Daily headlines

Fracking timeline – December 2013

George Brown acquitted of an offence under Section 4 of the Public Order Act after a trial at Horsham Magistrates Court.

Alice O’Keeffe writes in The Guardian about her experience of the climate camp at Balcombe in August.

Balcombe residents take a letter to Downing Street calling for an “immediate an binding UK-wide moratorium on shale gas, cola bed methane and underground coal gasification

Natalie Hynde’s anti-fracking protest trial at Brighton Magistrates Court adjourns until March after two hours of legal arguments.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the government report on the effects of frack was revised to increase estimates of the negative impacts on the environment, in response to lobbying from green campaigners.

The government publishes an assessment of the impact of shale gas and oil development as it prepares to auction the next round of exploration licences. Half the area of Britain is to be offered for drilling and fracking areas could face 50 truck movements a day.

Cuadrilla Resources Ltd announces it is closing its site at Preese Hall in Lancashire – the only place in the UK where high volume hydraulic fracturing has taken place so far.

US report, quoted in the Daily Telegraph, warns people living close to fracking site have a greater risk of infertility, cancer and birth defects from chemicals used in the process.

Wind turbine blade dumped outside IGas drilling site at Barton Moss.

Government publishes legislation to increase the tax break to onshore oil and gas companies. The measure in the Finance Bill 2014 extends the number of accounting periods from six to 10 that companies can offset certain losses under the Ring Fence Expenditure Supplement.

Environment Minister, Dan Rogerson, rejects calls to make fracking companies pay an insurance bond to cover potential pollution incidents. He told MPs debating the Water Bill: “We believe that the existing regulatory framework is fit for purpose for the exploration and exploitation of onshore oil and gas activities. There are a great number of checks and controls available to us to ensure that operators comply with the requirements of their permits and deal with the wider pollution risks without adding to existing regulation.

Representatives of Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking give evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee. The group’s Ian Roberts says: “When we formed two years ago, though, we were genuinely open minded about this industry. We thought that maybe with tight regulation it would be worth backing. However, after two years of research, we now regard this industry as a potential disaster in environmental and economic terms. We are not lifelong environmental campaigners; we are simply concerned local residents.”

West Sussex County Council apologises at a public meeting in Balcombe for mistakes it made when Cuadrilla drilled an exploratory well in the summer.

Cuadrilla submits a revised planning application for its site at Balcombe to West Sussex County Council covering flow testing, an enclosed test flare, security fencing and arrangements for site restoration.

Cuadrilla publishes environmental monitoring report for its drilling activities at Balcombe.

Tony Grayling, Head of Climate Change and Communities at the Environment Agency, tells the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee he expects the agency will get quicker at issuing permits the agency is “in discussions with a number of operators who are considering bringing forward proposals next year for hydraulic fracturing, notably Cuadrilla. We are expecting that they will come forward in the new year with a number of permit applications, alongside seeking planning permission.”

The Spectator magazine holds a debate on the motion Let’s get fracking. Speakers in favour: Peter Lilley, John Redwood and Nick Grealy; speakers against: Natalie Bennett, Joss Garman and Craig Bennett. The motion is carried.

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