Legal

Legal challenge next week to North Yorkshire fracking plans

RoyalCourtsOfJusticeA challenge to the approval of plans by Third Energy to frack for shale gas at Kirby Misperton will be heard in the High Court in London next week.

Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth have applied for a judicial review of the decision by North Yorkshire County Council made in May this year.

The groups are claiming that the decision to approve planning permission was unlawful because the council:

  • Failed to assess properly the climate change impact of shale gas extracted by the fracking and burnt at a nearby power station in Knapton
  • Failed to secure long-term financial protection against the likely environmental damage to the area

The case begins on Tuesday 22 November. If the judge at the Royal Courts of Justice gives permission for the judicial review, the full hearing will go ahead immediately and is likely to continue on Wednesday 23 November.

The approval by the council’s planning committee was the first decision in favour of fracking in the UK since a moratorium was lifted in 2012.

Kirby Misperton

Reverend Jackie Cray, a retired vicar who lives less than half a mile from Third Energy’s site, is representing Frack Free Ryedale, along with David Davies, a retired chartered surveyor from Hovingham.

Rev Cray said:

“This application was opposed by the Ryedale District Council, every Ryedale town council, 15 parish councils, businesses such as Flamingo Land, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the Castle Howard Estate, and dozens of other groups and local businesses.

“The County Council received 4,375 objections against the application and only 36 letters in favour, yet still approved the plans. We can’t call this democracy.”

Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire and Humber campaigner, Simon Bowens, said:

“North Yorkshire County Council failed in their legal duty to fully assess the impact this fracking application would have on the climate and in protecting their local communities against long term financial risks.

“We are really fired up for our day in court because shale gas is a dirty fossil fuel. It’s why we are calling on the judge to see that justice is done for the community of Kirby Misperton and for the millions of people affected by catastrophic climate change.

“We can’t afford to allow the fracking industry to just go on putting communities across the world at risk by developing a new, dirty, fossil fuel.”

Rowan Smith, solicitor at Leigh Day, the law firm representing Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth, said:

“We believe North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to allow fracking in Ryedale was clearly unlawful, owing to a failure to consider the climate change impact, despite earlier reports saying it was a relevant factor, and an error of law in concluding that a financial bond to protect long-term damage to the local environment could not be asked for, when in fact it could have been.

“These points are plainly arguable, so we fully expect that our clients’ application for judicial review will be given permission, and we hope that the court quashes the planning permission for fracking.”

nycc-logo-700x300A statement from North Yorkshire County Council said:

“North Yorkshire County Council is awaiting the High Court’s decision whether or not to grant a judicial review.

“The planning committee gave proper regard to all material planning considerations before approving the application by Third Energy to undertake fracking for shale gas in the vicinity of Kirby Misperton.”

Third Energy said:

“North Yorkshire County Council conducted an exhaustive investigation into Third Energy’s application to test frac an existing well at Kirby Misperton and we have every confidence that the council officials and the elected representatives on the planning committee followed all due procedures in reaching their decision.

“Our planned [fracking] operation at KM8 is scheduled to last less than three months yet the process of obtaining permission to proceed has already taken nearly two years.”

The company’s permission also includes up to nine years of production

  • Yesterday, a community group in Lancashire began a legal challenge to the decision by the Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, to approve fracking at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, overruling the county council. Also yesterday, a resident began a challenge to Mr Javid’s decision to reopen a public inquiry into fracking at Roseacre Wood. DrillOrDrop report

108 replies »

  1. Ruth, Do you know whether the government’s recent decision to remove the cap on claimant’s costs in challenges like this one will go into effect immediately? Could FoE and others be liable for funding all of Third Energy’s legal costs if they were to lose the appeal? Thank you!

  2. People are clearly mistaken. The JR is against our county council and NOT Third Energy. It will be the local council tax payers who will pay. Friends of the Earth may have a bottomless pit for money, our council certainly does not. Be warned, other services provided by our council will suffer because win or lose, our council will have accrued substantial legal costs fighting the JR anyway. Even if our council wins, it is not clear that FoE will have to pay the councils costs. I suspect not, l have just asked that question of our council and hope to hear a reply soon. Note the number of times I say ‘our council’ because it is the local people who will suffer if the costs escalate, not those people who don’t even live in our district.

    • It is the legal right of an applicant to appeal against a planning decision of refusal. It is the legal right of an objector to ask for a judicial view. I am sure that people like you, Lorraine, would have been quite happy for Third Energy to appeal, and pay for the Council’s costs, if the decision had been the other way. It’s a two-way street.

  3. There are a lot of local people that have dug deep to provide funds to enable this legal action. Costs on claimants are limited by the Aarhus Convention which enables cases fought on environmental grounds to be pursued by ordinary people with limited means, without being threatened by prohibitive costs. I am confident that the claimants, who are both local, will win, supported by a huge number of local people who give their time to protect our land from the well documented risks of fracking, over 900 academic papers show evidence of health risks from fracking. Wherever fracking happens, it is dogged by environmental problems, air pollution, noise, huge numbers of truck movements, the industrialisation of the landscape. If fracking goes ahead, the people of Ryedale will have a lot more to lose than a few thousand pounds. There will be a lot more than that knocked off house prices, that is if you can sell your house at all. It is local residents like myself who are standing up and saying no to this dirty, polluting industry.

        • Nope, Phil. Try again. That study was blown out of the water years ago. It turns out that the compound that they had originally claimed was the marker for frack fluid in the aquifer, 2-butoxyethanol, or 2-BE, was used in the cement casing material of water wells and was the likely culprit. Even the authors later admitted that fracking was not the cause: “We explicitly state in the paper that there is no evidence that HVHF of the Marcellus Shale at depths of approximately 6000‐7000 feet was the cause of impacts. In fact, we provide strong evidence that this did not happen. When HVHF fluids are injected into the target formation (e.g. Marcellus Shale), they mix with natural formation fluids that contain high levels of dissolved solids (e.g. salt, metals, etc.). Of these, chloride and bromide tend to persist in water and their ratio is an excellent tracer of the chloride source. Examination of the impacted household water well chemistry did not have ratios of chloride: bromide that would indicate impacts from fluids that had migrated from the Marcellus Shale.”

          So, can you name a single study? There are apparently 900 of them. I’m just asking for one. Thanks!

          • Sorry I don’t find your sources credible Peeny (beside the fact that you don’t mention any) . I tend to trust the scientists. The way the issue is normally covered up is by this repeated reference to deep (or thermogenic methane) not being present in the water readings. Actually high readings of methane are regularly found in wells near fracking sites but when it is determined to be biogenic (from shallower, younger sources) rather than thermogenic the industry’s defense typically is that they weren’t drilling for that. Meanwhile it was the drilling that had indeed disturbed and released significant amounts of both kinds of methane. All going well, with gold star best practices (which are hardly ever adhered to), the extraction process will capture all of the thermogenic methane. That does not get around the fact that they have caused releases of biogenic methane and other noxious byproducts into the air and groundwater.

            • LOL. You don’t find my sources credible, Phil? You do realize that my source is the same as your source, right? OMG this is funny in the extreme. I hope everyone else gets as big a kick out of it as I do!!

              From the authors of the paper which you have referenced: “Does this study implicate high‐volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) at depth for the observed natural gas, foam, UCM and 2‐BE observed in the homeowner wells?

              No.    On the contrary, we explicitly state in the paper that there is no evidence that HVHF of the
              Marcellus Shale at depths of approximately 6000‐7000 feet was the cause of impacts.    In fact, we
              provide strong evidence that this did not happen.    When HVHF fluids are injected into the target
              formation (e.g. Marcellus Shale), they mix with natural formation fluids that contain high levels of
              dissolved solids (e.g. salt, metals, etc.).  Of these, chloride and bromide tend to persist in water and their
              ratio is an excellent tracer of the chloride source.  Examination of the impacted household water well
              chemistry did not have ratios of chloride:bromide that would indicate impacts from fluids that had
              migrated from the Marcellus Shale.”

              You can find this here: https://energyindepth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-Llewellyn-et-al-2015-4.pdf

              So, Phil, you and Ian now have 899 more papers to prove your point! Let’s get going, right? ;o) 

                • Rubbish? Phil, you do realize that you are now denying the conclusions that the authors of the study which you have cited have made – in writing. I have provided the link to their very open admission that fracking did not cause the contamination. Live in denial much, Phil?

                • As anyone can read the conclusions in the link they can see how you are twisting the stated conclusions to fit your own misinterpretation. Or is it simply down to reading difficulties peeny. Are we being harsh?

                • Phil, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of wiggle room for misinterpretation of these remarks from the authors of your study: “there is no evidence that HVHF of the Marcellus Shale at depths of approximately 6000‐7000 feet was the cause of impacts.”

                  So, please provide one single study that shows evidence of systemic negative health impacts from fracking. Thanks!

                • From the conclusion
                  “The data released here do not implicate upward flowing fluids along fractures from the target shale as the source of contaminants but rather implicate fluids flowing vertically along gas well boreholes and through intersecting shallow to intermediate flow paths via bedrock fractures. Flow along such pathways is likely when fluids are driven by high annular gas pressure or possibly by high pressures during HVHF injection. Such shallow- to intermediate-depth contaminant flow paths are not limited to HVHF but rather have been previously observed with conventional oil and gas wells.”
                  … in other words the flow path from the depths to the intermediate layers was along the borehole itself. I’ve seen other cases mentioned in fact and this has been the most common cause of upward migration of the contaminating fluids. As you know the holes are bored about an inch larger than the shafts/casing tubes and imperfections in the cement seals are almost to be expected… these can be addressed near the surface but not at depth. It’s a real risk that is mostly denied.

                  Upward migration from the shale layer itself by other routes is very low risk although not zero. Irregularities and fissures in the deep formations can never be fully predetermined, nor can the response of that geology to 15000psi pressures. There are always risks of unforeseen consequences and any pretense that it is an exact science should be abandoned.

                • To sum up, Phil. You and Ian cannot find a single study, out of an apparent library of 900, that would support the contention that fracking causes systemic harm to human health.

                  I find that your stance against fracking is very selfish. Based on empirical data and factual information, I have shown that fracking is saving lives. It does so by lowering retail energy prices, and by reducing GHG emissions.

                  Your selfish interest is in promoting the Green dream of further reliance on expensive renewables – despite the fact that you cannot find a single credible source that proves fracking is a threat. Your policies will cause death and suffering to increase markedly – again, based on empirical data and facts.

                  This is an unfortunate and harmful position that you have adopted, Phil. I think that the responsible thing for you to do is to take a few days to rethink your stance (you too Ian) in light of these facts.

                  Thanks!

                • And in Peeny’s world the moon’s made of blue cheese, the tooth fairy really does exist, Father Christmas supplies all Xmas presents and a unicorn was recently spotted being ridden by Elvis and using the bus lane on the M3.

                • I have emphatically shown with all supporting evidence that all your claims are utterly spurious. Despite all your floundering around trying to claim the moral high ground you have still produced no evidence countering the over 900 studies I’ve directed you to. It’s hardly my fault if you’re unable to comprehend factual data. No Mr Peeny (why are you too scared to tell people your name by the way?) I’m afraid that you’re little more than a charlatan snake-oil salesman. That incidentally is not ‘name-calling’ but a factual description of the persona you project.

                • Can you show that one of my claims is not true, Jules? Just one.

                  Can you show one study that proves that fracking systemically threatens human health?

                  I’ve asked you these very simple, straightforward, direct questions. Since you claim to have the answers to them it should be no problem at all for you to provide all of us with answers. I await your response!

                • I again refer you to the 2016 4th edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings.

                • I haven’t asked you to point me to a library, Jules. I have asked for a specific paper with concrete evidence. Find the paper from the compendium that you believe is of the highest quality and provides the best evidence, and let me know?

                  FWIW, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s scientists had access to all of these studies and many more and they concluded that there was no evidence of systemic damage to water supplies by fracking. But perhaps they missed something in the five years or so during which they conducted their work, Jules? If so, you should enlighten them!

                • I’ve told you what to do. The 2016 Compendium contains over 900 studies any one of which will provide you with the answers you don’t want.

                • Yes, but they are written by fracktivists and reviewed by fracktivists. None of them demonstrate what you say they do.

                  So, you cannot provide evidence, right? You aren’t even going to try and put forth a study that shows fracking causes systemic harm? I guess that says it all! Game over, Jules, thanks for playing!

                • Glad you recognise when you’re beaten Peeny. As I said you label anyone who disagrees with you a fracktivist and then have the unmitigated gall to criticise anyone who uses similar epithets to describe you. The words Own Petard and Hoist spring to mind.

                • So, Jules, you cannot provide one single study that demonstrates the systemic threat of fracking to human health. Do not feel bad about this. Hundreds of scientists have been focused on this very matter for the better portion of a decade, and they have not been able to come up with anything either.

                  Obviously, if you had any real scientific proof, it goes without saying that you would be screaming about it from the hilltops. Alas, all you have is ad hominem attacks and vitriol directed toward me! That’s not going to do your cause a whole lot of good, Jules. But, if it makes you feel better to lash out at me, that’s fine. Do it here where you are protected. The owners of the site are very much against me levying criticism on the anti-frack crowd, but they are highly amenable to allowing you to bash the pro-frackers!

                  Am I right, Paul?

                • Your mantra/manifesto is self defeating and full of holes for anyone to see. You can do better than peddling these repetitious and dodgy fracking promos. Meanwhile the faulty logic and naive triumphalism in your debating technique is a real flaw, undermining nearly every argument you try to sustain. Funny almost.

    • You obviously have never had to pay legal fees Mr Conlan. There is no way this case be costing our council a ‘few thousand pounds’ A few hundred thousand pounds would perhaps be more realistic. As for the ‘well documented risks of fracking, over 900 academic papers show evidence of health risks fro fracking’ Firstly, where are all those 900 documents? Please let us all know exactly where and who the authors are, if they are written by anti fracking sympathisers they do not count nor do articles from newspapers. There have been many genuine independent scientific peer reviewed papers which state that fracking can be done with low risk, ie safely. That is the nature of how we have to look at H&S. They never use an absolute as everything has risk. Daily, official reports come out exposing how the public have been conned into believing that fracking has caused water contamination for example. Lets look at ‘Pavillion’ much has been made of the supposed water contamination there from fracking: From FOX news:
      “Throughout the entire Pavillion saga, activists used campaign-style tactics and media spin to stoke controversy. They staged protests, lobbied the news media to cover the story in the most alarming way possible, distorted the facts and produced their own highly misleading reports on the case.

      Such tactics were necessary because the EPA’s draft report on Pavillion – released five years ago – was never what the activists claimed. It was supposed to investigate taste and odour complaints tied to a number of shallow water wells in Pavillion. But EPA investigators drilled their own monitoring wells incorrectly, actually introducing contaminants which were later detected in water samples.

      Based on those tainted samples, the EPA floated a loose theory that fracking could have been the cause. But the draft report could not “verify or refute” this theory.

      When the first wave of headlines hit, suggesting that fracking was the cause, EPA declared there was “absolutely no indication … that drinking water is at risk.” But the EPA did not do enough to correct inflammatory claims made about the report. Activists took full advantage, calling the Pavillion case a “smoking gun” against fracking.

      But that wasn’t true. As state regulators and other federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey dug further into EPA’s draft report, they found less and less reason to blame hydraulic fracturing.

      Instead, they found major problems with the EPA’s water-quality monitoring wells. But in response to criticism, EPA officials stonewalled and never submitted the draft report for peer review. The EPA dragged its feet until 2013, when it finally dropped the Pavillion case and handed the investigation over to the state experts at Wyoming’s Department of Environmental quality.

      When state officials released their findings on Nov. 10, they concluded in an 80,000-page report that there was no evidence fracking fluids had “risen to shallow depths utilized by water-supply wells,” as a summary of the report put it.

      A more likely cause of taste and odour complaints from residents, the experts said, was bacteria build up in their groundwater wells. The experts also called for EPA’s monitoring wells to be shut down, because of “the potential hazard they pose in relation to groundwater supplies and physical safety.”

      That’s right: EPA’s own monitoring wells were the real problem after all.

      It took five years for the facts to prevail in Pavillion. But if the EPA had admitted its mistakes, and dared to criticize the fear tactics of the environmental lobby, the truth would have been known much sooner”

      Another famous case was the Dimocjk water trial earlier this year. It took 8 years to come to court and the first thing that the Lawyer for the 2 families involved, the Ely’s and Huberts said when she walked into court was ‘this case is not about water contamination as we cannot prove that’ No they couldn’t, it was about money and 2 families wanting compensation, which they won for nuisance, awarded by a lay jury. The media often failed to report the correct result and just perpetuated the myth claiming that they had won the water contamination case.

      Not once did the anti fracking community admit they had over hyped the issue of water contamination and misled people for years. There are many differences between other countries and the UK as I stated in my response to Monica on this post.

      Most peoples concerns are about the value of their homes being negatively affected. As people like to use the USA as an example then you will have to concede that house prices in areas with fracking house prices actually rise due to demand. The reason your house values may drop will be because the anti fracking movement have certainly done a great job of publicising false information to frighten people into thinking their world is about to end. You will be a victim of your own endeavours. Your neighbours may not be so pleased with you all when they do struggle to sell their homes.

      I have heard all this before when the generating station was planned, it was going to poison us all, ruin tourism and farming……..Well that didn’t happen did it?

      BTW The Bishop Cray bought his house in the village with a well pad which was operational as he bought his house 19 years ago, the well pad has been there 30 years with operational wells for 20 years. KM8 is called KM8 for a reason it is the 8th well drilled there, no one bothered before until they were made to be fearful by opponents to shale gas. He also bought his house in the same village with the fifth largest tourist attraction, Flamingo Land Zoo and Theme Park present. It boasts 1.5 million visitors, at the height of season around 30,000 cars per week visit and hundreds of large vehicles.

      I presume by all your claims in your comment that you would therefore not welcome a Green gas mill as proposed by Ecotricity? Because that would be a much larger footprint, would cause horrendous numbers of traffic movements when leading the cut grass to the plant. Noise pollution and odours would be far worse than a shale gas well pad and Ecotricity is wishing to build 5000 of these across the country taking 25 million of acres out of food production. Industrialisation? you can bet it would be. This too could be described as a ‘dirty polluting industry’ You see, nothing is as simple as you think.

    • Hi Ian, I find your silence on the subject I have addressed very interesting. Are you struggling to find a credible paper that demonstrates the systematic health hazards from fracking? I don’t blame you! It turns out in five years of research, the US Environmental Protection Agency couldn’t find any either. And they still cannot. So, don’t beat yourself up too badly. Sit back and enjoy it as Phil has a crack at it. I’m sure that he will find the missing link soon!

      • How about this;
        http://concernedhealthny.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/COMPENDIUM-4.0_FINAL_11_16_16.pdf;
        I will leave you to read through all the academic papers assessed and footnoted in the report. These stand together, they provide not just 1, but 900 pieces of evidence. Overall, they leave these health professionals sufficiently concerned to recommend moratorium, which New York State has enacted. I know that local doctors here in Ryedale are extremely concerned too. And you cannot cherry pick the ones that suit YOUR agenda, you have to look at the evidence as a whole. Also look at the trend in evidence, and how it suits the industry to ignore and suppress the negative impacts. A quote from the introduction I think will suffice for now, readers can look up this link and form their own conclusions:
        “Even as we compiled entries for this fourth edition, the authors of the Compendium continued to see evidence of, and appreciate, how young our knowledge base still is. As is revealed in the study citation database maintained by PSE Healthy Energy, more than 80 percent of all of the peer-reviewed literature that is relevant to assessing the environmental, socioeconomic, and public health impacts of shale and tight gas development has been published since January 2013. Indeed, nearly one-quarter of the now more than 900 available studies were published in the first nine months of 2016 alone.10 The vast majority of the literature reveals both potential and actual problems. Specifically, as demonstrated by PSE’s statistical analysis of the body of scientific literature available from 2009-2015—which, at the date of publication included 685 peerreviewed papers—69 percent of original research studies on water quality found potential for, or actual evidence of, water contamination; 87 percent of original research studies on air quality found elevated air pollutant emissions; and 84 percent of original research studies on human health risks found signs of harm or indication of potential harm.” And if I don’t immediately respond to the response, it might be because I have other things to do! But I think this report will keep you busy for a while. Meanwhile, there is a court case coming up, where we have every right to challenge the council because we believe they did not do their job properly is assessing this application, just as we do with any council decision. And if we did not have good grounds, the court case would not have got this far.

        • That’s a compendium. I asked you one example that has conclusively shown systemic harm from fracking. Peer reviewed means nothing, because the peers reviewing these papers are activists, just like the authors. None of these papers stands up to the test of scientific method, or if they do, then they don’t prove what they say that they prove. That is why all of the independent work in the US has shown that fracking can and has been done safely.

          So again, please provide one study that you believe provides direct evidence of systemic harm from fracking. Thank you!

          • I wouldn’t bother Ian. Peeny has lost that one. As if anyone is supposed to take his word as authority against peer reviewed science on the basis that they are all activists – purely on his say so – such humbug.

            • Phil, you are really lost here aren’t you? You don’t have to take my word on anything. I have provided direct quotes from the authors of the paper which you have cited, saying that they don’t support the conclusion that you have drawn from their paper. It doesn’t get a whole lot clearer than that. I am sorry if this embarrasses you, but it’s just the way it is!

                • Phil, the conclusion you cite isn’t supported by fact, and the authors realize it. They don’t say that they’ve linked fracking to lateral migration – it’s a theory of theirs which is why they say “implicate.” They were confronted with the fact that none of the other compounds that would be found in frack fluid were found in the wells – that’s when they backed down and admitted there was no evidence to link the contamination with fracking.

                  Though there was no evidence of other compounds that would have been present in fracking fluid, the wells that were “contaminated” had been completed by a contractor that used the 2-BE compound in the cement for the water well casing. So, as the authors of the study have come to admit, fracking was not likely the culprit here, but the completion process for the water well itself.

                  One additional note. Had you been correct, this would still amount to one isolated incident, and the authors acknowledge this fact. They wrote about the fact that the gas wells in question were not properly completed and surmised that could have been the source of the problem (before they realized that the water well contractor used cement containing 2 BE).

                  So, anyway, no proof here Phil. Next!

                • Ridiculous denial – you cannot segment or separate out any particular completion process as being apart from the fracking process overall. That’s just semantics.

                • No, Phil, you are not comprehending the issue. We aren’t segmenting anything. The point is that the authors realized that their “theory” about lateral frack water movement didn’t stand up to logic. Trace amounts of 2BE and UCM were found in the well, but if they came from frack fluid you would have found high amounts of chloride, barium, and bromide because of the relative concentration of these elements in frack fluid. Yet, instead, these elements were completely absent.

                  The 2-BE could have easily come from the new casing from the water well that had just been installed, and the authors admit this. It also could have come from a number of household products which contain the compound.

                  And, as I’ve said before, even if the authors could prove that the frack fluid had migrated into the well, it would be due to faulty well construction and it would have had ZERO to do with the process of fracking.

                  Next!

        • Busy, or busy dodging a pertinent question? You have yet to provide a study that proves fracking causes systemic human health hazards. Please let me know if you can find one? If your compendium is such a great source, then please choose a single study from the collection and I will look at it. (you will appreciate the fact that the compendium was put together by activists, and the papers in the reports were generally authored by activists, but I have no problem with that. I just want to understand the facts!)

          Thanks!

  4. It is local people bringing this action, those local people are legally liable for costs, if they lose. \I think they have a very strong case and Frack Free Ryedale are supporting them, as are Friends of The Earth, but it is local people who will suffer far more if fracking goes ahead than the costs of this case. We are holding the County Council to account for the way they came to a decision that threatens our jobs, health, tourism industry, bringing noise, air pollution, huge numbers of lorries, nothing less than the industrialisation of our landscape. When I think of my children’s future, this court case is well worth it.

    • Absolute nonsense figures I am afraid Lorraine, just to focus on one of your unsubstantiable statements. I have no brief for Ecotricity or Green Gas, but they say a facility would be 3 hectares. Against two for a fracking pad. 5,000 gas production plants would be 15,000 hectares, some 37,000 acres. Hardly millions. Please check your maths. Moreover the number of wells to have fracking make any impact on energy security has to be measured in the tens of thousands. Estimates for wells required varies but academic sources suggest maybe 50,000 wells. Even at 10 wells per pad as IGas have suggested this would be a substantial land take – 5,000 pads or 10,000 hectares, nearly 25,000 acres.

      You need to do your sums before coming up with these rather absurd outbursts, in my opinion

      Your statement about house prices is directly contrary to both official DECC report, and to the real experience of people in the Fylde, who I imagine think you are totally beyond the pale. And am I wrong in thinking Flamingoland opposed KM? You quote nonsense as though it was fact. Take a break.

      • NickP, I took my figures straight from the mouth of Dale Vince, CEO of Ecotricity, where else? In a video which is on Frack Free Ryedale’s Facebook page he states that the model they are looking at would produce enough gas to heat 5,000 homes. It would need 5,000 acres of grass to harvest for each Green Gas Mill. He clearly states that they would use marginal land which at present is used ‘to feed animals and we don’t want to be doing that to feed humans’ He goes on to say that the fields would become organic and wildlife havens. He claims that 5,000 of these Gas Mills across the country could provide the heating for all the homes in the UK that use gas.
        OK, so now the maths for you as you clearly don’t understand what he is proposing: 5,000 Green Gas Mills x 5,000 acres of grass to feed each GGM =25 million acres of land and as Mr Vince doesn’t want that land to be used for livestock anymore, it will be used just for the Green gas and to create wildlife havens. That means this nation would be losing 25million acres of agricultural land that is at present involved in food production. Plus his wildlife haven is a wildlife dream, just how is he going to safely remove the wildlife whilst the mowers, choppers, tractors and trailers cover every acre of the land without killing any wildlife? I am very interested in hearing how he intends to stop the mass slaughter of wildlife? It is a Green fantasy that the wildlife will just move out whilst the heavy traffic moves in to mow, chop and remove the grass.
        Then it becomes ever more clear that Mr Vince has never been silaging. The heavy traffic is thick fast and furious on the roads as it is being transported to its destination. There would be literally a continual stream like an ever ending train whilst the harvesting is taking place. This has to be done in a timely manor, once cut the grass has to be brought to the silo within a timescale which does not allow for a slow traffic plan to spread it out over weeks for each field. For the size of his receiving facility you could expect thousands of traffic movements for each cropping. You can expect 3 crops a year. So much for wildlife havens then….
        House prices rose in areas where fracking has occurred in the USA. In ND they quadrupled in 2 years. Of course that may not happen in the UK due to the negative propaganda that the Anti Fracking movement have used and FoE. Plus I would not be too sure about Flamingo Land Zoo’s owner writing a letter of objection, he wrote to the council but is was a request for more time to consider the application. There is a huge difference but of course FFR & Co jumped on the idea that he had objected just because he had written to the NYCC.
        Btw, my opinions are not ‘outbursts’ I have valid points and questions which need asking and answering. I have never lied, misled or used propaganda throughout my campaigning. I have always ensured I could support my claims with evidence and substantiated what I state.
        BUT I would still like an answer to my question, how are the opponents to shale gas going to provide the UK’s energy needs if they want to stop using gas? That means they will not want fracked gas importing, nor to utilise our own gas, so tell me how? There are 65million people depending on you providing an affordable, available and reliable source of energy. Answer please?

        • Please show evidence for “House prices rose in areas where fracking has occurred in the USA”. You keep danging these pro-fracking phrases without substantiation. That statement is the exact opposite of my own findings.

        • Since when has this been an argument about Ecotricity? Seems to me your question was answered. Investing in new technology creating a sustainable future is the way forward.

          But let’s go back to your solution. Tell me, how many shale gas wells would have to be drilled to provide a buffer aghainst energy imports? How many wells Lorraine? You don’t know? 20,000? 100,000? You have no answers yourself. Tell me how many wells can produce 2tcf of ghas per year? How many bcf can one well be expected to produce over 20 ytears?

          Fracking shale can never give us economic benefit or energy “independence” you are talking out of ignorance.

        • Lorraine – Happy to explain how we can provide secure energy to 65 million people and meet our climate change targets.

          The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee have met to discuss this very issue.

          In 2013 energy analysts spoke about the current position and potential of the North Sea. They stated that the North Sea was in decline only through a crippling tax regime. They stated that there was 20 billion barrels left at a cost of 30% less than shale. They stated that shale gas could never meet our base fuel needs.

          http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/b05e83ee-5d8a-4f48-bc34-8d4b75f6a0db

          Earlier this month the House of Lords Affairs Committee met again.

          There main speakers included a vice president of Statoil who operate in the North Sea and supply us with cheap piped gas.

          He was very clear. Statoil do not want to be part of UK shale.

          Statoil supply the UK with about 80% of our imported piped gas. It is cheap and abundant. We have firm contracts in place.

          http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/e1b6470e-7b12-4fcb-8167-04dbc4729f25

          The committee has also heard from the renewable industry.Their point was simple.

          There is no practical reason why our grid could not take 50% renewables. We have nowhere near that amount at present.

          http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/749e3099-1c81-497f-bf1f-c9c89c2b1936

          If we increase renewables quickly to 50% then our import requirements drop quickly

          The Lords have been told by UK and Norway that offshore is the best gas option.

          If we work on energy saving, imports drop.

          Please explain why you think this option is unobtainable and include factual evidence why the evidence the Lords received was untrue.

      • Just a few questionable in term of its greeness from Ecoelectricity grass to gas dream. How does Vince propose to harvest them to make it green. By hands? Obviously he use tractors which use petroleum to run and transport them to the plant. In term of its security of supply grass need water and requires right weather. How does he control his supply if grass doesn’t grow in time.

  5. But you are missing the point here, we are questioning whether NYCC fully considered the impact on climate change? We are concerned about the future and want to protect our precious environment so our children and grandchildren have a safe place to live. We also want to protect the local economy, it is well proven in Queensland that for every job created in fracking more were lost in agriculture. We have a great tourist industry, people love coming to Ryedale, let’s keep it that way!

    • Monica, please allow me to insert a few facts into your storytelling about Queensland. It will not surprise anyone that an anti-fracker would “stretch” the truth about a story, would it? I’m afraid you have mis-characterized the study meaningfully – probably because you read it on another anti-frack site, and took it for the gospel truth.

      “There is evidence that some of the employment in the CSG (that’s coal seam gas) sector has been drawn from other industries,
      as the growth in employment in CSG has been associated with a reduction in agricultural employment.
      However, the latter decline could also be attributed to drought, increased mechanisation, and a trend toward
      consolidation of farm ownership.”

      So, the first point is that the decline was not attributed directly to the gas industry, much less to fracking.

      The second point is that when you look at the results of the study, one job was created in CSG, 1.8 was lost in agriculture, but 1.4 was gained in construction, and 0.4 was gained in new professional services jobs. So, in the end analysis, new jobs were created.

      The third point is that the job loss in agriculture was limited to one particular area under the study. Other areas saw much stronger employment growth.

      From the study” The growth in employment as CSG development increased was even stronger when considering purely the
      change in mining sector employment. Over the same period, mining employment grew by 121.6 per cent
      in the Bowen Basin (from 20.8 to 31.8 per cent of the workforce), and by 574.5 per cent in the Surat Basin
      (from a lower base – from 1.3 to 7.2 per cent of the workforce), although this data encompasses the broader
      mining sector and not just CSG.50 KPMG analysis of the census found that the percentage of people working
      in the oil and gas sector in the Surat increased by 273 per cent between the 2006 and 2011 census.”

      As you probably know, the gas industry has produced massive employment, wealth, and growth here in the US. It has revitalized once-dead cities, improved lives considerably, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions to levels we haven’t seen in decades. As this study notes, Ohio’s small Utica shale has created 115k jobs and 10bn in GDP over the last several years. http://www.ohio.com/blogs/drilling/ohio-utica-shale-1.291290/shale-fracking-added-nearly-115-000-jobs-10-billion-in-ohio-study-says-1.713730

      I believe that the UK opportunity should be larger than that in Ohio. And the opportunity to reduce air contamination is something that your children will enjoy.

  6. Monica, what kind of gas exploration was it in Queensland that affected the agricultural workforce? Were the gas companies exploiting coal seam gas or shale gas? Did they use multiple wells on isolated well pads or were they using individual wells on well pads which is the norm for their shallower CSG. The rock does not produce far from the wells, hence the closeness of individual well pads and the appearance of a pick marked landscape. It creates a greater density of well pads Than would be required in the U.K. Due to the depth and thickness of our shale & the clever technology of being able to drill horizontaly well pads can be several miles apart. The spacing grows all the time as technology progresses and the laterals can cover greater distances. How deep was their shale? Is their geology the same as in the U.K? Did they actually use horizontal directional drilling techniques at all? Were any chemicals used toxic? They have to be non hazardous in the UK and approved by our EA and publicly declared, is that the same in Aus? What did they do with any frac fluid returned to surface? Did they store and transport it in sealed tanks or did they use open lagoons as in the USA which are not permitted in the U.K.? The lagoons have caused surface spills by leaking, evaporation issues and have allowed access by livestock to drink the water. This is exactly why in the U.K. lagoons are not allowed. Did they flare off from the well pads? Was it like in the USA where open flares can be seen due to the shale gas being burned off? In some areas it is the shale oil that is the product the companies are wishing to recover, not gas, hence the flares. Open flares are not permitted in the U.K. Did the companies have to conduct baseline monitoring as they do in the U.K? All these things make a difference and are exactly why you cannot compare the way one country operates to another. Climate Change of course is of concern but clearly the anti fracking movement needs to answer why is it that the country which has been producing from its shales the most of any has had the biggest drop in its CO2 emissions? Yes, the USA. It is because it has transitioned to gas from coal in its energy production. Can you answer how we will stop people dying in the present day if we stop using gas when it produces around 50% of our electricity and heats 22 million homes in the U.K.? Clearly no renewables are up to being efficient enough without backup. How do you propose to back up the inefficiency of renewables? You may also find that people are concerned about their well being in the here and now, there will be many people who are struggling to survive on low incomes. They may be concerned about the future but coping with everyday issues in the present and that will take priority. The cost of their energy is a big issue and is set to escalate even more. How do we as a nation intend to ensure people stop dying unnecessarily now due to fuel poverty? And don’t scoff as many opponents do when this is brought up, it is really happening and those people deserve our care and help now. They will not be too concerned about the possible deaths of future generations they are trying to survive now. All these questions need answering seriously. Ideological dreams are fine but the practicalities of powering this country is not simple and is a huge responsibility for whichever government is in power. If they fail to ensure a secure and efficient energy supply then they will fail 65 million people and that would not be pretty.

    • Interesting argument Lorraine … ‘They will not be too concerned about the possible deaths of future generations they are trying to survive now’. You need to do more research. People are looking for solutions that will solve current problems AND provide a safe and less polluted environment for future generations. You seem fixated on this shale gas drive as the only way ahead and that it is a foregone conclusion that it is the best solution. It certainly is not that.

        • Phil, you do realize that rivers have been bubbling methane for millions of years, right? You understand that they could have made this movie, 200 years ago, before fracking had been invented? I’m going to call you “Tabloid” from now on because you are so susceptible to believing the crazy stuff that is published out there. ;o)

          • Wrong (except for a few in other places). Not for those rivers – as directly witnessed by many people who noticed the change in the areas in question, specifically after fracking operations got underway.

            • Wrong, according to the government scientist who studied the area in question:

              “But Professor Damian Barrett, research director of the CSIRO’s onshore gas programme, insisted it was “unlikely” that the gas seep was linked to fracking in the region.

              Barrett said there were naturally occurring fissures in the rock in that part of the Darling Downs where, owing to the coal beds being less than 100m from the surface, methane had been known to leak out. At least four of those fissures are in a 3km stretch of the Condamine river, including Pumphole.

              “The presence of the industry there has not caused that crack to occur or that fault to occur, it’s been there for aeons,” Barrett told Guardian Australia. “The gas has probably been coming to the surface there for as long as people have been there.”

              Barrett said the amount of gas seeping in that area had markedly increased in the past 12 months, a trend he said could be caused by a shift in sediment from the river bed, which would mean the gas was less dispersed, or could be the result of water that rushed into the alluvial aquifer during the 2011 Queensland floods slowly depleting, which would release the pressure and allow more methane to come to the surface.”

              You cannot expect anyone to be gullible enough to believe this propaganda, Phil. Just because “many people” saw the changes. Seriously, how scientific is that, Phil?

              • Please watch the video then comment …. you are effectively calling many, many citizens liars who have first hand experience of the changes wrought by facing in the area. Regulators and authorities who approved the processes get caught in the middle then try to explain everything away using the most incredible fudges. Just as you do peeny. Nobody will admit liability. One farmer was moved to say “you can tell when the regulators are lying .. their lips move”.

                • How many of those residents are qualified to determine a causal connection between oil and gas operations and methane in the river? How many have studied the area geography intensively for decades? None? Hmmmmmm.

                • Your harping about the river just shows that you haven’t actually watched and understood the story or the range of issues it raises. I would rate any of those direct observations and personal experiences, including the calculations of the geology expert, as truths in themselves against your remote out-of-touch prejudices.

                • It’s not about my prejudices Phil. You are having a tough time coming to grips with reality and facts. You have an agenda and you merely look for datapoints to validate your agenda, regardless of how weak those datapoints are. You don’t have any scientific proof that the methane in that river was caused by fracking. Scientists who are intimately familiar with the local geology have said that the gas release has been going on for eons. You lose again.

                • … and the locals noticed a pronounced increase in the methane coming from the river – post fracking…. also arising in other places incuding there farm animal troughs and home wells. Again watch the video – the Condamine river was just a minor part of the story.

      • “These findings are supported by our auxiliary analysis, which demonstrates that the expansion of natural gas networks has indeed led to a significant improvement in air quality. Furthermore, we show that the mortality gains for both the adult and the elderly populations are primarily driven by reductions in cardio-respiratory deaths, which are more likely to be due to conditions caused or exacerbated by air pollution. ” http://www.nber.org/papers/w22522

        • As the report suggest – this applies to areas that were previously heavily dependent on coal. But now even that is being doubted by the latest methane pollution figures emerging for shale gas fields

          • The latest fugitive methane figures are quite low, Phil. The most recent research has confirmed that most of the increase in methane emissions is agriculture related. In the US, where fracking has been a huge success and has been practiced at scale, methane emissions from fossil fuel activities have not been increasing, while production certainly has.

            You will reference the study by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which said that recent increases in methane are due to agriculture, wetlands, and man made reservoir systems. The lead author of the study noted that oil and gas production is “not responsible for the increase in total methane emissions observed since 2007.”

            You will find the study here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v538/n7623/full/nature19797.html

            You will find very similar conclusions from a study done at Royal Holloway, University of London. And a study from Washington University.

            The NOAA study actually points to significant improvements in fugitive emissions from gas production and pegs the rate at around 2 percent (as I have noted before.)

            So, you can take your hype elsewhere my good friend. ;o)

            • Not hype. You’re bearing false witness. 2% is bad, and the 4% figure which other studies have settled on is very bad. Even the abstract in your reference says “We find that total fossil fuel methane emissions (fossil fuel industry plus natural geological seepage) are not increasing over time, but are 60 to 110 per cent greater than current estimates”. I wonder if the ‘not increasing over time’ bit takes into account the massive downturn in the industry in America after the boom years were over. This will ramp up again, as will that 2% figure, no doubt after the new administration kills off the EPA and allows all kinds of bad practices will go unchecked.

              The overall methane problem, sometimes referred to as the methane veil, is than we’re in a situation of globally accelerated releases of natural methane . I see that you want to use that as an excuse for carrying on producing more and more of the stuff (and hiding behind that fact). As mentioned elsewhere the CO2 greenhouse effect has helped bring us to this more precarious triggering of natural methane releases.

              • I can guarantee you that gas companies agree with you and are working to get the 2% figure lower because doing so will help their bottom line. But the numbers in the study suggest that methane leakage rates are contracting, and that overall methane emissions from fossil fuel production is not expanding despite massive expansion in production. You made the claim that recent studies show that methane is a big problem – you were wrong.

  7. if we could even contemplate heating all our homes from shale gas it would mean totally covering the land from the West coast to the East coast and much more. No one is claiming that shale gas in the UK can do that. We must look to the future if we want future generations to have a future. It’s exactly this short term outlook from successive governments that means they don’t make long term plans. Already countries are suffering the consequences of climate change. Of course I don’t want people dying from cold, but there are alternatives, we could start by making sure houses are better insulated and new build codes more stringent. We have some of the worst housing stock in Europe.

    • Monica, the CEO of Cuadrilla disagrees with the idea that the UK’s gas will not be significant. Here is what he said recently on the subject: “To put those numbers in context the UK currently uses just 3 trillion cubic feet a year to meet all of
      its gas needs. If just 10% of the Bowland shale gas resource can be recovered that would supply
      enough gas to meet UK demand for up to 80 years. This is why shale gas exploration is so critical to
      the UK. Once we understand and can demonstrate the economic viability of this resource, then
      there is no doubt that it can play a vital part in securing the UK’s energy security.”

      And note, please, that the land impact of shale gas is minuscule in comparison with most other forms of energy extraction/generation technologies. So, if you intend to keep heating those homes, you’re going to want to do so with gas. And if you’re going to use gas, you’re going to want to use the most environmentally friendly variety. And if you want to use the most environmentally friendly variety, you want to use domestic gas which will not need all the transport and liquification that foreign gas requires.

  8. Monica, I am afraid you have not grasped the point I was trying to make. You have had a picture of a pock marked landscape imprinted in your mind by opponents who have not taken into account of the differences between the UK’s geology and other countries. Our shale is very different and there are many reasons why the picture you visualise of the UK landscapes future under fracking is flawed. CSG in Australia gives that pock marked affect because briefly, it is shallow in its own depth, closer to the surface than our shale rock. Individual wells are drilled and as they cannot draw much gas to the well they have to drill another one close by. One well on one well pad, many well sites close together. Rarely do they use horizontal drilling on CSG because it is too shallow. Our shale rock is thousands feet thick and will be over a mile below the surface where they will be targeting for gas. One well pad can have many wells on that one pad. Due to the wonders of horizontal drilling the well pads can be spaced out several miles apart. Because of restrictions on certain areas of our landscape there is no way you will ever see our landscape covered in wells from East to West as you claim. Also there are many things the companies can do to mitigate traffic, noise and light if the test wells prove productive. If they go into full production, when they start to develop a site with many wells they can do much to reduce the impacts. For example they can help reduce traffic movements as equipment can be left on site and not trucked in and out. Reuse water. There would of course still be traffic and that would need to have a robust traffic plan.
    BUT in your fears about future generations you still do not address my question of how are the Green movement, anti fracking groups and FoE proposing to provide energy for this country if you don’t want fossil fuels? It is easy to make sweeping statements against fossil fuels but you still do not offer a solution. The fact is if you stop using gas and have no other reliable source and presumably as you all dislike gas so much you would not be happy importing our requirements (we should use our own gas anyway) How many people do you think will die in the here and now if you haven’t provided a viable solution? We already had over 40,000 people die in the UK last winter according to Age UK due to fuel poverty. You cannot abandon people who are alive now without you provide a solution to improve their lives. Ideology will not keep them alive, our own gas will, mixed with renewables, and if you do know anything then you will know that on days like today the wind turbines will be switched off as it is too windy and its dull so the solar farms will not be producing sufficiently. Gas is far better than coal and is ideal to back up the vagaries in renewables. See my response to Ian Conlan regarding Green Gas Mills, they are not the panacea that people think, they create far more issues than shale gas. Please answer my question, how will you provide all the energy we require for this country if we stop using gas????

    • Those who live close to a potential drilling pad would look with horror at the scenario of a wellpad with up to 40 wells drilled from it (as in Lancashire). Have you any idea how many YEARS of continuous drilling, with the associated noise and other disturbance including traffic, that would entail? You seem to have little grasp of the implications of large multi-well pads. HGVs delivering a rig is totally insignificant when set against the traffic movements required to handle drilling muds, cuttings and core waste. There is no saving there. And no saving for delivery of fracking sand, perhaps water if not provided by mains, and transport of fracking wastewater away from site.

      Frankly your approach is that of a modern Luddite. Ignorant of the detail of fracking, ignorant about the alternatives, and ignorant of the benefits that a government policy of investing in renewable energy would bring, you are shortsighted in the extreme.

      • I disagree Ragamala. There is undoubtedly more truck movements and more noise, but it isn’t appreciably different from any other construction project going on down the street. I know this because there are several fracking sites near our home in Wash County, PA. I wouldn’t want to live on a fracking site, but living a few hundred meters from one is not bad at all.

    • ‘One well pad can have many wells on that one pad’

      Complete stab in the dark with that comment.

      You have absolutely no evidence that multi well pads will be a success in the UK.

      In the US why do they use low number pads? 1,2,3,4 per site are common place.

      Why don’t the US regularly use use 20 to 40 wells per site and radiate in 360 round their thinner seams?

      We know the reasons. We have asked.

      Large number pads are suggested in the UK to look like less surface intrusion and obstacles.

      Statoil and Chesapeake think that the UK obstacles are to great

      “We had a look at the UK sometime back as part of a global survey with Chesapeake, of the US, but we decided against going into the UK.

      “We believed we were operating in a more prolific basin in US than what the UK could offer. But I think it was primarily it was what we call the above ground risk, not so much government policy but it’s a fairly densely populated country this and there have been obstacles, if you will, to our activities in the Marcellus field in the US as well and we thought they may be even tougher to overcome here.”

      ‘how will you provide all the energy we require for this country if we stop using gas????’

      Today, half of Lorraine’s gas she used came from her own North Sea. She broke into the 20 billion remaining barrels.

      I suggest Lorraine picks up the phone and asks the Government to tax the North Sea industry at 30% (as offered to shale) instead of the 70% that is killing it and it’s 440,000 work force.

      Listen to the experts. About 16-30

      http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/b05e83ee-5d8a-4f48-bc34-8d4b75f6a0db

      If that still worries you, Statoil, who have secure pipelines in place and long term contracts can help you out

      “You can never say never but I don’t expect that. For us, it’s much more cost efficient, at least based on our own calculations, to develop offshore fields, our offshore Norway assets, and bring that gas into the UK by pipeline.”

      Then she will have no gas security issues.

      Moving onto renewable s. Here is what you could have

      http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/749e3099-1c81-497f-bf1f-c9c89c2b1936

      http://www.ppaenergy.co.uk/web-resources/resources/467ac5b8919.pdf

      and here is our Government trying it’s best to stop common sense,energy security, and Global consensus from prevailing.

      http://mollymep.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Recent-RE-performance_summary-Feb16-1.p

      If you want energy security you want North Sea and renewables and a Government with it’s eyes open.

  9. Love to read your comments Lorraine, now go away and research the subject and you may begin to understand why fracking is a hugely dangerous and ridiculous path to tread. You say that any opinion of an anti-fracker is clearly biased and must therefore be discounted. This logic is something any politician would be proud of. Any person who disagrees with fracking be it from a scientific, humanist or ecological standpoint is in your eyes an anti-fracker and therefore their findings must be ignored.

    You have asked for any 1 of the 800 plus studies which find against fracking. You clearly feel that you’re too important to be asked to do your own research so I’ll tell you where to look though you will have to read it yourself. You should start with the 2012 Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering Report then look at the 2016 Medact report as quoted in the BMJ. You should find the SEQR HVHF Findings Statement of 2015 interesting. After that check out the 2016 Royle Energy Partners Report, the 2014 Lancet findings or the latest 2016 Compendium of Science, Medical and Media Findings. This is the 4th edition of the Compendium which is a fully referenced summary of independently researched studies into the effects of fracking.

    Finally you demonstrate a quite breathtaking ignorance of renewable technology when you say we must rely on gas since renewables can’t be relied on for steady 24 hour generation or to meet fluctuations in demand. Look at wave technology, pumped hydro, solar tower and particularly the latest lithium ion storage technology for power generated from solar and wind and providing for both home and utility – scale operations. If you can be bothered to check you’ll find that this is providing huge – and exponentially increasing – quantities of power to power grids in other countries. This is the future, not the environmentally damaging fossil fuels that this Government appears slavishly devoted to and seemingly will continue to pursue with ever more destructive means of recovery as long as myopic Luddites like you refuse to accept the urgent need for change.

    • Well said Jules. Looks like Lorraine is a professional mis-informer or wannabe – hoping to get on an oil and gas pay role, if not on one already. Otherwise she’s of the Peeny/Mr M type eyeing up a quick killing from early phase fracking investments – and bugger those who have to live with the long term consequences. All these interventions and delays seem to be sorely testing the patience of the get-rich-quick brigade.

      • It is a sad reflection of how opponents operate that they start name calling when challenged. Please listen, no one has answered the question yet, how do you intend to provide energy for 65 million people in the UK? Renewables are country specific so what works in one would not work in another. All these statements about various means of providing energy all sound good on paper but will they work 24/7 and how soon can they become operational and affordable? I will leave you with that request as now name calling is taking place it is no longer an adult discussion.
        Btw I have never received a penny from the industry for my campaigning and do all the work I do because I have lived through all of this previously. I believe in honesty, the truth and despise propaganda that is designed to scare local people into parting with their sanity and money. Fortunately only 141 people have donated to the JR fighting fund in the last 4 months. Who knows how many will have made donations to FoE on the back of their campaign against fracking? They gained 15,000 new members when they launched their campaign to save the bee, which was possibly very beneficial financially. 141 donations means that not too many locals believe FoE and the anti fracking campaigners propaganda. In fact those donations will have come from the whole country.

        • I have answered your questions Lorraine, I can give you the facts on renewable technologies and their incredible potential (incidentally one of the countries increasingly powered by renewables and which has already banned all internal combustion engines from its roads by 2030 as well as banning fracking is…………Germany). You should also consider that in the last 40 years we have used 40 billion barrels of oil and gas from the North Sea. There are still 20 billion barrels left. Why do we need fracking again? As I said I can give you the facts. Regrettably I can only give you the facts. It is to my enduring sadness that I can give you neither the perspicacity nor the intelligence with which to appreciate those facts. And before you start bleating again about the unfairness of saying nasty things to you, it is a little wearing when having spent a minimum of 6 hours a day, 7 days a week for nearly 3 years researching a subject, you’re expected to take someone like you seriously.

          • Jules – please enlighten us on how Germany generates it’s electricity?

            Perhaps the two graphs via the following link will help you? No doubt you quote the first, installed capacity? But what about the reality, the second graph on the left?

            https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-energy-consumption-and-power-mix-charts

            In 2015 Germany generated 30% of its electrcity from renewables and 43% from coal / lignite. This is with nearly 60% renewables installed capacity.

            Is this where you would like to be?

            By the way, UK electrcity production Q2 2016 was around 25% from renewables, and only 6% coal – and 45% gas.

            So which country’s electricity production mix is better for the environment?

              • Philip P – thank you for your link which confirms my point above albeit your article states 33% from renewables vs the 30% in the clean energy wire link – close enough though?

                “On Sunday, May 8 Germany produced so much electric power that prices were actually negative.” “The crazy high energy production was due to an especially sunny windy day in the European nation, meaning that wind farms and solar panels were able to make even more renewable power than usual”.

                And what it doesn’t say is that the rest of the year they didn’t, and domestic electricity prices were the highest in Europe in 2015…….. And they burnt coal for 43% of their annual electricity production.

                Whoops I made an error – Germany’s domestic electricity prices in 2015 were the second highest – Denmark was the winner with the highest prices – guess what the two countries have in common (apart from a shared border)?

              • Paul .. my link was partly tongue in cheek. I am fully aware of the intermittency issues of wind/solar but I do believe this is pointing at a way ahead (as with the renewable energy achievements of Scotland and elsewhere). A surplus of energy at peak times for renewables is such an obvious draw-card for the acceleration of accumulator technologies and we are seeing rapid advances in these from several directions.

                Local/domestic storage is being championed by the likes of Tesla (with their ‘power wall’ products), now below £3000 per unit . Those sort of systems have dropped in price by 40 percent in the last year alone and with the uptake now grabbing people’s attention it’s likely that further big price drops are inevitable. Hold that thought and consider that several labs are now talking about making solar panels around 100% more efficient than they are at present, and then with new products like roofing with built in solar also becoming available a fossil fuel free future looks interesting indeed, at least on the home front: https://electrek.co/2016/11/17/tesla-solar-roof-cost-less-than-regular-roof-even-before-energy-production-elon-musk/

                Large scale energy accumulator systems include things like pumping hydro, gas and even liquefied salts – in closed cycle systems for storing power in the form of potential energy (height/pressure differentials etc) for later release and power generation. Issues of large scale base-load requirements can be progressively addressed by smart approaches to local grids and hyper-local grids and on/offline semi autonomous systems. DONG energy is pioneering all kinds of larger (national) and smaller (local) scale transitional energy generating solutions. Then there’s still nuclear.

                People may not be aware that already large power hungry industries often work independently of the grid using their own gas turbine generator plants (GE and Siemens are the front-runners in that field). Such businesses could be incentivised to trial transitional fuel solutions – hydrogen looking the most likely way ahead : http://www.innovationtoronto.com/2016/10/safe-new-storage-method-could-be-key-to-future-of-hydrogen-powered-vehicles/

                I don’t see why our thinking needs to be stuck in the fossil fuel tar pit. Building up a new gas pipeline infrastructure requiring long term development and investment for a fossil fuel ‘need’ that is being wound down is just craziness.

                • I agree storage is the answer. However there is a long way to go. Gas storage is a good interim step however the UK has very little (compared with France & Germany). Hydrogen is also a long way off as a large scale replacement for natural gas. What is the main process for hydrogen generation?

                  There are four main sources for the commercial production of hydrogen: natural gas, oil, coal, and electrolysis; which account for 48%, 30% 18% and 4% of the world’s hydrogen production respectively. Fossil fuels are the dominant source of industrial hydrogen. Hydrogen can be generated from natural gas with approximately 80% efficiency, or from other hydrocarbons to a varying degree of efficiency. Specifically, bulk hydrogen is usually produced by the steam reforming of methane or natural gas.The production of hydrogen from natural gas is the cheapest source of hydrogen currently.

                  So why not just use natural gas as the fuel in the first place?

                • I think it was the Guardian reported this. Scientists have developed cheap and effective way to generate hydrogen for fuel to produce clean electricity as well as an effective CCS to remove carbon release fron natural gas. I think basically they pass natural gas through molten iron catalyst which break CH4 methane into pure H2 gas which can cleanly burn to generate power where as the carbon components of methane is trapped by the molten iron filter and form high quality graphite or graphine which has commercial values for other high tech products. A win win situation I reckon supporting natural gas industry Carbon capture for climate change clean hydrogen gas for power and graphite for high tech application.

          • Jules, You might appreciate the fact that during Germany’s Energiewende, carbon emissions have actually increased, causing death and sickness in elderly and in children. Germany has seen investment run from the country because of very high energy prices and has only kept on with Energiewende due to the effective subsidization allowed by a low Euro. Renewables are expensive and impractical at this point. They are causing people to lose their lives and they clearly are not the solution in the near and intermediate term. They will be important in the long-run, but much work needs to be done to get there. Many think they will never achieve aggregate penetration at levels above their capacity factor which will limit these technologies to 30-40 percent of power supplied in total. I think that would still be a tremendous victory for the technologies. Let’s see what happens! A great read for you on the subject is found here: http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/voices/energetics/a-look-at-wind-and-solar-part-2

        • Lorraine – you effectively labelled those opposing fracking as dealing in ideology and not facts. This to me is tantamount to name calling or worse. Do you expect those so accused to roll over and play dead? I have been studying this area now for a long time and reached my own conclusions – but I keep an open mind and am always open to new angles and information. I am also prepared to accept that you may not be of the above ‘types’ that I mention, but then your motivation is as unclear as your ‘facts’ which read like politicians briefing notes from an oil and gas industry lobbying session. Your research does not appear to have breadth or independence but your writing style is quite professional so I complement you on that at least.

        • Lorraine, I have been asking the same question for months on this BB – no one has proposed a viable (reliabile, efficient and cost effective) alternative to 50% gas for UK electrcity generation. Of course the gas does not need to be UK shale gas, we can increase imports as our North Sea production drops. Or we can further relax the offshore tax regime and look for more north sea gas as suggested by Mr. Powney (but the majority on this BB want to the opposite and increase north sea taxes).

          Germany has an alternative – coal instead of gas. Norway and BC do, hydro. But this doesn’t stop Norway selling their dirty carbon emitting gas to others…….

            • Philip P – I do not see a valid solution / alternative to the 50% natural gas in the mix in your response above? Hydrogen is made predominantly using hydrocarbons. Batteries of sufficient size are a long way off. Gas storage is fine, we need more of this, nut the same people who object to shale gas are objecting to increasing our gas storage? And don’t foregt, Porter Ranch was a gas storage project…..

              • Lets come back to this in a newer post – too much scrolling to do here. I just think you’re looking backwards to traditional/existing solutions and I’m looking forward. Nobody can flick a switch and turn on 50%’s worth of shale gas, it’s going to take years, new infrastructure and hard won battles. There’s time to establish new ways and means otherwise England/UK is going to fall progressively behind on the newer cheaper cleaner smarter forms of power delivery, then look rather foolish as it will be lumbered with a creaky new (but deteriorating) system that ties up big investments which have to be commited to a 30-80 year life cycle.

        • Lorraine – Happy to explain how we can provide secure energy to 65 million people and meet our climate change targets.

          The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee have met to discuss this issue.

          In 2013 energy analysts spoke about the current position and potential of the North Sea. They stated that the North Sea was in decline only through a crippling tax regime. They stated that there was 20 billion barrels left at a cost of 30% less than shale. They stated that shale gas could never meet our base fuel needs.

          http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/b05e83ee-5d8a-4f48-bc34-8d4b75f6a0db

          Earlier this month the House of Lords Affairs Committee met again.

          There main speakers included a vice president of Statoil who operate in the North Sea and supply us with cheap piped gas.

          He was very clear. Statoil do not want to be part of UK shale.

          Statoil supply the UK with about 80% of our imported piped gas. It is cheap and abundant. We have firm contracts in place.

          http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/e1b6470e-7b12-4fcb-8167-04dbc4729f25

          The committee has also heard from the renewable industry.Their point was simple.

          There is no practical reason why our grid could not take 50% renewables. We have nowhere near that amount at present.

          http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/749e3099-1c81-497f-bf1f-c9c89c2b1936

          If we increase renewables quickly to 50% then our import requirements drop quickly

          The Lords have been told by UK and Norway that offshore is the best gas option.

          If we work on energy saving, imports drop.

          Please explain why you think this option is unobtainable and include factual evidence why the evidence the Lords received was untrue.

          • John – you are just repaeting the same ld stuff. As we already have 45% of our generating capacity in the form of renewables, how much difference will an extra 5% make? It won’t even displace the coal that we are currentlu using as that 5% will only generate an equivalent of 1% using the NG reliability figures. But I do agree with you that 50% is the absolute maximum for renewables with current technology in the UK (installed capacity).

            • ‘how much difference will an extra 5% make?’

              The experts tells us the grid can accept 50% renewables. As you tirelessly point out capacity is not generation.

              These are our legally binding obligations

              The overall obligation includes three sub-targets: 30% in electricity, 12% in heat and 10% in transport. The UK is three-quarters of the way towards its 30% electricity sub-target and is expected to exceed it by 2020, but it is not yet halfway towards 12% in heat and the proportion of renewable energy used in transport actually fell last year.

              https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/energy-and-climate-change-committee/news-parliament-2015/heat-transport-report-published-16-17/

              So it appears you do not understand how our renewable obligation and targets work and where we are right now.

              Looks like a whole lot more renewables needed meaning a whole lot less imported LNG.

              generation from renewables can be 50% . Installed capacity will need to be a whole lot greater. Current technology can easily be increased to make sure we always supply 50% of our needs.

              • Thanks John, you are right, I do not follow the legally binding obligations, only what practically works. So we are okay on renewables supplied electricity (30%), or should be by 2020.

                I will watch with interest how the 12% in heat and 10% in transport targets for 2020 are met. I don’t see too many electric cars or even hybrids around here. And adding biofuel to hydrocarbons is proving to be an ecological mess. I look forward to having something replace my natural gas central heating in the next three years.

                Interesting that the link also notes “Leaving the EU renders the status of the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets uncertain”.

    • Jules, do any of the studies you have cited demonstrate that fracking is a systemic threat to human health? I thought not.

      Renewables are simply not practical today to meet all of our energy needs. Pumped hydro? How does that work doing periods of drought? Are you suggesting the wave technology can meet our demands economically? Solar towers in the north of UK? None of these solutions are remotely cost competitive. And BTW, many of these technologies create serious environmental damage – from the cultivation of rare earth minerals, to intensive land usage and chemicals production, to animal displacement and death, to massive methane emissions: http://www.seeker.com/hydroelectric-dams-emit-surprising-amount-of-methane-2094888851.html

      • More misleading waffle.

        The article is about dams and reservoirs that we need to sustain life through irrigation and drinking water.

        ‘But new research suggests that dams and the reservoirs they create, some of which are used to generate hydroelectric power’

        ‘concluded that methane emissions from dams and reservoirs’.

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