Regulation

Pictures from day 1 of Third Energy fracking decision

Pictures from County Hall, Northallerton as North Yorkshire Planning Committee meets to consider Third Energy’s application to frack a well at Kirby Misperton.  More pictures through the day.

yorks rose

11:55 Yorkshire sign made from white roses


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11:30 Roadside outside County Hall


FrackingDemosComp

10:00 Pro-fracking area (left) and anti-fracking area (right) outside County Hall


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09:30  Rally outside the front of County Hall


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09:15 Demonstrators gather outside County Hall

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

47 replies »

  1. The other side of the story from the horse’s mouth. John Pettigrew, new CEO of the National Grid reported in the Times this morning as saying that “Britain’s electricity supply margin wiould be thin this winter but he expressed confidence that NG had the tools to prevent blackouts including new contracts designed to temporarily switch off power to large industrial users.”. If this chap is raising the issue so openly now he must be preparing us for the worst I guess.

    In other words probable lowered industrial production and workers being laid off because we haven’t developed a decent energy supply. That’s a country that pioneered nuclear power and is built on abundant coal, gas and oil supplies and has decent wind speeds. If this chap is raising the issue so openly now he must be preparing us for the worst I guess. Headline from the Guardian a few weeks ago “the first duty of government is to keep the lights switched on”.

    Shame this issue wasn’t mentioned at the NYCC Meeting today, it would have at least given some alternative background information. Can’t see people supporting shale gas in the face of the “greenwash” until the energy shortage hits them in the face next winter.

    • You mention workers being laid off because we haven’t developed a decent energy supply. I presume you are concerned about the 40,000 North Sea Gas workers who have had to be laid off due to a crippling tax regime and “windfall tax” in 2011. As everyone knows shale gas is twice the price of European shale to produce and could never meet our base fuel needs so we must look at maximising our indigenous offshore gas which is one of the UK’s largest industries still employing 375,000 experienced oil and gas workers. We are lucky the new offshore projects are like the Laggan/Tormore are proving to be so successful and still making money in a market where a shale gas industry could never compete. Hopefully the £20,000,000 new offshore seismic survey covering an area the size of Britain which is currently under way will find even more cheap indigenous gas. I am sure you would like to see the current offshore production tax of over 60% dropped to the 30% offered to the onshore industry. If that was done the North Sea would see massive investment and new fields opening up meaning even more energy security cheap gas and a rise in the export of home grown gas with millions going into the UK economy.

      • Sorry, typo. Should read” everyone knows European shale gas is twice the price of North sea gas to produce”

      • LOL. “We are lucky the new offshore projects are like the Laggan/Tormore are proving to be so successful and still making money in a market where a shale gas industry could never compete.” What a load of tripe!

        Yet in the US, where gas sells at prices of half to 1/3 of what it does in Europe, shale producers are still generating high ROIs. Keep dreamin’ my boy!

        • When you have an industry which has been able to ignore so many environmental regulations and cut so many corners because of the Halliburton loophole it is no wonder that fracked gas looks to be “cheap”. When we factor in all the cleaning up operations from spills, the transportation accidents caused, the blowouts, the methane leakages, the health costs, the need to cap the many thousand of leaking wells, the cost to agriculture, the jobs lost in tourism and farming, the effect on water supplies then the gas isn’t so cheap. It is very, very expensive and the costs are not merely financial. The difference is that It is not the fracking companies paying for it. It is the communities and the tax payers.

    • don’t you mean the horse’s arse . .Thanks johnpowney for your excellent reply to Mark .

  2. One last comment. I liked your pictures, especially the person with the pig mask and the policeman’s helmet rolling on the floor holding a frack free everywhere placard. I do wonder who they call when they’re mugged or have a burglary.

  3. against fracking, against logic, against mining, against lights and heat going off, against government interference, against industrialization, against profits, against wealth creation, against anyone who has more than I do. Pretty much sums it up, right?

    • Is that why North Yorkshire Police tweeted how well behaved and good natured the crowd was today? The pro fracking supporters have to be the most miserable of people because all I ever seem to read on here with the exception of one or two are personal attacks and bullying comments. I personally think the people that spoke, spoke with dignity today and from all different walks of life. The NYCC grounds were left spotless and all rubbish collected and removed by the crowd.

    • Against humans ,against animals against clean air and water against our future survival against ethics against morality. If you think life may be hard without oil and gas it would be impossible without fresh water. Read johnpowney reply to Mark ‘re north sea gas . Its still plentiful .The polluting destructive unconventional methods are not needed this is a Ponzi scheme for the greedy Howell’s Hoggs Rudd s Leadsom Cameron etc The vile the greedy the disgusting parasites in our society

  4. Oh dear.How sad that people have to result to personal attacks on this forum and don’t seem to have anything to contribute towards answering the real concerns, expressed so eloquently, by those that spoke today, from all walks of life. Many people from communities throughout the country have spent so much time in researching the process of fracking. There have been many peer reviewed reports which point to fracking being detrimental to human health and having unacceptable impacts on the environment no matter how well regulated. Fracking was banned in New York on such grounds. http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/findingstatehvhf62015.pdf
    Meanwhile, our own House of Commons cross party Environmental audit committee also stated in January 2015 that; Shale fracking should be put on hold in the UK because it is incompatible with our climate change targets and could pose significant localised environmental risks to public health. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news/environmental-risks-of-fracking-report/
    Our government has also signed up to being fossil fuel free by 2050. Investing in this form of energy is simply taking us backwards when we should be moving forwards for the sake of meaningful, long term, jobs for future generations to come.

    • I certainly don’t wish to insult anyone, just meant to point out that those who insult the police by wearing pig masks should maybe think more carefully about the job the police do. Regarding the New York banning of fracking, this is by far the minority view in the USA and elsewhere. I guess the fact that 350,000 wells have been drilled in the US suggests that there is widespread acceptance. A recent academic study of over 6000 fracked wells showed no evidence of water contamination.

      In the UK independent bodies have studied the evidence and concluded that Shale Gas development is safe provided it is subject to best practice and robust regulation, including The Royal Society, The Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England. There are scare stories, the famous Gasland movie showed methane in tap water being ignited but this has occurred long before fracking where methane gas reaches the surface naturally.The “eternal flames” found in some countries are a manifestation of this natural process.

      This not to say that any heavy industry is not without risks, for example any renewable energy revolution would probably rely on battery technology which in turn would require the extraction lithium and rare earth minerals in an environmentally scarring process.

      • A good example of the renewable energy revolution off the Yorkshire coast. Largest project in the world. As more developments come on line we can reduce our dependency on our North sea gas which will help towards reducing climate change impacts.

        Giant systems like this don’t rely on battery technology

        Dong energy who own the project claim to drive the price of offshore wind down to the same price as fossil fuels by 2020.Exciting times for those looking for long term sustainable energy investments and divestment from unsustainable fossil fuels.

        • Sorry John, they “don’t rely on battery technology” ??. How do the Dong wind farms generate electricity when a high pressure system covers Northern Europe and there is no wind. I’m just an amateur but it makes no sense to me. Maybe you should ask them.

      • Can’t believe you repeated the no contamination lie. There are now thousands of documented cases .Two have produced payouts of over 4.2 million and 3 million..Your average Daily Mail reader might believe your dross but not informed people who frequent this site

    • Stephen, can you please explain why exactly then the NY State Dept. of Health said that fracking would not pose a threat to human health? Can you explain the EPA study that said that fracking, done safely, did not pose a threat to water supplies? Can you explain the same conclusion from the five year Susquehanna Basin study? How about the University of Cincinatti study? All you have are some uber-biased “peer-reviewed” articles which have all been completely discredited for their lack of scientific rigor. Where are the independent reports that show conclusive health risks from fracking? Where are the millions of sick and disabled people being hidden? Where are all of the massive lawsuits? Where are the trillions of dollars in insurance claims? Where is it all hidden, Stephen? Because if you were correct, and fracking had a large and detrimental impact on human health and the environment, then there would certainly be a mountain of evidence coming from the US where they’ve fracked approximately 1.7 million wells and have been conducting operations for forty years. Where’s the beef, Stephen?

      • BILL,
        I take note that you have specifically highlighted the US Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) study as evidence to support your pro-fracking stance.

        As I have previously said on this forum, the EPA’s study falls far short in its research in to the potential risks and dangers of fracking, as this following report states.

        Google search……. EPA’s Findings In Fracking Water Pollution Disputed By Its Own Scientists, 19 November 2015.

        As additional evidence, I would like to draw your attention to a VERY IMPORTANT article which certainly raises some very serious questions………..
        Google search and read the following……….
        EPA’s Abandoned Wyoming Fracking Study One Retreat Of Many – ProPublica

        As you will note, the above reports highlight the EPA’s catalogue of failures, the financial restrictions that have been placed upon on it and the fierce pressure the agency is put under from the Fracking industrys powerfull allies on Capitol Hill.

        It would appear that the EPA is nothing more than a Lion without teeth, with a “quote” Kick Me sign on it.

        • BILL, here is the BEEF you ask for.
          Are all these quote ” Uber-biased articles . ”

          Just Google any of the following to read their reports on the dangers of fracking .

          NOBEL PEACE PRIZE winners, ( PSR ) Physicians For Social Responsibility, fracking

          DEFRA, fracking report

          BREAST CANCER ACTION, fracking

          BREAST CANCER FUND, fracking

          BREAST CANCER UK, fracking

          http://www.stopcancerfund.org
          STOP CANCER NOW, Fracking and your health, 24 February 2014

          http://www.preventcancernow
          PREVENT CANCER NOW, Fracking shale gas and health, a case for precaution.

          Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, CAPE’s …..
          CAPE’s position statement on fracking , June 2014.

          Natural Resources Defence Council, NRDC. Fracking

          United States News,
          headlined…. Toxic Chemicals, Carcinogens, skyrocket near fracking sites.

          BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL fracking ….. public health England’s draft report on shale gas extraction. The BMJ.

          Maybe you would also like to comment on the article published on the Guardian Newspaper 30th March 2015, HEADLINED. ….. Doctors And Academics Call For Ban On Inherently Risky Fracking.

          SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY fracking …. scientific review reveals public health and data gaps.

          Physicians , Scientists And Engineers For Public Healthy Energy ( PSE ) ……. and read the many reports published by them regarding the dangers of fracking.

          More available on request.

          • That’s the problem of couse, I could post a long list of articles that show fracking is a safe procedure including for example the Royal Society and the Health and Safety Executive. I guess no-one’s going to change their mind until something drastic happens, 2.3 Richter scale earth tremor and Chernobyl and Fukushima on one side, and widespread winter blackouts in the UK with subsequent loss of life on the other.

        • Oh dear Bill, I hope you are not relying on industry figures or UKOOG figures for the number of fracked wells – you need to be sure you are quoting unconventional wells only. The figure Ken Cronin provided to North Yorkshire County Council was mathematically incorrect, a bit like the golf course analogy of water use that is often quoted by industry and DECC and the Royal Academy and Royal Society of Engineers that has been proven to be completely inaccurate and bogus. There is a tendency for industry information to be accepted as correct – just because it is from industry, which has left quite a few with egg on their face.

          Peer reviewed science is now coming out thick and fast from the US and most of it contains evidence of negative impacts. If you want to understand why there has not been as much evidence to date:
          1 Many impacts take time to occur, analyse and record
          2 The Halliburton Loophole
          3 Gagging orders, widely used in the US
          4 The so called Doctor gagging order (Act 13 Pennsylvania)
          5 Inadequate baseline testing
          6 The industry has a policy of never admitting liability and drags out litigation so that as many cases as possible are settled outside of court (go unrecorded) and a gag order is a condition of any payment
          7The EPA has often made a complete hash of accurately recording information and information has been often recorded inconsistently

          Need I go on?

      • The points you make can be explained by the fact that fracking was banned in New York on the basis of the reports. http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/findingstatehvhf62015.pdf. I would suggest you look at the stats for the number of independent peer reviewed reports, (as opposed to industry funded) on fracking and how many of these reports highlight the negative impacts that fracking is having or suggests more independent research needs doing. They far outweigh the number of studies showing little or no impact. Here is the compendium http://concernedhealthny.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CHPNY-Fracking-Compendium.pdf. Why are you wanting to see millions of sick and disabled people before you think it is worth acting? The whole point of the scientific reports is to highlight what is happening to individuals and communities so that we can act before it reaches such levels. Lawsuits and payments have been won. Carrying on regardless is just not an option ? See other posts for more “beef”. Climate change needs to be dealt with now. Fracking is not dealing with the issue.

        • MARK, even the UK INSURACE industry do NOT like Fracking, as this article from the Independent Newspaper UK, ( 9 January 2016 ) shows.

          Google the following.

          Householders affected by floods face insurance double-whammy if they live nearby planned fracking sites.

          This is people’s lives and communities we are talking about, not just some minor “nimby ” inconvenience.
          SURELY with the weight of evidence against this industry, the precautionary approach should be adopted until such time as it can be proven safe.

  5. I wanted to make a point about being fossil free by 2050. The government can set any targets they like but if the solutions aren’t there, then it’s pie in the sky. Basically we need a reliable, dispatchable source of electricity to cover periods when the wind doesn’t blow and it’s dark. Stephen, unless you can provide an answer you are stuck with massive biomass incineration, nuclear or a fossil fuel. Bill Gates has reviewed the evidence and concludes there is at present nothing that stores energy better than a fossil fuel and currently nothing in the pipeline that will meet the reasonable demands of developing economies for increasing amounts of safe cheap energy. He says we must look for an “energy miracle” by vastly increasing energy research. I’m all in favour of that but in the meantime we need to keep people warm.

    This is a quote from Stephen Tindall, ex-advisor to Greenpeace, “UK climate campaigners should support fracking for shale gas. Shale gas is not the best energy source. Renewables are better. But we cannot afford to make the best the enemy of the good.”

    • It may surprise you that the vast majority of people that opposes fracking have a very good relationship with the police. One photo does not represent all. Whether we achieve a target of being fossil fuel free by 2050 is a target I hope we do achieve because of climate change. But whether or not we do – the fact of the matter is we do not need to frack in the UK. The world is awash with hydrocarbons and fracking will not solve the energy situation we have now. Fracking will not provide any meaningful quantities of gas for circa 10 years. The industry has stated this. And that is of course if shale is viable in the UK, which it wasn’t in Poland or Denmark. It is a complete fallacy to use the argument that fracking will resolve the energy shortages we have now. The problems we have now need to be dealt with now, not in 10 years time.

  6. Those that are truly insulting the police and our communities are those drilling companies which are using the police in unacceptable ways and costing communities hundreds of thousands of pounds in unnecessary policing costs https://drillordrop.com/2016/02/08/cheshire-police-commissioner-demands-igas-pay-upton-eviction-costs/.

    To judge the acceptance of fracking on the number of wells drilled is not a good way to measure approval. If there was to be one well drilled in the UK that does not mean it is acceptable to the community or the country as a whole.It simply means the communities have been ignored. Gagging orders, payoffs and law suits have also been extensively adopted as a tactic by US drilling companies to prevent communities stopping fracking. The more these US communities have been impacted and the more they have seen of the peer reviewed studies which have been published the more they have rejected fracking in the US. It has even become a big factor with the candidates in the Democratic party candidates over there. We don’t need to get to let it get to this stage in UK.

    The 6000 wells figure study you seem to be quoting stated that faulty wells were to blame for water contamination. Trying to disassociate fracking from this integral part of the process is very disingenuous.The UN Environmental Alert on fracking states ” “Some risks result if the technology is not used adequately, but others will occur despite proper use of technology” ie it cannot be regulated into safety. I would also recommend the truly independent Medact report “The arguments against fracking on public health and ecological grounds are overwhelming. There are clear grounds for adopting the precautionary principle and prohibiting fracking” This is why the process has been rejected by many other European countries. With this amount of evidence around our Government should not be so cavalier in it’s approach to fracking. We have already had earth tremors caused by fracking in Lancashire. These tremors were strong enough to cause deformity of the well casing, which went unreported.

    You mention “scare stories”. I see plenty coming from fracking companies implying that there is a shortage of world gas. Not true. We have too much.However if the UK carries on with it’s policy“to continue maximising the recovery of indigenous hydrocarbon resources – on land and at sea” as well as extracting new “unconventional” resources such as shale, then where does that leave our overall strategy and compatibility with global climate change goals?

    You seem to miss the point about the targets. Government is not in a position to set them.They are being dictated to us by what is already happening to our planets climate.We HAVE to respond. It is not a choice. Fracking leads us in totally the wrong direction. Investment and tax breaks for renewables, not fossil fuels, is the only way to go. We must be thinking of the future and not repeating the mistakes of the past.

  7. I guess this thread is running out of time but just to say very quickly

    The UK now.generates only tiny amounts of electricity from coal, brilliant.it can stay in the ground.

    I am thinking about the future, the future next decades until a practical replacement fossil fuels can be found. At the moment gas is the bridge solution – see Stephen Tindall above. I think you are discounting these short and medium term risks like loss of life from electricity blackouts in favour of longer term concerns.

    I don’t think you addressed the crucial issue of the fill-in fuel to run in partnership with intermittent renewables.

  8. Sorry I’ve lost it now……going fossil free by 2050? that is 34 years away.

    What does going fossil free mean?

    1. Replacing every petrol or diesel vehicle.

    2. Replacing the central heating system in 85% of homes.

    3. Electrifying the whole rail network.

    4. Generating sufficient electricity from renewables or nuclear to meet the increased demand.

    I really don’t think it’s very likely.

    And at the same time India and China will be saying, quite understandably, it’s our turn now to have first world standards of living and will be generating Co2 from their 2 billion consumers with a resultant no change for the climate. In the words of Bill Gates “we need an energy miracle”.

  9. Gas received huge investment when it was a nationalised industry in order to bring it into peoples homes in the 70’s. Now is the time to do the same for renewables. Bringing in more fracked gas to the equation when the world already cannot use the existing supplies without negatively impacting on climate change is not the future. The energy required in getting fracked gas is immense,then there is the problem of methane leakage. We simply have not got decades to rely on fossil fuels especially when it will take investment from renewables. The here and now means that people, especially the poorest in society are already dying from the change in our climate which the fracking companies seem unable to acknowledge and address. Greenpeace totally oppose fracking. It is perfectly possible to power our needs from renewables while at the same time reduce our energy requirements.https://www.foe.co.uk/page/renewable-energy

    • No back up, no base load, no demand load I.e. Gas and nuclear = no renewables and no lights. The 50% of our electricity generated by gas is not going to be replaced by renewables. Nor is our 20% nuclear baseload. At least not anytime soon. Let’s see where we are in 10 years time. I doubt our renewables contribution on an annual basis will be much over 35% and our gas contribution will be similar to today if not higher. Energy usage needs to be reduced but we can not rely on intermittent supply from renewables. Germany seems to have peaked at just over 30% renewables and look at how much lignite and dirty coal they burn to keep their electricity supply going. About 50%

      • Any one wanting to understand the part that offshore wind plays and can play in our energy mix should reference this site. Explore ‘inform’ to explain how it works – go to Q&A here for answers to your questions; ‘convince’ to discuss the arguments, costs, business, jobs e.t.c. and ‘debate’ to find interesting articles and have your say. Exciting times for renewables and great investment potential

        http://offshorewind.works/

  10. Paul, the renewable argument hinges on investment. We need to invest in more renewable schemes over the next ten years. The world will have to change and we can no longer be ‘energy junkies’. We need to adapt to what we can generate safely. It’s a learning curve, but can be done.

    People currently investing in fossil fuels are not moving over to other energy sources despite their current losses on share price, hanging on to the thought that the ‘shale revolution’ will up their share to what they paid for them or better, whilst the big investors are picking at their bones, shorting the shares and skimming small profits whilst dumping their portfolios.

    I get why small investors, some with new access to money from pension cash ins have been advised to invest in this ponzi scheme by financial advisers. What better way to gain your fees than to dangle a ‘lottery-like’ carrot on those who have no experience of the ‘true market’. It’s the equivalent of the scams that part people with their money from ads promising items at a tenth of the price of normal that fall apart on your hands, or time shares etc etc.

    Cut your losses and take you money out before there is nothing left. Look carefully and do your homework. If you want to invest in energy look at better options.

    This government needs to look again at their investment in our energy production. When ‘shale’ was declared a viable option by a select group it was when prices were higher and demand increasing. That was over six years ago and the world has changed. Among other influences, climate change is a very real threat and the fossil fuel energy generation linked to increase temperatures that will not, as some say, be wonderful and contribute to better food growth, but will inflict on the planet a shift. Populations in some countries will no longer be able to sustain themselves through loss of land due to sea rises and climate shift. The current ‘migration problem’ we are seeing now, is just a trickle compared to what is to come as humans and animal move for food.

    This may be interesting reading. http://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/news/climate-change-puts-13bn-people-and-dollar158tn-at-risk-says-world-bank/ar-BBt7v8F?li=BBoPMmp&ocid=mailsignoutmd

    Even suppressing moral investment, it would make prudent sense for those who like to play the ‘company betting game’ to invest in better sources of energy production.

    • Two problems need to be solved before renewables can displace fossil fuels for back up and baseload. Storage and global population. Hydro works great if you have the geography for pumped storage and demand production. BC in Canada, Norway etc. It is not viable in UK. No politicians will take on global population control. Climate change is never going to be stopped. We have to adjust. It wasn’t very long ago, about 10,000 years, that there was a much bigger temperature rise over a shorter period of time than the worst current doom and gloom forecasts which allowed us to come out of caves, started agriculture, an ended our competitors, the Neanderthals. This was the end of the last mini ice age. The climate is constantly changing, with and without us.

      Reduction in demand and the end of middle class consumer aspirations will help. But this is not going to happen on a global scale.

      The main issue on this blog is uk shale gas, whether it is produced or not is irrelevant to global climate change. What the arguments are really about is whether or not people want industry near their homes in rural England. This will be detriment by planners and the elected governen. The other issue is funding for entities like FOE, Greenpeace, WWF, IPCC, UEA… Etc. A lot of people depend on climate change scaremongering, zero carbo etc. For funding and incomes without offerering viable alternatives.

      I agree that we should invest heavily in electricity storage, no doubt some companies are searching for this holy grail. In the meantime the best storage is uranium, hydrocarbons, gas caverns, depleted oil and gas fields and large reservoirs. Not wind turbines and solar.

      • Apologies for the spelling mistakes.

        Two problems need to be solved before renewables can displace fossil fuels for back up and baseload. Storage and global population. Hydro works great if you have the geography for pumped storage and demand production. BC in Canada, Norway etc. It is not viable in UK. No politicians will take on global population control. Climate change is never going to be stopped. We have to adjust. It wasn’t very long ago, about 10,000 years, that there was a much bigger temperature rise over a shorter period of time than the worst current doom and gloom forecasts which allowed us to come out of caves, started agriculture, an ended our competitors, the Neanderthals. This was the end of the last mini ice age. The climate is constantly changing, with and without us.

        Reduction in demand and the end of middle class consumer aspirations will help. But this is not going to happen on a global scale.

        The main issue on this blog is uk shale gas, whether it is produced or not is irrelevant to global climate change. What the arguments are really about is whether or not people want industry near their homes in rural England. This will be determined by planners and the elected government The other issue is funding for entities like FOE, Greenpeace, WWF, IPCC, UEA… Etc. A lot of people depend on climate change scaremongering, zero carbon etc. For funding and incomes without offerering viable alternatives.

        I agree that we should invest heavily in electricity storage, no doubt some companies are searching for this holy grail. In the meantime the best storage is uranium, hydrocarbons, gas caverns, depleted oil and gas fields and large reservoirs. Not wind turbines and solar.

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