Tory Trafford votes against fracking again


Conservative-controlled Trafford Council voted overwhelmingly last night to reaffirm its opposition to fracking until it is proved to be safe.

A motion submitted by the Labour group condemned the award of an exploration licence block in south Trafford to INEOS.

It also called on the council to write to the Energy Secretary and Oil and Gas Authority asking for the licence decision to be reconsidered.

Minor changes to the wording, put forward by the Conservative council leader, Sean Anstee, were approved by 57 of the 60-member council. Three councillors did not vote.

In November 2014, Trafford voted unanimously to oppose fracking until it could be proved to be safe and Cllr Anstee said that remained the policy of the council.

Gary Haywood, CEO of INEOS Shale, said this morning:

“We note the motion and will seek to meet with Trafford Council to introduce INEOS Shale and have a constructive dialogue on the merits of shale gas and how it can be extracted safely.”

“We must stop this process now”

Denise WesternCllr Denise Western, who proposed last night’s motion, said, with opinion still divided on fracking, it was a risk to local air quality, the local environment and residents’ health.

“I am deeply concerned that government ministers are keen to see fracking take place.”

“We must not let this happen. We must stop this process and stop it now.”

Cllr Western, who represents Broadheath on the northern edge of the INEOS licence block, added:

“I urge all members to support this motion so that we send a strong message to the minister and the Oil and Gas Authority that regardless of their frantic dash for gas we in Trafford cannot support fracking until we know for certain that it is safe.”

“Burden on proof is on the frackers”

Andrew WesternCllr Andrew Western, the leader of the council’s Labour Group, accepting the changes to the wording, said:

“We want to stand as one in Trafford.”

“The burden of proof should be on the frackers. It should not be on the people who say it is not safe.”

Jane BroffyLib Dem councillor, Jane Brophy, who represents Timperley, also in the licence block, said:

“It is extremely disappointing that the Conservative government decided to sell the rights to fracking in south Trafford. This brings the real possibility of fracking to the doorsteps of Trafford residents.”

“We oppose planning developments such as fracking near residential areas because our residents come first.”

“We need a 21st energy revolution”

Cllr Brophy added that shale gas was not a solution to energy challenges. She said:

“We need a 21st century energy revolution not more fossil fuels that add to climate change. Let’s show some leadership in Trafford and end support for the use of fossil fuels and that includes shale gas and fracking.”

Nathan EVansConservative councillor, Nathan Evans, who also represents Timperley, said:

“I don’t support fracking but I’m not an anti-fracker”.

He criticised people who used exaggerated claims and inflammatory language to oppose fracking. He said:

“We are trying to make decisions on just conjecture.”

Licence block

The exploration block in south Trafford is SJ78. As well as Timperley and Broadheath, it includes areas such as Altrincham and Hale.

It is part of a licence that also comprises block SJ77. INEOS has committed to drill one well and carry out new 2D and 3D seismic surveying across both blocks within the next five years.

Link to more information on SJ78 and SJ77

Labour motion

This Council is deeply concerned by the announcement on the 17 December 2015 that the Conservative Government’s Oil and Gas Authority has awarded a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) to the company Ineos covering an area incorporating much of the south of Trafford. This is the first stage in a process that could ultimately lead to ‘fracking’ taking place in Trafford.

Council condemns the decision to award this licence and reaffirms its previous statement, as agreed by all parties on the 12 November 2014, that “The Council is opposed to ‘fracking’ until such time as it can be proved to be safe.” In light of this statement of opposition to hydraulic fracturing in Trafford, Council agrees to write to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and to the Oil and Gas Authority directly, outlining our concerns and asking that the decision to award this licence be reconsidered.

Adopted motion

The council accepted the above wording with the following changes:

Paragraph 1: Replace “is deeply concerned” with “notes”

Paragraph 1: Remove “the Conservative Government’s”

Paragraph 2: Replace “condemns” with “is concerned about”

Link to council agenda

This report is part of DrillOrDrop’s Rig Watch project. Rig Watch receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. More details here

25 replies »

  1. All that fracking which has put down petrol by up to 50 p a litre is untried and untested? The same fracking that supplies 60% of US natural gas and is coming to Europe in the next few weeks.?

    it’s disingenuous to say something is untested and then refuse to ….test it.

  2. The world renowned Breast Cancer Action is FIRMLY AGAINST fracking.

    Nick, I suggest that you Google and read their detailed reports on fracking dangers.

    Trafford Council are correct to take the “precautionary approach” on behalf of the residents they represent.

    • Ah yes. My wife, 40 years a nurse, often in the community, has never heard of them. They are the kind of false front organisations, (MEDACT is another) opponents use to justify their case. They, and you, are entitled to their opinion, but using one, or two or even ten medical organisations, with tiny membership just isn’t scientific. What do the other 450 thousand doctors and nurses in the UK say? Does the American Medical Association dislike fracking?

      What is truly sad is when you use the exact same tactics as climate change deniers. They also fight the preponderance of scientific proof by pointing out the inevitable inconsistencies present in any large data set and cherry pick. Exactly like you, they often quote high faulting’ pseudo scientific sounding organisations in an increasingly desperate attempt to disrupt every one else’s opinion.

      It’s sad you stoop to their level.

      On the subject of democracy , a grand total of 57 people from Altrincham and Sale West, the Trafford community, are exercised enough to have signed this petition that expires tomorrow. http://petitionmap.unboxedconsulting.com/?petition=104617

      • Whats your wife being a nurse got to do with it ???
        Anyway, we only have your word on that.

        I could say I’m Superman on here.

        What I am saying is there for all to read on their website, Breast Cancer Action.

        I think we will let the general public decide.

    • How do you mean untested? The chemicals used and areas in which fracking has been delegated in other countries have been linked to increased rates of cancer, how do you propose they test it exactly here? Hasn’t one of the fracking companies been banned in America, this is not good news https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3K0kV7UcME&sns=tw&app=desktop In addition its not just about the price of petrol, any more than getting cheap goods from sweatshops is a cause for celebration

  3. Untested? What about EASACs comments? http://www.easac.eu/home/press-releases/detail-view/article/no-scientifi.html which states there is no scientific of technical reason to ban fracking? They are only the organisation of all of the ‘Royal Societies’.

    and the Royal Academy of Engineering?, and the Scottish Govt expert panel, and all of the European Geological societies?

    or the Yale University study that found fracking does not contaminate water, http://www.npr.org/2015/10/13/448182616/study-may-ease-drinking-water-worries-about-fracking

    or the 5 Year EPA study? or Health Protection Englands comments that there are no real issues?

    All of the above state that fracking is perfectly OK, as long as it is done in a well regulated fashion. The research has been done (to death) and the constant repetition of a few (surface) pollution issues is no reason to stop this.

  4. A lot of hot air here. More industry responses talking nonsense.
    Fracking has not lowered fuel prices by 50p a litre. Fracking has been going in in the US and as a consequence it is now banned in several states. It will be banned worldwide in a few years when the permenant devastation it reaps is realised.

    • Why is petrol 50 pence a litre less? Because US shale gas transferred to also drilling for oil from 2011 onwards. That put a huge amount of new oil onto the world market. It’s not the only reason to be sure. A positive reason is that cars are getting incredibly more efficient in western countries.

      But you will find that well over 97% of energy journalists say that is the root cause. I have no doubt you can find one or two who may disagree, but you’d have to look real hard. Just like climate change deniers and Redact above.

      • Hi Nick,
        I don’t suppose you are the same Nick Grealy that owns London Local Power.
        Otherwise it would add a lot of weight to the argument that only people with a financial incentive would EVER risk the health of the planet and its population.


  5. There is more and more evidence emerging of the harm the unconventional gas industry has and is causing. The latest study of concern is emissions being released from compressor stations. This industry isn’t just one or two sites it cannot operate successfully without thousands of wells and supporting infrastructure – like compressor stations. Just because fuel prices have gone down does not mean this industry and all that comes with it is acceptable or proven safe.
    The impact on communities must also be considered.
    And one reason the prices have fallen so far isn’t because of the low cost of fracking, which costs more than conventional gas extraction, it is because the Saudis have taken the US on at their own game. It was exposed some time ago how Hiliary Clinton wanted to use fracking as a foreign policy weapon so western countries could take away the energy market from the Middle East and Russia. So how can you honestly blame Saudia Arabia? Not to mention fossil fuel producing nations know that the writing is on the wall for all fossil fuels, as there will be a gradual move away from fossil fuels – following the agreement in Paris and new technology evolving.

    • KT – do you think conventional gas doesn’t require compression? There may well be a study of compression stations, but there are far more compressors (HP) world wide transporting conventional and associated gas. Should we shut these down also? Do you have gas central heating? Some of you antis need to be more realistic in your objections – if you want to stop all natural gas then your point is valid. But please offer viable alternatives. Check where UK electricity comes from? Earlier this week it was nearly 50% from gas.

      And shale oil in the US is the primary driver for the current oil price war. The Saudis et al have kept production up as demand has fallen off to try and bankrupt the US shale oil companies. Companies which incidentally have allowed the US to become an oil exporter, and with shale gas, potentially a LNG exporter.

      What new technology? I am all for it but what is it that will replace fossil fuels for electricity generation, motor vehicle engines and heating. There is nothing in the pipeline that will realistically do this globally in the next 30 years.

      And I assume you realise that methane is naturally being emitted all over the planet, methane that is not trapped in reservoirs with seals, the same methane that shale gas and conventional gas exploits which is generated by the shales, and from shallow seabed and permafrost hydrates, and marsh gas………It has been and will continue to do so for millions of years.

      You should stick with your main objection, impact on your community. Fair enough, that is assessed in the planning process.

      • Hello Paul – you do seem to comment on my comments 🙂
        Fracking for unconventional gas requires far more sites and far more compressor stations than conventional. And they bring all aspects of this industry closer to where people live – and I for one would not want to live near a fracking site or a compressor stain – perhaps you would?

      • Hi KT – FYI I live close to one of the biggest gas compression stations in UK. It is screened by trees and you would never know it was there. No noise. But it distributes huge amounts of gas through the national grid pipeline system. Compression is used to move gas if the wellhead pressure is not sufficient to overcome line losses and still meet the required delivery pressure. Generally all gas in UK no matter where or how it originates requires compression to move into and around the grid.

        I know that the big Southern North Sea gas fields require huge comression to get it ashore at Bacton due to the reservoir pressures being low after many years of depletion. When I worked there in the early 1980’s there were already massive compressor stations powered by several RB 211 aircraft engines at the offshore end and more compressors at the BG delivery point across the road from the Bacton terminals.

        Shale gas will be no different from a compression standpoint although I agree that there may be more well sites. But then we come back to geology, reservoir performance, IP and that is why we need to test some basins to asertain what is there and what it will take to produce it.

        At least you seem to take on board comments from people who have experience in the industry – unlike some on this site.

  6. There are no issues with the chemicals used in fracking as thety are required by law to be ‘non hazardous’. The report concerns the US.
    Thats 2006 EU law on groudwater, and the 2010 Environmental Permitting Regulations Schedule 22.

    There are no issues with flowback water as the disposal is covered by licence from the Environment Agency. Its a requirement that some form of acceptable treatment is in place.

    So all the talk above about poisoning and health effects is not applicale in the UK. Its also not applicable in the US, as there are no lawsuits on health issues due to fracking.

    • Ken, I suggest you read the report from Breast Cancer UK about the chemicals used in fracking.

      I think you will find a lot of them are Toxic

      • I got that rewritten, and if you actually read it says they have to use non hazardous chemicals. It talks about US chemicals , and then states ‘Under current UK regulations, such substances would not be approved for use.’

        It is covered under EU and UK law and carcinogenic chemicals are ALWAYS classed as hazardous, and hence not permitted,

      • Nick, if Breast Cancer Action and Breast Cancer Uk are some sort of fronts, then maybe you should report them to the Police.

        You should also then log on to the Breast Cancer UK ( BCUK ), justgiving, fundraising site and inform all those people and companies who have raised thousands of pounds and left their own special messages on the webpage. You may also want to inform the thousands of people that took part in Londons largest Santa Run in Victoria Park on 6th December 2015 raising money for BCUK.

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