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LANCASHIRE COUNCILLORS QUESTION FRACKING REGULATIONS & HIGHLIGHT RISK TO PUBLIC SAFETY

Frack Free Lancashire

PRESS RELEASE 

LANCASHIRE COUNCILLORS QUESTION FRACKING REGULATIONS & HIGHLIGHT RISK TO PUBLIC SAFETY

 

For immediate release

14 AUGUST 2018

 

Three local councillors have written an open letter to Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, highlighting crucial defects in the regulatory bodies and highlight the bias demonstrated in favour of the fracking industry over communities.

The three local councillors, who have all been part of the group since its formation in 2017, complain that recent events have revealed serious deficiencies in the power of regulators, and in the completeness of information provided to the group.

Their concerns were prompted by the revelation that information about Cuadrilla’s sixth recorded set of breaches was apparently withheld from the group’s last meeting, and was only discovered as a result of an investigation by members of the public.

The councillors stated:

“If a regulator is not sharing information with the Community Liaison Group (CLG) there is no transparency in the system. The CLG is therefore undermined as it is clearly unable to provide the open forum for debate that is necessary around a controversial and untested industry.

“The timing of this is deeply troubling given that Cuadrilla is currently preparing the site to commence fracking within the month.
The government intends to take planning decisions for fracking away from local authorities and enable decisions to be fast-tracked. In our opinion, the robust regulation that we have been promised is non-existent.
The regulatory authorities have been rendered ineffective by consistent cut-backs and directives and therefore, public safety is being compromised.”

 

ENDS

 

Cuadrilla breach environmental permits at Preston New Road – again

The Environment Agency has warned Cuadrilla for a number of breaches:

  • Exceeding waste limits ‘significantly’
  • Storing waste at ‘unpermitted’ site
  • Using ‘unlicensed’ waste contractor

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TALK FRACKING FIRES-UP LEGAL ACTION AGAINST UK GOVERNMENT OVER FRACKING FAILURE

PRESS RELEASE ISSUED: 10 AUGUST 2018

Talk Fracking Issues Pre-Action Legal Letter to Secretary Of State For Local Government For ‘Clear Failure To Conduct A Strategic Environmental Assessment’

* Failure to Adhere To Existing Climate Change Act 2008 Obligations To Reduce Greenhouse Emissions

* Failure to Consult On a Fair Basis

* Failure to Review Three Years of Advanced Scientific Developments

Talk Fracking, the campaigning group led by Dame Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré, has issued a pre-action legal letter (8th August 2018) to James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (SofS).

The group, backed by Yoko Ono, Sir Paul McCartney and Lily Cole are challenging the legality of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published on the 24th July 2018, the last parliamentary day before Summer recess, after a consultation began on the 5th March 2018 – because of the Clear Failure By The Secretary Of State For Local Government To Conduct A Strategic Environmental Assessment before issuing the revised NPPF.

Talk Fracking is advised by Leigh Day with Barristers including Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers, David Wolfe QC, Matrix Chambers and Peter Lockley, 11KBW.

Energy Minister the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP immediately issued the first permit to Cuadrilla to start fracking at a well in Lancashire immediately following the publication of the revised NPPF. Fracking is expected to start in late August or early September 2018 at the Preston New Road site, between Blackpool and Preston.

According to Talk Fracking, rather than consult on a fair basis and conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment, Mr Brokenshire blindly incorporated the outdated and flawed Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) of the then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd from 16th September 2015.

According to Ms Rudd’s WMS, adopted by Mr Brokenshire, the Minerals planning authorities should: “Recognise the benefits of on-shore oil and gas development, including unconventional hydrocarbons, for the security of energy supplies and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy; and put in place policies to facilitate their exploration and extraction”.

“Mr Brokenshire had a duty to British voters to review all of the available scientific data available,” says Mr Corré. “There are now over 1,300 scientific, peer-reviewed papers evidencing harm from fracking. All were ignored.”

Amber Rudd’s statement has been proven “completely wrong on the energy security issue,” according to Corré.

“Fracking companies are in no way guaranteeing energy security from their activities – in fact the UK’s biggest fracker, INEOS, uses fracked gas imported from America to produce more and more disposable plastic. That’s the same plan for fracked gas from the UK.”

“Amber Rudd’s statement has also been proven totally wrong in terms of its claims about fracking’s role in a low-carbon economy, a requirement in terms of our obligations to the Climate Change Act 2008.

“Fracking is, in fact, worse than coal in terms of emissions.

A response to Talk Fracking’s letter is expected back from Mr Brokenshire by the 21st August 2018. If this is unacceptable, it is anticipated that a legal action will be lodged in the Court before the 4th September 2018, which falls within the 6-week deadline for challenges to the NPPF.

-ENDS-

Legal Letter from Leigh Day.

UK GOVERNMENT BURIES CRUCIAL FRACKING POLLUTION REPORT…FOR THREE YEARS

UK GOVERNMENT BURIES CRUCIAL FRACKING POLLUTION REPORT…FOR THREE YEARS
A critical report on fracking’s impact on the UK air pollution levels has been deliberately hidden by the Conservative government for more than three years, it was revealed yesterday.

The document was quietly published last week on the 27th July, just days after the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) gave final permission for Cuadrilla to carry out fracking at Preston New Road, in Lancashire.

The report showed that 400 fracking wells would increase pollution levels, nationally, with an increase in nitrogen dioxides of around1-4% and volatile organic compounds(VOCs) increasing around1-3%.

The report also warned that: “Impacts on local and regional air quality have the potential to be substantially higher than the national level impacts, as extraction activities are likely to be highly clustered.”

Chair of the government’s Air Quality Expert Group(AQEG) and University of Leicester, Professor Paul Monks stated:
“The thing that surprised me was you think the main sources of air pollution are going to be coming from the actual process of fracking, but it is as much all the industry – diesel generators, lorries running up and down roads, and all the stuff used to support it.”

Three years on, Professor Monks states:

“That hasn’t changed. If you have any industrial process at a local level, you are going to get an impact on air quality. If you increase the amount of wells you are bound to broadly increase [pollution].”
Campaigners are rightly shocked and appalled that a critical piece of evidence was withheld and not for the first time. The scandal of the redacted DEFRA report by the government in 2015, during Lancashire’s Planning Inquiry, was another indication of ‘dirty tricks’, especially with the impacts on rural communities redacted so heavily, the report barely made sense. A challenge by Greenpeace led to the Information Commissioner ordering the government to publish the full, unredacted report.

Preston New Road Action Group, who have mounted several legal challenges against Cuadrilla and the Secretary of State over planning consent on the Fylde Coast, stated:

“Residents living close to the site at Preston New Road site are already extremely concerned about their health and wellbeing after the government’s decision last week to give consent to frack. To now find out that there has been a report in existence for three years, detailing the impacts of this decision on our air quality which was only published after the fracking decision was made is an indication that the government are absolutely determined that shale gas exploitation should go ahead, irrespective of the harm it may cause to people and the environment. It feels as though we just don’t matter.”

Claire Stephenson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“It is simply disgraceful that yet again, democracy and justice has been withheld from our community. How can it be that scientific evidence has been deliberately buried from the public and especially during planning inquiries? This is contemptuous behavior, and sadly, one we are used to seeing from the present government, who put their industry pals before local communities.

“With asthma deaths in England and Wales rising 25% due to air pollution and a government who have already been taken to court three times – and lost – over their failure to act on illegal levels of air pollution, it’s time we held them to account.”

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

“You’d be forgiven in thinking there was a government conspiracy around fracking. Last week, we had the drilling by dictatorship announcement, removing local democracy from drilling applications, then fracking by decree with the ministers deciding the fate of communities, the removal of solar subsidies, and now this. We are supposed to be cleaning up our air: the next generation depends on us.

“This is yet another example of the clear and present danger fracking brings to us all.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Frack Free Lancashire (FFL) is part of an expanding national movement that opposes the development and extraction of shale gas worldwide.

Our mission is to protect our environment for our children and for future generations. Taking action now will safeguard the health and well-being 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

Petition United Utilities to stop supplying Cuadrilla with our drinking water during drought

We kicked off our latest petition – asking United Utilities to stop supplying our drinking water to Cuadrilla during the drought – on Saturday 28 July in St Annes Square. Thanks to all who came down to offer help. Ironically the wet and windy weather meant that there were few people out and about! We shall be running this petition for the next few months and will keep you updated as to where and when we will be via our website and Facebook pages.

A copy of the petition is available to download here. Please get your family, friends, work colleagues, etc to sign it. Completed petitions can be dropped off at Maple Farm or we can collect – please email raffgroup@hotmail.co.uk.

Thank you.

 

petition

 

 

 

Response to today’s news that the government have given Cuadrilla permission to frack PNR

In a typically cowardly fashion, our Government waited until the last day of Parliament to announce that subject to certain conditions, it was granting permission to Cuadrilla to frack the Preston New Road.

Frack Free Lancashire’s response:

“Frack Free Lancashire are saddened that the Secretary of State has granted permission for Cuadrilla to frack regardless of the opposition of local councils, MPs and population.

“They have now proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that localism is a sham.

“The irony of allowing this water-intensive industry to go ahead at exactly the moment when the country is in the grip of the worst drought for 40 years and the area in which Cuadrilla will be fracking has been hit with a hosepipe ban, will be lost on nobody.

“The fact that they are also proposing to kill off small scale renewable investment by removing the feed-in tariffs at the same time as enabling fracking is further evidence that this government’s energy policy is hopelessly out of step with the real world and the issues that we all face as a result of imminent climate change.”

PRESS RELEASE: FRACKING SITE INJUNCTION DELIBERATELY BROKEN IN PROTEST AGAINST ABUSE OF DEMOCRACY

PRESS RELEASE 24 July 2018

At 07.00hrs this morning, six anti-fracking campaigners locked-on to devices outside of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road exploratory hydraulic fracturing site. This was a deliberate attempt to highlight the abuse of the law by Cuadrilla, who have recently obtained an injunction against “persons unknown”, preventing any sort of meaningful protest.

A spokesperson for the group stated:

“We are using our enshrined-in-law human rights to protest, to challenge a polluting industry that holds no social license in our community. This industry has gone to extreme and expensive lengths to manipulate the law, via a court injunction, to prevent protest in meaningful forms. We’re here today to challenge that. Fracking has no residential support within the UK, with the government pushing it upon communities who have already said no.

“Why should a national government overrule local governments, to force this industry on communities? Why has the law been misused for the benefit of wealthy corporations? There has to be a strong line drawn under such abuses of law and democracy: this today, is our line.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Cuadrilla secures new injunction against fracking protestors

2. For all press enquiries, please contact Tina Rothery on 07496 842334

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.