Regulation

Reaction to Ryedale Council vote against Third Energy fracking plan

 

KM82

The KM8 well site at Kirby Misperton

Third Energy said it would review the reasons given by Ryedale councillors who voted this evening against the company’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton.

Ryedale District Council’s planning committee ignored the advice of officers and recommended refusal of the scheme to frack the existing KM8 well. The vote was seven for refusal, one abstention and two against – though it is thought these were the result of pushing the wrong button.  DrillOrDrop breaking news

Frack Free Ryedale described the news as “absolutely fantastic”. But Third Energy stressed Ryedale District will not make the final decision – that will be left to North Yorkshire County Council.

In a statement, the company said:

“Third Energy will review the Ryedale District Council Planning Committee proceedings to understand on what planning grounds it has reached this conclusion.  It is important to remember that Ryedale District Council is only one of many statutory consultees on this application, whose views will be taken into account by North Yorkshire County Council.”

“Ryedale District Council, as a statutory consultee, is not expected to duplicate the decision making role of North Yorkshire County Council, the competent and experienced Mineral Planning Authority.”

Cllr Di Keal said:

“This was a great decision by members of the planning committee who have sent a resounding message to the county council that we don’t want to see this hugely damaging industry decimate Ryedale.

“But this is just one hurdle – the bigger battle will come when the County Council meet to make a decision on the Third Energy application next month. This is one of the biggest decisions that county council members will ever have to make which will have a major impact on the area for generations to come. I hope that they will listen carefully to the views of the local people they represent.

“Ryedale has shown that this is shouldn’t be a party political decision – tonight’s decision had cross-party support – it should be made on what is right for Ryedale residents now and in the future”.

 

Sue Gough, Frack Free Kirby Misperton, wrote:

“Feeling overwhelmed and emotional: Ryedale District Council just voted against plans to frack at the well in Kirby Misperton. I know this is not the end of the fight but it’s a great victory none the less.

“Many thanks to all the councillors and administrative people involved, thank you also to the 60-70 supporters who turned out with banners and good cheer on a cold night. Such a relief!”

Helz Cuppleditch, an anti-fracking campaigner in southern England, said

“Although the decision lies with North Yorkshire County Council, the fact that another local council is against fracking is HUGE… well done to all our friends in Ryedale and beyond for all your hard work. There’s no such thing as SAFE fracking.”

Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire Campaigner, Simon Bowens, told ITV it was “great news” for the people of Ryedale.

The councillors have listened to the people they represent who are rightly concerned about the impacts fracking could have on their health, environment and local economy.

“We now call upon the North Yorkshire councillors to reject the application when it is put before them next month.”

We’ll update with more reaction as it comes in.

14 replies »

  1. The message was loud and clear – Ryedale rejects fracking. They can review all they want but they (the industry) do not have the political or community support. The fight goes on.

  2. Thank goodness Ryedale is seeing sense and acting in the interests of democracy, not a high polluting industry.

    The statement from Third Energy is very telling:
    ”Ryedale District Council, as a statutory consultee, is not expected to duplicate the decision making role of North Yorkshire County Council, the competent and experienced Mineral Planning Authority.”

    Someone needs to remind Third Energy that’s the Mineral and WASTE authority, for sure frackers are so preferring to ignore the horrendous toxic nature of one of their end products, preferring to brainwash everyone into thinking this is a safe industry with only a wonderful end product. In fact it is the highly radioactive and toxic waste they produce that is a major problem for such a small island as the UK, which is heavily assaulted currently with major pollution from landfill, including nuclear waste dumps leaking, and rivers polluted by industry and water industry sewage already.

    NYCC Mineral and Waste policy is getting more robust after public consultation, but the fact remains, no authority in the UK, or commerce using our tax as a ”privatised” concern, has capacity for highly hazardous waste disposal on the scale fracking would deliver, if allowed to go ahead.

  3. Ryedale District Council have come a long way from their initial position. It is gratifying to see they have spent time and effort to understand the dangerous nature of Fracking and the concerns of Ryedale residents. Local democracy is still alive.

  4. Highly radioactive and toxic waste?

    Greenpeace reported that “Radium 226 was the highest naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) found in the flow back water from the Bowland shale measuring between 14 and 90 Becquerel per litre – according to an analysis by the Environment Agency (EA) in December 2011. Even at its lowest levels, this exceeds the EA’s limit allowed for waste water disposal without a permit, which is any amount higher than 10 Bq/g.”
    Laura Hunter Smith’s paper of September 2012 (University of Surrey) notes the following – “Levels of naturally occurring radioactive material, specifically 226 Ra, 40 K and 137 Cs, were established in six bottled natural mineral waters commonly found in British supermarkets; Buxton, Highland Spring, Abbey Well, Iceni, Aqua Pura, and Brecon Carreg. The water samples were sourced from varying regions of the United Kingdom and for the differing geological composition of the aquifers. The activity concentration of 226 Ra, 40 K and 137 Cs, was determined by means of gamma ray spectroscopy using a hyper pure germanium (HPGe) detector. The activity concentration of 226 Ra in the samples ranged from 372 ±23mBq/L in Aqua Pura, to 4039±52mBq/L for Buxton……….The results of level of 226 Ra were compared with World Health Organization guidelines on radiological activity. Two samples, Buxton and Brecon Carreg, exceeded the guidance levels of 500Bq/L. The measured values of 226 Ra compared well with literature values from bottled natural mineral water samples from around the world.”
    Question 1 – If it is correct to assume that the subject mineral waters contain significantly higher levels of Radium 226 than the waste frack fluid from the Cuadrilla well, what is the problem with dilution disposal?
    Question 2 – The EA permit limit is 10 Bq/g. These are different units. Does this mean that the EA permit limit expressed in volume terms is 10,000 Bq per litre (water mass is roughly 1kg / litre)? As Cuadrilla needed a permit I must be missing something in the conversion?
    Comparing like for like units Cuadrilla’s high estimate of Ra 226 90 Bq/l is still only 6% of Buxton mineral water. Or is the Greenpeace number incorrect?

    What am I missing here?

    • Information required to equate dilution rate to remove radium 226 from Preese Hall Flowback (6 small fracks) 2.2 million gals injected (DECC Report) to meet bottled water potable standards . (does not include extra dilution rate required to remove other radioactive material found in report).
      The safe limit is 0.185 becquerels per litre (see below) Rough average of 40 Becquerels per litre in Preese Hall flowback (see report below).
      My maths suggest 2.2 million gals needs to be diluted by around 200 times to meet bottled water standards giving around 440 MILLION GALLONS to make it pass standards that make it safe to drink.

      From: johnpowney@hotmail.co.uk
      To: johnpowney@hotmail.co.uk
      Subject: flowback report
      Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016 10:52:54 +0000

      flow back report
      http://notforshale.com/PDF/FlowbackwaterEA.pdf

      The initial analysis of the flowback fluid has shown Radium 226 as the radioactive material present at the highest levels, between 14 and 90 Becquerel per litre. Other naturally occurring isotopes present included potassium-40 and Radium-228.

      bottled water
      https://www.banthebottle.net/articles/the-true-ingredients-of-bottled-water/

      “The bottled water shall not contain a combined radium-226 and radium-228 activity in excess of 5 picocuries per litre of water.”

      conversion table
      http://www.unitconversion.org/radiation-activity/becquerels-to-picocuries-conversion.html

      becquerel [Bq]:
      picocurie [pCi]:

      How to use becquerel to picocurie Conversion Calculator
      Type the value in the box next to “becquerel [Bq]”. The result will appear in the box next to “picocurie [pCi]”.

      • Thanks for this. My confusion with the mineral water was mBq/l vs Bq/l (which FCW did question correctly, already – I should have read the whole paper which I now have done). So the waste frack fluid had14,000 – 90,000 mBq/l vs the Buxton Mineral Water at 4,000 mBq/l. Which makes more sense although the WHO limit is 500 mBq/l and it exceeds the 185mBq/l limit you mention above.

  5. Paul Tresto, you’re right to question the emotive language often used in relation to fracking – the flowback fluid does typically contain radioactive materials, and the quantity will depend both on local geology as well as how long the fluid has been underground (the longer it’s there, the more elements tend to leach into the water). So it’s typically low level radioactive waste, rather than “highly radioactive”

    Regarding the figures from Laura Hunter Smith’s paper, it appears these may be in mBq. i.e. thousandths of a Becquerel. Would that explain the inconsistency you’ve spotted? I haven’t checked the paper so I may be reading that wrong.

    Nonetheless it is acknowledged that disposal of waste water is one of the biggest issues that the industry has to face. In the US, they use evaporation pits (banned in the EU because of the harmful VOCs etc which evaporate from them) and reinjection – which is reckoned to be the main cause of the earthquake storms, rather than the initial fracking process (also banned in the UK currently). I understand that just the 4 wells being proposed for Lancashire will use nearly 70% of existing waste disposal facilities. And I believe that one of the 10 recommendations in the 2012 Royal Society concerning fracking was to sort out waste disposal ahead of any commercial activity. This recommendation does not appear to have been followed.

    • Figures are correct from Laura Hunter Smith paper. So cracking fluid waste from cuadrilla was significantly lower in 226 Ra than most mineral waters tested. So why not dump and dilute. Or stop producing mineral water? I agree that evaporation should not be used.

      • Paul – it’s not just the radioactivity (though I’m really interested if flowback fluid is less radioactive than mineral water – I’ll google the paper you quote). It’s also the other contaminants (arsenic, barium, aluminium, benzene, toluene, xylene – and so on, depending on local circumstances). “Dilute and dump” may not be acceptable.

      • Information required to equate dilution rate to remove radium 226 from Preese Hall Flowback (6 small fracks) 2.2 million gals injected (DECC Report) to meet bottled water potable standards . (does not include extra dilution rate required to remove other radioactive material found in report).
        The safe limit is 0.185 becquerels per litre. Rough average of 40 Becquerels per litre in Preese Hall flowback (see report below).
        My maths suggest 2.2 million gals needs to be diluted by around 200 times to meet bottled water standards giving around 440 million gals to make it safe to drink.

        From: johnpowney@hotmail.co.uk
        To: johnpowney@hotmail.co.uk
        Subject: flowback report
        Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016 10:52:54 +0000

        flow back report
        http://notforshale.com/PDF/FlowbackwaterEA.pdf

        The initial analysis of the flowback fluid has shown Radium 226 as the radioactive material present at the highest levels, between 14 and 90 Becquerel per litre. Other naturally occurring isotopes present included potassium-40 and Radium-228.

        bottled water
        https://www.banthebottle.net/articles/the-true-ingredients-of-bottled-water/

        “The bottled water shall not contain a combined radium-226 and radium-228 activity in excess of 5 picocuries per liter of water.”

        conversion table
        http://www.unitconversion.org/radiation-activity/becquerels-to-picocuries-conversion.html

        becquerel [Bq]:
        picocurie [pCi]:

        How to use becquerel to picocurie Conversion Calculator
        Type the value in the box next to “becquerel [Bq]”. The result will appear in the box next to “picocurie [pCi]”.

  6. The ‘advice of officers’ referred to in your report seemed to be based upon the Head of Planning’s advice that Councillors’ decision should be based upon the application, which was to frack one well. Perceiving the risk of problems arising as a result of the fracking of one well to be minimal given our British (therefore robust) regulatory regime based on conventional gas extraction, he chose to ignore the risk of proliferation via precedent, it being this proliferation which would most likely give rise to the contamination and pollution he had shrugged off as improbable.

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