What’s happening when at Cuadrilla’s fracking inquiry?



Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking site at Preston New Road


The public inquiry examining Cuadrilla’s appeal on its applications to frack in Lancashire is expected to hear 15 days of evidence, under a programme published this week.

The inspector, Wendy McKay, will also visit the sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. And she will spend a day considering any conditions should the applications be approved.

The inquiry, at Blackpool Football Club Conference Centre, begins on Tuesday 9th February and is scheduled to end on Friday 11th March. DrillOrDrop will be reporting on the inquiry throughout. There will also be a webcast Link here

Evidence from supporters and opponents

In the first week, Cuadrilla will call witnesses from the consultancy Arup to challenge the refusal of permission to frack at the two sites and plans for a monitoring scheme at Preston New Road. They will also argue against a condition on wintering birds applied to the permission for a monitoring scheme at Roseacre Wood.

In week 2, witnesses for North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce will give evidence in support of the applications. This week will also hear Lancashire County Council defend its decisions.

Later weeks will hear evidence against the applications by Friends of the Earth, Roseacre Awareness Group, Treales, Roseacre & Wharles Parish Council, Preston New Road Action Group and Newton-with-Clifton Parish Council.

The inspector will make a recommendation after the end of the inquiry. The final decisions will be made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark.

The inquiry programme, available here, is expected to change and will be updated.

Who speaks when?

Cuadrilla: 9th-12th February

North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce: 16th-17th February

Lancashire County Council: 17th-19th February

Friends of the Earth: 25th-26th February and 2nd March

Roseacre Awareness Group and Treales, Roseacre & Wharles Parish Council: 3rd-4th March

Preston New Road Action Group: 8th March

Newton-with-Clifton Parish Council: 8th March

Members of the public: 17th and 25th February (evening) and 10th March (day)

Day-by-day details

Tuesday 9th February, 10am start

Introduction by inspector and opening statements (in order) by Cuadrilla, North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Lancashire County Council, Friends of the Earth, Roseacre Awareness Group and Treales, Roseacre and Wharles Parish Council, Preston New Road Action Group.

Cuadrilla evidence on planning: witness Mark Smith, Arup

Wednesday 10th February, 9.30am start

Cuadrilla evidence on planning (Mark Smith, Arup), and noise (David Hillier, Arup)

Thursday 11th February, 9.30am start

Cuadrilla evidence on landscape, witness Andrew Tempany, Arup

Friday 12th February, 9.30am start

Cuadrilla evidence on landscape (Andrew Tempany, Arup) and highways (Johnny Ojeil, Arup)

Monday 15th February

Not sitting

Tuesday 16th February, 9.30am-2pm

North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce evidence with witnesses James Bream, Paul Matich and Babs Murphy

Wednesday 17th February 10am-3pm

North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce evidence with witness Babs Murphy

Lancashire County Council evidence on landscape, witness Steve Maslam

Wednesday 17th February 6.30pm-9.30pm

Evening session for public statements on Roseacre Wood appeals

Thursday 18th February 10am start

Lancashire County Council evidence with witnesses Steve Maslam (landscape), Dr Andrew McKenzie (noise) and Neil Stevens (highways)

Friday 19th February, 9.30am start

Lancashire County Council evidence with witnesses Neil Stevens (highways) and Katie Atkinson (planning)

Tuesday 23rd February

Slippage day

Wednesday 24th February

Site visits

Thursday 25th February, 9.30pm-1pm

Friends of the Earth evidence on climate change with witness Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Thursday 25th February, 6.30pm-9.30pm

Evening session for public statements on Preston New Road appeals

Friday 26th February, 9.30am start

Friends of the Earth evidence with witnesses Alan Watson (Waste) and David McCoy (public health)

Monday 29th February

Not sitting

Tuesday 1st March

Not sitting

Wednesday 2nd March, 10am start

Friends of the Earth evidence with witnesses David McCoy (public health) and Richard Bate (planning)

Thursday 3rd March and Friday 4th March, 9.30am start

Roseacre Awareness Group and Treales, Roseacre & Wharles Parish Council evidence with witnesses Kenneth Halliday (landscape and visual), Ed Clarke (noise), Tom Hastey (transport and safety), Gerald Kells (traffic) Elizabeth Warner (residents’ perspective), Barbara Richardson (community amenity and recreation), Gordon Halliday (planning), Anne Broughton (ornithology.

Monday 7th March

Not sitting

Tuesday 8th March

Preston New Road Action Group evidence with witnesses Steven Scott Brown (landscape) and Mike Stigwood (noise)

Newton-with-Clifton Parish Council evidence with witness Peter Collins

Wednesday 9th March, 9.30am start

Conditions session

Thursday 10th March, 9.30am-11am if needed

Slippage session

Thursday 10th March, 11am-5.30pm

Session for public statements

Friday 11th March, 9.30am start

Closing statements (in order) by Cuadrilla, Friends of the Earth, Lancashire County Council, Roseacre Awareness Group, Preston New Road Action Group.

More information

The inquiry is at Blackpool Football Club Conference Centre, Bloomfield Road, Seasiders Way, Blackpool FY1 6JJ

Link to webcast

Core documents for the inquiry can be accessed here

Proofs of evidence can be accessed here

An inquiry programme  available here

Updates from Lancashire County Council

DrillOrDrop has a daily digest of news, updated as it happens. Link here

5 replies »

  1. What strikes me here is that taking away resident’s concerns is that the ONLY climate change objections come from Friends of the Earth. It would be interesting to hear from Greenpeace, WWF, and most especially Lord Deben, the Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, the independent overseer of the UK’s climate change targets.

    He is notable by his absence. Perhaps Friends of the Earth should call him as a witness. Surely his opinion should carry some weight? Cuadrilla certainly should consider calling him as expert witness.

    Friends of the Earth are an outlier in climate change: Their extreme no carbon at all (nor nuclear, nor modern agriculture) position is more a thought experiment or a strongly held sentiment, and not a practical solution. They don’t get understand how simply describing the problem while not contributing to it’s solution perpetuates the issue and makes the problem actually worse. Their view is not shared by the grown ups in the now mainstream renewable industry. Let’s recall that the UK CEO of Dong Energy, who just this week announced a huge new investment in offshore wind (largest single project in the world) is Brent Cheshire. He was, and remains, a 5% early shareholder in Igas Energy.

    The mystery as to why the FoE are alone in opposing onshore natural gas was explained to me by Professor Paul Stevens. Professor Stevens was in the Canterbury Debate early last year on the same platform (and side) as Julie Wassmer and Mike Hill. When I asked him at an oil conference panel I was chairing in June why did he think FoE opposed shale gas, he immediately and with no prompting on my part, said that it was solely a fund raising tool on their part. (By the way the BIG SECRET that Ruth refuses to ask is what is exactly the membership number of Friends of the Earth. Is the answer so embarrassingly small, as the recent National Gathering showed, that they refuse to release it?)

    There was a time when environmentalists supported natural gas, back in the days when they didn’t see it as a commercial threat. The notion that it is a threat simply isn’t upheld by the facts from the United States. This link from Platts shows that natural gas is in reality far more threatened by wind than the reverse.

    If wind is not threatened by natural gas in Texas of all places, what possible impact could Lancashire natural gas have on either the wind industry or climate change?

    Kevin Anderson is a reasonable man and a scientist. I look forward to his testimony with interest: After all I have always had on open mind. However, you can be sure that under cross-examination he will have to discuss natural gas in the world energy mix in the light of the triple surge of US fuel efficiency, wind/solar insertion and natural gas today. The US example of cutting CO2 via the coal to gas switch was the underpinning of the COP21 agreement. It simply would not have happened without it. China and the US made this agreement work: They both see natural gas as a key part of an all of the above strategy where efficiency, renewables and natural gas provide practical solutions on a global scale. The surge in all three has provided the greatest transformation the energy industry has seen since Edison and Ford. It’s an incredibly exciting time, a hopeful time. But if you have a business model (and your job in FoE’s case) that depends on scaring people into action instead of leading them along with you on facts, you will be ultimately condemned to failure. That’s especially sad in the FoE case. They do so much good in their campaigns for habitat protection, bees and bio diversity for example, and I’m especially pleased to see on their web site how they share my other obsession, how important it is for the UK to remain in the EU. Their monomania about shale may be a short term fund raising success, but is that what the base supporters really want or is something that keeps them paid spinning out the problem instead of contributing solutions?

    We have a saying in the natural gas industry that in shale anything over six weeks old is ancient history – the technology and the results are that fast.

    FoE and it’s army of well paid activists continually repeat the same fears from 2011 and, just like climate change deniers, cherry pick and quote reputable sounding scientists who agree with their view as representing the mainstream, not the outliers they are. We don’t accept shoddy science from climate change deniers and we shouldn’t accept it from green activists either.

    • ”We have a saying in the natural gas industry that in shale anything over six weeks old is ancient history – the technology and the results are that fast. ” Yes, and this saying needs amending to and any damage can then just as speedily be attributed to something else so we gain a free get out of jail card.

      I find FOE rather puzzling in their continued adherence to the climate change argument, though I understand it is more about a metaphorical motto and statement for global change, with an unfortunate literal meaning. In Yorkshire there remains the Norwegian sea at Thornborough Henge, reminding us that climate change as in meteorological sense is going to happen whatever we do do. It evidences that come what may the earth has a different plan to anything those deemed scientists and therefore ”messiahs” imagine and elude themselves is the solution, and which ultimately delivers greater problems and more devastation. FOE focus on the main drivers for climate change are important, and we do need to pay attention to emmisions, pollution as well as the killing of sea life such as sperm whales recently beaching on our shores, a rising event since 1998, and not yet linked to offshore drilling which needs addressing.

      I don’t find FOE has an army of well paid activists, most activists I meet deliver campaigns aided by the FOE, and those campaigns may never otherwise have delivered grass roots democratic protest or awareness nationally and internationally.

      And what is wrong with raising money via campaigns? it is a charity after all, and at least doesn’t engage in any surreptitious phone calling as do other charities, but it does retain support from the public voice it serves rather than exploits. Onshore drilling companies have been subsidised in their campaigns to the tune of millions of pounds of public money with not one voter allowed to vote on whether this is acceptable or not, isn’t that greater cause for concern?
      Isn’t Kevin Hollingrake and Lancashire pro drilllers using millions of pounds of money (our taxes) given to the EA to do the money go round delivery of Disneyland fracking farm myth a greater scandal?

  2. By the way, must add WWF are important in this assault on water as their report shows quite clearly that water supplies for both Lancashire and Yorkshire regions will not sustain the amount of population being herded there post 2020, and with Yorkshire’s water basin already highly modified and Lancashire’s Water Utilities one of the worst offending for water governance and pollution, isn’t it time something better was being done than a fracking WMD roll out in those regions?

  3. Mar g and Nick you need to chill, why you spending your time typing up some long ass paragraphs that no one is going to read

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