Blue look to frontline fracking councils

LCC 2017 election

Lancashire County Council election results. Map: Lancashire County Council

The Conservatives have made big gains in the county council elections in areas in the frontline of fracking for shale gas.

They took control of Lancashire and Derbyshire, increased their seats in North Yorkshire and replaced Labour in Nottinghamshire as the largest party.

The Conservatives also did well in areas where companies are applying to drill for oil, increasing their hold on West Sussex and Surrey and gaining Lincolnshire.


The council which turned down applications by Cuadrilla for two sites near Blackpool saw a big swing to the Conservatives.

The party now holds 46 seats, up 11 on the last election. Labour is on 30, down nine. The Lib Dems lost two seats.

In Fylde, the area where Cuadrilla is now preparing its site at Preston New Road, remained Independent. The sitting councillors, Paul Hayhurst and Liz Oades, who both opposed Cuadrilla’s applications, held their seats. Gina Dowding, the Green Party councillor, who also opposes fracking, was also re-elected.

Michael Green, a Conservative on the planning committee who voted against the Preston New Road application, was returned to the council, as was Labour’s Kevin Ellard, who also voted against.

Labour’s Marcus Johnstone, the cabinet member for environment who voted for Preston New Road, narrowly lost his Padiham and Burnley West seat to UKIP, now the party’s only county council seat.

Link to results

North Yorkshire

In North Yorkshire, where Third Energy has permission to frack its KM8 shale gas well at Kirby Misperton, the Conservatives kept control of the council with an increased number of seats.

But independent Lindsay Burr, who opposed the KM8 application held her Malton seat, which includes Kirby Misperton, almost doubling her share of the vote. And in the district around the KM8 site three anti-fracking candidates came second.

The Conservatives held Kirbymoorside, followed in second place by the Liberal Democrats standing on an anti-fracking ticket and the Green Party Stop Fracking Now candidate in third.

The Conservatives held Hovingham and Sheriff Hutton with a majority of 817. Here, the Liberal Democrat, Chris Pickles, standing on anti-fracking platform, came second but the Liberal Party candidate, Mike Potter, who has also opposed fracking, received only 85 votes.

The Conservatives took Norton from the Lib Dems with a majority of 884 votes. The former GP and anti-fracking campaigner, Tim Thornton, standing for the Liberal Party, came third with 429.

In Pickering, the Liberal Party’s John Clark, who had raised concerns about fracking regulation, lost by two votes to the Conservative, Greg White.

The Conservatives also held Thornton Dale and The Wolds, where the Green Party Stop Fracking Now candidate, Sandra Bell, came second with 450 votes, ahead of Mick Johnston for Labour.

An independent, John Blackie, who voted against Third Energy’s application for Kirby Misperton, was re-elected in Upper Dales and the Lib Dem, Bill Hoult, who also voted against the application, held his seat in Knaresborough. Anti-fracking Lib Dem candidates came second in Seamer and Derwent.

Steve Mason, who stood for the Lib Dems in Kirkbymoorside, said:

 “Coming a strong second in the seats we fought in Thirsk and Malton gives us a great platform going forward in our fight to stop fracking. I think people need to get used to the idea of the Lib Dem policy to ban fracking.”

Link to results


In Nottinghamshire, where IGas has  permission for shale gas wells at two sites, the Conservatives replaced Labour was the party with the most seats – but not enough for an overall majority.

The Conservatives now have 31 seats, up from 23 at the last election. Labour are on 23, down from 31. Independent parties gained three extra seats to give them 11 seats, while the Lib Dems saw a big loss, down from eight to one.

The Conservative, Cllr Sue Saddington, kept her Farndon seat. She voted against IGas’s Tinker Lane application but for the plans at Springs Road in Misson.

Jason Zadrozny (Ashfield Independents), who was critical of Tinker Lane application, was returned to his Ashfields seat. Another Ashfield Independent, Rachel Madden, who voted against Springs Road, Misson application, was also re-elected in Kirkby South. Labour’s Yvonne Woodhead, who also voted against Springs Road, Misson, was returned for Blidworth.

Link to results


In the county where INEOS is set to apply for a vertical shale gas well at Marsh Lane, there was a big swing to the Conservatives at the expense of Labour.

The Conservatives now hold 37 seats, up 19. Labour was down 19 at 24. But Labour held on to Eckington and Killamarsh, which includes Marsh Lane. The Lib Dems were unchanged on three.

Link to results

West Sussex

The Conservatives increased their hold over West Sussex, where UKOG has just withdrawn its application to drill and produce oil at Markwells Wood but has permission for a site at Broadford Bridge near Billingshurst. The county also saw prolonged anti-fracking protests in 2013 at Cuadrilla’s site at Balcombe, where planning permission for flow testing and restoration expired this week.

The council is now made up of 56 Conservatives (up from 43 at the last election), nine Lib Dems (up from seven) and five Labour (down from six). The big loser was UKIP, which lost all its seats, including that of the group leader, Sandra James. She had supported opponents of oil drilling at Markwells Wood and had called for a ban on acidisation in national parks to be included in the West Sussex minerals plan.

Link to results


The Conservatives gained three more seats in Surrey, where campaigners have opposed Europa’s permission to drill for oil in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Angus Energy’s production site at Brockham.

Link to results


The Conservatives also gained Lincolnshire from no overall control. Large parts of the the county was licensed for oil and gas exploration last year. There was no election in North Lincolnshire, where Egdon Resources is appealing against refusal of planning permission and submitting a new application for its site at Wressle.

Link to results


47 replies »

  1. A really good analogy SafetyCatch! Wolves found to cause more trouble than they were worth to the UK public, so now we have a few locked up and the remainder have disappeared altogether. The future of the Protectors!

    You wouldn’t be a script writer for FOE would you?

    I suspect the public, in general, would be much more convinced by the comments of Jim Ratcliffe in today’s press, and the Conservatives will be concerned to support someone who can help produce a post Brexit industrial strategy. Howling at the moon can be left to Jeremy.

    • Some of us are furry on the inside….you will need the fluffer again….and some walk around on two legs wearing a suit,
      If Teresa May is a “difficult woman” then Jean-Claude Juncker is a ravening wolf, no contest.
      You wouldn’t be a scriptwriter for Looney Tunes would you? “He don’t know me vewy well, do he?”
      I suspect the public, in general, would be much more convinced by the comments of Marion Anne Perrine (“Marine” Le Pen) in today’s press. The Conservatives have been Howling At The Moon for decades, i understand that is what the reinforced “pit” is for, we gotta put them somewhere they cant do any more harm.

      • Jean-Claude Juncker is responsible for setting up all the tax free / tax reduction schemes operated out of Luxembourg in his previous life as Finance Minister and then Prime Minister of Luxembourg – the schemes that Google, Amazon, etc etc take advantage of and we all complain about. A brilliant example of why the EU is a scam and we are better off out of it. Plus we can kick their Oil and Gas regs (pushed by countries who have no O & G and are jealous of us) into touch.

        • France has more shale than the UK as do many other European countries. I don’t think you can say they are jealous of us as they could now pursue fracking and have an O&G industry if they wanted.

          • Offshore Regs, I should have made that clear. France has very little offshore, Netherlands possibly the biggest after UK in the EU. Germany a very small amount and Denmark similar. Norway is by far the largest offshore but of course not in the EU.

            • Ooooops! Or is that Awoooooo! Ohhh, that’s it! backPEDL fast as can be! Nearly revealed the real plans hatched behind locked doors in secret meetings didn’t we? Oh Dear, Oh Dear! BooBoo central or what! S’alright Paul, we believe you? S’oK no-one noticed that little reveal of the fur, sshhhh! Or rather grrrrr!
              We know perfectly well what you said the first time, offshore is not the issue here and you did not for one second mean anything other than OnShore, Ooops indeed!
              Well now we know why there is so much anti-EU rhetoric here don’t we? Not a great fan myself, but this makes it very clear doesn’t it?
              We dont like the EU o&g restrictions do we? Now we can see what will happen when UK (finally, if ever?) leave the EU completely, it will be “Full Frack Ahead” and to hell with ALL the regulations because we sure as hell don’t enforce any of our own here?
              This country will become an industrial wasteland in just a few years, look at Texas and many other places.
              It was always a bit of a mystery why Teresa May is such a brexiteer counter to the rest of her party, now it becomes clear, no holds barred for the o&g industry and then they tell you that you have no say in it at all! Ha! The games clearly afoot…… sorry, apaw….. or rather many thousands of paws beneath our feet.

            • Onshore regs are not from the EU – they have been messing around with offshore regs – but anyone with any knowledge of the industry would know this…..

              You would save a lot of the ether if you didn’t add all the rubbish in your posts. Also save people time trying to decipher what you are trying to say.

              • No sense of humour? Nothing in the o&g epithet dictionary? Never mind, i’m sure if it were a personal attack you would understand that, a bit too restrictive for me.
                There is an old Yorkshire expression:
                “Cast nare a clout, till May is out”
                When Teresa is out, we can cast out the rest of the clouts.
                Understand that?

    • So there you have it. In many of the target areas for drilling and fracking, the Conservatives have done rather well (sic) . Thus, despite what GP and FoE would have us believe, the people of these areas are not particularly opposed to fracking or just vertical drilling. Indeed, most of the opponents seem to be bussed in rent a mob and protest against anything, provided they can get their photo in the newspapers or better still have Mum see them on telly !

      • Ocean acidification links:

        Yes there are natural cycles, but the question is, should we be accelerating it or reversing it? Perhaps we should be considering if we are part of the problem, or part of the solution? Or is this something the fossil fuel agents will tell you that you have no say in?

    • An interesting look at the statistics:

      Just 42% of the electorate turned out in Lancashire.

      With a 45% share of the vote, the Tories won 46 of the Council’s 84 seats. So 18.9% of the local electorate have 46 seats.
      Labour won 30 seats on a 35% share of the vote. So 14.7% of the electorate have 30 seats
      Rest won 20% share of the vote took 8 seats. So 8.4% of the electorate have 8 seats.

      So with just over double the vote share Cons get nearly six times as many seats compared to the Rest?
      With just 10% more vote share than Labour, Cons gained almost 50% more seats……

      And back to this:
      Just 42% of the electorate turned out….this means that 58% could not get to vote, could not be bothered or were not aware of its importance.

  2. I really have no interest in Brussels or French political problems. They have both been going nowhere for decades and the UK will be free of such negativity shortly. I want to be alongside the 95% of the world moving forward, not the 5% stagnating. Whether we have the quality of decision makers in the UK to make our way outside of a protectionist environment, time will tell. It’s a long time since we needed to do so which is why our politics are now infested with a high proportion of individuals who are incapable of making a decision, let alone a correct one. We may need several pits-but I suspect not thousands of them.

    Some more factual stuff. John and refracktion can have real fun digesting this!

    “Fracking in USA has cut the price of gas by 75% and the price of electricity generated by 50%. The result has been hundreds of billions of dollars of fresh investment in manufacturing.”

    “UK manufacturing was about 23/24% of GDP around 20 years ago, now it is 9.2%.”

    Maybe a little clue there how to keep the wolf from the door? (But, many of our politicians would expect the UK public to be too stupid to grasp this, forgetting that their mathematical skills are a bit better than those of Diane and they can read, unlike John.)

    • Phil C , his wife, Greenpeas and Enemies of Industry would like to see UK manufacturing as ZERO % of UK GDP. We will live of wind, sun and sea, and smoke whatever they smoke. We will walk everywhere, get very cold and go back to the Stone Age. Fortunately recent election results show that no one is interested in their mantra and our standard of living will survive.

      Phil C made his living out of the oil industry cleaning up after us (apparently). No oil industry, no job for Phil C……poverty, no champagne socialism or greenism (is that a word?).

      • That is pathetic and also very very wrong, but of course that is to be expected, personal insults will not get you anywhere, it just shows how bankrupt the effort to tell us we have no say. Its also fundamentally wrong on some very important aspects, same old same old.
        It has always been, and it will always be up or down to us to change things, these honey tongued dark wolves cant stop that, which is why they try to tell you that you are helpless to stop them. Feed the wolf that is lightness and hope for a better future, not the wolf of despair and soul crushing manipulation, you can decide which is which for yourselves.
        Be responsible for yourselves, you don’t need these hairy imposters to run your lives, they will (literally) run you into the ground.

        • I don’t think you can interpret the election results as a vote for fracking. There are other issues that influence how people vote and Brexit must be in the thoughts of most people and Mrs May seems to be popular with the electorate.
          I am pro industry just opposed to fracking. A manufacturing base is important for a strong economy but manufacturing is not dependent on fracking. And investment comes with renewables and new technology as well, consider Siemens in Hull.

    • Ha ha! What big teeth you have granny? The wolves have been behind the door for decades, its the woodchopper who is knocking with his sharp axe. This is fun, we can always tell when its too close for comfort when the three furry brexiteers come out to cover each others tails and all act as if everyone is so stupid. That is really insulting and proves how much the wolves have to hide. Ignore the honeyed words, they just want to trap you into non action to protect yourselves.
      As regards the EU, remember it was the tories that conned us into subjecting ourselves to it in the first place, then it became a autocratic nightmare, now they don’t want it because it protects you from the worst, most insidious aspects of the o&g industry! Go figure.

      “But, many of our politicians would expect the UK public to be too stupid to grasp this”

      This is what they think of you, i hope everyone who reads this sees how stupid these wolves think you are and how they try to steal hope and the future from you, don’t believe a word, its just the growls of the dark wolves honey tongued mind traps. Also notice how they slip out all the epithets and innuendos to make it a personal issue. Doesn’t work hairy ones, utter failure, just amusing rhetoric to show how desperate the industry is. The hairy ones behind grannies door are dead wrong, completely wrong on some very fundamental facts, but of course that has never stopped any of the sharp toothed honey breathed rhetoric before, so it is to be expected and ignored now too.
      Have a lovely May day in the sun, and ask yourself if that orb can supply all our energy needs for free, and we don’t have to partition off our countryside and turn the country into a police state to do it.

      • Maybe when the industry is kicked out of UK for throttling democracy and trying to turn this country into a police state, they could pull up trick sticks and transfer lock stock and both barrels to North Korea where their leader King John IInd…..sorry Kim Jong Il….. has set up a big brother slave regime where protest is forbidden and punishable by death, much the same fate as “wrong thinking” amongst the industry wolves here, maybe we see what the reinforced pits are for, somewhere to dump those fatally mistaken engineers who were foolish enough to have an original forbidden creative thought and hence have to be utterly crushed in case they contaminate other engineers?
        The industry will be welcomed there as it full fills their roles of supplying both sides in any conflict.

    • In 2011 George Osbourne tried to cripple the North sea oil and gas industry with high taxes to help pave the way for onshore shale.

      It did not work. Far from it.

      To much time has gone by and snail shale is nowhere in sight.

      In the last 2 years North sea production has risen. This year they can produce for £15 a boe. That is less than half of what Centrica state is the cost for UK shale.


      Oil & Gas UK says that all energy companies operating in the North Sea are expected to generate £5 billion of free cash flow in 2017 if oil prices rebounding at the same rate as current levels. Signs of good economic growth and stability.

      Norway, meanwhile, is forecasting gas output at 107.3 Bcm in 2017 while the UK has been buoyed by the startup of three new fields in 2016 — Laggan-Tormore, Alder and Cygnus.

      The cost of decommissioning the older parts of the North sea lies with us all. We have had over £300 billion in revenue so the costs to close old developments is a price we have to pay. Those costs are payable regardless.

      Shale cannot compete with home grown North sea. It cannot compete with Norway piped imports.

      Maybe LNG ?

      I doubt that. US shale may bring ethane to Ineos, but Peru and Qatar will be bringing us our methane. Cheap as chips, multiple sources, and massive global surplus. Norway set to sell us cheap LNG as well.

      Trade with Qatar is £1.5 billion per year. I doubt we will risk that trade agreement. Job losses, revenue etc.

      UK shale competing in the European gas market?

      Lord Browne doesn’t think so. He has gone to the North sea.

      • Simple John – either you are correct and Cuadrilla, I-Gas, INEOS, Centrica, GDF are wrong or vice versa. We will have to wait and see.

        Laggan-Tormore is losing money. It would not have gone ahead if Total had got their model right.

      • So what you and your offshore buddies worry about? And why is it your concerns that shale won’t work? Just let them try and fail.

  3. Try Giggling REFERENDUM! It is the public who have voted to leave the EU, it is the government who are tasked with making the arrangements. Not rocket science.
    Bit ironic that you (I think) try to claim the high ground on facts then make a very fundamental factual mistake of referring to a political party conning us into the EU. Just a gentle reminder that the UK did NOT join the EU, it joined the Common Market. If you bother to follow the facts, that is the cause of our disagreement with the EU. It is what it has become, not what we signed up to. I even remember when it was unacceptable for any mention of integrating taxation, now it is daily fodder-and that is just one small example of the insidious mission creep that no one was asked if they agreed to.

    See the Russians are building a nuclear powered submarine to assist with oil and gas exploration in the Artic. Just perhaps they would leave it alone if their potential markets did the same as US, developed their own resource under their own feet, and said we will not be in the market for your product?

  4. EU needs to be leftist and will remain leftist otherwise another fascism like the Nazi will raise its head again or at best you get dictatorship like south American countries like the old Argentina and Chile. Nationalism roght wing in EU would mean one thing either world III within EU or Russia.

  5. The EU needs to be one area of homogenous people (either left or right) for it to survive-that is the real problem. It is the reason for open borders and endless migration. Some nation states will find that unacceptable, especially if imposed. Others will not, if they feel the institution is giving them financial benefits over and above this negative. UK has simply reached the former calculation and others will follow, accelerated by the reduction in funds (bribes) that the black hole of no UK contributions will produce. The previous blueprints for a European state have fallen apart, and this one is no different. It will not be pretty this time either.

  6. I really love your posts John! However, your Achilles heel is that you continuously try and argue that north sea and other countries production make UK on shore production unnecessary. I prefer the views of someone like Jim Ratcliffe who is deeply invested in all these areas and is still willing to invest £ hundreds of millions in UK shale. He sees the need for UK shale and yet is investing £billions in other areas.

    When he is ready to run an advertising campaign nationally showing the financial benefits will it be you and refracktion Giggling your counter arguments, or will FOE run a counter advertising campaign? (Oh silly me, that option has been trashed already.)

    Must be something to do with the full moon.

    • I suspect Jim Ratcliffe has a rather different agenda. He wants power for his plants and chemical feed stock for production. He probably sees having his own supply as a means of cutting out the middle man to reduce his costs. I suspect that is a rather unique position to be in compared to the other fracking companies. So Ineos being in the frame doesn’t necessarily support your argument. And in terms of climate change and the harm plastics are causing to health and the environment we need less, not more, of both.

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