Landowners accuse government of “major failing” over liability for fracking

pnr 170822 Ros Wills5

Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, 22 August 2017. Photo: Ros Wills

Landowners are demanding speedy action from the government about who should deal with the consequences if something goes wrong with fracking.

The Country Land & Business Association (CLA), which represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses, says the government has not made sufficient progress to tackle the risks of long-term liability.

CLA logoIn a letter to the Energy Minister, Richard Harrington, the CLA wants the government to give urgent reassurances over the risks of long-term costs to private landowners.

The CLA’s Deputy President, Tim Breitmeyer, said:

“Our members take a long-term view of land management and will continue to run businesses using land with shale gas developments on them long after an operator has left a site.

“It is critical that the right protections are in place to ensure the long-term integrity of well sites and remove any risk to future use of affected land.

“It is greatly concerning that despite the acknowledged risk, the Government continues to encourage the industry to increase the number of sites in development without an adequate solution to liabilities being in place.

“For a government whose stated objective is to establish a world leading shale gas industry in the UK, the lack of clarity on these important issues is a major failing.”

The CLA said it had consistently raised the concerns of liability for fracking operations with ministers, officials and the industry over the past four years.

The organisation said all had acknowledged the liability issue needed addressing. But it added:

“To date, no solution has been provided to private landowners despite the continued growth of the UK shale gas industry.”

The CLA says there is:

  • No clear mechanism to address the risk of operators becoming insolvent and not fulfilling licence obligations to abandon a well
  • No clear on-going mechanism for post-abandonment inspector or monitoring of wells to ensure well integrity is maintained

Frack Free Lancashire

Barbara Richardson, of Frack Free Lancashire, said:

“Farmers and landowners are quite right to be concerned about the long-term impacts of fracking on their land. They should be concerned about the short-term impacts too.

“So far, the government and the oil and gas industry have failed to reassure landowners and the general public that fracking is safe.

“Public opposition to this industry is growing daily as more and more communities are threatened with fracking. It is certainly not a foregone conclusion that fracking for shale gas will ever progress to full scale production. It is extremely costly to produce and has many environmental impacts.

“Farmers should certainly think twice before they sign up, as short-term gains may well be offset by long-term losses. Accidents can and do happen and who will pick up the bill?

25 replies »

  1. One would wonder Malcolm unless you had seen the “person” screaming disgustingly in the face of the police. Any mother passing by with young children would deserve some money to re-educate her kids in social behaviour. Yes, it should be the antis paying it-but as you see when they get to court, they have no assets!
    The same is already happening at KM-see the silly lady with the silly sign. What a great message to put out to any young minds. “Mummy, what does that sign mean?” So much for a candle lit vigil of peaceful protest!

  2. Equally, Robert, try buying a house in, or near, Stockbridge, Hants. I see Igas are planning to work over an existing well, and add a side track for a local site.

    River Test flows through Stockbridge, crystal clear water full of massive trout-the best fly fishing river in England. Salmon migrate up the river each year, via the Solent where Fawley Oil Refinery helps to produce cleaner water in the Solent, making it the prime salmon river in England.

    Property prices not much different to Poole area.

    Suggest you check the facts, rather than FOE. They have already had difficulty validating their facts.

  3. Robert-why do you need to know my profession?? I have given such details on this site many times before, I do not intend doing so again.

    Equally, I could ask who is paying you to make comments on this site-oh, yes, it does happen. However, I treat antis on this site as if they have no financial motivation. It is a cheap shot but often used by some, that people’s opinions are all to do with finance. I really can’t see that an anti capitalism approach is justified regarding fracking any more than any other for profit enterprise. It helps to attach some anarchists to the cause but it will create more problems than solutions.

    If you want to put me in a category, just think of me as someone who is sprinkling some iced water over those who have been worked up to a lather by false science, fake facts and scaremongering.

    Does Sellafield pay out to locals to “compensate” regarding property values? Or those platforms out at sea that used to be visible from Blackpool? Genuine question-I suspect not, but I could be wrong.

    • Martin, Seems to have hit a nerve, are you in the Trump camp? obviously being paid to put the opposite view [ Edited by moderator]

      • Can you provide some evidence as to how you came to your conclusion that Martin is being paid (other than that he’s pro oil/gas exploration)? Nobody, as far as I’m aware, has ever claimed that any of the anti-fracking posters on this website are paid. On the other hand, “he’s pro-fracking therefore he’s a paid stooge” gets trotted out with monotonous regularity.

        • Al
          It is most likely, my thought based on no evidence at all, that those who think Martin is paid, are being paid themselves. Hence their line of thought is that, as they are, he is.

          Some are seeking fellow Trump supporters, thinking that support of fracking means you support Trump. Why else would they ask?

          I await further flights of fantasy. it would be more troubling if people were attaching all their pet hates onto one type of person ( pro frackers are paid on this site, are pro Trump, pro gas in your tap, pro dirty profit, pro law and order as enforced by the police, anti momentum, warm to old labour, anti remainder , pro hydrocarbons, pro tobacco) or whatever.

          That troubling thought could work both ways, of course

        • Well Al, apparently my published company accounts show I am paid by Vladimir Putin – Backing Fracking posted that analysis and they are very very clever, so it must be true obviously!

          Actually, I am Putin intolerant.

          I doubt Martin is paid by the frackers but if if he is I hope they put a performance clause in the contract as that will have saved them a fortune.

  4. Thanks Al.
    [ Edited by moderator] Interesting that whenever any argument is going badly, the Trump card is played. Really quite interesting but can’t see how he comes into the equation. If an American President is to be targeted regarding US fracking, it should be Obama!

    I’m rather pleased that someone thinks my little contributions would be worth paying for! (That should draw a few comments!)

    Robert-I’m anti LIDites. If you do a bit of research you might understand my motivation, but I don’t really think you want to. I’m away to the footy now, so enjoy your weekend.

  5. Interesting how some can make comments on this site, and are not moderated, whilst some who make comments that are simply factual, but inconvenient, are moderated! The argument is being lost, so let’s “control” one side of the argument.

    [ Edited by moderator]

  6. Dear Mr Lee,

    The Infrastructure Act 2015 introduces a range of safeguards (Section 50) including restoration conditions. The Mineral Planning Authority (North Yorkshire) can also require a financial bond to be paid to cover restoration in the unlikely event that the exploration licence holder does not meet its clear obligations to restore the site after the well is decommissioned. I understand that NYCC is in receipt of £125,000 from Third Energy for the Kirby Misperton KM8 well.

    The further policies I am pressing would only be needed if shale gas exploration started to be developed at scale and would give further to protections for landowners in the form of a funding pool which can be called upon in the event of a producer not being prepared or able to fund restoration.

    Kind Regards,

    Kevin Hollinrake MP

    • If I understand this correctly…..
      ‘NYCC have a very small amount of money – equivalent to the value of one small one-bedroomed house – to cover anything major going wrong at KM8 (presumably NYCC have some rules around levels of proof of harm and how the money would be divvied up should that need arise).
      I have also asked for some jam tomorrow, or on whichever date fracking takes off big style. This jam tomorrow will hand out some jam, tomorrow, if/when operators go bust or after they’ve sold the viable bits to some other tax haven based company, leaving the liabilities and problems to look after themselves. I’d rather not give any details of how the hell you prove the (absent) frackers are liable when most of the problems are hidden underground, so the jam may be nigh on impossible to obtain. But don’t worry.’
      Fair assessment?

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s