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Fracking timeline July 2013


Amended planning permission. Cuadrilla Resources Ltd applies (WSCC/061/13/BA) for an amendment to condition 2 of its original planning permission (WSCC/027/10/BA). The company wants an extension in the time for the drilling and testing programme and site restoration from 36 months to 42 months from the start of development. Representations can be made until 16/8/13. http://46-43-37-19.no-reverse-dns-set.bytemark.co.uk/planning_applications/3648910-Planning-Application-13-02483-CMA-Lower-Stumble-Wood-London-Road-


Radioactivie substances permit. Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd applies to the Environment Agency for an environmental permit to operate a radioactive substances activity at Lower Stumble Hydrocarbon Exploration Site. Consultation open until 13/8/13. https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/rsr/app/balcombe/cuadrilla

Permit consultation. Chris Wick, of the Environment Agency, invites Balcombe Parish Council to respond to Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd’s application for a permit to manage waste water which may contain naturally-occurring radioactive substances by 13/8/13. http://balcombeparishcouncil.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/ea-invitation-to-comment-second-permit.pdf


Second planning permission amendment. Cuadrilla Resources Ltd applies (WSCC/063/13/BA) to WSCC for amendment to condition 3 of its original planning permission (WSCC/027/10/BA) to vary the type of flare used during the testing process. Consultation process runs 22/7/13-15/8/13. Cuadrilla says the replacement flare incorporates the latest technology. It has “an enclosed single flame and an increased height to accommodate a single flare and the heat and visual shrouding.” The replacement flare is 13.72m high and would be in place for up to 7 days. The original condition specified a ‘ground flare’ of 1.8m height. See Supporting statement and Appendix B   http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=1574


Planning consultation 1. Jane Moseley, of West Sussex County Council planning department, invites Balcombe Parish Council to respond to Cuadrilla Resources Ltd application to amend condition 2 of WSCC/027/10/BA to allow additional time to complete the drilling and testing programme and restore the site by 8/8/13. http://balcombeparishcouncil.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/wscc-invitation-to-comment-on-cuadrilla-application.pdf


Notice of drilling Phil Mason, planning consultant for Cuadrilla Resources Ltd, writes to Jane Moseley of West Sussex County Council planning department giving 7 days’ notice of intention to start drilling, as required by Condition 4 of the company’s original planning permission (WSCC/027/10/BA). See Documents (Balcombe FAQs) http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=1155


Planning consultation 2. Jane Moseley, of West Sussex County Council planning department, invites Balcombe Parish Council to respond to Cuadrilla Resources Ltd application to amend condition 3 of WSCC/027/10/BA to vary the type of flare used during the testing process by 12/8/13. http://balcombeparishcouncil.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/wscc-invitation-to-comment-on-amendment-to-vary-flare-application.pdf

Bat survey. Jane Moseley, of West Sussex County Council planning department, is quoted on gasdrillinginbalcombe.wordpress.com as saying: “I can confirm that with the submission of the application to extend their time at the site, we have asked Cuadrilla to prepare a bat survey prior to determination of the application.” Documents (Balcombe FAQs) http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=1155  http://gasdrillinginbalcombe.wordpress.com/


Rig delivery. Frances Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources Ltd, writes to Jane Moseley, planning department, West Sussex County Council to inform her that the company will begin to deliver its rig from Tuesday 23/7/13. Documents http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=1154

No consent yet. At 10.30am the Department of Energy and Climate Change advises Balcombe Parish Council that drilling consent has not been given to Cuadrilla. http://balcombeparishcouncil.com/2013/07/23/stop-press/


Permit granted. Environment Agency grants a mining waste permit to Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd covering the management of wastes arising from an exploratory borehole to test for oil and gas reserves at Balcombe. http://balcombeparishcouncil.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/mining-waste-permit-granted.pdf  and https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/permits/app/cuadrilla/balcombe


No Environmental Impact Assessment needed. West Sussex County Council confirms in screening opinions that Environmental Impact Assessment is not required for the proposed extension of time (WSCC/061/13/BA) or proposed new flare height (WSCC/06/13/BA). See Documents (Balcombe FAQs) http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=1155

FAQ updated. West Sussex County Council issues updated Lower Stumble Wood, Balcombe – Oil and Gas Exploration: Frequently Asked Questions. See Documents (Balcombe FAQs) http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=1155

Drilling consent. At 12 noon, Department of Energy and Climate Change advises Balcombe Parish Council that drilling consent has been given to Cuadrilla. http://balcombeparishcouncil.com/2013/07/25/consent-given/

Blockade begins. About 100 campaigners blockade Cuadrilla’s site at Balcombe and prevent vehicles entering. Cables are cut on a lorry delivering drilling equipment. http://m.theargus.co.uk/news/10571220.UPDATE__Anti_fracking_campaigners_blockade_Balcombe_roads_in__peaceful__drilling_battle_with_Cuadrilla/


Extension request. Cuadrilla requests an extension in time for Saturday 27/7/13 because of “delays caused by protesters at the site sopping vehicles from entering/leaving and to make use of the Police resource that was present that day. See documents http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=1154

16 arrests Sussex Police press releases says about 60 protestors gather at Cuadrilla’s site at Balcombe. 16 arrested, 11 of them under Section 241 of the Trade Union Labour Relations Act for attempting to stop drivers and other workers from accessing the site. http://www.sussex.police.uk/whats-happening/latest/news-stories/2013/07/26/arrests-made-at-cuadrilla-site-in-balcombe/


12 people charged. Sussex Police press releases says following 16 arrests on 26/7/13, 12 people have been charged. http://www.sussex.police.uk/whats-happening/latest/news-stories/2013/07/27/twelve-people-charged-after-protest-at-cuadrilla-site-in-balcombe/

2 arrests. Sussex Police says two people were arrested this morning at the Cuadrilla site. http://www.sussex.police.uk/whats-happening/latest/news-stories/2013/07/27/twelve-people-charged-after-protest-at-cuadrilla-site-in-balcombe/


Cuadrilla backs down on hours extension. Sussex Police report that Cuadrilla agreed to stop bringing vehicles into the site shortly after 2pm in recognition that local residents and protestors had not been fulling consulted on the change of operating hours. http://www.sussex.police.uk/whats-happening/latest/news-stories/2013/07/27/police-working-with-protest-groups-and-site-operators-at-balcombe/


Bianca Jagger visits the drilling site



More arrests. Sussex Police say they arrested six people at the site. http://www.sussex.police.uk/whats-happening/latest/news-stories/2013/07/29/six-people-arrested-at-the-cuadrilla-site-at-balcombe/


Council allows hours extension. A statement from West Sussex County Council reports that planning officers give Cuadrilla permission to operate on Saturday 27 July until 4pm, three hours beyond the hours set in Condition 6 of planning permission WSCC/027/10/BA. The statement said “given the very short timescales involved, it was not possible to consult locally or to advertise the temporary variation on the website or elsewhere. In retrospect, it is accepted that the Parish Council and the local member should have been informed at the same time that the authorisation was given by officers to Cuadrilla.” See Documents http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=1154

New head of policing. Sussex Police announces Supt Lawrence Hobbs is now leading the policing operation at the Cuadrilla site in Balcombe. http://www.sussex.police.uk/whats-happening/latest/news-stories/2013/07/30/successful-policing-operation-at-balcombe/

Police tactics criticised. Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, writes to Sussex Police about what he describes as “excessive force” used against protestors at Balcombe. He writes: The officers appear to be using their hands to apply pressure on or near the protesters ears – I believe this is the mandibular angle technique. The use of this kind of force seems to me to be excessive given the peaceful nature of the protest and could run the risk of exacerbating tension between protesters and police.” http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/2013/07/30/keith-writes-to-sussex-police-over-use-of-excessive-force-at-balcombe-protest/

Police defend tactics. Sussex Police defend the use of pressure points by officers at demonstration. Supt Lawrence Hobbs said: Some people have found the photographs dramatic but using pressure points is in fact one of the lowest levels of force. It is recognised nationally as one of the safest options where people suffer a momentary discomfort. Officers are specifically trained to use this tactic to move people when necessary and it does not cause any lasting pain or injury. This technique is proportionate and uses the minimum force necessary.” http://www.sussex.police.uk/whats-happening/latest/news-stories/2013/07/30/successful-policing-operation-at-balcombe/

Frack in the “desolate north east” The desolate Lord Howell, father-in-law of George Osborne and until April a government energy policy advisor, asks at Lords questions: “Does the Minister accept that it could be a mistake to discuss fracking in terms of the whole of the United Kingdom in one go? I mean there obviously are, in beautiful natural areas, worries about not just the drilling and the fracking, which I think are exaggerated, but about the trucks, and the delivery, and the roads, and the disturbance, and those are quite justified worries. But there are large and uninhabited and desolate areas. Certainly in part of the north east where there’s plenty of room for fracking, well away from anybody’s residence, where we could conduct without any kind of threat to the rural environment.” Lord Howell later apologised and said he was really referring to the north west. Lord Howell was appointed president of the Energy Industries Council in May 8 2013. Transcript and Hansard http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/130730-0001.htm and http://www.the-eic.com/News/NewsStories/tabid/88/ctl/NewsItem/mid/1174/Id/1026/Default.aspx?returnurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.the-eic.com%2FDefault.aspx%3FTabI


Environmental monitoring. Cuadrilla Resources publishes Interim pre-drill Environmental Monitoring Summary Report. http://balcombeparishcouncil.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/interim-pre-drill-environmental-monitoring-report-31-07-13.pdf

Fracking claims “nonsense” Michael Fallon, Minister for Energy and Business and MP for Sevenoaks in Kent, writing in the Daily Telegraph, says claims that oil and gas “exploration involves ruining the countryside are nonsense”. He said “The facts are that around 2.5 million wells have now been fracked worldwide, more than 27,000 of them in the US in 2011. There is no evidence from America of fracking causing any groundwater contamination.” He also said “we will only allow fracking if it is safe and fully protects the environment. We have robust regulation in place. Yet we must also work to engage people with clear, evidence-based information so they have the hard facts to make an informed decision. The potential prize is huge: cheaper bills for everybody, and a reduced dependence on expensively imported gas and oil from the rest of the world.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/10213985/The-potential-prize-from-fracking-is-huge.html

Superglue arrests Natalie Hynde and Simon Medhurst, arrested after allegedly super-gluing themselves together through metal gates at Cuadrilla’s Balcombe site. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/balcombe-protest-pretenders-stars-daughter-2109664

Cuadrilla “won’t ruin the countryside” Francis Egan, Chief Executive of Cuadrilla, tells The Independent the company will continue to explore for oil in Balcombe, despite the protests delaying his programme by several days. He says Cuadrilla “has no intention of ruining the countryside and won’t ruin the countryside.”

Mr Egan says untruths have been circulating and the UK must develop its own oil and gas otherwise face risk in security of supply. “There are a lot scare stories out there. I attended a drop in session in Balcombe and I had people come to me and they were convinced that their children would get cancer because they had been told that they would cancer from drilling an oil exploration well. We have drilled two thousand oil exploration wells here in this country over the last several decades. There is not one reported case of cancer as a result of that. There is no risk of people getting cancer but if you spread these kind of stories I completely understand that people would be scared. I would be scared. So part of our job is to try to exlain what it is we are doing, what we are not doing, what are the risks if there are risks associated with that and how are they managed. The country does not run without energy. If we cannot develop our own oil and gas then we have to import it and that costs billions of pounds, generates no jobs and it puts us at risk in terms of security of supply.” Transcribed from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/video-cuadrilla-boss-on-fracking-8740404.html

Timeline August 2013

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