Northern anti-fracking campaigns step up plans for meetings and “targeted resistance”

170703 pnr Kirsten Buus for Reclaim the Power

Protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 3 July 2017. Photo: Kirsten Buss for Reclaim the Power

Opponents of fracking are intensifying their campaign against the shale gas industry across northern England.

In Lancashire, the United Resistance group, launched this week, is promising three months of non-violent direct actions starting in April against Cuadrilla’s fracking plans near Blackpool.

In Yorkshire, eight public meetings are planned for next month, described by the organisers as a “wake-up call” about INEOS plans for shale gas exploration in the area.

“Targeted resistance”

United Resistance, which now has a presence on Facebook and Twitter, said:

“The situation is urgent and it is only a united and powerful resistance that will halt fracking before it’s too late – and we’re on the threshold of it being too late.”

Its plans coincide with the period in which Cuadrilla said it expected to begin fracking at its Preston New Road site near Blackpool. April also sees the start of a public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s plans to frack at a nearby site at Roseacre Wood.

180126 United Resistance tweet

Tweet by United Resistance

The group said on Facebook:

“If the industry performs a ‘frack job’ then the damage is done and stopping them becomes a far greater challenge.

“Sites across the UK are making a stand with residents taking part in community meetings, rallies and non-violent direct actions; here in Lancashire, we know that Cuadrilla intends on pushing the chemicals, silica sand and vast quantities of water underground between April and July.”

The group says three months of what it calls “targeted resistance” will start on Easter Monday (2 April 2018).

It said:

“The following day, Tuesday 3rd April, when the trucks are rolling we will launch non-violent direct actions that will carry us through three incredibly important months.”

Cuadrilla has criticised the regular protests outside the Preston New Road site, which coincided with the start of operations in January 2017. In July last year, the company’s chief executive, Francis Egan, told the Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley:

“Protestors’ democratic right to lawfully protest should not and does not over-ride workers and companies’ right to lawfully go about their daily work free from abuse, intimidation and road blockages.”

“Wake up to INEOS”

180127 Frack Free United artwork

An additional event is planned for Eckington (see Event details)

In Yorkshire, a community campaign group, Frack Free Ryedale, and the cross-party Frack Free United have organised a series of talks in eight villages about INEOS’s shale gas exploration plans in the area.

The groups said the talks were in areas where they believed INEOS was most likely to explore first. They predicted that INEOS would begin operations in PEDL licences 283, 289, 291 and 332, an area with about 40 towns and villages.

ineos Yorkshire pedl licences.jpg

INEOS shale gas licences in Yorkshire. Blue licence areas are operated by INEOS. Orange licence areas are operated by an INEOS partner company. Source: INEOS Shale

The talks are expected to cover what the campaigners say will be the likely impacts of a shale gas industry on residents and the dangers to public health and the environment.

Speakers will include local campaigners, a chartered surveyor, academics and representatives of Friends of the Earth.

INEOS has said it is looking to create about 10-12 shale gas pads in a 10km licence area, with up to 10 wells on each pad.

An INEOS video, posted on YouTube on 4 January 2018, described the impact of each pad as “surprisingly small”. Suitable sites were said to be “remarkably compact thanks to a combination of multi-well pads and horizontal drilling”. The video added:

“Once construction is complete and wells are in production they almost disappear into the landscape”.

“Biggest issue facing Ryedale”

North Yorkshire is expected to see the first high volume hydraulic fracture in the UK since 2011. Third Energy is waiting final consent from the Business Secretary, Greg Clark.

But large parts of the county and neighbouring East Yorkshire are licensed to other companies. INEOS is the operator or has a stake in 14 licences in the area.

Di Keal, a town and district councillor for Norton West in North Yorkshire, said:

“These meetings are designed to be a wake-up call for people who think that fracking won’t affect them. The number of PEDL licences that INEOS already hold means that, if they exploit every one, huge swathes of Ryedale will see fracking rigs spring up on the skyline.

“We want local people who haven’t looked into the dangers of fracking to come along, listen and ask questions to the experts. This is the biggest issue facing Ryedale at the moment and we hope people who are new to the subject will come to learn more about the risks fracking will bring to their local community should it be allowed to take hold. We need communities to pull together to oppose fracking before it does huge damage to our environment, lives and well-being.”

Steve Mason, from Frack Free United, said:

“All the focus on fracking in North Yorkshire has been on the small test frack at Kirby Misperton, but this Third Energy trial is only the tip of a very large iceberg.

“Plastics manufacturing giant INEOS is now focusing its attention onto North and East Yorkshire and is preparing to put plans into action across the PEDL areas that the company holds across Ryedale and the Yorkshire region.

“They are already approaching landowners in these areas asking to do exploratory work and seismic testing, all precursors to fracking. People need to realise that this industry will affect almost every town or village where ever they may live if the industry gets a foothold”

Event details

All the meetings are 6.45pm for a 7pm start

Tuesday 6 February
Strensall Village Hall, Northfields, Strensall, YO32 YXW

Thursday 8 February
Westow Cricket Club, Badger Bank Road, Westow YO60 7NN

Friday 9 February
St Peter’s Church Hall, Langton Rd, Norton YO17 9AE

Sunday 11 February
Feathers Hotel, Market Place, Helmsley YO62 5BH

Monday 12 February
Cricket Club, Stavely Lane, Eckington S21 3WB

Tuesday 13 February
Sledmere Village Hall, Bridlington Road, Sledmere, Driffield YO25 3XW

Wednesday 14 February
Mill Suite, Pickering Memorial Hall, Potter Hill, Pickering YO18 8AA

Tuesday 27 February
Kilham Village Hall, Church Street, Kilham, near Driffield YO25 4RG

18 replies »

  1. And now we see the reality of this industry; 10 to 12 pads in a 10 sq km area with up to 10 wells on each pad. And that’s nowhere near the size of their PEDLs; more pads and wells will follow. This is a major reason why we are campaigning to stop this; it’s industrialisation of the countryside on a massive scale. It will savagely impact any area it occurs for many, many years, potentially decades. One well today becomes 10 to 12 wells tomorrow, followed by the same again and again and again until the whole area is blighted. Time for all politicians at every level of governance to wake up and act to stop it now.

    • “And now we see the reality of this industry; 10 to 12 pads in a 10 sq km area” Indeed. And contrast this with the massive scale of industrialization that an energy equivalent wind farm would require – a full 2,800 sq km installation. The impact on human lives and the environment does not even compare. Stop wind farms now!

  2. The INEOS quote “Once construction is complete and wells are in production they almost disappear into the landscape” is typical of the half truths and weasel words. It all sounds so comforting in one small sentence, but in reality, construction will take months and mean many hundreds or thousands of lorry journeys, invariably along small country roads. Drilling on a multiple well pad with between 10-50 wells (industry estimates) would take how long? Months, Years? Then the fracks with millions of gallons of water tankered in for each frack and the waste water tankered out to be treated….. where? Over to the industry experts. That means constant traffic, noise and light pollution, some of it 24/7. Then on to the next well pad. This isn’t a pleasant rural pursuit, it’s a heavy industrial process, soon to happen in a field very near you. It doesn’t sound quite so comforting when the stark truth is included.

    • Why would they tanker in water when a pipe would do the job? The whole point would be that pad construction would only be done once. After that the number of trucks is quite small.
      Nobody can see KM 8 so we are looking at a single Derrick there for several years. MUCH less obtrusive than wind turbines, biodigesters, mobile masts or power pylons

      • Thus speaks the industry rep!!!
        Either that or someone who has little or no idea of the true impact of this toxic industry. At least wind turbines can be taken down. Once the water table is contaminated it’s contaminated for ever. Once you frack you can’t go back!!!!

        • Yup. Ken’s KM8 example is a a cute diversion …. an already existing well – a straight drop only with five short frack zones (proposed) – to test the flow potential. What it is now gives no indication of the expanded development, and the risks that would follow, if it gets a good test-frack result. That’s no doubt what Barclays Bank are hoping for, so they can sell off Third Energy at a good price.

      • Single Derrick seems to be shy and unhappy with anyone looking at him at all? All those obscuring barriers to hide behind?

        Hardly promotes confidence does it? And with the new Infrastructure Act allowing ANYTHING to be put beneath our feet without our permission, notification or knowledge?

        Yeah, that fills us full of confidence in the honesty and accountability of the operators and their secretive behind locked doors and below ground shenanigans doesn’t it?
        No it doesn’t.

        The entire onshore ohandgee creeping invasion industry have revealed, or rather not revealed themselves to be in the least bit trustworthy in any way whatsoever.

        Organisationally, politically, socially, regulatory, conditionally and vocally.
        All are totally without one iota of ethics, morals or honesty.

        As for these fictitious pipelines, who will oversee the legality, routes, permissions and regulations of these putative fabrications?
        Such a complete transformation of issues could perhaps temporarily divert attention away from fracking for a while, which is probably the only purpose of such a remark.

        Maybe they think that the insanely ridiculous pipeline issue will give a brief respite from attention on fracking for a while when they carry out something else?

        So what you might ask is really in the pipeline? Now there is an interesting question in all meanings of the phrase?

        We are not fooled, try again.

        Oh yes, have a good relaxing Sunday with friends and or families.

        Tomorrow is, as they say, another frack free day.

        [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

      • Very good point Ken, but I presume you know that N Yorkshire is officially described as a desolate place from the seat of power, so how long a pipeline would INEOS need for EACH wellpad to connect to a water main capable of supplying that significant quantity of water? Over or underground? Negotiations to install a pipeline with numerous landowners and wayleaves to pay? Long holes to dig? Just out of interest, as Yorkshire Water is a private company with dividends to pay, who gets priority over the water supply? Domestic, industrial, agricultural or frackers? Does it still only require a small number of trucks to cart the millions of gallons of waste water to distant treatment facilities? Or do you know something about reinjection being allowed to bung it down a convenient hole at pressure and save all that highly inconvenient transportation, treatment and disposal cost?
        Nobody can see KM8 (I see no ships either) if they look through their blind eye while passing, otherwise it’s clearly visible. Better in summer when the tree cover hides it more effectively, but it takes about 25 years for trees like that to mature, so unless INEOS can find a host of copse or forest owners to play ball and allow wellpads in the middle, the fracking industry should be long since defunct before the screening is effective. There would still be an awfully good view of the ones circling the perimiter of the N York Moors National Park from the high ground of the moors. So, years worth of continual drilling from single derricks on each wellpad? With a payoff of burning still more fossil fuels, more CO2 in the atmosphere, more Methane leakage, more drastic global warming. That may be your choice Ken, but it’s not mine as I have rather more concern for my children and grandchildren…. and everybody else’s too.

    • Mike
      I agree with you in that INEOS should not deal in subjective descriptions. Their description of Well pad impact should be limited to data, with no comments such as disappearing into the landsacape, and so forth. Visual Impact is likely to be in the eye of the beholder. I think wind turbines look ok, but others in the family think them an eyesore for example.

      The pads have 10 wells max according to INEOS. Pad density is a function of no of wells on it ( all other things
      being equal ), or how far you want to drill horizontally. Ie Wytch Farm became champion horizontal driller more by the restrictions on their drill location than on reservoir requirements.

      Construction of the pad, drilling and fracking 10 wells would be longer than a year. The best example would be Cuadrilla at Preston Road with 4 wells and fracking. Let’s see how long that takes and scale up or down as appropriate. Note that in the Bakken formation they typically drill a well in 30 days and complete it in another 30 days ( prep for production ).

      The frack water may turn up in a pipeline to be mixed on site but the waste has to be tankered off site. How much is taken off site per well will be something to learn from Cuadrilla. It will be interesting to see if they re use the frack water, and then what % is reused.

      On the point of pipelines, each site needs to be connected by gas pipeline to a treatment and compression station to get it into the grid ( as noted in the UTube video) , so the issue of pipeline construction, linking each site is present, whether you want to have a water one or not.

      Note that they do not need potable water, just clean water, so it does not have to come from the mains, but easier to do I guess. The farmers here just throw a pipe into the ditch and suck away.

      Re industrial process, yes, it is more industrial than farming and Tourism and is as described In Various information sites plus in various traffic plans as to the number of vehicles required per pad.

      Re number of rigs active at one time, I do not think any operator knows yet, as only Cuadrilla are near to anything like a commercial frack. Given the time taken to get planning permission, not many would be my guess, hence the need to max out on wells per pad ( to a max of 10).

      Re global warming … my view is that anything done to reduce the use of fossil fuels and promote renewables is good. However, I do not think that keeping a fraction of world production in the ground while importing what we need from somewhere else will make any difference to global CO2 targets.

      • How pleasant to receive a well reasoned and informed response Hewes.
        I hope you are right about 10 max wells per pad, but both INEOS and TE have bandied about much higher figures. That’s their own wish list of course and could be restricted by planning regs, whether locally or via NSIP if localism goes the way of all good things. However, as you say, fewer wells per pad will invariably mean greater wellpad density in order to comply with legal PEDL conditions of maximising gas extraction.
        Given the way that climate is already changing – even in our temperate climate – resulting in more intense wet and dry periods, the acid test for water prioritisation (even from abstraction) will be during any drought conditions.
        When fracking has been the norm in a number of other countries for so long, I still find it astounding that we in England are told we must start from scratch as though it was a completely untried and untested process… even taking into account some degree of poor regulation elsewhere. Some issues are not dependent on the level of regulation, rather on the improvement or otherwise in technology and engineering (and the willingness to employ them vs cost).
        We’ll have to agree to disagree on global warming. A couple of hundred years of intense carbon release from burning fossil fuels has already tipped the balance to a dangerous level and like a supertanker, will not turn on a sixpence. It may be highly unpopular, but unless conclusive evidence is produced that methane emissions and leakage can be held well below 3% (which is way below US evidence), it would be better to extract and burn our own coal, of which I suspect decent reserves for the short term still exist. Sadly ‘we’ve’ probably largely destroyed that option for polical gain. We’re certainly in a tricky situation, largely I believe from inept energy policy – all parties – over the last 30-40 years repeatedly based almost entirely on short term 4-5 year terms of office and not risking losing votes.

  3. All looks very dodgy this idea and i for one will not be supporting it. Reminds me of the injunction at PNR and the pen. Is someone or people doing Cuadrilas bidding for them to make there wastewater application obtainable? We were right last time and i have a strong feeling we will be right again here.

  4. “Northern anti-fracking campaigns step up plans….”

    What? Not working?

    Sounds like a side on the edge of relegation!

  5. The “window” will close soon, so those in desperate need will remain in desperate need, and then fall into obscurity.

    (The “window” closing will be the injunction that might be applied to PNR before April. Perhaps not a wise move to advertise such intentions with some months to go.)

    • Bad analogy martin. Even the anti anti analogies are poorly thought through and logically flawed, such tatty titular Trump tweeted treasoning is laughable.

      I dont know how you guys can tweet at night?

      The trouble with windows martin (do you refer to the operating system or the “wind eye”) is that we can see right through them, they are notoriously fragile, and any window, operating system or otherwise, can be opened with a simple catch, or indeed with the operating system, a hack.

      Perhaps these windows are total mirrored on the inside? Providing visually restricted view of the outside, carefully censored on the inside of course, with conveniently placed black out curtains and obscuring black plastic shutters to avoid having to look any external reality squarely, or honestly in the face? That would never do would it? It is not nice to have to see anything that contradicts such carefully cultivated fitful illusions of adequacy is it?

      But of course windows are also of no benefit in themselves if the supporting walls and floor and roof are of little more substance than wet words, digital virtual reality illusions and only there for the convenience of multiple id game play reset avatars?

      Such windows can simply be walked around and ignored, they represent a barrier only to the illusionist who thinks such things protect the secretive inner sanctum from external scrutiny or entry. and then of course there is the logical inadequacy of the analogy of closing a window, in that in order to close a window, it must have been open previously? And that it remains open at this very moment? Hi! We can see you! Wave!

      This last ditch cry for Injunctions to prevent democratic human rights of free speech and protest are all that remains of the prior claims of science and necessity and national energy security imperatives and cleanliness and effects on climate change.

      All those claims have fallen by the wayside, destroyed utterly, one by one, nothing now remains but these weakening croaked cries of “Injunction! Injunction!” to save the dwindling profit only motive to exploit and devastate this country under the, now totally false, guise of saving the energy crisis and parliamentary expediency.

      Such flawed and poorly thought through illusions of windows and have no real substance and can easily be seen to be little more than broken stick waving against an entire populations civil rights and democratic freedom.

      The injunction plague is like the zombie company plague, no thought other than the ability to stumble along while simultaneously rotting, no intelligence other than to slake thirst and hunger on the unwary, and easily removed by sending them back to where they came from.

      How long do you think that we will tolerate the zombie in junk sham farce any longer than we will tolerate the zombie fracking farce?

      If that is all the anti antis have left, then the anti antis really have nothing to offer but more logical inanity.

  6. So the NIMBYs protest that it’s London based Central government telling them what to do but then a bunch of lost cause liberal Londoners come up and tell them what to do but that’s ok with them? Is it through fear you don’t tell these people to let you deal with the situation on your own?
    The issue you have is that these organisation put a militant theme across everything they do and the wider public will not be supportive of anything of such kind.

    • What are you going to say to these Londoners? Not In My Back Yard? I think the words “Hoist” and “Petard” fit admirably there don’t you?

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