New parliamentary group on shale gas led by Tory MP who opposed INEOS exploration plans

Lee Rowley MP2

The Conservative MP, Lee Rowley, who objected to INEOS plans in his constituency, is the chair of a new group at Westminster investigating the impact of shale gas.

The group was listed for the first time on the register of All Party Parliamentary Group released last week.

The register says the group’s purpose was:

“To explore and debate legislation, policy, regulation and data regarding shale gas exploration and extraction in the UK and abroad.”

Mr Rowley, who defeated Labour’s Natasha Engel (a fracking supporter) at the 2017 election, submitted a 10,000-word objection to INEOS’s shale gas plans in the village of Marsh Lane.

In February, he told a meeting of Derbyshire County Council’s planning committee that the company’s proposal for a vertical coring well would not bring any environmental benefits and would breach noise guidelines. He urged councillors to oppose the application:

“It is my view there are 22 different planning policies that this scheme contravenes.

“Please reject this application. There is ample reason to reject on ecology, greenbelt and noise.” Link

The committee voted by nine to one against the scheme, which is to be decided after a public inquiry.

Mr Rowley told the local radio station, Peak FM:

“The application to drill on Bramleymoor Lane, near Marsh Lane, highlighted so many issues and unanswered questions about shale gas and how applications to drill are considered.

“The group will look at the key issues that people have raised about fracking and over the next few months we hope to look at issues such as cumulative impact and the health safety impacts, as well as many other concerns.”



One of the new APPG’s vice chairs is Labour’s Sir Kevin Barron (above left). His Rother Valley constituency includes Woodsetts, another village where INEOS has applied to explore for shale gas and been opposed by local councillors. Details

The other vice-chairs are Labour’s Louise Haigh (Sheffield Heeley) and the Conservative, Ben Bradley (Mansfield).

Ms Heeley told a parliamentary debate on fracking that the Marsh Lane application was the “tip of the iceberg” locally (more details).

Mr Bradley’s constituency is almost entirely covered by an INEOS exploration licence. He took the seat at the 2017 election from Labour’s anti-fracking Sir Alan Meale.

Previous shale gas APPGs

Before the 2017 election, there were two parliamentary groups on shale gas.

The APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil received support from the industry and supply chain. The other, on shale gas regulation and planning, was chaired by Kevin Hollinrake, whose Thirsk and Malton constituency includes Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site. This group did not declare any support. Neither have appeared on the APPG register since the election.



65 replies »

  1. Tory MPs in marginal seats have to listen to their constituents if they wish to be there after the next election. INEOS have not listened to local people. If they did, they would get out of shale and start investing in non plastic sustainable alternatives and renewable energy. Taking National Trust to court has given a handy focus to community and landowners opposition. Now parliament has a shale gas group that is led by someone who has his electorate breathing down his neck. Long live democracy!

  2. Independent reporting.should be called the lasted nimby objections to something I no nothing about except what I saw on YouTube..

  3. There are only 60-100 harvest years left because of soil infertility increase. This Government has asked for protection measures to be set up so we don’t run out of the ability to feed ourselves. Whilst at the same time promoting the planting of fracking Wells. I’m seriously trying to follow the logic here.

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

      • Welcome back Kish; thought you’d gone off into the bright white yonder.

        It is because of the use of chemical fertilisers and single crop growing that the soil is becoming infertile; nature does not march to INEOS et al’s drum.

        Wheat/roots/lay fields and wind turbines work well; my personal preference is for solar on roofs, but there you go.

  4. Surely you’ve noticed that this government doesn’t do joined up thinking!
    There is no logic. This industry is a threat to air and water quality which, along with the earth, provide the basic essentials for all life. The mantra is ‘energy security’, overriding ‘life security’.

  5. No need to discuss or re-examine the case for Fracking. The international evidence against Fracking is overwhelming and the consensus is that Fracking CAN’T be done safely. Case Closed.

    • For first time… If you can guarantee that wind speed 24 hours a day seven days a week then we could rely on wind to produce 33% of our electricity.

          • But there is solar, come on Kish, you can do better than this.
            p.s there is wind in the summer, my little turbine can testify to this; interesting that the gridwatch only ‘guesses’ at solar from commercial sources and does not include individual solar or wind generation? Don’t underestimate.

            Don’t want to put you out of a job but don’t ignore the challenge; more renewables then let’s see, eh?

        • Gas 47% wind down to 5%…

          When U.K Shale is allowed to start and not hindered by local councils with no knowledge of what they are deciding on that 47% will all be U.K gas for many many years to come…

          Fuel poverty in the U.K will be a thing of the past and the 3000 people who die needlessly each year because of the cost will live in nice warm homes…
          They will get to enjoy the Billions of pounds of revenue the Government will get and not need to worry on a cold winter night if Russia will deliver another gas cargo…

          • Kish, you need to get a new fake news record…..
            You are also aware of the difference between poverty [no money for basics] and ‘fuel poverty’ which is a post modern term for mansion owners who cannot heat all their rooms in their big houses…..
            It seems you are indeed part of the call centre spreading fake news on blogs paid for by those who seek to promote even more poverty in the UK; very sad, enjoy your 30 pieces of silver[currency not specified].

            • Nobody is paying me a penny.

              Don’t think the 3000 a year dying from fuel poverty live in mansions?

              What’s your motivation Sher? Calculated replies, far to engaged to blindly follow the do Gooder herd. I have no problem with people who live in a very comfortable world enjoying all the safety and security the U.K provides, oblivious to what it really takes to achieve this and from this safe place want to project this illusion…

              May is the Woman & May is the Month…

            • So evidence please Kish of this ‘fake news’ of 3000 deaths due to fuel poverty…..none, didn’t think so.

              Now let’s talk about the people dying through real poverty, children being supported through food banks, people dying in ambulances outside hospitals because they cannot get through the A&E doors, that’s if the ambulance actually turns up?

              Am not really interested in your fixation for this woman, but would warn you that the policies in place that are crippling the country will not sit well for too much longer, despite the propped up voting.

              Clearly someone is paying you a penny or two otherwise you would be joining the queues for ‘universal discredit’ and accepting your shopping from the local food bank….

              Enjoy your ‘mansion’ and your life; one day, who knows, it might be you….

            • Excessive’ green taxes are forcing up fuel bills, official review finds
              Professor Helm has urged the Government to cap energy suppliers’ retail profit margins
              Professor Helm has urged the Government to cap energy suppliers’ retail profit margins

              Jillian Ambrose Gordon Rayner
              25 OCTOBER 2017 • 10:05 PM
              Consumers are paying too much for their energy because of “excessive” green taxes added to bills, a damning Government-commissioned report has found.

              A series of “spectacularly bad” decisions by ministers have “unnecessarily burdened” households and businesses with higher green energy subsidies than necessary, according to Prof 
Dieter Helm, of Oxford University.

              The cost of renewable energy – as well as gas, coal and oil – has fallen but the benefits have not been passed on because ministers locked the taxpayer into long-term contracts that overestimated those costs, Prof Helm found.

              Green taxes will cost the average household almost £150 from next year, according to energy firms.

              Prof Helm said this was “significantly higher than it needs to be” to meet the Government’s objectives of cutting down on the use of fossil fuels and 
promoting renewable energy.

              He was asked to undertake the research after Theresa May, the Prime Minister, vowed to tackle “rip-off” bills. However, the industry expert placed the blame on the Government’s own policies.

              “Significant institutional reform” should be brought in to reduce the Government’s role and allow the market to function efficiently, Prof Helm said.

              Professor Dieter Helm was asked to undertake a forensic probe into each element of the energy system
              Professor Dieter Helm was asked to undertake a forensic probe into each element of the energy system
              His Cost of Energy Review said: “Each successive intervention layers on new costs and unintended consequences. It should be a central aim of Government to radically simplify the interventions, and to get Government back out of many of its current detailed roles.”

              Green energy taxes, which were introduced following the 2008 Climate Change Act, have caused controversy ever since because some MPs regard them as “regressive”, penalising those who can least afford them.

              There are also divisions over whether the levies are justified, particularly with respect to subsidies for wind farms, with opinion split over whether they are an unnecessary blight on the landscape.

              The cost of the subsidies could more than treble over the next five years, from £4.6  billion in 2015-16 to £13.5 billion in 2021-22, according to figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

              The costs of “decarbonisation” and social policies account for around 20 per cent of typical electricity bills, according to the report. Consumers will have paid well over £100 billion by 2030, and Prof Helm says that “much more decarbonisation could have been achieved for less; costs should be lower, and they should be falling further”.

              He said ministers’ forecasts of future energy costs had been far too high, but “many of these excessive costs are locked in for a decade or more, given the contractual and other legal commitments governments have made”.

              In particular contracts had been given to “early stage” wind, solar and biomass companies whose costs had since been hugely undercut by other firms using much more advanced technology, Prof Helm said.

              He said energy firms should be forced to declare their profit margins on bills and also called for the cost of existing contracts to be ring-fenced into a “legacy bank” and shown separately. The legacy charge should not be paid by heavy industry, he suggested.

              Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel, said a “persistent and sizeable gap” existed between energy costs in Britain and competing markets.

              The review is the second major report to criticise government energy policy in recent years after the Competition and Markets Authority dismissed many of the early claims of market abuse made against energy companies. Instead it warned that many policy 
decisions had harmed competition.

              Greg Clark , the Business and Energy Secretary, said: “I am grateful to
 Professor Helm for his forensic examination. We will now carefully consider his findings

            • Re ‘Jillian Ambrose Gordon Rayner
              25 OCTOBER 2017 • 10:05 PM’
              Thanks for this Kish but Professor Dieter Helm is a climate denier and has no expertise in climate change science. I will have a quick look through but no as a priority as his stuff is generally bullshit.

        • 3,000 Britons dying each year because they can’t heat their homes, study shows
          Campaigners call for action to end ‘entirely preventable’ tragedy that kills as many people as prostate cancer or breast cancer
          Ben Chapman Thursday 22 February 2018
          Almost 17,000 people are estimated to have died becuase of fuel poverty
          Of 30 countries studied, only Ireland has a higher proportion of people dying due to cold weather Getty
          More than 3,000 people are “needlessly” dying each year in the UK because they cannot afford to properly heat their homes, new research has revealed.

          The UK has the second-worst rate of excess winter deaths in Europe, a study by National Energy Action and climate-change charity E3G found.

          The organisations called for urgent action to end to the devastating but “entirely preventable” tragedy that they say amounts to a “cold homes public health crisis”.

          READ MORE
          The death toll looks set to rise next week as the UK braces for an imminent “polar vortex” predicted to bring harsh frost, snow showers and freezing temperatures.

          A total of 168,000 excess winter deaths have been recorded in the UK over the latest five-year period. Of 30 countries studied, only Ireland has a higher proportion of people dying due to cold weather.

          Almost 17,000 of those people are estimated to have died as a direct result of fuel poverty and a further 36,000 deaths are attributable to conditions relating to living in a cold home, the research found. The number dying through cold each year is similar to the amount who die from prostate or breast cancer.

          The research was published to coincide with Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday which aims to highlight the problems faced by those struggling to keep warm in their homes.

          It comes just 24 hours after Centrica, which owns British Gas, announced plans to cut 4,000 jobs after a “weak” year in which it made £1.25bn profit. The company’s chief executive, Ian Conn, said the Government’s energy price cap – designed to prevent loyal and vulnerable customers being ripped off – was partly to blame for the layoffs.

          Pedro Guertler, of E3G, who co-authored the research, said the winter death figures were not only a tragedy but a “national embarrassment”.

          “This epidemic is entirely preventable and E3G and NEA are calling on the UK Government to reinstate public capital investment in home energy efficiency to fix the cold homes crisis,” he said.

          • Thanks for the article about the study by National Energy Action and climate-change charity E3G. Just a note, is better to just put a link and your views rather than copy sways of second hand comment.

            This one is interesting and I will look into the 22 page study, the authors, motivation and context and get back to you; I presume you have read and analysed it?

            I will try and respond in a couple of days.

    Date: 17/03/18 Erin Mundahl, Inside Sources
    For months, House Committees and a Special Counsel have been investigating Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. Even as these investigations continue to make headlines, interference in American energy markets, which was likely even more successful, has received relatively little attention.
    According to new findings from the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology, Russian agents worked to manipulate specific groups inside the U.S. in order to “disrupt domestic energy markets, suppress research and development of fossil fuels, and stymie efforts to expand the use of natural gas.”

    Russian attempts to spread disinformation about domestic energy production used many of the same techniques Russian agents deployed during the presidential campaign. The House Committee identified 9,097 Russian posts or tweets pertaining to U.S. energy policy or energy events appearing on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter between 2015 and 2017. These posts came from an estimated 4,334 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, a firm established to use traditional and new media platforms to spread Russian propaganda.

    America’s transition in 2017 from a net fuel importer to a net fuel exporter has fundamentally shifted global energy markets. The trend is projected to continue in 2018, and to place the U.S. on an equivalent production level with Russia in 2019. This has had a significant effect on Russia, which provides about 75 percent of the natural gas used in Central and Eastern Europe and even higher percentages in Southeastern Europe.

    As a result, Russia is known to have been involved in anti-fracking campaigns since at least 2014. According to a report last year by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Russian government was actively “financing and choreographing anti-fracking propaganda in the United States.” Efforts include programming on the Russian-sponsored news agency RT highlighting the dangers and environmental impacts of fracking.

    This approach pairs with Russian efforts to persuade EU governments to end shale gas exploration. According to a report by Sen. Ben Cardin (D, Md.), the Russian government invested $95 million into NGOs working to stop European shale exploration.

    “By leveraging the sincerely held views and beliefs of unwitting agents, the Kremlin is able to exploit polarized issues in American democracy to influence action in furtherance of its agenda,” the House committee writes in its report.

    More recently, these issues included the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and Enbridge Line 5.

    “Russian agents attempted to incite Americans to take action against pipeline efforts by promoting links and references to online petitions,” the committee wrote

    • Kisheny. TW provided the links to this shtick(y) story in the most recent Picture Post, here: http://www.insidesources.com/russian-agents-tried-to-influence-directly-undremine-us-natural-gas-house-report-finds/ … it’s become a favorite narrative of right wing Oil & Gas propaganda, but when you look into it it quickly becomes a stack of cards. If you read to official document (a link within that link) you can see it’s long on rhetoric and short on substantive details or metrics which show how the financing and mechanisms of manipulation are supposed to work. Next if you consider that Russian meddling in both US and Brexit (voting) have supposed to have influenced outcomes then you need to explain how this all adds up … to what exactly? If the Russians helped Trump (who seems pretty defensive about those connections) doesn’t that kind of cancel out the anti-US shale argument? I’m not saying there wasn’t any meddling – it’s almost a spectator sport in IT circles watching how many ‘bot’ attacks come from Russian or Ukraine servers (and from China in some security areas) but what they effectively achieve is the issue. And it is also (almost) trivial these days for any mischievous soul with some hacking ability to link to/from whatever servers they like – based anywhere in the world. So basically you can make up any narrative you like and bamboozle a less IT literate public simply on the basis of ‘trust us’ we know what we’re talking about.

      Meanwhile to ensure the UK maintains a mindset of fossil-fuel dependency then they should actually be encouraging UK shale because it’s a high impact, expensive form of development which is not going to get natural gas as cheaply as it can be obtained from other sources. Here was my response to TW: “Gosh, a Right leaning semi-factual opinion website [‘InsideSources.com’] accuses Russia of pulling the strings of the anti-fracking movement. There’s a surprise. By the same logic they (Russia) would be trying even harder to undermine the green energy movement which attempts to turn people away from fossil fuel dependency altogether. Funnily enough that’s what GBK, Martin and others (not to mention Trump) appear to be doing. Are they Putin’s puppets too?

      • Wikileaks highlighted Russian interference when reporting on the Clinton emails. The Russians do not want the West developing shale gas.

        • And they certainly don’t want the West becoming more reliant on renewables – extending that logic.

          • There are more ‘hacks’ from Korea.

            This is clearly political and about oil and gas. Russia produces over half of Europe’s supply, Trump wants in; period.

          • Well, the US and Canada have lots to exploit yet but big O&G will soon get a roasting by an increasingly aware public – for lying and deceiving over ecological and climate change impacts (huge law suits are brewing). No, I think Trump doesn’t want to be left out of one of the biggest deals in history, such as that sealed with a handshake by Rex Tillerson (r.i.p.) a short while ago regarding petroleum exploitation by Exxon and partners in the Siberian Arctic circle … Perhaps just a different slant on what you’re saying Sherwulfe.

          • Phil P very simple logics….no Western renewables more dependency on Russian gas/coal and oil…….no Western shale gas even more if not total dependency on Russian energy supplies and price control……I am surprised the anti frackers cant see this conspicuous agenda from Kremlin and their rich oligarchy cronies.

            • North Sea supplies are picking up again and alternative pipelines (to Russian gas) will be on stream in next year or so. Why this obsession?

  7. I understood it, Ian. You can see the problem with the antis when they can’t understand such a straightforward comment. Good job there are the two thirds who can!

  8. Yes, PhilipP, we did see your previous incorrect post, that I corrected. But then, there seems to be a perverse pride in posting incorrect statements. Is it really that much more difficult to post factually correct statements? Maybe best not to get trapped into the Putin debate and follow the same pattern of misinformation.

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