MP calls for investigation into cause of water problems in seismic testing area in Bolsover

171018 STW problem 4 Dennis Skinner1

The Labour MP for Bolsover, Dennis Skinner, has called on the Prime Minister to investigate water problems in an area near where INEOS has been carrying out seismic testing.

Residents on the Oxcroft estate, an area of smallholdings on the edge of Bolsover, in Derbyshire, complained about discoloured water more than a week ago.

171018 STW problem 4

Discoloured water on the Oxcroft estate, 12 October 2017. Photo: Used with the permission of the author

INEOS Shale has been carrying out seismic testing in the Bolsover area recently. It says there is no evidence to link the problems to its work.

At Prime Minister’s Questions this morning, Mr Skinner said:

“Is the Prime Minister aware that INEOS, the fracking company, has been accused in the Bolsolver area on the Oxcroft estate of creating a massive deterioration in the water supply run by Severn Trent. Will she, as Prime Minister, investigate this matter and call upon INEOS to halt the process whilst the investigation takes place.”

The Prime Minister replied:

“He’s raised an issue which, I’m sure will be properly looked into. But underlying this is the question of ensuring that we are able to get a secure and safe supply of energy* into the future and that’s why the fracking is continuing, that’s why we’re supportive of the shale gas exploration. There are opportunities there for the United Kingdom and I’m sure he’s raised a particular issue that I’m sure will be looked into appropriately.”

You can watch the video here.

DrillOrDrop has been investigating the water problems in the Oxcroft area since last week. We’ll be reporting from the area tomorrow.

Mr Skinner told DrillOrDrop he had asked his parliamentary question in response to a letter and photographs from a constituent. He said he had written to INEOS and Severn Trent about the water problems on the Oxcroft estate but had not received a reply.

INEOS issued this statement:

“INEOS takes its responsibility for all its works very seriously and takes into account all relevant environment and infrastructure before working on site. Underground imaging surveys have played a long-time role in understanding the UK’s geology, particularly in the era of coal.

“In this case, our survey was carried more than 3 kilometres from the leak reported at Bolsover. There is zero evidence that links the Severn Trent water leak to our work.

“Severn Trent is currently investigating the reported water supply issues in the area. In the meantime, we are disappointed that Mr Skinner chose to make his comments in Parliament before receiving our response to his letter. As a former miner, he knows better than most what is underground and the work we are doing in Bolsover. Our invitation to him stands, to meet with our geologists to discuss our activity and its proximity three kilometres from the Severn Trent leak.”

This evening Mr Skinner said he had still not received any response or correspondence from INEOS and he said he would not meet the company:

“Not in a month of Sundays. Who are they kidding? That’s not my style. I’m opposed to fracking.

“We live cheek-by-jowl in Britain. In America you can do fracking in some sites and not be within five miles of people. We are not a country like that.”

*A report on the UK’s gas supply published last week said the UK was not dependent on shale gas for future energy security DrillOrDrop report

38 replies »

  1. In Balcombe Cuadrilla did no seismic testing, but our water ran brown when they drilled and shortly afterwards a nearby drain collapsed. The fish dies in the nearby stream, and stream water ran lurid green. Nothing ever proven, just one of those interesting coincidences.

    • If your stream water really did run lurid green, I suggest you take it up with your local water authority – they commonly use Fluorescein (a harmless fluorescent dye) for tracing water courses.

      As for blaming the water running brown and a drain collapse on the drilling? That’s absurd – if you were standing next to the site, you wouldn’t know when they started drilling until either they told you, or you could see the TDS moving up and down the mast.

    • Kathryn

      Have you any follow up information on the brown water? Why investigate when one can speculate?

      Lots of Seismic was carried out by British Coal in the same area covered by Dennis Skinnets constituency plus by Budge after privatisation in the same area.

      No brown streams, no dead fish, and no coincidences. Ditto for drilling in the Vale of Belvoir in the late 1970s.

  2. Glad you reported this as it just proves how dim these ppl are if they associate seismic testing with discoloured water. I laughed when I read it on other news platform.

  3. Does Mrs May even bother to read the reports her government produce, the reports that have just clearly stated the UK has no energy shortage and a secure gas supply for the next 20 years, without any shale gas? The ignorance is astounding.

    • The question isn’t that we need gas, it’s do we need high carbon and zero revenue gas. UK gas belongs to everyone, and the 30BCM by 2030 scenario by National Grid e.g would mean foregoing £2BN a year in tax revenue. Rich white nimby’s are entitled to their opinion, so are the many who own the resource, not the few

      • No money in UK shale

        The economic report laid out a series of different scenarios, with anything from 470 to 3,100 jobs potentially created, and value added to the Scottish economy to 2062 anywhere from £100m to £4.6bn.


        That’s without taking account of long term environmental costs, road damage costs, health costs, and the impact of house price devaluation.

        There may be less gas in place in Scotland but the numbers show it is virtually economically worthless.

        If prices rise North sea output will rise.

        • Read the report itself – it says it did take into account infrastructure support costs.

          North Sea gas production is in steep decline and no amount of a rise in the price of gas will have any significant effect on that. Within 10 years we will be importing over 75% of our gas requirements.

  4. My neighbor cat died last week in her own backyard. A neighbour on the other side was doing some digging and drilling for home renovation. According to KatT and Mr Skinner logics, those two events must be linked and so I think I will request the neighborhood to stop the home renovation to continue.

  5. What on open minded guy! Accuse them and refuse to meet them. Just like the coward bullies of multiple anti frackers. That water is as likely to be contaminated by unicorn poo. Ineos should sue whoever made this allegation ASAP

  6. Silly political games being played. Probably nothing to do with the relationship between Ineos and Unite???
    Dennis has never been keen to research any subject, he just wants a stage to give a totally biased view. One of the ancient relics of our political system. A good reason, in itself, to reduce the number of MPs down to 600.

    “The ignorance is astounding”! I seem to remember similar remarks about the need to convert to diesel cars. As I said yesterday, DYOR, but do not rely too much on government reports concerning energy. They have been consistently wrong for at least the last 50 years.

  7. Skinner knows perfectly well that the water company said last week the problem was caused by a burst main and was nothing to do with seismic testing. Mind you this is the man who told a commons debate that we shouldn’t be sending men thousands of feet underground to look for gas.

    • mike
      Too right.
      This was reported in the Derbyshire Times on Friday 13 October.
      They note the issue, and that it was first noticed a week before. They also report that Severn Trent say the cause is a burst pipe, and as a result of reverse flow.
      They report that Bolsover district council had contacted STW and they reported that they had sampled it and it was fit to drink!
      They report that the issue had been well reported on social media.
      The STW web site show a reported leak in the area off Oxcroft Lane.

      A quick trip to Bolsover Against Fracking ( the go to place for any advice on how to link INEOS to any adverse event it seems ), shows chat about it, BBC bias ( biased for I presume ) and maybe INEOS pay look North to report favaroubly on the outcome.

      Mrs H has viewed the pictures and can confirm that the water looks like it did in our house when a leak was repaired some years ago.

      So, my view is, normal day to day leak, puffed up by those against in the area, and then taken to parliament by Dennis, who should know better.

      I wonder if this event will morph into a ‘truth’ and become a favoured link to attach when disputing a frack related issue in the UK?

  8. Bottled water then? Just like in the US which was the country where the frackers maintain that no water supplies were compromised haha

    • Caroline
      Perhaps we should wait for the investigation prior to blaming it in an activity which has been carried out before in the same area, by British Coal. There are also boreholes in the area.
      So, what is so special about this Seismic work such that it would cause the issue?
      Off to look at the water company website……these people are not drawing their water from a well at the bottom of the garden.

    • Caroline
      Not really. Just getting after the first ‘fracking causes polluted water’ story in the Midlands.
      More later on this no doubt, once the investigation is complete.
      I have an interest as Severn Trent supply our water.
      We have had brown water before. It was turned off once, and when turned back on it ran brown. The company said it was OK for drinking, but we used bottled water until it ran clear, some days later ( paid for by ourselves of course).

      Tea and coffee made with tap water taste metallic, so drinking water is filtered. Same your way?

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