Regulation

Live updates: IGas shale plans for Springs Road, Misson approved

proposed-springs-road-misson-shale-site-aerial-picture

Councillors in Nottinghamshire resume their discussion at 10.30am of an application by IGas to drill  two shale gas wells at Springs Road, Misson, in Bassetlaw.

The decision was deferred on 5 October to allow the county council to take legal advice on a covenant on a neighbouring nature reserve preventing disturbance to wildlife. Details

DrillOrDrop is reporting live from the meeting at County Hall so check here for updates. Key facts on the committee and the application


Report on the meeting and reaction here


Vote

12.48pm

Cllr John Wilkinson reads out the proposal to approve the application with legal agreement and conditions. This to include a liaison group, financial bond and off-site monitoring of water levels.

The legal agreement must be signed by January 2017.

Vote: 7 in favour; 4 against

Those in favour: Chair John Wilkinson (Labour, Hucknall), Vice-chair Sue Saddington (Conservative, Farndon and Muskham), Andrew Brown (Conservative, Soar Valley), Roy Allan (Labour, Arnold South), Jim Creamer (Labour, Carlton West), Stan Heptinstall (Lib Dem, Bramcote and Stapleford), Keith Walker (Conservative, Balderton)

Those not in favour: Steve Calvert (Labour, West Bridgford Central and South), Rachel Madden (Ashfield Independents, Kirkby-in-Ashfield), Andy Sissons (Mansfield Independent Forum, Mansfield), Yvonne Woodhead (Labour, Blidworth)


Other comments

12.45pm

Chair John Wilkinson says he wants a restoration bond.

Vice chair Cllr Sue Saddington asks if the OGA will require a restoration bond and why the information on the alternative sites was not provided.

Jonathan Smith, planning officer, says the information on the site search is in the planning application and officers’ report. He says it would be unreasonable once they had chosen their site to put that level of detail into the alternative sites which they had dismissed. He says

We are comfortable that they have looked at a wide range of issues in the site they have chosen. We believe the site is an acceptable location.

Cllr Heptinstall asks for a bond and water monitoring to be required.


Planning officer, Jonathan Smith

12.37pm

Mr Smith says there is no reason why a liaison group should be written into the legal agreement in the planning condition.

He said monitoring of water levels off the site could be covered in a legal agreement.

Mr Smith says:

It is not a clear cut decision. On balance, it is an acceptable use of land. But it is very balanced and there are pros and items against.

On traffic routes, Mr Smith says breaches of traffic route conditions are generally very rare in Nottinghamshire. You can lose your contract if you don’t abide by the condition. I am confident it will work, he says.

On temporary impacts on the temporary impact on the SSSI, he says Natural England was confident there would be no permanent damage from air quality or noise impacts. We place considerable weight on the response from Natural England.

Natural England gave this a great deal of thought. I don’t think they reached their decision lightly.

On finance, Mr Smith says the planning authority had no power to carry out financial checks. We are told not to cover the same regulatory ground, he says.

That is why we don’t see the need for a financial bond.

He says that since 5 October, there had been financial developments with IGas. He adds: If members feel they need for a restoration bond one can be put in place.


cllr-john-wilkinsonCllr John Wilkinson

12.32pm

The committee chair, Cllr Wilkinson thanks the committee.

He asks the planning officer, Jonathan Smith, to address comments on temporary  impacts, the liaison committee, monitoring and alternative sites.

Cllr Wilkinson also raises the issue of IGas’ financial circumstances. He asks the officer:

What is the security that residents can take away here about any financial failure once drilling starts.

He asks again whether the council could demand a financial bond. And he notes that concerns have been adequately addressed.


Cllr Sue Saddington – support

12.25

sue-saddingtonCllr Saddington, vice chair (Conservarive) thanks residents for sending material to the committee.

I look at this from the point of view of the impact on the residents.

We have a lot of concerns but they are not material considerations for this application, she says.

We must have material planning considerations to refuse this.

She says the applicant has come in with a particular site. The letter from the wildlife trust says there are other sites.

My question is why the applicant did not look at the other sites and not just this one. Why don’t we have the information about this.

Cllr Saddington also asks how do we know it will be temporary damage to wildlife.

Where is the proof that we won’t have a permanent change or permanent problem.

This is the most difficult decision we have had to make for many years, she says.

What we need is the absolute assurance that all precautions should this go through and more is taken for this site and that the monitoring is done. Surely it would be better to have an independent person.

The liaison committees are so important because is the point where you can voice your concerns or this committee can be informed it is not being monitored.

As we sit here there is not a planning reason to refuse.

I would have liked the information about the other sites but it is not a planning reason.


cllr-andy-sissonsCllr Andy Sissons – opposes

11.23pm

Cllr Sissons (Mansfield Indpendent Forum) says be believes there could be more permanent harm to the SSSI. He says the letter from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust raises issues.

I don’t think enough has gone into this. I still have serious doubts.


rachel-maddenCllr Rachel Madden – opposes

12.17pm

Cllr Maden (Ashfield Independents Group) describes the shale wealth fund and community benefits as a bribe.

She says she is concerned about highway safety and she is not convinced lorry drivers visiting the site will follow the traffic management plan.

She says there is too much of everything else happening the area. Misson Springs is a unique area,she says. Who are we to say that an insignificant increase in air pollution, noise, or traffic will not affect local wildlife

She says she is disappointed by Natural England for its response of no objection. There are too many unknowns in this application, she says.

I am not happy with this. I don’t think I can support it.


steve-calvertCllr Steve Calvert – opposes

12.06pm

Cllr Calver (Labour) He says he was open-minded on 5 October unsure how he would vote. I have concerns about government energy poliicy, he says, with promotion of shale gas and high-carbon fossil fuels, he says.

He highlights changes to planning guidance to make shale gas extraction easier and describes the shale gas wealth fund as a “rather cynical way to influence opinion”

There is a valid argument that approval could open up the way to full blown shale gas extraction, he says. But he accepts the application is not for fracking.

He says he does not believe climate change issues are a material consideration for the application.

He asks whether the benefits of the application outweigh local impacts. He notes that IGas has dismissed alternative sites and that the site-selection process has been criticised by opponents.

He says officers acknowledged two other sites were at lower risk of flooding but there was no justification why they had not been considered by IGas. The harm on the SSSI would be reduced if the site was located to one of the alternatives. He says

I am not convinced by this conclusion [in the officers’ report] that the benefits outweigh the impacts.

He calls on IGas to give more consideration to the alternative sites.

I believe it is important to be cautious

Subject to what I may here from others I am not convinced the case has been made


jim-creamerCllr Jim Creamer – supports

12.03pm

He calls for monitoring on the site, which he says is extremely important. He says:

Most of the objections since the last meeting are on grounds we don’t control.

I can’t see any reason to object. I do object to the government passing this on to us. These licences shouldn’t have been given.

We should be going along with the Paris Accords. We can’t question those licences. My personal opinion is we shouldn’t have to deal with this. But we have it and we have to deal with it on planning grounds.


keither-walkerCllr Keith Walker – supports

12.02pm

He says he supports the liaison group and would make this part of the condition


Debate begins: Stan Heptinsall – supports

11.52am

stan-hepstinstallCllr Stan Heptinsall (Lib Dem) refers to a letter received on 5 October from Friends of the Earth about the covenant, on which the council took legal advice.

He says this delayed a decision for six weeks, which he says was a shame. Personally, I would have liked to have come to a decision on that day, he says.

This is not an application for fracking. It is an application for exploratory work to see if the potential for fracking is there.

That is for a later consideration. Our consideration is for whether there should be exploration on this site.

The whole decision-making process is held by government, Environment Agency, licensing authorities and other organisations. Our role as a planning committee is simply look at this location as to whether exploration is allowable.

On whether this was the right location, he says other sites could have other considerations. Any other sites would be closer to Misson village and would have more impact of the eventual development, he says.

It is an industrial location already but it is adjacent to an SSSI. I accept the location so what is the impact on the SSSI.

Cllr Heptinsall says he is delighted that officers have enhanced conditions on protected the SSSI.

We should be monitoring and we should be cognisant that this application is next to a SSSI.

He says: My current thought is that given the boundaries of what we are asked to do I would be in favour of accepting the recommendation.


Meeting resumes

11.51am

Rachel Clack, legal officer, says it is possible to consider the site selection process. If the development is considered acceptable then it is not appropriate to refuse permission if an alternative proposal elsewhere would be more acceptable.


Alternative sites: another pause

11.26am

Chairman Cllr John Wilkinson asks if any other issues have arisen since the last meeting. Planning Officer, Jonathan Smith, says other letters received yesterday and today concern issues that have been taken account of in the officers’ report.

Cllr Andy Sissons asks whether alternative sites are a material consideration that can be discussed. Mr Smith says the application site is an acceptable use of land. Rachel Clark, legal officer, says members have to consider the application to the particular site.

Cllr Wilkinson presses:

Is it permissible to take into account the existence of other sites as a material consideration?

At 11.28am Ms Clack asks for a pause of five minutes to talk to colleagues


Meeting resumes: discussion begins

11.23am

Cllr Jim Creamer says the precautionary principle is raised in the letter and asks for an explanation.

Jonathan Smith says there is no reference to the precautionary principle in the National Planning Policy Framework, the local minerals plan or documents from Natural England. He says the application has to be determined against the policies in national and local planning policy.

Mr Smith says the use of the land at Springs Road, Misson, is deemed to be an acceptable.


Meeting paused

11.07am

Chairman Cllr John Wilkinson pauses the meeting for members to read the letter from the vice president of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

The letter, by Graham Machin, a former planning barrister, says under proper application of national and local planning policy the impacts of the shale gas site on the Misson Training Area Site of Special Scientific Interest  compel the council to refuse the application.

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Letter from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

11.05am

Planning officer, Jonathan Smith, says the vice president of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has sent a seven page letter to the committee. Copies are to be circulated to members. He says the letter does not change officers’ recommendations on the application or raise any relevant legal issues. The author has reached a different conclusion on how planning policy relates to the application, he says.

Mr Smith recommends the committee follow the views of officers, not the vice president of the wildlife trust.


Late representations

10.49am

Chairman John Wilkinson asks if there have been late representations.

Planning Officer, Jonathan Smith says 24 letters of objection have been received. They include opposition to fracking on climate grounds, fossil fuels, contrary to planning policy, site selection, cumulative impact, water contamination, failure of the sequential test, wildlife impacts, effects on well-being, traffic impacts, water transport and disposal, landscape and visual impact, industrialisation of the countryside, impact on recreation and tourism and listed buildings, unexploded ordnance, financial status of IGas, impact on house prices.

Misson Parish Council and others requested a financial bond for restoration because of IGas’s financial difficulties. Mr Smith says the OGA will only grant consent to drill when all consents are agreed and it is satisfied that all environmental and financial controls are in place.

Officers are satisfied that all the checks are in place and a restoration bond is not necessary, Mr Smith says. This would duplicate the work of the OGA.

Opponents have said the horizontal well was a novel technique and so a bond was justified. But Mr Smith says the horizontal drilling techniques do not count as novel.

Mr Smith quotes a ministerial statement by Amber Rudd that there is a national need for shale gas exploration. He says Friends of the Earth says this applies only to safe and sustainable developments and because of the proximity of the SSSI the application is not safe or sustainable.

But Mr Smith dismisses this argument. He says Natural England has not objected to the application because it is temporary and the noise or air quality impacts will not have a permanent impact. Significant weight has been attached to the Natural England advice.

Mr Smith refers to new concerns about the noise levels on site. He recommends changes to conditions on noise which would allow officers to respond within  24-hour to any exceeding of noise levels. This means noise levels would be monitored live by a site operator. On air quality, he recommends a small change to the condition. He says air quality monitoring now underway would be expected to continue.

He says lighting conditions are sufficient and do not need to be strengthened. He says no amendment to conditions on groundwater monitoring are needed.

On monitoring of breeding bird behaviour, Mr Smith says this is not required and does not need to be written into conditions.


Bassetlaw district plan

10.44am

Jonathan Smith, Nottinghamshire County Council planning officer, says Bassetlaw District Council, in which Misson is site, has published its initial draft Bassetlaw Plan since the previous meeting.

He says this sets out key objectives and a vision and proposes a strategy for planning in Bassetlaw district. It has not yet identified development sites or agreed policies.

Mr Smith says negligible weight should be accorded to the emerging plan.

Chairman John Wilkinson asks if there is anything in the approaches that would be material to the application.

Mr Smith says the approaches cover climate change, economic development and protecting the historic environment but they are already covered in other local planning policies.


Questions from councillors

10.40am

Cllr Stan Hepinstall asks whether the legal opinion must be followed or whether it was advisory.

Rachel Clark, the council’s legal officer, says the letter from Friends of the Earth was from Jake White, legal officer for the organisation. She says the planning system is to regulate the use of land in the public interest.

If IGas were not able to implement the permission because of the covenant it was not the concern of the council, Rachel Clark says.

Cllr Rachel Madden asks if the case law referred to in the legal advice is the most recent. Rachel Clack says it is.


Legal advice

10.35am

Legal Officer, Rachel Clack, reads a summary of legal advice on the covenant. Friends of the Earth wrote to warn that the covenant prohibited the use of the site for any noisy, noxious or disturbing activity. FoE said approval would involve IGas in illegal activities.

She says County council legal advice is as follows: the restrictive covenant is not a material planning consideration. The right to enforce it will exist in civil law, despite the approval of the application. The covenant would be for negotiation between the covenant holder and the operator. There would be no automatic breach of covenant if planning permission were granted, she says.

Officers have demonstrated why it is in the public interest on balance to grant permission for shale gas exploration, she says.

Rachel Clack says officers have shown that the private interest of the covenant does not need extra protection by the council.

The Section 106 agreement would not be unenforceable, as Friends of the Earth suggested, Rachel Clack says.

Restrictive covenants are not material consideration and members are not required to take them into account when determining the planning application.


Meeting opens

10.30am

Committee chairman, John Wilkinson, opens the meeting.

He recaps on the application to construct the site, drill a vertical and a vertical/horizontal well, test the wells and restore/abandon the site.

He says the planners recommend approval of the application with conditions and a legal agreement on routing lorries to the site.

Cllr Wilkinson says the previous meeting on 5 October had been adjourned to allow the committee to obtain legal advice on the covenant on the neighbouring nature reserve.


Opponents and IGas supporters arrive

10.17am

John Blaymires, IGas chief operating officer, takes his seat. Members of Misson Parish Council, which opposes the application, arrive at the council chamber.

misson-decisiion-two-5


Campaigners gather outside county hall

9.30am

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misson-decision-two-2

misson-decision-two-4


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

61 replies »

  1. This decision highlights a disconnect – indeed, a fatal flaw – in planning policy in the UK. Much of the discussion seemed to centre around whether the undoubted effects on the local nature reserve were acceptable due to the ‘temporary nature’ of the development. As one Councillor said, “On the temporary impact on the SSSI, he says Natural England was confident there would be no permanent damage from air quality or noise impacts.” This is due to the fact that the Planning Committee seem to have no choice, under Planning Law, to consider this is a one-off temporary development – such as, for example, building a house – which it clearly is not. If the exploratory drilling is successful, it will be followed by fracking applications, a multi-well frack pad, multiple horizontal wells, tens of thousands of truck movements … you know the story.

    The fact that the Planning Committee – indeed, all Planning Committees up and down the land – are required to see exploratory drilling for shale gas as a one-off temporary development, rather than the first stage of an ongoing and wide-ranging industrial process that could last over fifty years, which is what it actually is – means that the long-term impacts of fracking in this area are never properly considered. As another councillor said, “This is not an application for fracking. It is an application for exploratory work to see if the potential for fracking is there. That is for a later consideration. Our consideration is for whether there should be exploration on this site.” Again, this underlines the disconnect in planning policy and the way planning law is so heavily stacked in favour of the shale gas companies that such developments are becoming very hard to oppose – even when they are next to a SSSI and gather thousands of objections, as this one did. And it would be a brave council who, when faced with an application to frack in a year or two, would refuse this if they had approved the exploratory drilling.

    Also, it is very telling that the Planning Officer places considerable weight on the views of Natural England – a toothless government body that seems to approve of every development, whatever the impact on the local area and natural habitat – and completely ignores the seven-page letter from the local Wildlife Trust. This illustrates the inherent bias within the planning system, and Planning Officers in particular, in that they always align themselves with government bodies and the shale gas industry, and ignore any objections from other non-government bodies, however compelling and reputable they may be.

    Interestingly, another councillor says does not believe climate change issues are a material consideration for the application. This seems to go against current planning law, which requires climate change to be taken into account in all hydrocarbon applications. We shall see at the Judicial Review of the application at Kirby Misperton next week where that particular avenue takes us.

    We now have a planning system which gives so much power to individual unelected Planning Officers, who routinely ignore all objections and simply regurgitate the shale gas industry’s opinion on all aspects of the development; which ignores the wishes of thousands of local people who will have to suffer the damaging effects of this industry by saying that the number of objections is not a ‘material consideration’; which blithely accepts that exploratory drilling is ‘temporary’ when it is clear that it’s a Trojan Horse for decades of industrialised fracking; which is not allowed to consider the impact of future development that would inevitably flow from a successful exploratory well; which deems so many of the objections local people have to fracking as not in their domain and routinely passes the buck to the Environment Agency; which routinely ignores the climate change implications of fossil fuel developments, despite a legal obligation to do so; which puts Council Planning Committees in a position where they feel they cannot turn down these applications as if they do the government will overrule them anyway; which is now weighted so heavily in favour of the hydrocarbons industry and in which any semblance of local democracy has been completely eradicated.
    No wonder people have so little faith in the planning system when the rules that govern it have been rewritten and redefined to benefit one particular industry over the wishes of local people.

    The veil of illusion that is local democracy has now been lifted – and what we can clearly see now is nothing less than the industrial takeover of our countryside by the shale gas industry, sponsored by a willing and complicit government and rubber-stamped by toothless planning committees. One can only wonder where things will go from here.

    • Wah, wah, wah, cry me a river Chris Redston. Yeah, rewritten to benefit the poor people who live in fuel poverty, just barely getting by, and need inexpensive onshore gas to help improve their lives. Your expensive renewables literally kill those who desperately need inexpensive energy. Get off of your liberal elitist high horse and get real. You’ve lost the argument. You’ve lost the battle. And you’ve lost the war. Anyone with a pair of eyes knows that fracking has proven to be safe over 2 million times, is good for the environment, creates jobs, wealth, inexpensive energy, and energy security. Wah wah wah!

      • Not quite sure why you are crying ‘hballpeenyahoocom’, but you seem to ignore the following facts:
        1. The British public is against fracking,
        2. 80% of USA peer reviewed papers detailing various pollutions, risks and dangers have been published only in the last three years,
        3. More and more counties (and even New York State) are banning fracking in USA. [Why would they ban something that is safe?],
        4. Shale gas is yet another source of fossil fuel which the scientists and governments say we should keep in the ground,
        5. A government report published yesterday showed that renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels.

        But hey don’t let public opinion, facts and good sense get in the way of your argument.
        The war is not over – it is just beginning. Fracking will be dead in the UK. It is just a matter of when.

        • Thanks, Davey. But you are a wee bit ill-informed.

          1. The British public is against fracking because of all the lies that FoE and Greenpeace tell. When the lies have to stop, it’s game over.

          2. your peer reviewed papers are sheer nonsense. They’ve been debunked, Davey. If you can site a single paper that proves that fracking is harmful to humans on systemic basis, please do share it with us.

          3. More and more counties are also allowing fracking in the USA, and there are FAR more counties that allow fracking than there are that don’t. Generally the ones that don’t allow it are on the fringe and are not worth the investment anyway.

          4. You’re onto something here my boy. It is a fossil fuel. Scientists and governments also say we should continue to use it so that people can remain alive.

          5. You’re really naive if you believe this point. Well, I guess that explains it!

      • Never let it be said that Peeny from Baltimore wasn’t fully versed in the crisis brand of salesmanship. Whether he’s successful in selling his crisis ‘brand’ to sensible down-to-earth Brits is another matter.

        Fuel poverty, Peeny? How will shale gas alleviate fuel poverty? Unconventional shale gas won’t be any cheaper than onshore or offshore natural gas for the British consumer, so do please explain how unconventional shale gas will cure fuel poverty. We’re all ears.

        • LocktheGate, This is basic Economics 101, but I’ll explain it clearly so that you may be able to follow along! When you add to the supply of a commodity, the price of that commodity naturally adjusts downward. Now, the UK is interconnected to global markets, so we can’t evaluate it in isolation. Nonetheless, local markets do exist in the natural gas world and are reflected in pricing differentials. Were the UK to produce significant amounts of gas (let’s say 5bcf/year) it would benefit from cheaper gas than it does today as expressed through the differential.

          • So what you are saying is flood the market with more expensive gas, that will drive down the price of gas so more people can burn more?

            You have forgotten your basic economics P. If you drive down the price to buy it decreases profit or in the case of shale increases losses. Companies borrow more to stay afloat and then eventually renege on the deal. Banks stutter due to the enormity of the borrowing and turn to governments aka taxpayers (aka the persons you sold the cheaper product to in the first place) to bail them out.

            Earlier you talked about racketeering? The only persons who will profit from this little racket would be the directors of shale gas companies. Even the investors will suffer greater losses.

            Better economics all round would be to either pay the pensioners a better state pension or their homes should be better insulated for free so less energy is needed to heat the accommodation.. These people have worked their backsides off all their lives and paid into the system. They are not pawns in your little shale industry fabrication. They should be treated with respect.

            • Sherwulfe, you are confused again (sigh!). It’s not fabrication but fact. Competitive markets find long term equilibrium at zero economic profit. Natural gas companies will survive and people will get gas, just as has happened all over the world. What conclusive proof do you have regarding your racketeering charges? LOL

            • You’re soo funny Mr P. You know the numbers. But it’s your job to divert attention and talk rubbish. At least you are good at the latter; like to give credit where credit’s due 🙂

            • It is true Sherwulfe. And I’m afraid that is the problem for you and your anti-frack mafia brethren. I do know the numbers, and it means that I can keep you honest. You see, this is what makes Refracktion so angry. He likes to spout off nonsense unopposed. I rain on his parade! ;o)

            • No problem for us. You have your finger stuck in a hole in the dyke Peeny, but the hole is getting bigger. Your posts are becoming more frequent, your mock sarcasm more fruitful. A sign that the truth is out there.

              I feel a financial earthquake, the rumblings are just being felt. No manner of traffic light system will stop this seismic event. Hold on to your hats!

      • Peeny who on earth gave you that “liberal elitist” phrase? Did you hear it at a Trump rally? Whilst you must be proud to be able to put those complicated multi-syllabic words into a sentence you must stop over-using them or people will realise that you don’t really understand what they mean and that you are just using them as alt-right swear words.

        And the fuel poverty rubbish hasn’t been used so nakedly since the Vaudeville Vicar penned a sob story about his Auntie Elsie which was roundly mocked for its idiocy. You have had it explained that nobody believes shale gas will reduce consumer energy prices several times but here is another starter for ten for you – you failed the previous two:

        Who said, talking about shale gas’s potential impact on energy prices “We’ve done an analysis and it’s a very small…at the most it’s a very small percentage…basically insignificant” . For an extra five points each which company did he work for and who was his client?

        Nighty night!

        • And who said, “we believe if operators were to produce at an annual rate of 5-10 bcf, the UK NBP would no longer trade at a 5-7% premium to the TTF, but would instead trade at a like discount. This could result in substantial savings to UK households.”

          Facts are facts, John. You simply cannot escape them. Adding more supply to a commodity market will lower prices. Gas is a global market, but proximity and other factors still play a significant role in pricing depending on a number of physical and economic relationships.

          You are cold and heartless. You cavalierly dismiss the impact of your expensive renewables on those poor souls who live in fuel poverty and argue against a policy that has a chance of meaningfully improving their lives. I find your attitude reprehensible and extremely selfish.

      • Just a matter of interest. I gas shares went from 11.5 to 12.5 on the 15th. Now on their way back down again. Not the big investment rush expected by I gas investors. With the news that two of the big players Statoil and Chesapeake not interested in the UK shale, the distant sound of wah wah wailing can be heard……..

  2. Planning officers can only be levers or instruments of the overriding state policy where any developments are deemed of national importance (strategic stuff: ‘energy independence’ and ‘national energy security’ as the lobbyists put it). That strategy pays off for the industry as it makes it very difficult to bring about actions against them, even class actions.

  3. This decision was inevitable looking at the arguments against. Hopefully people will stop financing FoE and Greenpeace and put their money to better causes. They are simply milking you.

    • I am afraid that in you own words ‘veil of illusion that is local democracy’ is something of a red herring . Local democracy does not over-ride national democracy . For instance a nuclear equipped base in a specific areas does not entitle local citizens to claim that it is undemocratic, and veto it ! Democracy is ‘ as Spook would have said ‘ The need’s of the many outweigh the need’s of the few’. The needs, in this case, being 65,000,000 people against a few thousand locally. Democracy on this scale is sorted out by general elections and, I am afraid, that the village of Misso’s perspective, if applied nationaly, l would be highly undemocratic to the rest of the nation

        • Don’t tell me you’ve go TW doing the sockpuppet thing as well now Peeny? Victor Walker seems to have the same linguistic tics as our other friend 🙂

      • False logic. The needs of the many include preservation of their water tables and ground water – free of contamination. It is indeed a short sighted government that does not see those concerns as strategic. Likewise for air quality and the existing agreements to not generate unnecessary greenhouse gasses. Then there’s destruction of soil fertility and so on. What is really needed is more imagination and inventive solutions to the energy/gas supply problem.

      • ‘need’s of the few’.

        Lets do some counting on who thinks shale is a bad idea.

        Newcomers are the second largest gas producers in the US, Chesapeake, telling Statoil (Norweign multi national gas producers) the above ground issues are to great and the economics don’t add up, so don’t go into the UK. ( lot’s of investors listening to that to be sure)

        Back home we have The Labour movement, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, the Welsh Government, and banned in Northern Ireland
        .
        The Unite Union, and most of the environmental movements.

        All the national poles show the majority of the UK population are against fracking.

        Over 500 community groups and tens of thousands signing petitions in objection.

        Even or Prime Minister has had concerns on fossil fuels

        http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2016/10/25/heathrow-theresa-may-opposed-airport-expansion-climate-grounds/

        Let’s not forget President Obama stating recently that the Pentagon have declared Climate Change as a National Security threat.

        All this backed up by NASA and 97% of the global science community

        I think you would agree that doesn’t equal a ‘few’

        Suggest a Vulcan ‘Mind Meld’ or some new batteries in your calculator Victor.

      • It’s Spock, not Spook! an often misquoted line.

        ‘With the Enterprise (ship) in imminent danger of destruction, Spock enters a highly radioactive chamber in order to fix the ship’s drive so the crew can escape danger. Spock quickly perishes, and, with his final breaths, says to Kirk, “Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh . . .” Kirk finishes for him, “The needs of the few.” Spock replies, “Or the one.”’

        Said by a character (not a real person). This character also managed to transfer his psyche or soul to another until it could be restored….a Vulcan method; so to sacrifice yourself knowing it’s not really the end. Now that’s logic..

    • I don’t think Greenpeace played any significant part in this, Mr M.
      The objections and detailed, forensic arguments came from many, many people who are neither members of Greenpeace nor Friends of The Earth.
      Get your facts right.

      • Sorry but most of the arguments written by the losing lefties are not specific to this site so I will just in your game ?
        FoE were the ones that delayed this and Greenpeace and FoE are well known for taking your benefits to fund their lavish lifestyles at the top. Hence my comment.

  4. When a Council votes against an application it is a triumph for local democracy yet when they support one it is not ? If the anti fracking movement was honest and admitted that they were against the use of fossil fuels full stop we would know where we stood. What we don’t need are professional agitators from the south east telling the people of the north what they should think. Meanwhile FOE and Greenpeace continue to use the issue as a fundraiser to pay their enormous salaries

      • Nick – it’s just the approved theme of the pro-fracking PR echo chamber this week – next week it will be that we’re all funded by Putin or some similar idiocy. Ignore them and let them make themselves look stupid – they don’t really need our help. At least “Mr M” Peeny has been more careful with his Merkinisms today.

        • Lol I’m 100% a different person to “peeny”.
          I didn’t feel the need to gloat or say I told you so etc etc.
          Fracking in the UK will be fully explored. Once we have seen that through we will either go all out or go home. Either way I’m happy.
          By the way The Guardian are struggling big time financially – get donating or you’ll lose one of your outlets.

          • ‘we will either go all out or go home’

            I would have thought the ‘we’ would include Chesapeake who know shale and Statoil who know the UK market.

            Interesting that they have opted out of investing some time ago. Prices were much better then and they did not know about the endless delays ahead.

            They know more than most but won’t touch the UK.

            Big players not even coming out to play, never mind playing and then going home.

            • What is it with you and Chesapeake! Give it a rest. We have plenty of cash and interest from big players. I’m sure you know this already though.

            • Mr M – What you should be saying is ‘we had’ plenty of cash.

              Probably true in 2010 when gas prices were trending up and investors were keen.

              Well hello 2016

              Six long directors wages draining years later. Massive amounts of……nothing.

              Investors will not wait forever.(Mr Egan tells you that so you must believe him.)

              Investors would stay patient longer if gas prices are on the up. But they are not. The world is awash with cheap oil and gas. You may not have spotted this global fact but I assure you investors have.

              Money to be made in UK shale. Give it a rest!

              And remember. Every time you say ‘ big players’ remind yourself who they are and what they have already said.

    • And, Mike Kelly, you might add that a crucial element of the business plan embraced by FOE and Greenpeace is the use of lies, deception, and strategic omissions to con unsuspecting people into donating their hard earned money. Were they not to spew their lies, it would be game over.

      • More incredible depth of ignorance on display here peeny. Thousands of demonstrators and many people with good reasons debate against fracking have no affiliation with Greenpeace or FoE, and that doesn’t mean those institutions don’t have good, sound principles and arguments either.

        I have never seen such a catalogue of desperate lying and disgusting behavior as those demonstrated behalf of your losing side. I’d love to see you try and tell all your fellow countrymen, and women, who have had their lives, health, farms, water and property values badly affected by proximity to fracking that they are all liars or paid actors – to their faces – I don’t think you would keep your scalp for long.

        • Sure, Phil. Right. If they’ve been impacted by fracking they certainly have legal means to resolve the situation. That’s why there are multiple trillions in legal claims and insurance settlements stacked up, right Phil?

          • ‘That’s why there are multiple trillions in legal claims and insurance settlements stacked up’… Not when the lies and denials are institutionalised at the highest levels. The State has powers to render the evidence it chooses as admissible or inadmissible. However the stitch up is slowly unraveling as baseline studies will be part of future procedures (the usual get out for the authorities who should have been more responsible in the first place). What does it feel like to be party to that web of deceit peeny? The pretense that you give a damn for the lives of people who you claim will be helped be shale gas development could hardly be more ‘see though’.

            • Yes, Phil, I can feel it. You are really onto something. It’s a conspiracy of the grandest type. All of the State employees are in on it. Not to mention the state and federal judges. The regulators too, they must be in, right? And the lawyers of course.

              I wonder who is not involved in the scheme to defraud America and kill all of its people. Do let us know when you figure it out! LOL

            • Go ahead and laugh at any absurd exaggeration… a standard evasive tactic that you employ when cornered.
              … back to my point: ‘ I’d love to see you try and tell all your fellow countrymen, and women, who have had their lives, health, farms, water and property values badly affected by proximity to fracking that they are all liars or paid actors – to their faces – I don’t think you would keep your scalp for long.’
              … so you actually believe they are all liars do you?

            • It doesn’t seem to take the form of a question, Phil. Look at your comment you wing-nut! You are asking me to go out and speak to all the other crazies who have some kind of unsubstantiated claim that they will not pursue in court because they know they don’t have a case. If there’s a legitimate problem, then the system has mechanisms to address those problems and compensate people. If a mistake was made (and there are mistakes in any industry of course) then people deserve to have the situation addressed. That’s how the system works my friend. Now, where are the multiple millions of cases that must have piled up??? Why do you continue to dodge this question???

            • Hard to tell if your disingenuous mocking is because you really don’t understand how the legal blocking and gagging orders work to prevent claims against the regulators and how immunity works at the State level, or that you actually do know and mock any fool who tries to seek damages all the more – because that’s the sort of person you are. Nobody can afford to take on the government but there are one or two persistent souls who are still trying – so please don’t confuse law and justice in this case.

              We can take it then, that when regarding the thousands of anecdotal pollution and health-damage cases as unsubstantiated (your term) it doesn’t mean they’re lying. In America there have been about 4500 complaints of contamination in Pennsylvania alone. 1200 of them are now in the public domain and no the system doesn’t work to bring justice as you suggest, only in the ways I’ve outlined above.

    • Mike, I really do not care what FOE and Greenpeace do.
      The thousands of objections came from people in the ‘east midlands’ region, and not people who were, as you say, “against the use of fossil fuels”.
      Instead they recognise that we must reduce the use of fossil fuels in our energy mix – a view shared by scientists and governments the world over.

    • Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once.
      EVERYONE in the ‘anti-fracking’ movement is against the use of shale gas.
      Not against conventional gas. Against shale gas.
      There. I’ve said it twice.
      Just in case Peeny didn’t hear the first time around.

      • Between 2000 and 2012, per capita consumption of electricity in the UK fell by around 10 per cent. Energy efficient electrical appliances will continue to decrease our consumption of fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. When we replaced all our incandescent bulbs with LEDs and upgraded our aging electrical appliances to A+++ we reduced our electricity consumption by around a half of previous consumption. In monetary terms our bill for a three bed house cooking with electricity daily reduced from £50 to £27 per month. Real fuel poverty is felt by people running ancient appliances who can’t afford to upgrade them. They’re paying more for their electricity because their appliances are consuming more. One initiative that would truly alleviate fuel poverty would be a nationwide scrappage scheme for old appliances. Pockmarking rural Lancashire with thousands of fracking wells to line the pockets of a few shareholders and leaving a legacy of leaky old wells will not alleviate fuel poverty, not in the short or long term.

        • Lock the Gate, Lancs… Well said. More energy efficient homes and appliances are the only sustainable way to go. It’s got to happen sometime. Littering our countryside with 100s of fracking pads 2 miles or less apart, each containing up to 40 wells ( this came from Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla) together with HGVs, toxic waste and all the other paraphernalia of fracking is a recipe for disaster for rural communities, rural businesses and life as we know it on this densely populated island. When the frackers have milked us of all they can, most likely taking fat subsidies from government (our money) when it all goes wrong, we will be the ones left with cleaning up the mess. If indeed it ever can be cleaned up. And when time, money and our environment have been sacrificed for the greedy and the gas has run out, what then? Shale gas is just an expensive, risky blindalley stopgap when we should be preparing for the real world of the future. Other countries ackowledge this but this cheapskate government is so in hock to big business they are willing to drag us all down with them.

        • Lock the Gate, Lancs… Well said. More energy efficient homes and appliances together with development of renewables is the only sustainable way to go . It’s got to happen sometime. The industry itself has admitted fracking won’t lead to lower energy bills. Littering our countryside with 100s of fracking pads 2 miles or less apart, each containing up to 40 wells ( this came from Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla) together with HGVs, toxic waste and all the other paraphernalia of fracking is a recipe for disaster for rural communities, rural businesses and life as we know it on this densely populated island. When the frackers have milked us of all they can, most likely taking fat subsidies from government (our money) when it all goes wrong, we will be the ones left with cleaning up the mess. If indeed it ever can be cleaned up. And when time, money and our environment have been sacrificed for the greedy and the gas has run out, what then? Shale gas is just an expensive, risky blindalley stopgap when we should be preparing for the real world of the future. Other countries ackowledge this but this cheapskate government is so in hock to big business they are willing to drag us all down with them.

  5. This is a great write up of a terrible day for our fracked democracy. Thanks Ruth. Could you fill in the missing councillors who voted and what their parties are? I think it’s important to name and shame them and praise those who stood up for their constituency and the local area.

    • Hi Al. Thanks for your comment. I didn’t record the names – the vote was too quick. But I’ve asked the council if the officers recorded who voted how. When I hear back, I’ll update the posts and also let you know. Sorry I don’t have the details to hand now. Best wishes, Ruth

  6. Fracking in all it’s forms is an expensive business, only made financially possible due to a much kinder promised tax status than is offered to North Sea production or indeed clean energy projects. These tax inducements, along with generous grants, have been put in place by our government after many years of extensive lobbying from the industry and is the only reason this myriad of companies is able to continue to cause such worry to local communities. I hope this could be an argument against the overarching power of the National Planning Policy Framework when it comes to fracking applications.

  7. As the market situation in the U.K. is different to the US and industry have already stated that fracking will not lower energy bills, I fail to see how fracking will influence fuel poverty. The government is currently investigating the big energy providers over their charges and profit, so perhaps that is a cause of fuel poverty.
    As a fossil fuel burning gas together with fugitive emissions of methane add to global warming/climate change.
    I have seen no evidence to support that all the hundreds of peer reviewed studies have been debunked. What I have seen is that industry supporters quote the science it is favourable but if it is critical of fracking then they do their utmost to rubbish it. Industry can’t have it both ways. And whilst challenge is good – that is the point of having scientific evidence peer reviewed.
    The fact that Doctors in Pennsylvania are now calling for a moratorium shows that there is real concern for public health and real risk to public health associated with fracking.
    At the moment the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are pushing for an outright ban on fracking and if Scotland follows next year and with a moratorium in place in Wales, how can the government justify forcing fracking on the England?
    With regard to planning, fracking is not a nationally significant infrastructure project and should therefore be considered on that basis. So local plans should have as much influence over the decisions as other matters. The government has altered planning law and statute to make it more difficult for local authorises to reject fracking applications and they are also exercising call in powers. Many, including myself, would say that is overriding local democracy.

    • Agreed on all counts KT. By wasting money on this dirty and doomed enterprise the government is not only costing the tax payer dearly (and jeopardizing public trust) but is loosing ground, to the likes of Germany, Scotland and even China, in clean power solutions and in forging ahead with inventive new solutions.

      Gas will be needed for the next 20 years or so but on a declining curve that should fit existing and recently discovered sources (that don’t require fracking). Developing a new onshore infrastructure that carries real risks -polluting and toxic to air, water and soil – is not just irresponsible , it’s insane.

      • … I should also mention the work of the very impressive Danish DONG energy company – gaining an international presence in managing transitional power solutions of many kinds, from coal , oil and gas, through to biomass and wind power.

        Wake up UK! – you don’t need shale gas.

        • It’s a common misconception but biomass isn’t a renewable solution. Let’s discuss another time though but check out Biofuelwatch and the work they do.

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