has actively opposed the tree felling scandal in Sheffield and has visions of tackling racism, xenophobia and homophobia. His fresh approach and quirky character was well received in his official Mayoral photograph, where he was pictured wearing Doc Martens.

Along with Magid’s visit, Green Party Sheffield Councillor, Alison Teal, will join him, speaking at around 12.30pm. Councillor Teal is also an active opposer of the controversial tree felling project and has travelled in support of the anti-fracking campaigners in Lancashire.

Photo opportunities and interviews will be available.

ENDS

Notes to Editor

1. Photo attached, is of Green Party Councillor Magid Magid, Lord Mayor of Sheffield. Picture credit to Chris Saunders.

‘Fracking Could Cause Earthquakes On Up To Half Of The Land Licensed In Britain’, Says Former Advisor To No 10

PRESS RELEASE 18 My 2018

Report prompts calls for immediate moratorium until full extent of the risk can be properly assessed 

Fracking on up to half of the land licensed by the Government for shale-gas operations could trigger earthquakes, according to a leading seismologist.

Former advisor to No 10, Professor Peter Styles, says hydraulic fracturing in former coal mining areas increases the probability of earthquakes on faults that have already been subject to movement through mining.

As the Government announced plans to speed up fracking developments by fast-tracking private companies’ planning applications, Professor Styles has called for more rigorous checks to identify the dangers in coalfield areas.

In his new report, ‘Fracking and Historic Coal Mining: their relationship and should they coincide?’ Professor Styles describes the ‘serious earthquake risk’ posed by fracking in former coalfield areas, because ‘induced seismicity’ is ‘dramatically enhanced’ in a significant proportion of land designated for fracking operations.

The report is being launched in Parliament at 2pm on Tuesday 22nd May 2018.

 Former coalfields already have a risk of earthquakes. Fracking is likely to enhance the risk of induced seismicity in those areas. 

Professor Styles calls on the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, to immediately adopt his best practice recommendations that planning applications for ANY fracking site include all available, high-resolution and carefully mapped data.

He is insistent that the Government should immediately implement recommended safety steps that include: 

  • A 500-metre buffer zone between former mine workings and current and future energy extraction technologies (based on 2004 recommendations) 
  • A 850-metre buffer zone between fracking and any significant natural fractures or faults (based on 2015 and 2018 recommendations)

He adds that all recommendations should be incorporated into the National Planning Policy Framework, with reference to all applications to frack.

Professor Styles, Emeritus Professor in Applied and Environmental Geophysics at Keele University and Past-President of the Geological Society, also called into question the industry’s technical capability to identify faults or fractures likely to lead to prohibited seismic events in ALL licenced areas.

He says: “Unfortunately the physics of it means you cannot see those faults with the (survey) waves that you put into the earth.

“To date it does not appear that any proper industry or government due diligence has taken place with regards to fault lines mapped.”

In the case of coalfield areas, he adds: “We have forgotten about mining. Mining has not forgotten about us.”

The report highlights a potentially dangerous fault line within 10 metres of the proposed fracking borehole at Harthill, just south of Sheffield, which plastics manufacturer INEOS, owned by Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe, propose to drill.

Professor Styles questions the viability of fracking in the UK saying: “It would be prudent of the Government to reduce the estimates of exploitable onshore frackable gas by half.

“We are risking our energy security if we proceed without assessing all the data.”

Baroness Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrats spokesperson on fracking, who is hosting the event, said: “This report asks some serious questions of the Government and the fracking industry. Ministers must take heed and listen to the growing weight of evidence on fracking and, at the bare minimum, implement a moratorium on fracking in coal mining areas and review fracking across the UK.”

In 2011, two earthquakes in Lancashire shook Blackpool after the fracking company, Cuadrilla, failed in the UK’s first and only attempt of this version of extreme energy extraction. Professor Styles had issued warnings at the time, but Cuadrilla ignored them.

A tremor with a 2.4 magnitude was reported by the British Geological Survey and a second tremor with a magnitude of 3.2 was also confirmed shortly after, leading to ban on all operations.

-ENDS-

Image of Professor Peter Styles (Please click link here)

 CONTACT:-

 Richard Hillgrove, 6 Hillgrove. Mob. 07958701775. Email. richard.hillgrove@6hillgrove.com

 

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Report Launch:

Professor Emeritus Peter Styles ‘Fracking and Historic Coal Mining: their relationship and should they coincide?’ Report Launch 

2pm, Tuesday 22 May, 2018

Committee Room 2A, House of Lords

Baroness Lynne Featherstone invites you to meet Professor Peter Styles, leading seismologist and former advisor to No 10 on fracking, to talk about his latest research – Published on Tuesday – On the dangers of fracking on the UK mainland.

Refreshments will be provided.

 

About Professor Emeritus Peter Styles:

https://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=IBUNBURY2

BA(Oxon), PhD (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)., FGS CGeol., FRAS CSci., FIMMM, FRSA

Editor-in-Chief :GEOSCIENTIST

Associate Editor Acta Geophysica

https://www.keele.ac.uk/gge/people/peterstyles/

Professor of Applied and Environmental Geophysics
Applied & Environmental Geophysics Research Group
School of Physical and Geographical Sciences
Keele University
Staffs ST5 5 BG

 

KEY POINTS:-

-Fracking companies and regulators have failed to use all available geological data, as they are required to do, for planning application purposes.

-Professor Styles’ report shows that historic coal mining data has been overlooked or ignored.

-The historic mining data shows accurate locations of fault lines capable of triggering earthquakes over a 0.5 magnitude that would shut down fracking operations under current regulations.

-The seismic surveying equipment used by the fracking industry is not capable of detecting these faults. They need equipment with 5X greater magnification capabilities.

-Professor Styles’ report includes a small sample of the available historic data convert to digital format that can be overlaid onto British Geological Survey maps, which only show major fault lines.

-The data shows that former coal mining areas are riddled with potentially dangerous faults capable of producing seismic activity greater than a 0.5 magnitude which is the level at which fracking operations must be shut down under the current traffic light system.

-Considerable further work and investigation is required on the historic mining data to reveal the full picture. However, it is highly likely to show a similar picture across all previously mined areas. This would render the majority of the current PEDL licences for fracking over the North of England useless and demonstrate that Government and industry estimates for recoverable fracked gas should be halved.

Richard J. Hillgrove VI

6 Hillgrove Public Relations

Studio 1, Albion Building

1 Back Hill

London EC1R 5EN

Tel. +44 (0) 20 3601 3667

Mob. +44 (0) 7958 701 775

www.6hillgrove.com

Government poll shows opposition to fracking much higher than support

Frack Free Lancashire

PRESS RELEASE 26 April 2018

LATEST GOVERNMENT POLLING SHOWS OPPOSITION TO FRACKING REMAINS MUCH HIGHER THAN SUPPORT

 Today saw the release of the government’s latest Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker: Wave 25 – a BEIS research report into public attitudes on energy and climate change. The series of polls asks questions about energy and climate change on a quarterly basis, which began in March 2012 and about shale gas specifically, since Wave 8 in December 2013.

Today’s results show opposition to fracking remaining constant at 32% (split as oppose 19% and strongly oppose 13%) while support crept up from Wave 23’s record low to just 18% (split as strongly support just 2% and support  15%).

Support for fracking has declinedby 33% since polling on shale gas began with Wave 8 in December 2013 (27% down to 18%).

The percentage of people neither supporting nor opposing remained fairly constant at 47%. This figure has hovered around 50% since the polling began.

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“The long-term trend is obvious – this industry continuously fails to win support in spite of efforts to alternately buy local support and to threaten opposition with draconian legal injunctions.

“The data suggests that the small increase in support, from recent record lows, seems to be attributable to the fake news during the cold snap about UK energy dependence on Russia. The reason for support “Reduces dependence on other countries for UK’s energy supply” leapt from 25% to 36% of those polled this time around, when in fact UK imports less than 1% of its gas from Russian sources.

“Meanwhile, support for renewable energy continues to increase, with a record 85% of those polled expressing support, and with strong support surging from 30% to 37%.

“The direction of travel in public opinion is clear. We now need our politicians to recognise this and take actions accordingly.”

ENDS

 

Notes to the Editor:

1. Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker (PAT): Wave 25 – summary report

2. Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker (PAT): Wave 25 – summary tables

Second Cuadrilla Public Planning Inquiry to Start in Lancashire

PRESS RELEASE

Second Cuadrilla Public Planning Inquiry to Start in Lancashire

On behalf of Roseacre Awareness Group, Frack Free Lancashire and Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth

 Thursday 5 April 2018

For immediate release

*Photo opportunity 09.00hrs on Tuesday 10 April 2018, outside Blackpool Football Club

On Tuesday 10  April at Blackpool Football Club, a further Public Inquiry, into Cuadrilla’s plans to frack for shale gas at Roseacre Wood – their second Lancashire site – is due to commence and will last two for weeks.

Residents of Roseacre village and supporters from across Lancashire and beyond will gather outside the Inquiry on the first day, from 8.30am-12pm (1). The rally will hear from speakers from a range of political parties, community groups against fracking, trade unions and other groups.

Cuadrilla applied to frack at two sites on the Fylde in June 2014 but both were rejected by Lancashire County Council. These sites became the subject of a Planning Inquiry in 2016.
​The UK government overturned the council’s refusal at Preston New Road, and was “minded to approve” fracking at Roseacre if Cuadrilla could overcome concerns related to traffic and safety (2).

Cuadrilla’s revised traffic plans would negatively affect many more communities as Cuadrilla’s proposals include three alternative traffic routes to get the largest HGVs to this quiet rural Fylde location. The routes include the A583 Blackpool Road and A585 Fleetwood Road, passing through many villages such as Clifton, Salwick, Inskip, Roseacre, Crossmoor andElswick.

The revised traffic plans were unanimously rejected by both Fylde Borough Council and Lancashire County Council (3).Two Lancashire Conservative MPs, Mark Menzies and Ben Wallace, whose constituencies will be affected, have joined in opposition to the plans. Mark Menzies MP for the Fylde, in his letter to Lancashire County Council, objected stating:

“I do not believe that HGV traffic concerns can be addressed at the site. The company’s proposals simply cannot be reconciled with the quiet rural roads that service access to the proposed shale gas site. I am therefore clear that Cuadrilla Resources’ proposed Roseacre Wood site must not be permitted to go ahead as there are no circumstances in which it can mitigate against the unacceptable hazard that the introduction of such a large number of HGVs will present to local road users.” (4)

Wendy McKay, the Planning Inspector from the previous Planning Inquiry, concluded that planning policy supporting “national need” for shale gas does not overcome public safety (5). Roseacre Awareness Group has highlighted the risks of the latest traffic plans and HGV movements on the narrow country lanes. The residents’ group points out that Cuadrilla’s mitigation includes installing 39 new passing places along the route in places where HGVs cannot pass other traffic.  They further emphasised that Roseacre Wood is highly popular for tourism, recreation and leisure especially cycling, running and horse riding. All of these pursuits would be directly threatened by the proposal.

Barbara Richardson, Chair of Roseacre Awareness Group, who will be presenting evidence to the Inquiry opposing the revised traffic plans on behalf of residents and seven parish and town councils, said:

“It has been four long years. These fracking plans have been rejected at every level from the residents to our parish, borough and county council. We are only a small community and it has taken us thousands of hours of unpaid work and tens of thousands of pounds, but we are determined to fight this to the bitter end. We see this is an injustice and infringement of our human rights.

“We were absolutely appalled when the Secretary of State said he was still minded to approve the plans if Cuadrilla could overcome traffic problems. They haven’t managed to do this in four years, why should they have been given another chance now?

“We are ordinary members of the public who understand the harm this industry will bring to our community, our health and well-being, our environment and ultimately climate change, and we are prepared to stand up and speak out.

“Our evidence is strong and robust and, if it was just down to that, we believe we would win. Should the decision go against us we will not stop here. We will continue to oppose the plans and will fight at every level to protect our community, and others, from harm. We will not stop until fracking is taken off the agenda, after all, extracting fossil fuels is a backward and unwelcome step. It is far better to invest in energy efficiency programmes and sustainable renewable energy solutions.”

Dorothy Kelk from Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth stated:

“Instead of forcing fracking onto communities and locking us into more climate-changing fossil fuels, the Government should invest in clean renewable energy technologies to power us now and in the future, and which could create tens of thousands of new jobs in Lancashire and the North West.”

“The Inquiry is being closely watched by communities across England who are facing the threat of fracking, and comes as several councils across the Midlands and the North have opposed shale gas exploration already this year (6).”

Kelly Jennings is from Woodsetts Against Fracking in South Yorkshire, where Rotherham council voted last month against plans by INEOS to drill a well for shale gas exploration. She is attending the Public Inquiry in support of Roseacre community next week. Kelly said:

“If fracking can go ahead in a rural community like Roseacre it could get approved anywhere. Communities like ours in Woodsetts and all over England are starting to wake up as the threat becomes more real. Opposition to fracking will continue to grow as more people become aware of the impacts and take a stand against this polluting industry.”

Since Cuadrilla began work at Preston New Road in January 2017, the site has attracted daily protests, which continue with three months of peaceful action ahead of Cuadrilla’s planned fracking at the site later this year(7).Frack Free Lancashire outlined that the policing costs have already passed £7 million of taxpayers’ money.  There are grave resource implications of a second site in the Fylde (8).

ENDS

Contacts

Barbara Richardson – Chair of Roseacre Awareness Group, 07918 106875, Barbara.martin@talk21.com

Helen Rimmer – Friends of the Earth 07940 006783

Claire Stephenson – Frack Free Lancashire 07929 969664

Notes

  1. https://www.facebook.com/events/212372212679848/
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/recovered-appeals-cuadrilla-bowland-ltd-and-cuadrilla-elswick-ltd-refs-3134386-3130923-3134385-and-3130924-6-october-2016
  3. https://drillordrop.com/2018/01/17/lancs-planners-stand-by-objection-to-roseacre-wood-fracking-site/and https://drillordrop.com/2018/01/19/borough-councillors-vote-unanimously-against-cuadrillas-revised-fracking-plans/
  4. 4 December 2017 http://www.markmenzies.org.uk/news/fylde-mp-mark-menzies-objects-to-roseacre-shale-gas-appeal
  5. para 12.860 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/recovered-appeals-cuadrilla-bowland-ltd-and-cuadrilla-elswick-ltd-refs-3134386-3130923-3134385-and-3130924-6-october-2016“Since the proposed development would be neither safe nor sustainable, it would not have the support of the WMS (Written Ministerial Statement). The national need for shale gas exploration cannot, therefore, be pleaded in support of this appeal. Even if it were appropriate to take that factor into account, I believe that the need to ensure the safety of members of the public is paramount and would strongly outweigh that important consideration.”
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/08/uk-fracking-backlash-seven-out-of-eight-plans-rejected-in-2018
  7. http://frackfreelancashire.org/the-united-resistance/
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-43575535
  9. Roseacre photograph attached

 

cyclists roseacre road

United Resistance – three months of love & defiance

UR poster

 

Cuadrilla claimed that they would begin fracking during the second quarter of 2018. As a result anti-fracking groups from Lancashire and elsewhere will come together to show both Cuadrilla and the Government that we will not tolerate this toxic industry that is being forced on us with absolutely no social licence.

Please don’t turn away, it really is you that can make all the difference to the people of Lancashire who are in urgent need of your help. We face a huge threat to our health, our children’s futures and the safety of the air and water we all depend on and share throughout the country. We have worked so hard for seven years to stop this industry and as a UK-wide movement, have grown, united, resisted and succeeded in halting any further fracking in the UK since the one and only fracking operation here in 2011. But now… we are so close we can sense the methane, feel the tingle of potential seismic activity and ache just knowing, what more could come.

The stress on our community reached its peak on 4th January 2017 when Cuadrilla came back and started development of a new site on the busy A583 (Preston New Road) and that stress has not eased in the many hundreds of days since. We residents and generous supporters who travel to support us, have gathered at the site every single day and used every lawful and non-violent method we could find to stop this industry from bringing industrialised danger to our doorsteps.

Drillers Cuadrilla are about nine months behind schedule (yay!) but we need to make this stop before it ruins even more lives and depletes and exhausts those of us who have had to put so much into this. Of course we cannot expect people to just stop working, stop providing for their families, stop tending to the needs of those who depend on them and join us each day… all we’re asking for is that when you book a break and some time off, that you think of us.

We have arranged a wonderful opportunity for anyone to find their way to help…. from banner waving, bearing witness or help with cooking and welfare – to non-violent direct actions and everything in-between. The United Resistance… 3 months of Love & Defiance, divides up and distributes the hard work of daily activism into ‘niche weeks’ where groups take responsibility for a set Monday to Friday 8:30-18:00 period of time with the sole aim to resist fracking. You… can join on any day, stay for any period of time and all we ask is that you bring your very valuable self.

In return, we will provide a wonderful space at our ‘Community Hub’ (just 10 mins from the Cuadrilla site) for breakfast and evening meals (no cost) and deliver lunch at the roadside. We also have 3 camping areas (no cost) and of course as we’re so close to lovely Blackpool, plenty of B&B options nearby. The added extras you’ll enjoy should you join us include a huge sense of warm solidarity, self empowerment and a real sense of community and purpose… and the children will eternally be grateful that you stood for them.

Please do come and along and join us even if it is only for a few hours – numbers count!

A link to the United Resistance events is available here.

 

Dear Police Officers, What Are We To Do?

The following is from a blog by Tina Louise Rothery. Tina wrote this following angry clashes between the police and protectors (mainly female) outside the gates at Preston New Road, earlier this week.

One of those nights where you can’t put the day down…

Dear Police Officers,

What are we to do? How do you see this playing out? The reality that you as well as we (those acting to stop fracking) see is that this government wants hundreds of frack sites here in Lancashire and many thousands across the country – and equally clear is that residents throughout the UK will continue to act to stop this. It’s been 7 years now and we’re still here, still growing and not stopping. Our opposition in England is a part of a worldwide movement that has succeeded in getting this industry halted and we know we can succeed because of this… Scotland, Ireland North & South and Wales have set examples and England is the last place still pursuing fracking in the UK.

We are in the middle of an undeniable dilemma because none of us want to see our councils bankrupted by the cost of policing for fracking sites and none of us want to witness our communities denied proper levels of policing because you’re being used as truck escorts for fracking vehicles .. yet the government has seen fit to use officers like you, to enable a despised industry to be forced into communities without social license; what the hell did they think would be the outcome?

You can’t say it too loudly but we know that you have huge cause to consider this government in the same way we do; your numbers cut (20,000 less officers now than in 2010), your pension age raised and standards undeniably lowered due to cost cutting. Privatisation is nibbling away at your force in a stealth-like fashion similar to what is happening in education and the NHS …outsourcing forensics, prisoner processing and other departments and considering giving rights to arrest to private security firms. You are not treated with respect… and nor are we.

The UK is supposed to be a democracy and one of the better-off countries in the world and yet, our successful rejection of fracking through our Council was overturned and you have seen cuts you can’t fight against yet have to manage the fall-out from. So where we each stand and what we each suffer in our daily work (yes, I am working – my job is to protect my young as my first priority) is caused by the same people – who then set us against each other in an unwinnable scenario that is destined to bring serious harm.

I have witnessed tired officers grow angry and act dangerously …of course we get tired too and tempers fray and we make you more angered and aggressive by taking our frustration and anger out on you too. Meanwhile back in Westminster… lobbyists for the fracking industry and lobbyists for companies like SERCO and G4S, have the ear and favour of senior politicians. You and we go unheard and unheeded. When Theresa May finally leaves Downing Street, we will see more clearly which industries she got close to as we have with former Prime Minister Cameron this week; he spoke at a large Oil & Gas industry event in America… they like him and he is well rewarded for his work with them. It’s clear that he made these connections during his time in power and easy enough to work out what contracts, laws and actions led to the positive relationship.

Yesterday an Officer used what I assume is usual force in getting someone out of the way in an incident… the only thing is, the person thrown wasn’t a dangerous criminal, drunk aggressor or violent thug – it was a small woman and she flew further than the Officer judged. Cath landed in the path of an oncoming vehicle that swerved instantly and only missed causing serious harm or death by a moment. Today, a respected elder witnessed more rough handling by the police and broke down. She was genuinely shocked and said in a tone of absolute disbelief “I HATE THE POLICE!”. She is a warm, kind and gentle woman who like so many of us – never imagined life could look this ugly. We paid taxes, voted, believed we lived in a fair country and that if danger came… there were safeguards in place to call upon and before the reality kicks in along with the sadness and anger, we break with the realisation of truth. The government is responsible for this and you, like us are bearing the pain.

A community’s police force is there for public safety and we are unsafe every day because of a dangerous industry – yet you are tasked with protecting that industry’s metal trucks and equipment… from soft-fleshed people – many of whom are women over the age of 50 for goodness sakes.

What is right, lawful, just or fair about this picture?

We are nearly too far down this path to repair and something serious must happen to change this situation because your force and our residents are at breaking point and that’s with just ONE frack site… they want hundreds. Government and industry will aim to injunct everything they can but we’ll just nudge up next to the edge of every injunction or we’ll go to the places the equipment sets off from and we will not stop because we can’t. What would it take for you to move out of the way of a child and let danger come to them? That’s what drives us and keeps us in this truly awful situation… we CAN’T go till the frackers do.

The solution? No bloody idea – but I suggest it starts with a conversation within the police force and that there needs to be a forcing of the government to see the truth of the danger that is growing on the streets that surround a fracking site in Lancashire.

Statement from Frack Free Lancashire Finance Sub-group

The historical and ongoing accusations by Mr. Gayzer Frackman, questioning the integrity of individual members of the Frack Free Lancashire Finance sub-group and the committee in its entirety, seriously damages the movement.

For the avoidance of doubt, NO ONE INDIVIDUAL makes any decision about distribution of funds raised for the Frack Free Lancashire Legal Fund. The sub-group members give their time voluntarily to raise the funds and distribute those funds on a “need” basis, guided by the constitution. It is not autonomous, the sub-group reports fully to FFL monthly meetings.

Again, for the avoidance of doubt, the Legal Fund is NOT a charity; its sole purpose is to assist FFL “members and groups” with legal and related experts’ costs. It does not and cannot support groups or individuals that do not fall within that definition. Many avenues are open to, and are used by, other groups and individuals to raise funds from the same sources evidently with success.

Susan Holliday, Chair of PNRAG and a member of the sub-group, would like to add her voice to this statement:

These wild accusations concerning the sub-group and its individual members, of which I am one, has to stop. PNRAG has been well supported by the FFL Legal Fund in its efforts against Cuadrilla’s appeals against Lancashire County Council’s refusal of permission to frack at Preston New Road. To allege otherwise is totally wrong. These wild accusations seriously undermine FFL’s ability to continue raising funds from those who support our aims. The threat to us all is ongoing and FFL, an internationally supported group, should be applauded, not denigrated, for raising much needed funds for its members and member groups.

Jim Nisbet, former Chair of RAG and also a member of the sub-group, adds:

There exists a constitution by which the sub-group must abide in the distribution of the Legal Fund. Mr. Frackman is not, by his own admission, involved with Frack Free Lancashire, therefore the Legal Fund cannot support his actions. The Legal Fund donations and grants have been administered on a “need” basis to the members and member groups, with incoming funds ring-fenced for those groups’ likely future needs. This is done in consultation with the representatives of those groups on the sub-committee and is reported at FFL meetings, which Mr. Frackman does not attend. By accusing any individual of wrong-doing he therefore indicts every member of the sub-group, including the Chair of PNRAG. Simply put, the Legal Fund has supported both PNRAG and RAG on application for help and continues to do so. Mr. Frackman’s allegations are without foundation and border on defamation.

Frack Free Lancashire Finance sub-group condemns Mr. Frackman’s allegations and, once again, assures those who have donated to the Legal Fund that their donations have been, and continue to be, distributed with the utmost propriety.

Signed by members of the sub-group:

  • Chris Cannon, SAFE (Singleton Against a Fracked Environment)
  • Anne Fielding, RAFF (Residents Action on Fylde Fracking)
  • Susan Holliday, PNRAG (Preston New Road Action Group)
  • Maureen Mills, HAF (Halsall Against Fracking)
  • Jim Nisbet, RAG (Roseacre Awareness Group)
  • Ian Roberts, RAFF (Residents Action on Fylde Fracking)
  • Mel Tarplee, HAF (Halsall Against Fracking)

“LESS THAN 1% OF UK GAS COMES FROM RUSSIA”, CONTRADICTING GOVERNMENT’S OWN MPs & FRACKING INDUSTRY SPIN

 

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PRESS RELEASE

FRACK FREE UNITED

16th March 2016

For immediate release

“LESS THAN 1% OF UK GAS COMES FROM RUSSIA” TWEETS GOVERNMENT ENERGY DEPARTMENT IN RESPONSE TO PRO-FRACKING CLAIMS OF ‘OVER-RELIANCE’ ON RUSSIAN GAS

In response to claims from pro-fracking MPs such as Kevin Hollinrake (MP for Thirsk and Malton) and the right-wing think tank the Global Warming Policy Forum, led by climate change denier Sir Nigel Lawson, that Britain is over-reliant on natural gas from Russia, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) took the unusual step of issuing a tweet to directly contradict these views.

The tweet (also attached) states:

Claims that we rely on gas from Russia are false. Almost half of our gas comes from Great Britain, with Norway and Qatar being our major international suppliers.” 

The tweet included an official government meme, which added:

 “Great Britain benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of gas supply. Less than 1% of our gas comes from Russia and we are no way reliant on it.” [see attached screenshot]

Steve Mason, from campaign group Frack Free United, said:

“The pro-fracking lobbyists are deliberately using the Russia crisis to forward their agenda by incorrectly claiming that the UK is dependent on Russian gas. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the BEIS tweet states, we only get less than 1% of our gas from Russia, and so there is absolutely no way that Putin could ‘turn the lights off’ across the UK. It is refreshing to see these pro-fracking myth-makers being put in their place by the very government department that is in charge of the country’s energy supplies.”

“This disgraceful scaremongering by pro-fracking lobbyists on the back of a very real international crisis smacks of panic and desperation, and reflects the fact that local communities and councils up and down the country are rejecting this unwanted, unnecessary and unsafe industry.”

“If people are so concerned about securing UK supply of home-produced gas, then why does the British Government allow a quarter of the gas we produce to be sold to other countries?”

The latest figures published by UKOOG, the oil and gas industry trade body, show that in 2016 the UK received 65.2% of its imported gas by pipeline from Norway, 21% as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Qatar and 11.8% by pipeline from Holland and Belgium. Small amounts of gas also came from countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago – and Russia.

Furthermore, the UK currently exports over 25% of all the gas it produces, according to the 2017 DUKES (Digest of UK Energy Statistics) report – see tables on page 109 and 111 – mainly to the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Holland. Anti-fracking campaigners have frequently pointed that fact out.

This controversy comes at the end of a week in which a coalition of conservation groups, scientists and anti-fracking community groups sent a letter to the Prime Minister in support of the National Trust, who are resisting efforts by multinational chemicals giant INEOS to conduct seismic surveys on their land, and asking her to immediately halt unconventional gas exploration and invest in clean renewable energy instead. This coalition included the CPRE, the Marine Conservation Society, the WWF and Friends of the Earth with Unions, numerous eminent scientists and over 40 local campaign groups plus leading climate campaigners like Vivienne Westwood and Jonathon Porritt.

Steve Mason added:

“In the case of The National Trust, they are duty-bound to protect the land in their care. This government have given permission to a corporation – INEOS – to sue this national institution for access to their land. The grand coalition that have signed this letter shows that fracking is more unpopular than ever, and is never going to be accepted by local communities, however many unsubstantiated scare stories the pro-fracking lobby have in the pipeline.”

Signatory Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Watch Europe, said:

“Ineos’s fracking dreams are a nightmare for communities on both sides of the Atlantic, and that’s why so many anti-fracking campaigners are speaking up to stop them. Anyone who cares about the climate crisis, the increasing burden of global plastics pollution, and the air and water pollution associated with petrochemical manufacturing should get active in the fight to stop Ineos from fracking the UK–and anywhere else for that matter.”

 

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

  1. Meme from the government’s BEIS department:

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  1. BEIS TWEET. https://twitter.com/beisgovuk/status/974351365014245378
  2. Letter to the Prime Minister attached

For all media enquiries, please contact: 

Steve Mason: steve@frackfreeunited.co.uk 07793821242 

Claire Stephenson: 07929 969664

Dinah Keal on 07593 682402