Regulation

Live updates from day 1 of Third Energy fracking decision

tenycc COUNTY HALL

Councillors in North Yorkshire meet today to hear arguments in favour and against Third Energy’s planning application to frack its existing KM8 well at Kirby Misperton.

We’re reporting here throughout the day on the meeting at County Hall in Northallerton. The decision is expected on day 2 on Monday 23 May. For a guide to meeting and the plans click here. Updated pictures from inside and outside the meeting here


Meeting adjourns

6.17pm

Meeting continues at 9.30am on Monday 23 May 2016.

Letters read out by the committee clerk

17.56

Howard Watson, 58, said he had never written to a councillor before. He felt more strongly about this issue than any other. His biggest concern was industrialisation of the countryside. The character of Ryedale would be lost forever. The jobs would be in catering, security and cleaning and would disappear when the boom ended. He said he would rather see a nuclear power station than petrochemical.

Cllr Blackie asked why the letters had been read out.  The chairman said the letters should be read out for the sake of transparency.

What other letter writers said

  • Pollution from  fracking would not respect council boundaries. He also asked where the waste would be disposed of.
  • The only people to benefit would be investors. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground to meet climate targets.
  • Fracking from the  US and Australia showed evidence of dangers to people.
  • Fracking is not going to solve the country’s energy needs and there would be damage to water supplies.
  • None from Ryedale was on the planning committee.
  • People who want fracking do no live in the area.  You seem to be behaving like Bolsheviks.
  • Fracking is unsustainable.
  • Fracking would be bring misery and dangerous to public health.
  • Comparison with Pennsylvania was unhelpful, said another.
  • The impacts would outweigh the benefits
  • Tourism would be threatened
  • Burning fossil fuels would lead to runaway climate change
  • Failure to investigate environmental impacts
  • Precedent for other applications
  • Noise, air and light pollution
  • Unsuitable technique that should be excluded from the district
  • Costs of dealing with waste
  • Modelling of groundwater impacts unreliable
  • Renewable energy should take precedence

Adela Pickles

5.47pm

Miss Pickles said her family home was about 10 miles from Kirby Misperton.

She described fracking as the crack cocaine of fossil fuel industries – one well is never enough.

She said Third Energy’s claim that it would not damage the environment do not hold water. It had failed, for example, to address the impact on protected species such as otters, newts, hares or barn owls.

The company had changed its story about how it would deal with waste water, she said.  Its method for dealing with spills was a recipe for disaster, she added.

Best practice had not been followed and corners were already being cut by the company, she said.

The HSE had not inspected the 20-year-old pipeline since 2010. She said they had failed in their duty of care to protect the environment. They had acted as facilitators for fracking.

Natural England admitted it had not inspected the site for wildlife. The council’s ecologist said because protected species were not present on the wellsite a survey was not needed. But she said the site was surrounded by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s living landscape. Ddin’t it deserve protection, she said.

Climate change is the greatest threat to human life and biodiversity so on these grounds the application should be turned down. It is highly likely that more wells will need to be drilled and each well will have greater impact on the biodiversity of the area.

Why let fracking start in the first place. It will be harder to stop once started. Let’s stop it now, she said.

The one single benefit had been that fracking had brought the community together as never before. The effort to raise money for consultants had been enormous.

An approval would not be seen as legitimate by people in Ryedale. Public opposition should be seen as major concern.

David Davies

5.38pm

Mr Davies said he knew nothing about fracking before summer 2014 when his house shook when Tesla set of explosives for seismic surveys. He said he went to meetings to find out more.

He said the application had been downplayed as a test frack but he said there were several tests and several fracks. And then there would be nine years of production, he said.

He said the Natural Environment Research Council identified research gaps on fracking. This raises questions about the costs of fracking and the country’s ability to regulate.

Mr Davies said the experience of the lack of regulation at a waste tip at Great Heck explained why he had no confidence in regulation of fracking.

He said there would be a lot of movement of vehicles on the site, carrying liquids. Depending on the waste composition, would decide whether it could be treated on site or taken to a specialist centre.

The uncertainties of the application were not fully addressed in the documentation. He said there was no social licence in the area and too many uncertainties. That is the view of the majority.

This is not temporary, he said. It is for nine years. There are inconsistencies in the application. Is the £100,000 community benefit, for example, he asked.

Karen Garrett

5.32pm

Ms Garrett ,from Great and Little Barugh Parish Council, said there had been decades of conventional gas production in the area. She said the council was still not satisfied with the proposals. Little Barugh is half a mile and Great Barugh one mile from the site but they had not been included by the company in its impact assessment.

People in the villages had suffered from drilling at KM8 and even routine maintenance. They face a grim nine years ahead of them, she said. The councils took issue with the company’s noise assessment. The site was not comparable with Flamingo Land or a milking parlour, she added. Noise  and light pollution from KM8 would disturb residents.

From residents’ experiences the council did not accept the planners’ report that there would not be significant impacts. The impacts would outweigh the benefits.

Ms Garrett questioned how the traffic route could be monitored. She said there was a real safety issue on the road near the site, which is used by walkers, horse riders and cyclists.

She said the councils did not accept that fracking was appropriate for the rural backdrop of Ryedale. Consideration had to be given to the voices of the residents directly affected and by others who would be affected by future applications.

The future is in your house. It starts with just one well.

Chris Pickles

5.26pm

Mr Pickles, a parish councillor, said the decision on KM8 would be seen as a precedent. He said the committee needed to look at what the shale gas industry was.

He said  gas would be released only if liquid was inserted at great pressure. He said Third Energy wanted to create 19 well pads with 10-50 wells per pad. INEOS announced a programme of 20 well pads on each 10 km licence block with 10 wells per pad. The operation on each pad would take 1 year of 24-hour working. He said 10,000 wells across Yorkshire. This would take intensive support and immense disruption to agriculture and people.

The radioactive waste would require specialist treatment. Cuadrilla’s two sites in Lancashire would take up 70% of treatment capacity.

North Yorkshire was not like Pennsylvania where sites could be hidden. There would be little incentive for visitors to come to the county if the industry took off in the way the industry wants. The MP, Kevin Hollinrake, has tried to do the possible to accommodate the industry, suggesting stand-off distances of 6 miles. But the industry could not be conducted on this basis. The industry was incompatible with the protection of the countryside.

Frack Free Ryedale video

5.21pm

Frack Free Ryedale video of lorry driving the route to KM8 re-shown to the committee because of earlier technical problems.

Break

5pm

Committee resumes at 5.15pm

Anne Hodge

4.54pm

Mrs Hodge, an American who has lived in Harrogate for 40 years, said she hoped the committee would abide by their statement of intent to respect local democracy.

As an American one of the things we believe is most wonderful about England is response of civic institutions to the peoples’ view.

It was very significant that Kirby Misperton and Ryedale councils had objected to the application, she said.

Coming from California I can testify that no amount of regulation helps after the disaster has occurred. The regulators cannot possibly watch every lorry load of poisonous chemicals, every inch of every road coming in and out or the uncertainties of the well underground. The contamination of wells is one of the most painful of fracking in the US, she said. The health of local people had been gravely affected by air and water p0llution.

Peter Tanner

4.52pm

Mr Tanner said he had read the assurances by Third Energy. He asked the committee to require the company to pay long-term costs caused by damage

Anne Forsaith

4.51pm

You have a huge responsibility here, she told the committee, and I urge you to refuse this application. We do not inherit the earth, we hold it in trust for our children.

Esmond Watson

4.47pm

Mr Watson described his holiday business on the edge of the North York Moors national park. They extracted drinking water from a private borehole. Boreholes were lined with polypropolene pipes. If the earth moved the well would become useless. It would need to be redrilled. There is no insurance policy to cover for that, he said.He added that he intended to form an association of borehole operators and take legal action if their boreholes were damaged.

Lesley Jones

4.44pm

Local resident and health researcher, Lesley Jones said the decision had enormous social and economic implications.

She said from her former home in North Wales she saw the effect of the water, fossil fuel and slate industry. There was a legacy of people leaving, waste disposal and damaged land, she said. IN North Wales land was still being monitored for toxins.

The impact of industrialisation had an impact on the pharmacology of people around sites. The precautionary principle is vital. Please don’t create a toxic legacy or a broken future. Whatever you do, please do it thoughtfully.

Vanessa Charters

4.41pm

Ms Charters talked about long-term damage to the environment. Who pays and who benefits for fracking, she asked.

She said a river near her home in Australia was like Yorkshire when she grew up but now it was bubbling with methane. When the industry started there first started there were people who wanted to make it work. They set up strong regulations but they failed. When she moved to Yorkshire it was as beautiful as her imagining. Please protect this green and beautiful land.

Ruth Hannah

4.38pm

Mrs Hannah said she was a concerned resident. She said she was struck by the emotional content that people had brought to the debate. She said she made no excuse for speaking from the heart.

Having found out about fracking, she became more and more concerned. She had asked regulators and the MP whether they would live next to a fracking site . They didn’t want to answer, she said.

She organised a meeting in her village. Most people who attended were also concerned. She was particularly concerned about the effect of heavy lorries on local traffic.

Katie Atkinson, Frack Free Ryedale

4.10m

Mrs Atkinson said Third Energy had incorrectly dealt with the issue of noise. Policy guidance aims to promote good health, she said.

She said minerals guidance requires night time noise to not exceed 42db. It does not refer to durations. The environmental health officer and the case officer has interpreted the guidance incorrectly.  The short-term duration was irrelevant, she said. Allowing higher levels to 46db because of the short-term duration is wrong, she said.

It is a dereliction of duty and will lead to sleep disturbance.

Setting a level at 16db above the level when complaints start is stating that sleep disturbance and mental health is not an concern of the county.

Mrs Atkinson played a short audio tape of the level of noise that could be expected from a fracking site.

Turning to traffic, she said the site was off the strategic route network and the route to it presented dangers and potential conflicts.  The area was used by horse riders and the traffic route followed part of a new cycle route.

The fact that a well site already exists is true but the changing nature of the operation will lead to a huge increase in traffic. An advert by Third Energy said it was not possible to estimate how many vehicles would be generated by the site. The fact that Third Energy has not updated traffic management plan, despite being requested to do so by the highways authority, is unacceptable.

Mrs Atkinson said FFR had commissioned an HGV of similar dimensions to those to be used by Third Energy to drive the traffic route. She played film of the truck. In Kirby Misperton it had to cross the centre line in the road. At a junction traffic had to stop to allow the lorry to turn into the correct lane.

There was no guarantee that laybys would be free as a holding area for lorries. There were no other holding areas on the route. The application could be refused on the cumulative impacts of traffic. It was inappropriate to allow the application without an up to date traffic management plan.

If you have any doubts that the impacts cannot be mitigate, you should refuse the application, she told the committee.

It is your responsibility to be sure that all the impacts are outweighed by the need for the application.

Since a government ministerial statement – on which the the planners placed great weight – the government had signed up to the Paris climate agreement.

If you were identifying a site in a site search this is not what you would choose. The application is predicated on it being a brownfield state but the application will lead to a significant change of use.

There are considerable issues in many aspects of the proposals to warrant refusal of the application in its current guise.

It could be turned down on reasons including traffic, noise, visual impact, threat to water and air quality.

We urge you to stand side by side with the locals and refuse the application.

The committee chair said the presentation was long and difficult to follow. He said there was not time to read the organisations written documents by Monday.

Steve Maslen, Frack Free Ryedale

3.42pm

Landscape consultant, Steve Maslen, began by talking about air quality. The onus was on Third Energy to prove there would be no impacts on air quality but FFR’s experts beleived they had not done that. Mr Maslen questioned the modelling, monitoring data and methodology on air quality.

Recorded Benzene levels were abnormally high aat KM8 nd were explained by Third Energy as maintenance work. The planning officer had relied on Third Energy’s evidence on short-term exceedences of limits would not have an impact on air quality, he said. They were not fully addressed, he said. Third Energy ‘s environmental statement had ignored impacts on nearby properties, he added. Third Energy did not provide enough evidence to support conclusions on air quality.

On water, the planners’ report depends on the no-objection from Yorkshire Water and Third Energy’s experts. But Mr Maslen said there were grounds for objection on water issues.

There is a lack of understanding of the shallow aquifer which put local families at risk, he said.

Yorkshire Water has no commercial interest in shallow aquifer and they did not comment on this. What it said should have no bearing on this decision.

The site sits on a hill of mudstones and shale. There is a shallow aquifer supplying local flows. Third Energy did not provide information on the distance or pathways  that water flowed from the site into the private supply boreholes.  We have no understanding of the risk of contamination from surface contamination.  They don’t know how this shallow aquifer works, he said. How can you monitor water if you don’t where it will go, he asked.

The proposals have been granted a permit from the EA without having addressed serious concerns on the shallow aquifer. We are seriously concerned about the granting of the permit without this information and the officers’ reliance on the EA decision. The EA have taken their eye of the ball on this shallow aquifer and concentrated on the deeper aquifer.

On visual impact, Mr Maslen said the main impacts which will arise from the proposal relate to the fencing, noise barrier, the drilling rig and the traffic in the village centre at Kirby Misperton.

The noise barrier will present a very notable change in the present situation. The 37m drilling rigs, 25m coil tower and lighting would be incongruous and a very significant change in the local landscape.

The traffic impact on the landscape had not been addressed in the environmental statement and should be a consideration. The increase in traffic will create a very notable change in the views of residents.

Mr Maslen said the people most seriously affected by the proposals  would be residents and footpath users. The visual impacts are significant. The planners acknowledged some impacts but said they would be relatively short-term and reversible and so were significant. Mr Maslen said development that is unacceptable cannot be come acceptable if they are short-term or reversible.

He drew attention to a report on the Vale of Pickering which said it was a landscape of significant quality that was often overlooked in favour of more dramatic areas. He said there are demonstrable harms to the landscape that are unacceptable.

In conclusion he said the application had gaps and inconsistencies, errors, statements unsupported by evidence.

Public concern is capable of being a material consideration. The public lack confidence in Third Energy’s environmental statement. Local residents are concerned and worried about developments and they would remain for nine years of the development. This could be translated in stress and anxiety.

On ecology air quality, shallow ground water and visual impact, the applicant has not demonstrate that the likely adverse impacts have not been adequately assessed.

Mr Maslen asked where would you choose a site for fracking. I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t choose a site next to a public right of way and a water course leading into a protected area, downwind and near a small village, on narrow roads.

There are sufficient robust reasons for you to refuse this application.

Kieran Sheehan, Frack Free Ryedale

3.30pm

Ecologist Kieran Sheehan said the ecological assessment int he application was not adequate. The survey was carried out in winter.It did not consider two ponds 500m from the site. There was no survey of bats or great crested newts. No protected species surveys had been carried out.

The planning officers said the area was “devoid of bats”. Surveys should have been carried out under Natural England guidance, he said. They were recommended but had not been carried out by the applicant.

He pointed to other contradictions in the officers’ report to the committee. All the evidence is desk-based and subjective, he said. He said there was a known bat habitat near the site.

On great crested newts, he said the planners had said it was unlikely they were present. But he said the ponds were not spotted in the first habitat appraisal. Further surveys should have been carried out and further information should have been provided or the application be refused. He connectivity between the ponds and the site were very good.

Conditions on ecology were haphazard and perverse, he said. He asked a series of questions about what he said were inconsistencies about council council statements and requirements.

No protected species surveys had been undertaken on or around the site, he said. No one had bothered to look. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Natural England’s advice had not been followed and this was a material consideration.

Matt Farrelly, Frack Free Ryedale

3.25pm

Mr Farrelly works in the oil and gas industry. He had been involved in fracking in the US. He said tere was a relatively high understanding of the geology int he US but operators cold not accurately forecast how it would behave.

Gas production from a shale would decline rapidly after two years. A small part would remain after 5 years. Landowners benefit directly from the wells and population density was low.

In Texas, he drilled 20 wells a month without complaint and now gas escapes. In the UK population density was greater and roads smaller.

A fracking well can be drilled safely. The impacts included noise, truck movements, visual intrusion and disruption.

KM8 well was an exploration and appraisal well, he said. The application talked of 9 years of production. Planning permission should be sought for all these stages. There is a high degree of uncertainty about whether it would produce and for how long because it was the first well to be fracked and was horizontal, rather than a vertical well.

Katie Atkinson, Frack Free Ryedale

3.20pm

Katie Atkinson, a planning consultant, said she was representing Frack Free Ryedale on the application. They are not professional campaigners, as had been claimed by supporters of the scheme. Many had not campaigned on issues before. Many were hard-working parents. They felt there had been a campaign against them and they had been accused of scaremongering.

More and more businesses had joined the organisation because they felt the application was not viable or feasible in the area. Since the publication of the officers’ report people were joining at a rate of five a day.

The committee had a statutory duty to consider all the evidence put before them.

Break

2.52

The committee resumes at 3.10pm

 Baroness McIntosh

2.46

You are charged by the people of Ryedale to take account of the impacts on the environment and the local economy. I believe you have been asked to take too much on trust. I think there are grounds to delay or refuse this application

What is the regulatory regime? If Third Energy goes over the 0.5 on the Richter scale, who will stop them? I don’t think self regulation is acceptable.

Other regulations are not fit for purpose, she said. We are told water will be temporarily stored but now how long or where it will go. We know Yorkshire Water refused the original plan to transport water underground because it might freeze in winter and fracture the pipes.

You are asked to take a lot on trust today and one Monday. But where is the detailed truck management plan. What will be the impact on rural roads

Ryedale exists on food, farming and tourism. There is no safe history of onshore fracking. Even in the offshore industry we have seen hundreds of people killed in the Piper Alpha disaster.

The economic model is not proven. Many of the US companies are facing bankruptcy. Ryedale welcomes 4.5m visitors a year. Morean 7.000 people directly depend on tourism. These are permanent jobs. They are not fly by night jobs. These are local business whose income depends on tourism. Farmers depend on bed and breakfast and cottage hospitality.

54,000 rural business depend on the rural economy. That brings in £17bn a year and employs thousands of people. Malton has recently been designated a food enterprise zone. Given the potential scale of industrialisation of what we cherish as an rural landscape and the transportation into an industrial site on a massive scale would you recommend people come to visit?

What would be the impact on the rural economy? In a written answer, the energy minister, Lord Bourne said it is for you here today to decide what the impact on the local impact and environment will be.

There are too many unknowns There are too many unanswered questions. How many lorry movements will be needed to transport they waste. Where will the waste be stored and disposed of?

Roderick Robinson

2.43pm

Mr Robinson said fracking would breach the water framework directive. Every aquifer was at risk, he said. Fracking wells were not secure. Well casings would fail because enormous pressures were applied.

Pollutants from fracking had the capacity to damage the biosphere. They are an unmanageable and immeasurable risk. Biocides where being registered as lubricants. This was wrong.

I see no safety in fracking but I see no competent authority to regulate it.

Shan Oakes

2.41pm

Ms Oakes said she had concerns about contamination and pollution from fracking. The responsible agencies were not at all confident they could regulate the industry, she said.The agencies did not have the capacity or scope to do the regulation. My impression was rabbits in the headlines, passing the buck. So much for gold standard regulation.

Robert Laycock

2.36pm

Mr Laycock said he lived a few miles from Kirby Misperston. He related comments from a friend in the US who had experienced fracking. He talked of noise and industrialisation.

North Yorkshire is a thriving holiday destination. People came to the holiday cottage he owned from all parts of the country. Tourism employs thousands of people in Ryedale and he asked for the application to be refused.

He said Americans were horrified that fracking might be “unleashed on” Yorkshire. It is desperately unpopular. We don’t want this. There are no benefits. The people who want to impose this have come from outside the area.

Fracking is only worthwhile if done intensively on an  industrial scale.

Geza Frackman

2.33pm

Mr Frackman, from Lancashire, said he understood the pressures the committee was underway. He said he provided peer-reviewed evidence to the committee to support the “only rationale” decision they could make. He also reminded them of their duty of care that they should not approve something that would do harm.

The potential dangers to health were too great, he said, so approving the application would be negligent.

Lancashire had been successful in resisting fracking. It was now down to North Yorkshire to resist it.

He said he had recorded a conversation with John Dewar who he said had told him that depleted uranium would be used to frack wells.

Stand by the people, he called on the committee.

Annette Hudspeth

2.30pm

Parish councillor, Ms Hudspeth, said her argument was based on facts of climate change. We cannot burn the majority of fossil fuels available to us if we want to avoid passing the 2 degrees limit. We need to use the supplies that we have at present. It is perverse and genocidal to search for more.

Statement from Glenys Sanders

2.28pm

This development will not protect our help and local wildlife, she said. She said it was development could damage the reputation of Ryedale. The limited economic benefit had to be weighted against the damage to the reputation and local economy of the area.

Before granting permission, the local planning authority had to be satisfied that the development would be regulated. You are asked to consider the health of local communities when making decisions, she said.

The public perception of fracking had led to stress and anxiety. They had not been properly considered, she said. Please consider the harm that this could cause when making your decision.

Richard Claxton

2.25pm

Speaking for Greenpeace UK, Mr Claxton said there would be air pollution from traffic and the plant. He said there were gaps in regulation.Third Energy had proved to be rogue operators so this was more concerning. The company had frequently failed to give evidence when asked on the application, he said.

Fracking could only play a role in tackling climate change if shale gas came online in the next five years.

Edward Arthur

2.23pm

Mr Arthur said he had retired to the area. He described gold standard regulation talked about y the local MP, Kevin Hollinrake, as “political spin”.

If you give the go-ahead you have to be certain about no water or air contamination and no quakes. If you can’t be sure you should throw it out.

How will granting a licence count on your county and national targets for carbon emissions. Your climate change policy will be in tatters and completely untenable.

Dominic M’Benga

2.19pm

Mr M’Benga said he was speaking on behalf of his elderly parents in law, who had dementia and Parkinsons. He said he had experience of fracking in Lancashire. He referred to the earthquake at Preese Hall caused by fracking. He said his father in law was worried for his life and his wife’s. They don’t have a voice and they can’t speak.

The site will not be temporary. Nine years is not temporary. For them it is the rest of their life.

Susan Rayment

2.16pm

Ms Rayment lives in Kirby Misperton. She said drilling noise at KM8 was so loud that she couldn’t sleep. They were told to close the window and were given a fan.

Weeping, she said the stress got so much from lack of sleep that she was prescribed medication. John Dewar offered to put triple glazing but that wouldn’t make any difference.

In 2015, he asked if he could put a microphone in the garden. They heard a noise from the farm opposite – it was the milking machine. It continued for two weeks when the microphone was in place. This was larger than normal. What happened if the noise went on for weeks, or months, she asked.

Stephanie Pride

2.12pm

Ms Pride who works at Flamingo Land said she wanted to express her complete opposition to the application. I rely on roads that are often congested, particularly the road to Kirby Misperton.

It staggers me that the traffic survey was carried out before the opening of Flamingo Lane in March. Given that the activity would continue nine years, I cannot believe it will not have an impact of visitors , workers and residents, she said.

She said visitors to Flamingo Land who had a bad experience would share it on social media. She urged the committee to consider the effect on a downturn in numbers at Flamingo Land and reduced hours for people working there. I would urge you to reject the application.

Helen Hart

2.08pm

Ms Hart said she spent much of her childhood cycling round Ryedale. She said she was particularly worried about the danger of fracking traffic for cyclists and horse riders. She said in the US there had been an increase in road accidents in fracking areas.

She said she was also worried about how roads would be paid for. Rural roads don’t have strengthened shoulders like main roads. They are less capable of dealing with heavy loads.

I would hope that would be down to Third Energy but if they went out of business it would fall on the council, she said.

A large vehicle causes 16 times more wear . A 42 tonne tanker makes the wear as more than 3 million cars, she said. This is only one of what is going to thousands of wells. Is the money coming from the fracking companies. If not it is a hidden subsidy from the tax payer to the fracking companies.

David Adam

2.05pm

Mr Adam, a resident of Ryedale, said he wanted to talk about democracy and its role in fracking decisions. You have a moral duty to take into account a wider set of issues, he said. Many people have devoted much time to investigate the effects of fracking. They had become dedicated opponents of fracking, he said.

Your moral responsibility make this the most important decision  of your careers. He mentioned concerns including water contamination, traffic, landscape blight and noise. This would damage tourism.

Fracking is not the only or best solution to energy needs. It would exacerbate climate change. He was part of the vast majority of people opposed to fracking and they should be listened to.

Maria Montinaro

2.01pm

Ms Montinaro is a Scottish community councillor and a  member of Concerned Communities of Falkirk in central Scotland. She said if the committee approved the application the precedent would be set. We cannot assume the Scottish Government will not do the right thing for its communities. It is allowing test drilling during moratorium in Scotland.

Coal bed methane, shale and underground coal gasification was planned for central Scotland using 1,000s of wells.

She referred to thousands of objections to plans by Dart Energy for unconventional extraction. Communities had educated themselves, she said. The application is now in appeal pending the moratorium.

Brian Appleby for Dr James Hansen

1.51pm

Mr Appleby reads a statement from the US climate scientist Dr James Hansen.

The latest information shows a steep increase in growth of methane, which coincides with fracking in the US. If we could stop producing methane we could decrease its force and reduce climate change. The increased emissions of methane from fracked gas is contributing to climate change.

The world is not going very far very fast on climate change, he said. Developing shale gas would lock the methane in for decade.

Gas companies are aware of the power of methane as a greenhouse gas but are going ahead anyway. He calls on politicians to research and take action to reduce the use of fossil fuel emissions. It is not an issue of debate. We must move into alternatives urgently. The time for change is now.

The role involves everyone on the planet. But officials deciding fracking bear disproportionate responsibility for the their actions.

There is a 10% chance of reaching 6 degrees of warming and the risk would increase with the more fossil fuels developed.

North Yorkshire County Council had agreed it would play its part in contributing to the 80% reduction in climate change, he said.

Committee resumes

1.50pm

The committee hearing restarts for the afternoon session with more statements from local people opposing Third Energy’s plans. Jon Dewar, the operations director of Third Energy takes his place in the room.

Lunch break

1.06pm

The committee hearing begins again at 1.50pm

John Arthur

1.04pm

Mr Arthur said minerals had been extracted from the Ryedale area for generations. He asked who picks up the mess if a company went out of business. He asked whether a bridge on the traffic route to KM8 was suitable. What would happen if it failed. He said the Environment Agency’s view that there was no risk from fracking at KM8 had been contradicted.

You need to consider your consciences. If you have any doubts you need to refuse the application, he said.

Mavis Watson

1.01pm

Mrs Rayment said she was a regular visitor to Ryedale. None of these drillers set out to destroy things. There are accidents. But she said accidents with fracking could be catastrophic.

She had introduced her grandchildren to the area. But she wanted to bring great grandchildren. Could she do that if it was a gas field.

Barabara Hickman

1.00pm

Mrs Hickman said there had been a huge success of cycling in the area. This had led to a huge increase in tourism. Will they come if these landscapes become industrialised if the roads become blocked.

In my opinion  fracking is a risky solution to our energy needs. the majority of people in Ryedale do not want fracking and I urge you take this into account.

Jules Marley

12.50

Mrs Marley, representing CPRE,said the organisation did not oppose of fracking but tthe right circumstances had to be in place. She said the M8 site must not adversely affect the North Yorks Moors National Park and other protected areas.  Ryedale is landscape of local value. The views of local people had to be taken into account.

She referred to the noise barrier of shipping containers stacked to 9m high. “On which planet could this be considered to benefit the local area and economy”.

She said local road had been designed for the horse and cart. There were also risks to people using local footpaths.

CPRE was also concerned about spillages from the site or vehicles and by contamination by association. Members were concerned that people would not buy crops or products because it was made in Ryedale.

There are just no guarantees, she said. The risk to agriculture are just to great to allow this to happen.

Fracking could reduce tourist visits and falls in tourism spending. It would destroy the tranquillity of our countryside. There is a clear and presentation danger of industrialisation of the countryside.

Developers have already stated they plan to cover north Yorkshire with 950 wells. It is the wrong kind of development in the wrong place for the wrong reasons.

She said every layer of local authority had objected. There had beenn only 32 letters of support. The people have spoken and are speaking. Please listen to them . The harm clearly outweighs the benefits.

Gordon Gunn

12.46pm

Mr Gunn said his local company supplies automotive and air industries. It invested several hundred thousand pounds in research and development. It planned to develop a wider business park. It requited other businesses to invest. Should this application be approved the area would be in the news for all the wrong reasons. His investors were sensitive to bad publicity. They would question investing in an area of social disruption and health risk.

He urged the council to demonstrate democracy in action and stand up for local residents.

Bob Ordidge

12.43pm

Mr Ordidge, who lives at Little Barugh, said there was no literature confirming that fracking was safe. He said he was very fond of the area.

Tim Thornton with a statement from Rev Graham Cray

12.40pm

Full text

Rev Cray lives nearest the proposed site in Kriby Misperton. He said fracking traffic would conflict with traffic to Flamingo Land. There is little noise from Flamingo Land but when KM8 was drilled it caused extreme distress to residents. It is an unpleasant noise that he feared would disrupt local events in the church.

There wee already cancellation of B and B bookings, falling prices, and cancelled house viewings.

Fracking takes value away. Does the committee want to wait five years to see who has fallen ill and how will they know. Don’t let this industry get a foot in the door. It all starts with one well.

Full text

lan Hurd

12.37pm

Mr Hurd said he had looked for insurance policies to protect his father’s house at Kirby Misperton. He said there was lots of wriggle room to get out of paying out on policies. He said he could find no cover for water contamination. That leaves us to rely on the regulators, he said. They had been cut to the bone. We’ll have to rely on the government’s fingers-cross policy.

Kathy Clarke

12.35pm

I object strongly to fracking in Kirby Misperton because the risks to the soil and water are too great. With each new well the risks are increased, she said.

I would like to think that you, my elected representatives, would protect me and my family. She said the committee should consider the precautionary principle, not planning law.

We will not stop fighting this industry until it is defeated.

Dr Liz Garthwaite

12.31

Dr Garthwaite, a medical doctor, said the substances produced by shale gas extraction are a real threat to people. She gave benzene as an example, causing problems such as dizziness, birth defects, chromosone changes and cancer. Hydrogen sulphide, radon, tolulene were also hazardous, she said. Diesel exhaust emissions were also related to health problems.

I would ask you turn down this application because there are no guarantees to health safety.

Anne Chapman

12.29pm

Ms Chapman, a keen walker, said she endorsed concerns about the effect on tourism and the local landscape. We need to think about the cost of what is going to be lost in terms of our environment and our grandchildren’s future. The ecological cost, the costs on health.

When I have looked at the science of this, I see that 84% of the health literature provide worrying public health hazards. Hand on heart, do you really think that this is safe. If you have any doubts at all, please do not take the decision to frack. Or defer the decision until the evidence catches up to give us some clear outcomes.

Cllr Erica Rose

12.26pm

Full text

Cllr Rose, from Helmsley Town Council, talked about an information stall she held and views she had collected from local people. Most people she had spoken to opposed fracking. Most felt the first approval would release a genie that could not be put back in the bottle. But the most prevalent view was a loss of faith in democracy and a sense of betrayal came up over and over again, she said.

Your hands may be tied so that you cannot act for us directly in some issues, but in matters where you are able to act for us – please – act for us and use whatever means are left to you to refuse this application.

Full text

Professor Andrew Price

12.19pm

Professor Price is a Ryedale resident and an academic environmental consultant.

Ryedale should be spared from the industrial consequences of fracking. He said monitoring for contaminants was inadequate. He said the environmental impact assessment was unclear. He said sampling frequency was inadequate and there wasn’t sufficient baseline data. All potential contaminants had not been clarified, he added. Few resources were available, he said, for independent assessment of data or monitoring.

While fracking might generate money to Third Energy and the Treasury but there would be net losses to Ryedale through losses of earning from tourism.

Extraction of fossil fuels were at complete odds from efforts to tackle climate change. The first fracking well would set the green light for hundreds of sites across Yorkshire. There would be cumulative and wide-ranging damage.

Extensive sections of the redacted DEFRA report on fracking impacts echoed these concerns.

Shale gas may bring increased industrialisation and industries relying on clean air and water may suffer, the report concluded. House prices were likely to fall. There could be a 7% reduction in property values.

Surely, he said, it is time to rethink fracking before it is too late. If the council approves the “ill-conceived” application local democracy will be damaged.

Robin Bunton

12.16pm

Mr Bunton said he had lived in Ryedale for 20 years. He said the application was flawed because it had not undertaken a social impact assessment. Ryedale was strong in social capital. Fracking will fracture the social wealth of Ryedale and this should not be under-estimated.

Philip Tate

12.12pm

Mr Tate said the application was not a stalking horse. The committee was the stalking horse. This committee has been suborned by central government to provide it with a precedent for what it wants to follow.

National policy is all over this report [from the planning officer]. These are not matters of county council policy. No other application for fracking will be given the time that this council has given it. It is central government that has granted the exploration licence, authorises the permits and sets down the national planning policy framework.

If central government wants to go all out of shale it should take responsibility for it.

This committee should not be responsible

Do not be a stalking horse. Refuse this application with one voice and return this application to where it belongs, central government.

Dr Tim Thornton

11.58am

Full text

Dr Thornton, a retired GP in Ryedale, asked can it be safely stated that fracking at KM8 would happen without accident or risk? A district councillor for Ryedale, he said his training said sustainable development should run through planning and this should be achieved by evidence and democracy.

He said health was a material consideration in planning. He said he would draw on science from the past 10 years, but mostly from the past three years.

80% of papers had evidence of harm or potential harm. There should be a health impact assessment and a health status report before fracking can begin and after there should be periodic checks.

He referred to a 27% increase in hospital emissions after the start of fracking found by researchers of one report on health in Pennsylvania. 60% of workers in another study were over-exposed to silica sand, responsible for scarring of the lungs and increased risk of TB or lung cancer.

Dr Thornton referred to reports by Lisa McKenzie of the relationship between a fracked well and the incidence of heart defects in infants. There is a lack of a complete basis but he said work by John Hopkins University found increased risk of complex births and prematurity.

He said people had been assured about the safety of substances such as tobacco or thalidomide. He questioned whether they would be assured about the safety of frackng.

Dr Thornton turned to mental health risks from fractured communities, poor sleep, lack of trust in industry or experts. Health problems would spread through families or communities. You can’t make bad stuff go away, he said.

You must determine what level of risk is reasonable to ask of a community. You have to decide about what the science tells you about the distance of a well from a home. You need to consider the advice of NERC about imposing this industry without a social licence.

Full text

 Committee breaks

11.22am

The committee takes a break until 12 noon.

Tony Finn

11.16am

Mr Finn owns the Worsley Arms in Ryedale, employing 20 people. He said he was speaking as an employer and an expert on hospitality.

Potential visitors will vote with their feet if there is any bad publicity. Negative experience will pass on bad publicity to future visitors.

This application is the thin edge of a very long and potentially dangerous wedge. Other applications will follow.

Local infrastructure is already creaking, he said. Fracking would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

At a time when the British public are beginning to rediscover the beauty of its landscape why would you want to bring this blight and take the risk of sacrificing it all.

Fracking would scar the countryside and choke local infrastructure with no jobs and the offer of a community benefit scheme of only £100,000.

He compared fracking to the drunk at a wedding. We know what’s he’s put down his throat and we know it is toxic and we just hope it stays down there. In the case of fracking if it comes up it will be our children that will suffer.

Nelly Trevelyan

11.13am

Ms Trevelyan said if the application was refused it would be called in by the government. She said the application had to be seen in the context of the whole licence area.

The county’s minerals and waste plan did not comply with sustainable development, she said. We have to have criteria for where well pads can go. There are no  separate distances. If you approve this application this will set criteria for separation distances of less than 300m or use of narrow roads. This is not plan-led planning, she said.

There were also no biodiversity benefits or environmental enhancements, she added.

Nicky Mason

11.07am

Full text

Mother of two and worker in the science industry Ms Mason said she had serious concerns about the health impacts of fracking. She is the clerk for the parish council neighbouring Kirby Misperton.

Ms Mason talked about a leak releasing fugitive emissions at the site near her village seven months ago. She said Third Energy considered it to be a minor leak. But due to the urgency, the pipe had to be drained for the valve to be repaired.  Over 74,000 cubic metres of gas had to be released into the atmosphere. This equates to 30 olympic sized swimming pools.

Ms Mason said the EA was not told about this within the time required by the permit. Why did it take Third Energy two months to report the incident to the Environment Agency, she asked. It came to light only from an FOI request by a local resident. But a liaison group had not heard about it.

I believe there is a failure for self-regulation. She was concerned that Third Energy could not comply conditions for fracking when it could not comply with regulations for conventional gas production.

I have no confidence in their capacity to act in an open or transparent manner. I urged you to reject this application.

Full text

Statement by Third Energy

Simon Nisbett

11.05am

Mr Nisbett, from Scarborough, pointed to research on potential health impacts, one of which led to a moratorium on fracking in New York. The Medact report concluded the regulations were not sufficiently robust, he said.

He added that fossil fuels should be left in the ground for climate change reasons. I call on members of the planning committee to see sense and reject the application.

Mr D Illingworth

11.02am

Mr Illingworth said he was a local resident. The application would not be about a few weeks of disruption. This pernicious process will go on for decades, he said.

Our local MP is under a delusion that tougher regulations are the answer. They will mean nothing if the regulators do not have resources in enforce them, he said.

If there is one incident, Ryedale’s hard-fought reputation for quality food production will be lost for ever, he said.

He urged the council to exercise moral judgement. It should not be a political issue.

Becoming emotional, he said we are only custodians of the countryside. The application was totally inappropriate for Ryedale.

Sir Richard Storey

10.43am

Full text

Sir Richard said he lives at Settrington near Malton. He said he had written three objections on the application. He disagreed with the conclusions of the officers’ report, though he thanked them for the work involved.

We are told that regulation is the best in the world, he said. This is a novel operation. At Preese Hall in Lancashire, regulators failed to anticipate or prevent seismic activity. The well casing was damaged by a very weak earthquake. If the regulator got it so wrong on the first attempt, what would happen from now on?, he asked. He quoted research by Jo Hawkins who found gaps in regulations.

The Royal Society report on fracking is now four years old. It recommended research that has not been done. The RS did not endorse production – to do that it would have to take account of disruption and they had not done so.

If the council were to approve production it would be doing so contrary to the RS report.

We should all learn from mistakes made in other parts of the world, Sir Richard said, including the US and Netherlands. Dutch ministers said problems were not caused by fracking but a judge ruled that they were. I have to rely on overseas evidence, he said, because there was no other evidence.

Decisions are often the balance on the scale, he said. He produced a set of scales. In favour of fracking, he put jobs. But added jobs lost on the other side, against fracking. The need for gas could not be added on the plus side, he said. He put “a damm great weight” for the destruction of Ryedale’s countryside. He put a small weight for “towing the party line” on the in favour side. The scales are quite heavily on the against side, he said.

Sir Richard said he had asked “Where in the world can I go to see friendly fracking”. I am still waiting for an answer.

He also quoted comments by the former MP, Anne McIntosh, that said the area would be harmed by fracking.

He showed three wise men in a cartoon, and asked the committee to be wise before the event, not afterwards.

Full text

Cllr Paul Andrews

10.40am

Cllr Andrews said he was concerned about the impact of fracking in Ryedale on the landscape. Imagine what the area would look like if there were 120ft rigs every three miles and tell me it will have no impact on tourism.

Ian Conlon

10.37am

Full text

Mr Conlon said the view from his bedroom was in a direct line of sight to the fracking proposal.

He raised concerns about the width of the road to the site, with tight bends, no footpath and parking. The proposed 20 mile an hour limit on the road would not be enforceable, according to police, he said. The police and crime commissioner laughed at the proposed 5 mile an hour limit on a bridge. It would appear planners had not consulted with police.

The application was an intrusion on the rural road network with no enforceable conditions, he said.

I would like yo to join the 99.2% of responses against the application and reject it.

Full text

Steve Pearse

10.30am

Mr Pearse lives in Great Barugh, under a mile from the proposed fracking site – the distance MP Kevin  Hollinrake said should be the minimum distance.

Less than 2% of the working population were out of work in the Ryedale district, he said. Numbers had fallen 18% from 299 to 245 in our district.

Are you as representatives of our beautiful county prepared to take away jobs in tourism and farming.I trust you are not.

He said he was also concerned about decommissioning. The decision on Kirby Misperton would open the floodgates on fracking, he said.

We are repeatedly told there will be no long-term issues. How can that be assured, he asked. He said the currnet industry failure rate of 6% would result in 70 failings in the Ryedale. Problems may not come t0 light in many years to come, he said.

The responsiblity starts here today. Are you prepared to accept responsibility for any problems for the people of Ryedale. The council will be held responsible.

Jim Tucker

10.26am

Mr Tucker said the government was on intent on curtailing democracy. Last year, MP Kevin Hollinrake had assured people there would be a six mile separation distance between sites and villages, then it was three miles and then one mile. We were told we had to live in the real world, he said. People were still waiting for the results of a meeting with the industry.

Wearing a white rose of Yorkshire, he said does anyone think food production, farming and tourism would benefit from fracking. He said the area would not benefit from jobs.

It is hard to make a rational argument in favour of this application.

John Ashton

10.06am

Full text here

The former climate change diplomat, Mr Ashton, said the decision will have implications beyond North Yorkshire. I don’t represent any special interest, he said. I am no-one’s payroll. I try to use my voice and experience of around 40 years at the centre of government.

Fracking represented a strategic choice, he said. It goes to the heart of how we govern ourselves. If you give a green light to Third Energy it will be a shot in the arm for an industry that has been trying for years to achieve intensive gas drilling in the UK.

A single project could not be in the national interest – as claimed in The Times – unless it represented something else.

We know how to move away from gas for climate change reasons , but we are slowing down, he said.

You can be in favour of fracking or you can be in favour of tackling climate change but you can’t be in favour of both at the same time.

There is growing consensus among health professionals that the safety cannot be guaranteed. Farming and tourism provide far more jobs than fracking ever could. Both farming and tourism rely on reputation that take years to build up and can be lost quickly.

It is hard to imagine there will be no impact on finding markets for products from local farms.

Fracking changes the character of places that accommodate it. As it takes it course, and it turns out to be unwelcome, people will say this began in Kirby Misperton . This is where we could have stopped it.

On regulation he said, the companies were being asked to mark their own homework. They will be tempted to put their interests first. He referred to miscalculations by Cuadrilla on volumes of flowback fluid. If I were considering this application I would scrutinise the record of the industry.

Mr Ashton said the UK did not have an energy security problem, as it claimed, but an energy investment problem. Shale could not solve that. It would be another decade before gas flowed at a scale that would make much difference.

There will be a minor role for gas, but there is more than enough conventional gas.

Fracking would not take place in the south because it was too iconic. Its supporters wanted to have their cake and eat it, he said. The need for fracking has not emerged from a national conversation. It is a top down product of speculative opportunism by those who think they can make money and from politicians looking to solve short-term political problems.

There is no national interest in fracking. To embark on this would be a betrayal of the national interest.

Not since the poll tax have we seen an issue with the power to stir people.

People speaking at the meeting against fracking were not frivolous people, he said.

I don’t envy you, he told councillors. Planning committees were under massive and unreasonable pressure from government to approve fracking.

Who decides and for whom. You are centre stage in that drama.Last summer, Lancashire County Council took a stand for our carefully balanced English democracy. They were each agents of that democracy. They refused the bidding of people who were not in those communities.

We are on the other side of the Pennines. I hope you will give Third Energy a red light.  Full text here

Jean King

10.02am

Ms King, from Lancashire, spoke about the impacts of gas extraction in Groningen in the Netherlands. She said seismic activity had caused damage to properties and many homes were now unsellable.

She said local people in the Groningen gas field had produced 50,000 complaints about earthquake damage. Human lives were at risk, according to researchers, she said. Governments were failing to protect the human rights of people by not implementing the precautionary principle.

She asked councillors if this was the future for Yorkshire.

Nicki Hollins for Rev Jackie Cray

9.59am

Rev Cray’s statement said her family’s life had been disrupted by the plans, having chosen to retire to Kirby Misperton. She spoke of social disruption and people leaving or choosing not to live in the village.

How can the application be approved if the energy minister said fracking should not happen on the edge of villages, she asked.

She had concerns about traffic safety and risks to pedestrians going to school or playgrounds. Crossing the road would be increasingly dangerous. She spoke about noise, light and air pollution.

It is not clear how many more wells would be drilled and when would the disruption end, she asked.

County Councillor Val Arnold

9.58am

Cllr Arnold, representing Helmsley, said concerned residents asked her to raise worries about noise, light pollution, traffic, impacts on landscape and tourism.

She said town and parish councils had given their views to the committee. Please take these into account, she said.

County Councillor Elizabeth Shields

9.52am

County councillor for Noton, Cllr Shields said she was very concerned about the application. She said her concerns were about risks to environment and residents living nearby. It is hard to see what the limited local benefits will outweigh the costs of the application, she said.

Do you wish to destroy the beauty peace and tranquillity of our beautiful Yorkshire countryside. I beg you to refuse this application.

County Councillor John Clarke

9.48am

Another local county councillor, Cllr Clarke said he would not speak in favour or against the application. But he said said whatever the committee decided it should be safe. He said health was an important issue and regulation on fracking had gaps in it. He referred to a research paper by Jo Hawkins which found gaps in regulation. Professor Richard Davies told the APPG on shale gas regulation that the regulations were not complete.

You need to be careful about whatever you decide and the conclusion you come to.

The decision you have to make today is very difficult. I wish you luck. I have every confidence in your abilities to work it out. But you have a massive job.

Precautionary principle, health questions and the gaps identified by professionals in the legislation and regulations were the key issues for the committee.

First speaker: County Councillor Lyndsay Burr

9.42am

Lyndsay Burr represents Kirby Misperton. She says she has been contacted by thosuands of residents who were worried about fracking in their area. She said there were concerns about lorries, impacts on health, landscape, disruption to rural life and the possibility of Ryedale becoming known as a fracking destination. Ryedale residents do not want to be the first area for fracking in the UK.

Conditions in the application could not be enforced, she said.

Roads could not cope. Constant noise and chaos would be inflicted on residents. Plant on the site would commercialise the area. This was not acceptable, she said. These were material planning issues.

The applicant had never fracked in the area. It was misleading to say the company had produced gas for years.

Fracking would have a negative effect on tourism in the area.

Ryedale does not want to be known as a fracking destination.

Over 15 parish councils have recommended that fracking should not take place. Ryedale District Council objected, representing 15,000 people. These should be taken into account.

Traffic, commercialism, potential harm to residents and wildlife, negative impacts on tourism

Please don’t let Ryedale to be the first area to allow fracking. Do not devastate our area. Listen to our local residents. This could ruin the way of life. Let democracy take place. Refuse this application.

Cheers heard from outside.

Formal introduction

9.41am

Vicky Perkins, the planning officer, formally introduces the application. She describes the proposal to frack, test and produce gas followed by restoration. She lists the equipment to be sited on the site near Kirby Misperton.

Declarations of interest

9.41amG

None made

Legal advice

9.38am

The council’s legal adviser tells committee members it is “unlawful to approach the decision with a closed mind or having the appearance of a closed mind”.

She said: “Members must approach the process with an open mind” and “give fair consideration” to the facts. “They are required to consider the issues on their merits”.

Cllr Peter Sowray introduction

9.35am

The chairman of the committee says “This is the most controversial application we have ever had to deal with”

He says the committee was ready to decide the application today but there were too many speakers so the decision would be made on Monday.

Meeting begins

9.30am

Council officer introduces application

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Media in place

9.21am

Media room filling up.

20160520_092053_HDR-1600x900

Councillors and speakers arrive

9.10am

Supporters and opponents of the application arriving. Councillors taking their seats in the grand committee room.


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

 

 

12 replies »

  1. Clown parade, Day 1. Local democracy ain’t pretty, is it? Look at the tripe being offered by these people. I can’t imagine having to sit through an entire day of listening to people whine about the sky falling when they have absolutely no clue what they are talking about.

  2. I was at Northallerton today and was surrounded by intelligent articulate people who have undertaken their own research into the dangerous toxic industry that is fracking. You may be happy to toe the party line and believe all you are told by the Gas Companies and Government, but the majority of us choose to actually make our own minds up about things that matter to us. Fracking is being forced upon local communities that have clearly said NO. The honking of horns in support of the protest today was overwhelming. And there wasn’t a single supporter in the supporters’ pen. Says it all I think.

  3. I watched the video from home and was impressed at the amount and qualityof evidence put forward by those attending. I found the personal comments from residents very moving. I was equally concerned about the issues raised. Very best wishes to all you anti-fracking campaigners!

  4. Thank you, Ruth Hayhurst for the write-up, due to work commitments I was only able to follow half of the day’s coverage. I find it quite amusing when someone like Bill above mocks authorities and experts like published author Professor Andrew Price, GPs, and business and industry leaders in the area, surely that is a sign of a) a troll or b) someone who fancies a bit of attention without offering any argument of any use.
    Allowing a toxic industry into any country against the wishes of the local people would amount to something akin to a hostile invasion, perhaps Bill in his wisdom would agree with that kind of approach? Sadly some in government have forgotten their original intention to be of service to the people who have elected them, and might well snigger about the plebs having a say, but good democratic leadership it isn’t. It would be paramount to dictatorship. Intelligence, and dare I say, honesty and decency, know better.

  5. Just to balance things up, a quote from Daniel Yergin, THE worldwide energy expert. He is talking about the USA but I think the same points will apply to the UK.
    ” I think people don’t understand how pervasive oil and gas is in our whole economy, not just in terms of transportation, not just in terms of fuel, but in everything from your cellphone to cosmetics. I think also the ironic thing is that if shale gas and shale oil hadn’t come along, we would be much more concerned about energy security, prices would be much higher, and our nation’s carbon footprint would be much larger because gas has been a key element in bringing down our CO2 emissions.”

    To me the ideal future energy mix (given current technology) is renewables with a natural gas backup for times when the wind doesn’t blow.

  6. Just another recent couple of news stories…

    Climate change has so far helped more species than it has hurt in the UK, a major study by wildlife groups including the RSPB has found.

    Climate change has lengthened the growing period in the UK and worldwide the increase in CO2 has produced a significant greening of the environment. I don’t think these effects are disputed by academics although whether this is temporary phenomens seems to be debated.

    I’m a complete amateur but the balance of positive and negative effects of climate change seems to a rather more debatable issue than green groups suggest. Climate Change? ..definitely. Overuse of fossil fuels in urban areas leading to dangerous atmospheric pollution…definitely. But Climate Change leading to environmental Armageddon and therefore justifying literally trillions of pounds worth of interventions worldwide?….don’t know.

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