“Fracking is impractical in the UK” – US campaigner

Wenona Hauter Preston New Road 170605 Food and Water Europe

Wenonah Hauter (left) at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site with Andy Gheorghiu, of Food & Water Europe. Photo: Food & Water Europe

Narrow roads, problems with waste disposal and a lack of research by regulators make fracking impractical in the UK, according to a campaigner who has secured bans on the process in the US.

Wenonah Hauter, founder and executive director of the campaign group, Food and Water Watch, has been visiting sites scheduled for fracking at Preston New Road in Lancashire and Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

She told DrillOrDrop:

“My major reaction is the impracticality of fracking with narrow roads in the UK.

“I see no way of dealing with waste disposal in this country if they pursue fracking as the level that they would like to pursue it.

“It seems as though they haven’t really done the proper research even into how they would manage to put all of these wells in an area that’s populated and that has very limited road access to these sites. We know that every fracked well takes about a thousand truck loads of material going into these very narrow sites.”

Speaking during a tour to launch her new book, Frackopoly, Ms Hauter described the work of UK local authorities on fracking as “completely inadequate”

She said:

“I think that there’s not a completely understanding from the authorities here about what the level of gas extraction would mean for the countryside.

“One of the first questions I asked when I went to the site near Preston was what will happen to the liquid waste. We know that, depending on the geology, we’re talking about millions of gallons of water. The overall average in the US is 1.7m gallons per fracked well.

“Depending on the geology, much of this waste water and a lot of the materials from deep underground – some of which are radioactive – come back up to the surface and it doesn’t seem like there are any sufficient plans for dealing with this level of waste water.”

Wenona Hauter at Preston Mystery Tea House 170607 Food and Water Europe

Wenonah Hauter with anti-fracking campaigners in Preston. Photo: Food & Water Europe

Ms Hauter rejected the argument of the fracking industry that shale gas could be a bridge fuel to a low carbon future.

“We see this as part of a large push by the fossil fuel industry to increase and prolong the use of gas rather than having the types of policy that we should have to move off gas, beyond gas, in fact to become more energy efficient.

“I’m struck travelling around the UK, we should see every existing building being retrofitted with new windows as part of energy efficiency measures and that’s where the real job production could be, rather than all of this pressure towards having more gas production and more gas infrastructure.”

Asked whether the US experience could be applied in the UK, she said:

“I think it is completely relevant. I know that the authorities here and the industry has said ‘oh we have much better regulation in the UK’ but it simply isn’t the case.

“This is an industry that can’t really be very well-regulated because when you are drilling a vertical well a mile or two miles deep into the earth and then doing horizontal drilling with all of these fractures, it’s very difficult to regulate.

“I would advise any local authority who is considering going along with this to take a field trip to some of the places in the US where fracking has taken place and talk to the people in the communities whose lives are being impacted by fracking.”

Food and Water Watch was the first US national campaign organisation to call for a ban on fracking. It has since worked to secure bans in New York state and Maryland.

Ms Hauter said she thought anti-fracking campaigners in the UK were up against large opponents. But she was optimistic they would succeed.

“We would never have believed that we could beat these companies in some states in the US and begin to ban fracking there and begin to make a national movement. I hope that happens here before too much damage is done.”

Asked what campaign techniques could be successful, she said:

“What we’ve learned is that you have to reach out to many different kinds of people

“There are many constituencies that will be affected by fracking in a specific area. One of them is tourism. Another is agriculture. Talking to people about the effects on these industries in other places and the concern about them is one of the ways to really take this message to the local authorities.”

She said organic restaurants and food shops in the US refused to take produce from fracking areas. In Maryland, campaigners worked with the tourism industry to establish a political campaign.

“There are a lot of different ways that this affects people in their everyday lives and that’s how you put together campaigns like the ones we’ve had in the US. You’re really looking at people’s self-interest and how this is going to affect their family.

“I think that isn’t quite apparent to a lot of people in the UK yet because there haven’t been the media investigations that there should be into what this really means.

“I can’t imagine someone living in Kirby Misperton, where the roads are so narrow, are going to allow this to happen to their communities once they realise what it means on a large scale. Hopefully they’ll be holding their local officials accountable.”

97 replies »

  1. Apart from my tiny joke with PhilC you will never have seen me stating that climate change is not underway. Equally, I have pointed it out repeatedly that there have been many occasions throughout history where it has occurred that obviously had no involvement with human activity. The problem now is that all signs of climate change are attributed to activity of man and that is obviously not the case, but it sustains an ever growing industry, and as it grows it needs more feeding.
    What I want is an economic energy policy to allow for gradual and effective introduction of alternatives, and I believe fracking can help in the UK. For example, it just might mean we don’t have to rush to building too many nuclear plants at £10 billion a pop, that post Hinkley the tax payer will probably have to fund fully, to support the use of wind and solar. It might mean landowners who have rushed to put up wind turbines to earn a net profit of £150k/year whether they produce anything onto the grid or not, have to work a bit harder for tax payers money.
    Your narrative is weak without being able to reference us as climate change deniers, capitalists out to make money etc., but it doesn’t make it correct to continuously retreat to it.

    PhilipP you may be correct about the size the industry will reach, but that will sort itself out. I think the same sort of thing was said about the motor car, the train and fracking in USA. But I am sure there are other examples that would support your point. Time will tell, but I suspect the balance is on my side since Brexit, and the need for a revised industrial policy in the UK which is competitive with the rest of the world..

    • UK tax payers having to subsidise the fossil fuel industry


      Onshore wind and large scale solar nice and cheap. Offshore wind prices dropping rapidly and far cheaper than open cycle gas turbines.

      Click to access BEIS_Electricity_Generation_Cost_Report.pdf

      No room for a new dirty dangerous shale gas industry in the UK.

      • John Powney, wind and solar will NEVER be cheap. End of story. Period. They will always be intermittent and thus will require massive backup power as they comprise larger portions of generating infrastructure. When the wind effectively stops blowing for weeks at a time as the fog rolls in, where is power sourced? How large would the batteries need to be to supply three weeks of energy? They struggle now to provide a few hours. Hopefully you understand the point – it will NEVER be economic to provide 5000% backup coverage from batteries to see that a solar/wind solution is practical.

        Using fossil backup to wind/solar is feasible, of course, but it is increasingly expensive as wind and solar take a larger share of primary production. Zero marginal cost renewables mean that fossil generation becomes uneconomic and if there is no return for investors then the government will have to pay for it. Thus taxpayers will need to pay twice for energy production, making the economy less competitive and compromising quite a bit of productive land to solar and wind installations. Less energy intensive, smaller countries, may go this route, but as Germany and South Australia have found, there are real practical limitations for large grids.

        • So lets compare the reliability of wind and solar against shale gas.

          The wind is infinite and free. Wind is 24 hour predictable meaning you can adjust fossil fuel back up accordingly. Solar is infinite and free.

          Shale gas is the total opposite. It is finite and costly. Worse than that it is totally intermittent.

          You can drill a test well. Results look good. You then spend £330 million on 1 site. You have no idea if 1,2, or 3 years down the line how much output you will get from those wells. Complete guesswork. You can re frack failing wells which may or may not give a bit more output.

          This is exactly the reason new wells have to be drilled consistently to back up failing wells.

          Totally unpredictable in the medium to long term.

          Yet another good reason why shale gas cannot meet our base fuel needs.

          Not sure about your obsession with battery storage. Like I say 24 hour predictable therefore manageable. Although using water storage like the nuclear industry uses would be useful to create seamless clean cheap energy.

          If only this Government had a bit of common sense and invested in an infinite clean energy future.

          • Decline curve analysis and reservoir simulation will give you a very good idea of what any well will flow in the medium to long term, so hardly totally unpredictable.

          • You effuse the ultimate in denial, JP. Shale gas fuels most of America’s gas needs and gas produces 2/3 of our energy. There is nothing intermittent about it. It is reliable, inexpensive, and abundant. America is not a small economy, and certainly not a small grid, JP. But if you need to tell yourself these things to feel better, so be it! The average shale well can cost $5-10mn, but it’s only drilled if there is a known target that is rich. You see, this is why we have been so successful, John. It is a large part of why our economy is rolling over yours and so many others!

            So, you have yet to answer my very BASIC question, JP. What happens when that high pressure system sits over the UK for three weeks and wind is sparse and the fog rolls in such that solar is almost non existent too? C’mon, John. What are you going to do then, huh? How is your infinite clean energy utopia going to run the hospitals and basic infrastructure in that scenario big fella? LOL

            • Even in the medium term America has screwed itself (shafted, literally) when you consider the damage done by fracking.

              NB. Stationary high pressure systems mean lots of sunlight Rex. You should know that …. basic schoolboy error, move to the back of class.

        • Never is an awfully long time GottaLearnSometime,

          Certainty is an illusory fabrication manufactured by the need to fill the void of the intellect with something, anything.
          Nothing has ever been, is not now, nor ever will be certain or final.
          Look at your sentences, is there another sentence after the period? Yes, and so is this, so, this claim for “end of story, period” is not final or in the tiniest bit true at all is it?

          So, GottaLotToLearn, nothing is certain, there is end, no story, no period, there is no beginning, there will be no end, all is the eternal now and certainty of anything just evaporates in a puff of logic.

          here is what others have said about certainty:

          The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. Socrates

          Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle. Robert Anthony

          Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. Voltaire

          Absolute certainty is not something I strive for anymore. I’ve learned the hard way that destiny usually looks upon our most strident convictions with amusement, or perhaps even pity. Elizabeth Gilbert

          The only certainty is that nothing is certain. Pliny the Elder

          I have devoted my life to uncertainty. Certainty is the death of wisdom, thought, creativity. Shekhar Kapur

          Its not that you say these things, what worries and saddens me, is that i suspect you actually believe it?

      • Hopefully you better understand that solar and wind can never be cheaper than gas because they will always require fossil backup. A solution cannot be cheaper than something which is a component of its solution.

        • You’ve just shown how out of touch you are Rex. You should study what’s happening in California. Utility level battery backup passed 100% growth last year and behind-the-meter storage 15% up on 2016 over 2015. Driving this swing is ‘massive declines’ in prices and a trend towards acceptance and ‘bankability which is expected to continue’.

          • Very aware of California, Australia, Costa Rica, Germany, Hawaii, and other first-movers, Philip P. You tell me how a system that is wholly reliant on solar and wind will fare when the wind doesn’t blow for three weeks and the sun doesn’t shine? I can’t wait for the explanation! Pixie dust takes you just so far!

            • Evidently not very aware Rex. Show me a place where the wind doesn’t blow for three weeks and If you can get anywhere near that I will show you that the region it is under an enormous, slow moving high pressure weather system – which tend to be cloudless and therefore very sunny. I don’t know what sort dust you are on but it must be similar stuff that hballpeeny (a guy who used to haunt these threads, full of misleading info) was on.

              Base load can be met in a variety of ways and the direction should be increasingly on lower dependency on fossil fuels . The trend is clear, let’s not step backwards with the short term promise and long term legacy issues of shale gas.

              Unfortunately our government is being fed all kinds of nonsense from the ff brigade and it is now moving backward, relatively speaking for the renewables sector… ‘Four years ago the UK market was ranked fourth globally but has steadily fallen down the ranks after a series of political blows to subsidy levels. The exception to the gloomy outlook for renewable energy investment is offshore wind power.’ – source: Telegraph Business. The wind power exception is interesting though

            • Philip, you may not have heard but Germany experienced just such a period last winter. High pressure, little wind, lots of fog for weeks.

              From Energypost: “This winter could go down in history as the event that proved the German energy transition to be unsubstantiated and incapable of becoming a success story. Electricity from wind and solar generation has been catastrophically low for several weeks. December brought new declines. A persistent winter high-pressure system with dense fog throughout Central Europe has been sufficient to unmask the fairy tale of a successful energy transition, even for me as a lay person.”

            • We shall see Fibonacci. There are plenty of other positive reports around not to mention the advances in solar energy tech courtesy of NASA’s and other science centre researchers – effectively doubling the energy conversion efficiency of new solar panels and reducing their need for direct sunlight… prices per kWhr still falling rapidly, as they are for storage.

            • Philip, just last winter Germany experienced three weeks of very little wind and immense fog under a high pressure system. It made most of its renewable capacity ineffectual for an extended period.

            • Does Germany not have a large grid, Philip? So, what happens when Germany has another lengthy episode of no sun and wind, a condition you don’t believe can happen, but that is actually happening in the real world? Your answer is to expand the grid so the Germany can take power from other areas that may have sun and wind at the time. That may work for a day, or a few hours. But obviously you are sapping the other areas of more power than they were built to provide, and likely drawing down on their storage resources. So, what happens on day 2 or day 3, Philip? Now the adjacent areas are in dangerous territory and don’t want to sell Germany power. What are you going to do for the next 2.5 weeks? Do you let people die? Do you allow businesses to fail, Philip? How are you going to react?

            • Suitable storage technologies are in their infancy (but accelerating at between 40% and 100% per year) and the grid smartness/agility is still looking for solutions. People harp on about current problems as if there can be no possible solutions. I have more trust in human nature to overcome these hurdles.

              Looking backwards won’t provide the solutions needed now and in the future.

    • Oh, that was a joke? Ha ha…..yes very good. Well I must return this level headed comment in kind.
      Yes, climate change is happening and it is accelerating at an alarming rate.
      So the big issue, as i said before, is whether climate change is mostly or at least partly anthropogenic or some sort of long term solar cycle?Or both? Yes climate change has happened before, though the cause was usually a global event, such as the deccan gulfs, tectonic collisions, volcanoes and earthquakes, floods and asteroid strikes, pole shifts and reversals perhaps due to some celestial events, and the Permian extinction event that destroyed 90% of all life on earth. The singular signature of this anthropogenic event is notable by a couple of things, that the human race has devastated the natural “climate change safety valves” these being the oceanic alkali state, absorbing CO2, frozen methane traps in the mid ocean floor and river estuaries, atmospheric ozone proliferation and depth, extensive areas of polar ice and permafrost, the ice reflects solar rays and moderated the temperature variations, the permafrost locks up methane from previous eras into deep ocean silts.
      A stable balanced atmosphere, natural evaporation and precipitation, rain forests and vast areas of land with dense forests soaking up CO2 and breathing out oxygen. Ocean algal blooms carrying out the same function in the 2/3 oceans. Clear water surface, grass on the plains, wildlife proliferation preserving all the natural cycles of decay and renewal. Also natural decay of potential toxins has been contained in natural rock strata that have kept a vast amount of hydrocarbons, methane and CO2 locked up in deep rock strata where some gradually release to the surface or get bound up in oil or coal formations, thereby limiting its release rate to the surface.
      All these together provided the necessary climate change absorbent “sinks” that, in the event of climate change, by whatever means, enabled the earths natural systems to either absorb the effects and smooth them out and allow for a rapid recovery.
      So what has the human presence had on all those balances?
      Every one of those climate change natural sinks have all but been destroyed by man, every single one.
      That is not all though is it? Because what else have we been doing since the industrial revolution? We have increased CO2, poured vast amounts of pollution into the atmosphere, and now the ground too, we have acidified the oceans and covered them with a film of plastics and oil, and we have dumped god knows how much PCB, DDT, radioactive waste, toxic chemicals, mercury, and all sorts of waste into rivers that flow into the oceans. What about the land? Nuclear power stations and weapon testing, highly toxic chemical dumps, heating the atmosphere above concrete paved vast cities, pesticides, nuclear accidents, declared or hidden, gas storage leaks, burning fossil fuels, now we are boring into the earth and releasing the hydrocarbon sinks.
      Its the rapid speed of climate change that is notable this time, not that it hasn’t happened before, but that we have accelerated the process and destroyed all the natural safety valves that the earth built over millions of years, we have destroyed those in just a few generations.
      Now we are seeing the results of that interference with the earths natural defense again rapid, and perhaps irreversible climate change to the point where the very stability of the natural balance may “flip” into a devastatingly more volatile state that could take centuries to recover from.
      So, my opinion, based purely on evidence, is that this rapid acceleration of climate change has been at the very least exacerbated by man.
      So what do we do about it?
      My personal opinion, is that in order to at the very least slow down the rapid decay of the natural safety valves so amazingly offered to us by nature, we must curtail all the effects we have brought upon ourselves, to call a halt ot at the very least reduce the production of further hydrocarbon release, to invest as a matter of dire emergency into any energy process that does not have a carbon signature greater than the failing safety valves can handle and reverse all the recent destruction of all the safety valves and hope we still have enough time before the whole world climate flips into something so volatile it will be catastrophic to man and every life form on earth.
      No complacency, no, oh next year maybe, now, it starts now, here and that means to limit or even stop fracking, then we might have some leeway to deal with all the other safety valves and work just as hard as we can to restore the balance.
      That’s how I feel about it.

  2. Assuming that anti frackers don’t drive vehicles either petrol diesel or electric I don’t understand why they are fussed about a few hgvs?

    • Assuming the anti anti’s don’t breath the clean air, drink clean water or eat clean food, I don’t understand why they are so fussed about a few protests?

      • I’ve absolutely zero issues with legal protesting. We both know that is not where this story will end from the illegal activity already evident.

        • Do we? I think not, never heard of o&g rentamob and police infiltration encouraging violence? All the “rage” it seems.
          A dirty strategy as old as the shills.
          But sleeping with hard line Unionist DUP with a history of violence is OK though isn’t it?
          No objections there?

          • So you’ve an issue with the DUP yet you have no probs with your numpty leader that is Corbyn being in bed with Sinn Fein? Why don’t you go Google how many deaths are associated with either side. Can’t have it both ways. I’m afraid your leader will always be toxic when Ireland comes into the conversation.

            • Ha ha! Dear oh dear, GottitWrongAgain, how little you know? For your edification and enlightenment I don’t support ANY politicians, thats right buddy, not one single miserable compromised one of them! But especially I don’t tolerate the deeply flawed and corrupt tory party, who are about as far from a democratic party now in 2017 as was the tory government in 1916 to Irish freedom of speech and a tolerant open inclusive society here, let alone there? The John Major and Tony Blaire agreement was the best thing that could have happened, but it is still simmering now, brexit isn’t helping there either, better not try to cynically play off one against the other GottitWrongAgain. There be more than dragons there.
              I suggest that you moderate the assumption that anyone who wont support the tory party automatically supports the opposition? Way off beam GottaLookHarderNextTime that is called linear thinking and is quite typical. It’s not who I support but who I mistrust less! That goes for your compromised incestuous industry too, look at the German experience video if you are in any doubt. As for the DUP and Sinn Fein I said before that would blow up in the tories faces, as it is still contentious and occasionally violent on both sides, three sides if you count the British partition occupation and executions which caused that sorry mess in the first place. And what government did that prey? Yeah you got it, your humpty dumpty numpty tory party who no one can put together again!
              Love to have these little chats.

  3. Gas to replace coal is a no brainer for environment. Let not go through the Howarth study saga we all know we disagree on this. But on top of that coal mining also release a large amount of methane that cant be controlled or mitgated. Burning coal release sulfur dioxide which form weak acid rain with rain water. Plus other particulate including lead.

    • Depends very much whether your talking about deep mines or open pits, hard coal or soft (brown/lignite) coal or semi-soft (sub-bituminous) ,and how it is used in furnaces, whether it has high sulfur content etc etc. Deep mined hard coal with the right handling processes and ultra super-critical turbine generation (and flu technologies) are proving cleaner end-to-end than the shale gas chain end-to-end. I was ridiculed when I suggested this may provide a better route as a transition than shale gas. I just thought it should be considered seriously because there are existing mines in the UK and still a current generation of communities around those mines who could be re-employed – therefore a social dividend… hope I’m not sounding like Trump!

  4. Of course not John. See you have stopped championing the German energy system since it became apparent that a 6 billion Euro bill is part of the undisclosed price of it.

    Like how you keep referring to wind and solar costs without any reference to the costs of new nuclear to back them up, as you want to deny gas doing that.

    I really would suggest that you antis should either avoid economics or find some posters who can avoid such basic errors. I recognise much is stated to the converted who are only concerned with the spin, but if any independent person looks at this site to learn something they will be a little more discerning, and you will only have yourselves to blame when the 70:30 ratio widens further.

    • Martin – nuclear can only be used as base load – not switched off and on when it is windy / not windy / day time / night time. The only options currently viable are gas (here), coal (Germany), pumped hydro (Norway) and interconnectors (here to a small extent).

      The German system is not a lot different to ours from a renewables installed capacity standpoint, the difference is the coal / lignite vs our gas / nuclear – and of course their consumers pay 65% more for their domestic electricity.

      I heard today that the next DRAX train conversion will be to gas – not foreign forests like the previous conversions. Are they sitting on a load of shale gas reserves?

    • Hardly true at all. This rush to smugness over the German’s progress (or lack of as you see it) is based entirely on a misrepresentation of Germany’s preeminent position in this sector. The small upturn in coal power and emissions (of about 1%) in the last year is just a blip in the downward trend. Of course you guys have to make a meal out of that. They made a couple of mis-steps – firstly in their rush to close nuclear facilities in the wake of Fukoshima and secondly in an over anticipated reliance on CCS via a large scheme which has been mothballed. The moot point about higher domestic charges has to be balanced against the pro-sumer revolution (where customers are increasingly becoming producers – via solar installations) and also you have to factor in the increased earning and spending power of German income. To help you get up to speed here’s a link (quite balanced for pro’s and cons): http://fortune.com/2017/03/14/germany-renewable-clean-energy-solar/

  5. Since none of the anti-anti’s commented on these two videos posted by Philip P, i thought i would just repeat the links here. and add a few, just click on the link inside the parentheses

    ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Tm4Srg0TA )

    ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdGuWbMwYYU&t=13s )

    ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clrjqOXEcUU )

    more links to Andrew Nikjforuk from here

    ( https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=andrew+nikiforuk+ )

    Some weekend viewing for pros and cons alike

    Have a good one.

        • Well this must be another meaning of the word “won” i was not previously aware of? Is that like the recent usage of the word “won” as applicable to, lets see, say the tory victory….sorry….defeat? In that case, by your definition of the word “won”, you just “won” a round of applause, one hand clapping that is, and an revised o&g dictionary that reverses all the meanings of words in order to pull the wool over the eyes of planning authorities? You know, the “won” where the operators say “won” thing but means entirely the opposite?
          Lets have a look at this remarkable dictionary and look up “won” shall we? Well, well it says “see lost”, lets look up “lost” shall we? Well well again, it says “see won”. Lets look up “won” again, shall we? Well well, it says…………and so on ad infinitum. Fracking logic.

            • I’m always happy TW, its not winning that counts, its playing the game.
              Never mind, I’ll let you win next time! Did I say that? Let me think about that?

            • Another thought, coming back down to earth for a moment.
              It was never about winning or losing, that’s a subjective illusion. Most of the objection to o&g proliferation is the horror stories we see elsewhere, a secondary objection is that this process is being e forced into our countryside and what little representation we did have has been compromised and overruled, hardly a process of public relations. I order to defuse this, we should be looking at ways of making the operation of o&g exploration and extraction accountable and acceptable. There may be ways to at least partially defuse that anger and suggest ways to make it better.
              Sooner or later we will have to sit down with the prospect of o&g proliferation on our doorstep, and discuss all the aspects honestly and sensibly, we can all descend into tit for tat smart Alec remarks, its easy, too easy.
              Pros and cons have been done to death and the vociferous absolutism on both sides only serves to polarise and raise hackles to the point where no agreement is possible.
              The pros have their position, the antis have theirs. But as this proceeds all we have done is push each other further apart.
              I propose a couple of things, firstly lets stop sniping at each other and seeking to denigrate personalities, that does nothing but illicit more of the same and no one gets anywhere but angry.
              I also propose that the pros suggest ways of improving the process to make it acceptable to all, and the antis propose ways of ensuring regulation and monitoring are carried out. What I suggest is that there is at least one continuous on site presence of one or more representatives to monitor regulation, preferably EA or whatever that emerges as, but in the absence of that a government sponsored independent professional representative from a qualified engineering consultancy to monitor in place of that.
              The moderators would then report independently of the operators, direct to the public and report to government. The government will have a responsibility to answer, amend, or improve any problems and shut the activity down in the event of a serious breach.
              That way everyone is covered and protest and policing can be modified to observation and reporting.
              We must defuse this situation before it gets out of hand. I would welcome your comments.

            • Oops, sorry, spelling of “enforced” and “in order” I don’t intend to “order” anything!!

  6. Looks like fracking will be dropped from the Queen’s Speech.

    “Sources said the manifesto had essentially been ripped up after the party lost its majority in the general election. Pension reforms, capping energy bills, means testing winter fuel payments and the proposed expansion of the domestic shale gas industry are also potentially off the agenda.”


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