Third legal challenge underway to Lancashire fracking

gayzer-frackman-edit-160919-2A further attempt was announced today to overturn ministerial decisions on fracking in Lancashire.

Campaigner Gayzer Frackman, from Lytham, said he had begun proceedings against the Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, who granted planning permission in October for Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

The case, based on climate change and health arguments, is now the second involving the Preston New Road site and the third challenging Mr Javid’s decisions.

A fortnight ago, Preston New Road Action Group announced it was seeking a statutory challenge of the permission. The group argued that the Secretary of State’s decision was unlawful because it failed to apply properly the relevant planning laws and policy.

On the same day, Jules Burton, from Roseacre, said he was seeking to overturn Mr Javid’s decision to reopen the public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s other proposed site at Roseacre Wood. Mr Javid said he was minded to approve the planning application, if highway problems could be solved.

Lancashire County Council refused permission for both sites in June 2015. When Cuadrilla appealed the then Local Government Secretary, Greg Clark, said he would make the final decision. The inspector at a planning inquiry earlier this year recommended approval of the Preston New Road application but refusal of Roseacre Wood.

Climate change case

Mr Frackman, who changed his name by deed poll, said his case would argue that the decision on Preston New Road was illegal because it failed to consider the cumulative effects of climate change and impacts on public health.

His team said today there had been climate litigation in the Netherlands, US and Pakistan. But this would be the first case in the UK to challenge, what it described as the failure of the government to address the risks of fracking to climate change and the environment.

The team said:

“The UK government has obligations to protect its citizens from known risks in line with the best available science and unless it changes course by, for instance, taking into account the full effects of greenhouse gas emissions at the earliest possible stage in decision-making, it will fail to meet its obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008, the Paris Agreement and the Precautionary Principle.

“Our Government cannot have it both ways. Internationally, it says it will do all to reduce carbon emissions. Nationally, it pursues dangerous fracking that will increase carbon emissions. It is putting us all at danger.”

Mr Frackman explained why he was bringing his case:

“The British public oppose fracking but the Government will not listen. The scientific reports consistently show that dangers remain from fracking but the Government is content to ignore this. Our local government rejected the proposals to permit fracking in the area consistent with the will of the local community and this decision has ignored the concerns raised completely.”

A Crowdjustice website is to be launched tomorrow to help raise £22,000 towards the cost of taking legal proceedings.

Statutory challenge

All the cases will be statutory challenges brought under Section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act. This allows people or organisations with a clear interest in a case to question a decision made by the Secretary of State in a planning appeal.

If these challenges were allowed, the cases would be heard by High Court judges who would rule whether Mr Javid’s decisions were legally valid. The judges could quash or confirm the minister’s decisions or ask him to look at them again.

Key facts on challenges

  1. Preston New Road Action Group

Challenge: Against the approval of planning permission by the Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton

Argument: The Secretary of State’s decision was in breach of Lancashire County Council’s development plan and correct planning law tests

Lawyers: Dr Ashley Bowes, Cornerstone Chambers, Leigh Day Law Firm and David Wolfe QC

Launch date: 18 November 2016

Link to DrillorDrop report

  1. Jules Burton, Roseacre

Challenge: Against the reopening of the public inquiry on Roseacre Wood, ordered by the Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, to allow more evidence on traffic issues

Argument: The Roseacre Wood plans had been rejected on highway grounds by Lancashire County Council’s Planning Officer, Highways Officer and Development Control Committee, and the planning inspector

Lawyers: Cornerstone barristers

Launch date: 18 November 2016

Link to DrillorDrop report

  1. Gayzer Frackman

Challenge: Against the approval of planning permission by the Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton

Argument: The Secretary of State’s decision failed to consider the cumulative effects of climate change and impacts on public health

Lawyers: Garden Court Chambers and Richard Buxton Solicitors

Launch date: 2 December 2016

39 replies »

    • Oh the irony coming from a pro quacker.

      You’ve got no comprehension of the amount of expenses that the fracking industry will be faced with if and when they’re terrorising ALL of their pedl’s. Every single area will resist to some extent or other. The costs and delays will be mind bogglingly huge.

      Reason 57 why you’d have to be a foaming imbecile to back fracking in the UK and reason 3 why the City rates iGas shares at 11p. The costs are going to be too crippling to be able to get through the roof.

      • Well, Franny, you might want to take a look at some of the balance sheets backing shale gas. They can take all you can throw at them and more. The fact, however, is that they won’t need to. Because when your sorry lot loses the cases, you’ll be forced to pay not only your costs but ours too! How many of those cases are you going to contribute to after going bankrupt, Franny?

        • You’ve got no understanding of what stranded assets are whatsoever do you lol

          But hey, you’re backing an economically moronic ponzi scheme so what would you expect

            • Facts? Look around you. The global growth of renewable power is exponential, it’s price and cost is crashing in an equally dramatic scale.

              You’re backing a loser. How can you not see it lol

              • Franny, take a look around you. Countries that have vigorously pursued renewables have ended up with sky high electric rates, greater ghg emissions and dangerously unstable power grids. That’s what you’ve gotten for your growth.

                Renewables absolutely have a place in the power portfolio, but to deny that gas does as well marks you a fanatic and a zealot.

            • Ah Riverstone – isn’t that Lord Browne’s outfit? Whatever happened to him? Didn’t he defect to the Ruskies?

              • Don’t know, don’t care. But I do know they have a very large balance sheet, and access to quite a few very large investors. This was the point of the post after all. Take your adderall, you are slipping again, John! !

              • From Australia – a country the anti-frackers want to emulate for their extreme positions on natural gas…..

                “Greg Hunt has summoned the nation’s leading energy executives to Melbourne for crisis talks today on looming gas shortages that are causing spiralling prices and threaten manufacturing jobs.

                The Industry Minister will use the meeting to increase pressure on the Victorian and NSW governments to ease restrictions on gas exploration and development that has tightened supply as Queensland liquefied natural gas exports move into full swing.

                Today’s meeting comes ahead of a Council of Australian Governments meeting on Friday at which the federal government will tackle rising concerns about ­energy security sparked by the ­recent blackout in South Australia and steep increases in contracted gas prices for manufacturers.

                Mr Hunt has taken aim at “blanket” moratoriums on gas ­exploration onshore imposed by Victoria and NSW, which means the country is facing supply constrictions when there “is no shortage of supply”.

                Mr Hunt last week warned of a manufacturing crisis arising from the gas supply shortage as he hit out at “negligent” state bans on exploration. Mr Hunt said the talks, also ­attended by Resources Minister Matt Canavan, were aimed at ­developing strategies to ensure a reliable and affordable supply of gas to meet domestic needs.

                Mr Hunt sees reliable gas supply as crucial to the government’s bid to integrate climate change and energy policy while maintaining energy security. “Gas is the single energy source which manages to achieve energy security, ­affordable energy and emissions reduction — it represents the holy trinity of energy,” he said.”

              • John, your creed is always so concerned about the industrialization of the landscape (but not so afraid to recommend much more invasive, massive windmill buildout) that I though you might find this interesting.

                Apparently last year in the US it only took 200 rigs to produce 75 bcf/day. Twice the UK’s consumption. Wow. So, if the UK were to get a quarter of its gas from onshore, it might take 25 rigs. Doesn’t exactly fit with your thesis, does it?


                • Peeny old thing – please don’t presume to tell me what my creed is. I’ve told you how rude it is to set up these silly straw men before haven’t I?

                  75 bcf a day – that’s 27.4 tcf a year and all extracted using just 200 rigs in and all in one year – really? LOL

                  (I know you aren’t good with data, but FYI UK gas consumption is ~3tcf a year, so actually 75bcf a day is 9 times UK consumption by the way)

                  We all know there are few EU compliant drilling rigs in Europe, but what is of more relevance is how many wells / pads, not how many rigs – that only dictates the speed of development not the extent of industrialisation as any fule knoe

    • You lot are unbelievable………..and incredibly resourceful.

      First planning application to frack 2010

      Amount of gas produced to date. Absolutely zilch. Nothing. No gas, no returns, just empty promises and huge directors salaries.

      We have everything covered. From folding information flyers to top legal environmental consultants and legal teams.

      It’s a community thing. I don’t expect you to understand Mr M.

      Have to say it’s working particularly well.

      • oh and Mr M/rogue
        ‘Read this article and please feel free to have a laugh at the guys name. Wouldn’t surprise me if one of us lot was behind this as a bluff’…
        no it’s definitely not one of you and absolutely NOT a bluff!

        • Sher are you saying this guys name doesn’t sound Pro Fracking? Frack man! It’s like the poster boy name for the industry.
          I sure hope he hasn’t gone for the all in one package which comes with the matching tattoo!

          • ‘Sher are you saying this guys name doesn’t sound Pro Fracking?’

            No Mr M…I said his name was ‘Much more interesting than Mr M!’…and it’s Sherwulfe 🙂

            ‘I sure hope he hasn’t gone for the all in one package which comes with the matching tattoo!’…perhaps you could ask him when you come out in your one or twos to support the next planning meeting?

  1. John – you are right, UK shale gas producing zero today. But what about wind turbines? Over 14GW installed, currently producing equivalent to (at 2042hrs) 0.5GW i.e. close enough to zero contribution. Huge promises, it is always windy somewhere, 8MW super turbines, huge salaries….. About as useful as UK shale gas at the moment? Lets forget shale but also lets forget wind. But we can’t forget gas.

    Current UK demand is 44.1GW – generation (in addition to 0.5GW wind from 14GW installed) is coal 7GW, nuclear 8GW, biomass 2GW (Drax) and gas a whopping 25GW. Clearly not shale gas, North Sea plus imported.

    Plus the interconnectors to France are 50% down until February at the earliest, French nuclear is also suffering big time due to maintenance and safety issues, and it is cold and days are short.

    We are actually exporting 2 GW to help fill in the French deficit – but it is not from wind.

    • You are of course correct about today’s wind contribution.

      Let’s get some annual figures from the Government. That should cover the days with little wind but also the days when wind is plentiful.

      Click to access Press_Notice_March_2016.pdf

      2015 Produced wind power versus UK Shale contribution

      Onshore wind – 23,000 GWh
      Offshore wind – 17,400 GWh
      Shale gas – 0 GWh

      Onshore wind – 18,500 GWh
      Offshore wind – 12,000 GWh
      Shale gas – 0 GWh

      Onshore wind – 15,500 GWh
      Offshore wind – 11,000 GWh
      Shale Gas – 0 GWh

      Onshore wind -11,500 GWh
      Offshore wind – 7,000 GWh
      Shale gas – 0 GWh

      Onshore wind – 10,000 GWh
      Offshore wind – 4,200 GWh
      Shale gas – 0 GWh

      Onshore wind – 7,000 GWh
      Offshore wind – 3,000 GWh
      Shale gas – 0 GWh

      As you can see since shale gas applications were first presented shale has produced no energy for the UK.

      In the same time wind power has increased year on year with a combined total of over 139,000 GWh

      Percentage increase over last year is

      23.7% for onshore
      29.9% for offshore

      You see guys, wind really does work

      • No it doesn’t – we needed it last night. And we need it this morning (0.86GW) and we will need it all winter. What is the point of building something that doesn’t work when you need it?

        From the Government Press Release you quoted:

        “Gas demand was up slightly on 2014, by 2.4 per cent overall. Gas used for electricity generation was down by 3.1 per cent but gas demand amongst domestic and other users was up nearly 6 per cent, driven by colder weather during several months in the year.”

        This year is to be colder apparently.

        Renewables goes up, gas goes up……

        • Of course we should be doing what Germany are doing with wind.

          In 2015 they produced a staggering 85.6GWh

          Double our 40.4GWh

          Their lowest Month produced 4.2GWh
          Their highest Month produced 12.7GWh

          All nicely managed and backed up with fossil fuels

          Due to their success they are planning a lot more.

          Of course there is a cost implication to setting an infinite free sourced energy system in place.

          Heavy subsidies were placed to get the system running.

          The majority of the population were in favour of paying more to get renewables up and running. That’s democracy in action.

          The average German family pay 2.5% of their disposable income for their electricity. About average.

          Of course German wind energy needs to come down in price.

          In 2017 the subsidies are set to start coming off.

          The Germans have applied common sense. They have led the way in proving renewables work well and that the people are in agreement to pay more to bring an infinite,reliable, cost reducing energy system into play.

          Silly us

          When the pro fracker/s respond to this please show the full article on the 1 time Germany had a serious grid problem and list all the times and dates that Germany were plunged into darkness from wind proven problems.

          Also when stating that that Germany’s elderly population are all freezing to death, please reference the factual wind connection.

          • John – the response is simple – Germany needs more energy, it has a greater population. Put it in % terms and there is little difference to the UK EXCEPT they used 44% coal (and another 10% gas) and we used 23% coal and 30% gas for electrcity generation. We are now using more gas / less coal.

            Personally I prefer gas but you clearly support the German approach and prefer lignite? I expect most people on this BB prefer to use gas over lignite/coal?

            If you want to see how Germany is producing it’s electricity this week (or any week) – look at the wind forecast for next week……


            Click “all sources” to get the mix breakdown.

            2015 – coal “still dominant” – 55% from fossil fuels (44% coal).


  2. Correct if I am wrong but I thought in the Secretary announcement it said all public appeal against the decision must be lodged within 6 weeks from the date of the decision announced (6th October) to appeal. So the deadline was end of business day of 17th November. If this is correct the lodged appeals on the 18th Nov are invalid by a day because it missed the deadline.

    • Yes, you are wrong. All appeals were lodged within the correct time frames. The only thing that’s invalid is Cuadrilla’s imaginary social license to proceed. Many thanks for your concern though, TW!

      • You welcome. Just concerned that all your efforts and legal cost will be wasted for a silly mistake as simple as missing the deadline. All the best with the court case.

  3. (Sigh) silly name but Frackman is right … “failure of the government to address the risks of fracking to climate change and the environment”. The government has a duty to protect these things. Why not test the system and push this right through to the European courts? That would be interesting. There are EU directives still in place that directly address these as human rights and fundamental to the responsibilities of government.

  4. I wish all above prosecutions best of luck. This isn’t just about protesting against a hugely polluting industrial rollout, and environmental damage, it is about the way the government keeps shifting goalposts when protestors and local councils hit the ball into the nets they keep moving around.
    It is interesting that the recent court case about the governments right to take us out of the EU used ancient land laws to rest the case upon, and yet these same land laws are being violated by ministers who say they have full prerogative to do what they want without relying upon Parliament to agree. The upcoming case will be very interesting in respect of the range and scale of ministers authority and power scope, and will be a good way to define a route to any prosecution against Sajid et al.

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