Shale gas companies threaten legal challenge over minimum gap between homes and fracking sites

KM8 from KM Claire Head1

Third Energy’s site at Kirby Misperton. Photo: Claire Head

A policy requiring  a distance of  500m between homes and fracking sites in North Yorkshire got official backing today – but the fracking industry immediately threatened to challenge it in court.

A Government-appointed planning inspector supported the idea during a hearing to scrutinise the North Yorkshire minerals plan, which will guide decisions on shale gas for the next 15 years.

Elizabeth Ord, who has to decide whether the plan is sound, told the hearing:

“I am satisfied that there should be a 500m buffer, or whatever you want to call it.”

“We have a situation with a new industry and a lot of fear about it. I accept that fear should not make planning policy but the precautionary principle is well established and there is justification of treading carefully in the first five years of the plan.”

The county council, North York Moors National Park and the City of York want a 500m gap between homes and oil and gas sites, particularly those using fracking.

The authorities said this was a reasonable distance to reduce noise, vibration, light pollution, visual impact and emissions.

The draft plan proposed:

“A minimum horizontal separation distance of 500m should be maintained between the proposed development and occupied residential property or other sensitive receptors, unless it can be clearly demonstrated in site specific circumstances that a high level protection will be provided.”

But Catherine Howard, of the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, representing shale firms, said:

“The industry regards the 500m as unsound and would be legally challengeable at judicial review.”

The Mayor of Malton, Cllr Paul Andrews, who was representing the town council at the hearing, said he hoped the inspector was not intimidated.

Ms Ord replied:

“I am regularly threatened with legal action”.

“Ban by another name”

The industry has strongly opposed the idea of a separation distance, which is not part of national planning policy.

180308 Pickering Alan Linn 15

Alan Linn at a debate in Pickering, 8 March 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Alan Linn, Chief Operating Officer of Third Energy, which is waiting for consent to frack at Kirby Misperton, told today’s hearing:

“When you draw a 500m radius around the properties in the area we propose to develop it doesn’t leave must space left.

“A 500m buffer zone is basically a sterilisation zone. The effect of the plan is to stop the development of unconventional hydrocarbons. I have a major concern about this approach.

“All the legislation exists and we have a gold standard for regulation.”

Lynn Calder, commercial director of INEOS, told the meeting:

“This is a ban by any other name”.

Ken Cronin, of the industry body, UKOOG, said the 500m distance was arbitrary and not justified by the minerals plan. There were already adequate protections in national policy, he said.

Local support

The 500m policy was strongly supported by local politicians and campaign groups.

Kevin Hollinrake debateKevin Hollinrake, the MP for Thirsk and Malton, which includes Kirby Misperton, called for minimum separation distances of 500m for one or two isolated homes and 1.5km for any settlement of three or more.

In a letter to the inspector, he said:

“I have significant concerns about any weakening of the sensible measures contained within the North Yorkshire MWJP [minerals and waste joint plan] …  and strongly recommend that all these protections are maintained until we have more data on emissions to the air, noise and light pollution.”

Frack Free York and Frack Free Ryedale supported the 500m distance on planning and public health grounds.  Cllr Andrews said the distance should be greater. Christopher Stratton, representing villages in south Hambleton, said:

“500m is little more than quarter of a mile.

“We cannot envisage any circumstances where less than 500m would be acceptable”.

Chris France, Director of Planning and the North York Moors National Park, said the government’s documents on shale gas included many references to the precautionary principle. He said:

“I don’t know what part of national policy the industry thinks the 500m buffer is in conflict with”.

“Very encouraging”

Frack Free Ryedale welcomed the Inspector’s decision this evening. David Davis, from the group’s planning team, said:

“It is very encouraging that representations from our community are being taken seriously. The Planning Inspector acknowledged that fracking is a new industry and that there is a need to apply the precautionary approach and “tread carefully.”

“There’s still some way to go before the Minerals & Waste Joint Plan is finalised, but Frack Free Ryedale will continue to support the authorities to achieve a robust plan”.

Russell Scott, from Frack Free Ryedale, said:

“The 500m buffer zone should be an absolute minimum and I am delighted to hear that the Inspector agreed with Frack Free Ryedale on this and several other representations aimed at protecting residents and our environment.

“The 500m setback is unfortunately not an outright ban, but a way to help safeguard residents to some extent from the impacts of fracking – and if the industry can’t operate on this basis and object to it, then they shouldn’t be allowed to frack in North Yorkshire or anywhere else.”

We want 500m too, say Lancashire residents

180419 St Annes Express

Lytham St Annes Express, 19 April 2018

The inspector’s decision on separation distances led to calls by Lancashire residents for the same treatment around Cuadrilla’s shale gas sites.

Dr Frank Rugman, a retired consultant haematologist,  representing  people in Little Plumpton, some of whom live 350m from the Preston New Road site, said:

“There is evidence from the USA that exposure to diesel exhaust emissions from the numerous on-site diesel compressors and  heavy diesel truck traffic are probably significant contributory factors to the harmful impacts on health from fracking.

“Studies have also indicated that proximity to this industry is a crucial factor determining harm.

“So yes, I would entirely agree with Planning Inspector Mrs Ord that I would rather live at 500 m or more from the site, than at 350m, which is currently the case for some unfortunate residents at Little Plumpton, Lancashire.”

180417 LEP Setback Letter

Letter to the  Lancashire Evening Post, 17 April 2018

Defining fracking

The inspector also overruled industry objections on the key issue of how fracking would be defined by planners in North Yorkshire.

The industry said the plan should adopt the definition in the Infrastructure Act based on the volume of fracking fluid. But the North Yorkshire authorities were concerned that operators could seek to get round the restrictions on fracking in national parks and other protected areas by using fluid just under the limits. They proposed it would apply to any operation using hydraulic pressure to open or extend fractures in rock.

The industry said this definition extended to some forms of conventional development. It said it opposed anything that deviated from the national definition.

But Ms Ord said she regarded the proposed definition as sound:

“I am happy that the council’s definition doesn’t go along with the 2015 act.”

The inspector also approved the proposed distinction in the plan’s policies between conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon developments, despite opposition from the industry.

DrillOrDrop live updates from the hearing

Updated 14/4/2018 to include exact wording from draft plan and reaction from Frack Free Ryedale. Also updated on 20 April 2018 with newspaper cuttings

Reporting on this hearing was made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers. You can donate to DrillOrDrop by clicking here

97 replies »

  1. In times like these we need to rely on our energy grid, come on renewables where are you?

    Solar 0%
    Hydro 0.45%
    Wind 3.24%
    Biomass 5.45% Thank goodness for Biomass (Monday night 8PM Channel 4 Champions Biomass)

    Coal 0.99%
    Nuclear 27.87%
    GAS 60.96%

    • Well done Frack Free Ryedale and all those who presented evidence to help the Council with their development plan.

      Pandora’s box is wide open for all to see.

      I can hear the sound of hundreds of new groups forming and very very wealthy property and land owners picking up their phones to employ the best legal teams money can buy.

      This industry will not survive

      • Councillor Andrew Waller, deputy leader and executive member for the environment, said:

        This is very welcome news. It is important to remember that the inspector has NOT made a final decision, and any modifications will be subject to further consultation. However, we are encouraged by the inspectors comments and are satisfied that our arguments have been given a fair and considered hearing.

        The industry is just about to start, unless you can guarantee future gas imports into the U.K?

        • ‘The industry is just about to start, unless you can guarantee future gas imports into the U.K?’

          -you need to catch up Kisheny; the governance are already on with this.

          Shale is just a distraction and with Ineos’ involvement clearly just for plastic if the ethane is of sufficient quality.

        • UK Gas use is dropping every year. If we all swapped our gas cookers / hobs for electric, there would be a drop in gas demand greater than what UK Fracking could ever supply.

          • Were “ifs” and “buts” candy and nuts, Wandering Dutchboy. Electricity is only 17% of energy usage globally. Even if you were to find some fairy dust to help you magically power the grid with renewables, that doesn’t solve the problems in powering all of industry and transportation. Mark my words, the UK will still be relying on gas well beyond 2050.

            • ‘Mark my words, the UK will still be relying on gas well beyond 2050’ – indeed they will ESDD, the good news is it won’t be UK shale gas 😉
              – with the current plans for LNG expansion in the UK gas will absolutely remain part of the mix.

              However you don’t need fairy dust to power renewables, just sensible investment and political will. But you know that.

    • So by your number crunching Kisheny you have proven we need to put up more renewables to bridge the gap. Thankyou

      • Well that’s your take on it, what if the wind doesn’t blow? Is it still a case of more wind turbines?

        Maybe 1,000,000 that should do it…

        Power generated with no wind 0 X 1,000,000 = 0

        Wind has dropped even further to 2.25%

        At least the sun is out Solar 5.62%

        Biomass doing the business again though 4.24% maybe we need to concentrate on Biomass? (Monday night 8PM Channel 4 Champions Biomass)

        • And on other days the stats look different. All that is required is investment and political support. It is only through renewables that we will gain real energy security and the be released from all the geopolitical shenanigans and the strangle hold the oil and gas industry has had. Even now they lobby government to roll green progress back and at the same time hit consumers with unjustifiable price increases. A Conservative government taking market intervention to cap price increases says it all. The fossil fuel industry is on its way out, more slowly than many of us would like but no doubt about it, they are being replaced. And as international pressure grows to combat climate change the pace of transition will increase.

          • Intermittent Renewables and energy security are a contradiction in terms.

            How is it possible to secure a reliable supply from renewables???

            Investments are only encouraged when big subsidies are in place. This money comes from green taxes from us the consumer…

            Renewables with gas is the answer…

            • Kisheny; do some more research instead of relying on the media rhetoric of the oil and gas companies. No one is saying gas is not in the mix, just not shale gas because of its environmental and social impacts. If we go back to the plan of all homes insulated to the highest standard, as many renewables put in place including solar roofs with house batteries and/or hook up to car batteries for electric vehicles with smart charging we can stretch what gas we have out into the distant future and drastically reduce out emissions.

              But you know this.

              The problem is that this governance have other ideas which involves the massive increase of LNG and revenue from this from import/export. Shale is a distraction and will ultimately be used for the ethane if suitable.

              But you should also know this.

              Your posts are becoming nonsensical an keep repeating the same old out of date narrative. Come up with something better, or better still get out there and make a positive difference. Stop wasting digital ink and going off topic. We are bored now.

              The 500m buffer is another success for the democratic process. I would be very pleased to see this rolled out to all parts of the country. Protection of homes from the threat of a dirty energy production technique in the 21st century is paramount. The good news is that this industry has woken many to the threat from dirty politics and bully businesses.

              Once this diversion is put to bed we all need to continue with the fight to reduce CO2 emissions as this governance seems to be brushing this ‘little’ problem under the carpet and appears to have plans to make it another country’s problem. We all need to take responsibility.

              Switch to clean energy providers and this will drive innovation and investment in our inevitable clean energy future. Make the changes, insulate your homes, triple glazing and heat recovery systems, solar roofs and house batteries; investment at the consumer end will ultimately save our small caves set in our shared home, Earth.

            • A combination of wind, solar, hydro, wave, tidal, thermal, bio and plugged-in EVs, after making buildings energy neutral, should manage to keep the lights on. Where do you think the five trillion Dollar annual fossil fuel subsidy comes from?

            • Wandering Dutchman
              According to the IMF, the 5 Billion ( global Subsidy ) is split as follows

              50% Coal
              33% oil
              17% the rest, including gas.

              So now we have reduced the use of coal here in the UK, and the US, I guess there should be a windfall of cash we can spend. The oil bit relates to air pollution from vehicles primarily, so more to do there, especially as vehicle pollution is linked to cities, and presumably major areteries ( motorways and so on ).

              So the UK is steaming ahead so to speak, but Germany’s lagging behind and now ( based on IMF figures vs coal pollution ) will be the country doing the most subsidising of dirty coal. Which is surprising as they are also very good at subsiding renewables. Food for thought.

      • Some people claim that batteries will power Britain. Well, Leighton Buzzard, which when commissioned was described as the biggest battery in Europe, would power Britain for less than one second. It cost £19 million and is the size of three tennis courts.

        • Kisheny, just to put this into perspective, an all renewable grid would require fixed energy storage in the UK so large that the world’s recorded reserves of cobalt are not sufficient to create enough cathode material to facilitate the build of that battery. But don’t worry, I’m sure that the anti-frackers can find some rainbows and fairy dust to solve this problem as they have been so good at solving practical issues in South Australia.

    • BP keen to get hold of the 20 billion barrels of North sea oil and gas still remaining

      Same BP on UK shale

      “We don’t see any shale production of any great significance in Europe and the UK by 2035,” said BP’s chief economist, Spencer Dale, referring to the group’s latest Energy Outlook booklet, covering the period until 2035.

      Same BP on renewables

      Obvious which direction the UK energy market is heading.

      Still if Statoil and Chesapeake have got it all wrong presumably BP can as well.

      I think you will find that when the big players don’t get involved in something which has been around for decades it really isn’t a goer.

  2. the wind perecentage is misleading, that’s not the maximum it could produce
    wind is the easiest to turn off so as it is warming up not as much energy is needed and some wind turbines will have been stopped

      • so as i stated there is a lot more wind energy available if required
        I believe it’s possible cuadrilla could get paid just for saying they can produce gas rather than actually producing any

        • So what your saying hrb is that if we want more wind power we just have to ask?
          Do we all have to pray to the wind Gods or email the big 6?
          Cuadrilla will be paid for the gas it produces.
          Maybe we should try for the special German tariff that they get from Russia but this obviously comes with political handcuffs allowing Russia to support Syrian gas operations?

            • There’s lots of funny old days.

              As far as I’m aware at night there is no solar. Agreed…

              Approximately 3 months in total in a calendar year there is no wind. Agreed…

              As for tidal, let’s look at the proposed Swansea tidal lagoon are you prepared to pay a higher rate for electricity than even Hinkley point C?

              1) According to the Tidal Lagoon Power website, Swansea Bay will produce 530 GWh per year.

              This is a tiny 0.15% of the UK’s electricity generation. As a percentage of the UK’s overall energy needs, it will be less than half of this.

              2) The capital cost is estimated at £1.3bn.

              3) They also estimate that they can generate power for 14 hours a day, split into four spells.

              Whilst tides are predictable, back up power would still need to be provided for the rest of the time.

              4) In comparison, the 2000MW CCGT plant down the road in Pembroke is capable of generating 15 TWh a year, 28 times as much, when and as needed.

              5) Hendry claims it would “contribute positively” towards the UK’s decarbonisation goals.

              This is a nonsense. TLP’s own figures give annual “carbon” savings of 236,000 tonnes.

              UK total emissions are around 440 million tonnes, so Swansea will save about 0.05%, equivalent to 4 hours worth of emissions every year.

              6) The usual claim about the “number of homes” that can be supplied is wheeled out, this time 155,000.

              This conveniently ignore demand from non domestic sources, which accounts for two thirds of the total.

              The generation from Swansea will be so tiny that it would supply the UK for just 13 hours each year.

              7) It is claimed that the subsidy cost will amount to 30p per household a year. This is, of course, a tiny amount, but for the simple reason that the output is equally tiny.

              No details of strike prices are given , because they are a matter for negotiation. However, TLP have previously indicated a starting price of about £120/MWh.

              Over the period of the contract, because this price is only partially index linked, it is suggested it will average around the price of Hinkley – £92.50/MWh at 2012 prices, but about £100/MWh at current prices.

              This would mean a subsidy of about £32 million a year. This would equate to £206 a year for the poor suckers who live in those 155,000 houses!

              8) In addition, there is the cost of providing back up capacity for the 10 hours every day when no power is being produced.

              9) The Hendry report does not appear to have considered any environmental issues, judging at least from the reporting of it.

              We have already heard from the RSPB about their concerns for birds. Local fishermen are also extremely concerned about the potential effect on fish stocks, if local eco systems are thrown out of balance.

              10) Less widely reported have been the environmental considerations at the Dean Quarry in Cornwall, which is designated to supply the rock for Swansea.

              Dean Quarry will be developed by Shire Oak Quarries Ltd, a subsidiary of Shire Oak Energy, whose chief executive Mark Shorrock is also head of Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP).

              The area of Cornish coast where the jetties are planned has recently been designated a Marine Conservation Zone, where rare marine flora and fauna are supposed to be protected.

              Understandably, locals are also furious about the impact of major quarrying operations on their lives

            • See what Tesla have to say about solar power


              Just look at how expensive gas is compared to stored renewables


              No major breakthroughs for CCS since the Government pulled the £1 billion plug but leaps and bounds for stored renewables

              Meanwhile in a muddy field in Lancashire with an 8 year old struggling project and a Yorkshire field alive with the sound of tumbleweeds…..

          • Sadly for you Kisheny, your diversion is flawed. Ultimately if we continue burning the gas at this rate it will disappear on a puff of toxic smoke, together will us as a species. Once burnt it has gone for good. The good news about renewables is that we can use this finite source of energy [fossil fuel] sparingly to produce machines that generate energy for longer with substantially less impact of the planet.

            Get back on topic please or go to another more relevant blog.

            I seem to recall that you have also been asked by the moderator to refrain from the ‘Russian’ references? Please abide by the conventions of the blog and let’s all be able to discuss the article topic.

            • Sher these are the cold hard facts…

              Intermittent renewables cannot stand alone to provide our power needs. Even with all the money in the World and our Countryside covered in solar panels and wind turbines. If you can produce some findings that categorically show 100% renewables will work for the U.K you have no argument.
              As for U.K military strikes on Syria last night this could very well affect our energy supply and should be discussed on a site like this. Which will have a very real change of opinion by its readers.
              As for this present topic implying a 500 metre exclusion zone around housing is a done deal? It is not. It just screams NIMBY and has no bearing on environmental or energy issues…

            • Kisheny; this is the hot topic;

              You have again demonstrated you ability to read. Scanning posts to throw up more vomit does not actively engage in the argument. Stop thinking along the ‘last word’ motivation and start thinking. Read carefully and you may get you answers, then we can all get back on topic and not have to read the same irrelevant posts time after time after time.

              There are many blogs and forums to discuss the pros and cons of both energy generation systems. You may be better posing your questions there.

              This article is about the gas companies threatening a legal challenge to the 500m buffer zone. Comments welcome.

            • ‘It is not. It just screams NIMBY and has no bearing on environmental or energy issues…’
              again insensitive; not NIMBY put protection of quality of life and safety of family.

            • I see Kisheny supplying cogent arguments that are backed by facts and reliable sources. Sherwulfe’s defensive responses are to offer up weak alternatives that have zero basis in fact, and then attack Kisheny personally and accuse him of “deflecting” or breaking rules for mentioning the name of a foreign country. It’s pretty clear who is in charge!

            • Sticks and stones EKT we know you are an oily gassy call centre employee. Perhaps you could provide some ‘facts’? Paying you overtime tonight?

            • A reminder from the house of lords select committee on how much Uk shale could help with our energy needs
              Start at 16-43

              “The idea that shale gas is going to save the UK energy economy from brown outs is laughable to be honest because it cannot get there quick enough”


              Also note how expensive UK shale is compared to North sea

              That is before BP halved their production costs


              Gas in the energy mix. Definitely in the short to medium term.

              Uk Shale gas in that mix.

              Excuse me while I have a Cartman moment

  3. three months without wind, the only three months i’ve heard about lately is the further three months delay at pnr

        • Is the 500m in law yet? If not why would a legal challenge be pending?

          Quality of life is in part dictated by security of heating etc

          I wouldn’t consider stating facts about the pros and cons of our energy mix anything but informative

          Your rants neither put forward valuable points or relevant topic information and should be either cut shorter or read through before posting…

          • Dear me. you appear troubled; Kisheny, but it’s okay, I understand. Remember, this problem is bigger than both of us. Ranting is not in my nature, controlled response is the way forward, something you may wish to embrace?

            It seems you have successfully shown that you are an ‘flamist’ and wish only to incite negative and derogatory responses.

            Though your initial ideas were welcome and responded to, you appear not able to accept the views of others and prefer to continue that same ole same ole….Blogging may not be the right platform for you? 🙂

            Stick to topic, respect the views of others and we can all have a good discussion. Looking forward to your next post.

            • If any of my posts are not factual, ie the amount of electricity wind turbines are producing percentage wise to the National grid please feel free to adjust them

              Wind 3.67% at present

              I am not trying to incite anybody just putting facts forward, out of all the readers on here you stand alone in being angry.

              I believe your posts have been changed by the monitor a number of times in the past

              Anyway, this is a policy that is being put forward but not enshrined in law. I will have a good read this afternoon thanks…

            • Had a good read of your earlier post.

              To start I have been part of a team that has installed Offshore wind turbines. The only down side to this is that it would take 50 years to pay for itself and the only reason Companies do this is to harvest the huge subsidies, without subsidies they would not get built. So that’s my contribution to renewables, what is your contribution to renewable energy???

              Solar panels on roofs are not economically viable unless again subsidised, if money is no object; great go for it…

              Electric vehicles will definitely become the majority of vehicles on the road in the coming years but will need vast amounts of cobalt to be mined, also the disposal of ev batteries when spent. The backwards forwards of using these batteries to supply the house will happen but the real problem is taking petrol and diesel out of the energy mix, which has to be replaced with grid electricity and more electrical infrastructure in place, a couple of panels on the roof isn’t going to charge your car. Battery packs on the wall in a house with cost and location should be built into initial house design and electrical network. The decades it will take to transfer everybody to ASHP, Battery walls and solar panels is hard to put a timescale on and who will pay or be willing to pay.

              As for LNG deliveries be they U.S.A shale gas or Russian Yamal is very expensive, twice the cost of piped gas from Norway and is not financially advantageous to the U.K at all except for obviouslly pumping it into our network

              As for CO2 emissions it is very well documented that America has significantly reduced it’s CO2 emissions through the production of shale gas. When the U.K brings online steady shale gas into the network this will place the final nail in the coffin of coal powered power stations and they will be shut forever

              The idea we as a nation should take responsibility for our energy needs is very true, by importing gas from abroad we are creating more CO2 emissions and creating a false economy of our real burden on the planet

            • ‘The idea we as a nation should take responsibility for our energy needs is very true, by importing gas from abroad we are creating more CO2 emissions and creating a false economy of our real burden on the planet’

              You should take the time to read the governance latest plans regarding energy. You may be quite shocked, as was I. There is no mandate for the UK taking responsibility for our emissions, in fact it is the opposite. Shale is an afterthought. LNG is their future. Renewables allow freedom of choice and disentanglement from economic ‘slavery’; not something wanted by business.

              Look Kisheny, we all know there is no one size fits all, same with people and opinion, but when decisions are made that severely impact on people’s lives without mandate, we the people will call those to account.

              You can live with renewables, if you had kept up, you would know I do. It’s a system like all others. You have to adapt.

              Each of us has to take responsibility and push for change. Gas is not the future, it should be a small part of the equation after all clean energy options are exhausted; it is the advances in technology that are moving us in the right direction towards our inevitable renewable future; it is the tardiness of the governance and their business weighted alter- agenda that is not allowing that technology to be used.

              A 500m gap from any industrial process is minimum and should be more. Why on earth should residents be put under this pressure when their are alternatives right now? As MC often says, no one wants to live next to a wind turbine, South Ribble have said okay, 1000m away from property; if residents are allowed to say no to wind [and suffer the consequences], and residents and councils have said no to shale, then those decisions should be up held [and suffer the consequences].

              No amount of tit for tat ‘what are the best options’ will save the environment we need to exist. If you wish to see our species disappear [and some will say good riddance] then continue burning the toxic stuff, if not make the change; each should make the small change they can.

              “Empathy is not endorsement. People think that way whether we want them to or not, but talking to them can sometimes be a radical act.”
              — Dylan Marron

              “I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”

              ― Aldous Huxley,

            • Nice piece Sher…

              I don’t agree with you in regard to the Government seeing LNG as the future, purely and simply because of the price of it, as our gas storage facilities in the U.K are almost non-existent we would be at the mercy of a volatile supply and demand market as we were a few months ago. Gas prices at 12 year highs and now being past onto the consumer which would play havoc with the Governments plans for a price cap on energy bills. But your right I remember reading a few months ago the issueing for new contracts and gas was the stand out winner with coal being made uneconomical because of levies placed on its emissions.

              Shale gas has been on the table in the U.K for over a decade, started by the last Government and carried on with this Government. Both main parties want it to succeed as this will enable the Treasury to swell and feed industry with competitively priced energy and by products from natural gas as the raw material for industries. At this stage going forward the self sufficient nature it will provide the Country will give it confidence to face the future without being joined at the hip with the EU. The problem with leaving the EU is a new agreement will have to be in place regarding the gas connector through Belgium. At the moment being part of the EU maintains the agreement which dictates all EU Countries have an obligation to help each other with regard to gas, in the future post Brexit this is not automatic. During the recent cold spell the Belgium gas route was limited at times to the U.K as Europe also going through a cold spell needed vast amounts of gas also. We can’t place ourselves in the future with a situation that leaves us stuck for gas at exactly the time we need it most and to have to bid higher on the open market for LNG. China is increasing its reliance on gas as it to is moving away from coal and Germany are also setting up ready to accept LNG even with Nord stream 2 looking like going ahead. This pipeline will change a lot of dynamics in Eastern Europe, not for the better.

              We both agree on Renewables with gas will work, but placing too much emphasis on pushing renewables at this stage will hurt financially over a number of years with the most vulnerable being hurt the most. It is not a case of not wanting to pay 10% of energy bills in green taxes although some might disagree; I think the problem is allowing a gross abuse of subsidies to take place where Companies push forward the green agenda but only to facilitate vast profits leaving the consumer to be saddled with a bad green deal for years or even decades

              I agree totally with the end result we all want with regard to micro generation but the costs to install said items is either out of reach financially or cannot be economically justified. The upheaval to install a ASHP would create disruption plus a £7,000 to £11000 bill, solar panels £5,000 to £8,000. I am not going to look at the Government in a bad light for throttling back the FIT because as more and more people took up the offer the cost to Government would get out of control.

              Granted the wind turbines Offshore that I deal with are bigger than Onshore but the shadow is pretty big by any account and a low profile shale gas pad once producing will be hidden by a row of trees with no noise or emissions at source. Something I hope will come to fruition is CCS which I am lead to believe the energy Minister Claire Perry is very keen on developing. If this can be carried forward into a reality with carbon emissions being captured under the North Sea Teesside area it will be a graet leap forward

              People are extremely engaged in this Country with regard to the UKs CO2 emissions and nobody I know or heard about is calling for an end to green taxes even with fuel poverty in some parts of the Country, it is striking a balance that needs addressing between a good green energy policy combined with a reasonable cost and a job to earn money to pay those bills. If people start to think they are being ripped off by Companies plying their trade as energy producers with a green front there will be trouble and getting them back onside will be extremely difficult. At the moment people are onside.

              Articles recently detailing how solar panel farms are reaping in more money than the energy they produce or in Scotland where wind turbines make more money by subsidies to be switched off during over production are starting to make people sceptical. The latesy media coverage highlights Biomass “Dispatches” Monday night at 8PM on Channel 4…

              I believe if a portion of monies gained through shale gas are ring fenced to further renewables either in development or construction within a few decades renewable technology has a chance at being the majority core energy of the U.K

            • Kisheny; this is from p26 of GAS SECURITY OF SUPPLY
              A strategic assessment of Great Britain’s gas security of supply

              Click to access gas-security-supply-assessment.pdf

              ‘Ensure the development of the LNG market and further development of GB as a mature gas hub.

              As LNG becomes a larger proportion of our supply, the flexibility of LNG as a supply source will become more crucial. This improves our gas security and provides an opportunity to develop GB’s position as an import and trading hub for the entry of LNG to Europe.

              Development of LNG markets

              The evidence to date suggests this market is developing in the GB’s interests and we will be engaging closely with industry stakeholders to understand the role government can take to ensure it continues on this track. We should ensure the right incentives on shippers, support LNG flexibility, promote GB as an LNG hub for our own use and as an entry point to Europe (which will in turn support the interconnectors), and to remove barriers and reduce costs.

              Reducing costs and increasing attractiveness of GB market

              Making it cheaper to land LNG will make GB a more attractive destination and reduce consumer bills. Current gas standards, set narrowly for the characteristics of North Sea gas, are being reviewed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and could result in wider gas standards which would allow 90% (up from 10%) of LNG into GB without processing. It is suggested the value could exceed £300m pa by 2020.’

              Couple this with the development of LNG landing in Kent [next to European inter-connectors], a need for revenue which will be lost in taxation from current supplies and the change to wind and solar generation, particularly from individual homes [not currently taxed] on top of the attributing the CO2 emissions to the country of origin and you will start to see a different picture.

              Our country relies on revenue for the North Sea. It needs to replace this. This is one way.

              Shale is stated as an additional source, not a replacement. The costs including the losses from property values and increased costs of maintaining roads, health and social care far outweigh any benefits. UK produced fossil fuel will attract CO2 accountability even if it ends up as plastic.

              Currently the UK gets its LNG at the lowest rate of all importers. As more countries and producers come online the price will fall. Trading LNG will allow offset against cost to produce cheap gas for the UK.

              Now are you seeing it?

            • There will be no revenue from shale; if it ever gets out of the ground, and at a profit [dubious] then that ‘profit’ will be sent offshore. No taxation only higher costs for the taxpayer.

              So back to the 500m?

            • ‘Shale gas has been on the table in the U.K for over a decade’

              UK shale deposits have been known about for many decades.

              The big players have looked at it very very carefully.

              They won’t touch it.

              As we all well know Statoil are the UK’s biggest piped gas supplier and also experts in shale.

              And why Statoil turned its back on UK.

              Another witness to the committee, Tor Martin Anfinnsen, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Trading, Statoil, said his company had interests in shale but only in the US. He explained why:

              “We had a look at the UK sometime back as part of a global survey with Chesapeake, of the US, but we decided against going into the UK.

              “We believed we were operating in a more prolific basin in US than what the UK could offer. But I think it was primarily it was what we call the above ground risk, not so much government policy but it’s a fairly densely populated country this and there have been obstacles, if you will, to our activities in the Marcellus field in the US as well and we thought they may be even tougher to overcome here.”

              Anti antis should give Mr Anfinnsen and Chesapeake a call to enlighten him on their failure to spot a cash cow.

  4. Let’s seen how long Farmer Wensley remains at home when the fracking and flaring starts at Preston New Road!
    He’s a lot nearer than 500 yards to the frackpad!
    A nice vigorous fracking induced earthquake, like 2012, will soon see him head to the hills!

    • Peter
      One to keep an eye on then, tho proximity to the pad does not mean proximity to the centre of a seismic event.

      Magnitude 2.3 and 1.5 to watch for, although that’s not particularly vigorous.

      • When nature shakes the ground, we must hold up our hands and say ‘Out of our control. We have to live with this’.

        When the extraction of fossil fuels shakes the ground and we have alternatives we must point the finger and say ‘You did that! Idiot’.

        • Sherwulf
          Indeed, be it mining, oil and gas, Potash or heavy lorries. Similarly subsidence for mining.
          But will the farmer flee if there are ones of 2.3 or 1.5 is the point.

            • Sherwulf
              It is not irrelevant to the point raised by Peter Roberts re Farmer Wensley. It’s not a discussion as to the rights and wrongs of oil and gas exploration and production, just whether said Farmer Will flee if there is an earthquake.

              My view is no, but we shall see I guess if there is one.

      • Cuadrilla have asked for a 2.6 magnitude threshold for future events. The 0.5 magnitude has been imposed on them by the BGS for ‘the next few operations’ and this figure can be ‘adjusted over time’

        If you create a 2.3 magnitude earthquake do you think you would ask to be allowed higher levels if you did not think you needed them?

        Increase flow and pressure will yield more gas…..and increase the likelihood of earthquakes.

        • John

          To get more gas from a fracked well, it’s best your frack just fractures the shale, and then you get most of it back …. ie it’s not gone off to lubricate a fault, or indeed frack some other horizon.

          I do see that the 0.5 is considered to precautionary while more knowledge is gained, but I do believe that any more 2.5M events given the system in place will lead to further long term suspension if not the cancellation of activity in zLancashire.

          So that level of activity is not welcome by the industry or the public.
          Indeed, INEOS were keen to stress the point about fluid loss, and the need to prevent seismic activity that can be felt, at their roll,out sessions East of the Pennines.

    • I believe the seismic event in Wales was approximately 300x more powerful than the most powerful “earthquake” generated by Cuadrilla. Of course the biggest impact of the Wales quake was from the laughter it evoked from people who reacted to the media’s attention to such a minor event. But if that’s your version of a “vigorous fracking induced earthquake” so be it! LOL

  5. Well, that was a lot of twaddle! Reliance upon tidal power whilst even those pushing it are doing so with the comment “if it works”! And, no way of getting agreement for the destruction of the Lizard. Which Planning Committee is going to back that, with, or without, a TMP?


    • How interesting?

      An aversion to tidal power is it?

      It is always an indicator of what is railed about most strongly that flags up the threat to fracking?

      Tidal must really be a potential competing contender then?

      How fascinating?

      No screams of no tide running today? The moon is such a good power source isn’t it? Far enough away, yet provides so much free energy?

      No birds shredded?

      No noise?

      No eyesores?

      And runs all the time and water is the best transmitter of energy aside from air?

      Yes, i see how that must be a threat?

      Verrryyy interrrrresting?……

      • Interesting that MC picked up on the point he did PhilC; maybe he didn’t understand the important bits of the ‘twaddle’?

        • Yes Sherwulfe, maybe “twaddle” means the post equivalent of “to waddle and stumble ungainly”? Mirrors are such revealing indicators aren’t they?
          Well now i’ve finished the morning reports and while i’m still awake waiting for the morning shift to arrive, i played around with some Shakespeare….funny how your mind works at 4am?

          So, its Sunday again and this little piece seems appropriate for the approaching dawn of a new day when all of life’s a play?

          The Tragedy of Frackdeth
          By Will Shakescleare

          ACT I: Frack The First

          SCENE I. A deserted place.

          ​ground shakes​ to Peals of Thunder and Lightning.

          Enter three warlocks:

          First warlock:
          When shall we three tweet again?
          In plunder, PEDL, or in propane?

          Second warlock:
          When this argy bargy’s done,
          When the inquiry’s lost and won.

          Third warlock:
          That will be when the bank is run.

          First warlock:
          Where’s the place?

          Second warlock:
          Upon the heath.

          Third warlock:
          There to meet with Frackdeth.

          First warlock:
          I come, here mischief making!

          Second warlock:
          Traffic crawls….

          Third warlock:
          Pedals Ignominious flee!

          Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
          Suffer through the fog and filthy air.


          SCENE II. A Heath near a Forest.

          Frack The Second:

          Thunder peals. Enter the three warlocks:

          First warlock:
          Where hast thou been, twister?

          Second warlock:
          Swilling wine.

          Third warlock:
          Twister, and where art thou?

          First warlock:
          A praytor’s wife had parlayament in her lap,
          And rubber stamp’d, and stamp’d, and stamp’d:–
          ‘Give me stamp,’ quoth I:
          ‘Appoint three, rich!’ the trump-fed wrong ‘un cries.
          Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, that monster o’ the Geiger:
          But then with novice blood, she makes the dumb inflamed,
          And, like unto a psychopath with reap’d e-mails,
          She’ll screw, and she’ll screw, and she’ll screw.

          Second warlock:
          I’ll give thee a hand.

          First warlock:
          Thou’rt kind.

          Third warlock:
          And I another.

          First warlock:
          I myself am all Big Brother,
          And as their very imports they blow,
          All earth’s quarters that they know
          Even as the policeman’s show.
          We will drain them dry as hay:
          Sleep shall neither night nor day
          Gang us upon our pent-house bid;
          We shall lie and wr​angle​ b​id:
          Of weary slaves our strip mines cost
          Might is right and rights are lost
          And nine times nine times
          Shall they swindle, sneak and crime:
          Though this spark cannot be lost,
          Yet it shall be tempest-tossed.

          Look what I have.

          Second warlock:
          Show me, show me.

          First warlock:
          Here I have the clime’s outcome,
          Wreck’d as the red world shall it succumb.

          To the Drills within….

          Third warlock:
          The Drills! The Drills!

          And Frackdeth doth come….

          To the weird twisters, hand in hand,
          Polluters of the sea and land,
          Thus do go about, and about:
          Thrice to mined and thrice to bind
          And thrice again, to make up nine.

          Cease! the charm’s wound up!

          Enter Frackdeth and Bankdoe’s cup….

          Have a wonderful Sunday with family and friends, i shall be off to home and bed come dawn of day.

          • I think Shakespeare, in writer’s heaven, doth smile on your wit; to no longer rue the day when after much lack of sleep his plays dissected by the youth who flurry and do miss the candor and wit of the age.
            A* (or a 9 I believe today)……

            • Foresooth thy compli’mnt doth pleaseth mine ear

              But poor prose it is yet a truth is here

              That one hundred times five in metres mere

              Doth Shake a spear

              At Corp-or-rates encroaching desire

              That residents shout “is much too near”!

              For restrict-shuns wider yet

              Their futures are yet free not set

              At provisions which

              Will foreclose the ditch

              And sterilise such regions flat

              For peace and freedoms see to that.

              The mini-mum to swing a cat

              And that is what is that.

  6. I don’t understand how a council can effectively say that a 500m buffer is justifiable. Haven’t been able to find any relaible recommendation for such a number? Should the same principle be applied to homes which consume natural gas, petrol stations which store thousands of litres of fuel or cars on the road? Its pretty clear that this is being applied to try to kill the industry because some people don’t like any form of development. I for one would much rather produce the energy we need in the UK instead of importing it, including wind and solar power!

    • You are so far behind Saoirse37. There are lots of articles and comments which could afford answers to your questions. You might take particular note of the post regarding LNG and the future…..

      • Sher the GAS SECURITY OF
        A strategic assessment of Great Britain’s
        gas security of supply dated October 2017 didn’t last long before another review

        Below is an extract from 27th of January 2018

        Government ministers will undertake a fresh review of the UK’s gas supplies after major disruptions late last year ripped through the market, driving prices to multi-year highs.

        The UK gas price rose to its highest level since 2011 after an explosion in Austria compounded disruption following outages in Norway and a crack in the country’s main North Sea pipeline system.

        As I have mentioned previously the price of LNG compared to piped gas is a lot more expensive and as in a competitive market the highest bidder wins causing LNG cargos to be diverted mid route.

        LNG cargos from Russia Yamal might be in shorter supply in future, a wait and see approach to energy security is no good for anyone

        In the meantime at least shale gas LNG from Cove point U.S.A should be guaranteed and also wood pellets from America should keep the UK Biomass industry going, great…

        Last year, 6m tonnes of “wood pellets” harvested from forests in Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Virginia were shipped across the Atlantic, to be burnt in renewable “biomass” power plants. This was almost double the 2013 figure – the US “wood pellet” industry is booming.

        Dispatches 8PM Monday Night Channel 4 (Championing Green Energy) ( When rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will – William Shakespeare)

        Reporter Antony Barnett investigates a subsidised renewable energy industry that turns trees into fuel

        • Thanks Kisheny but I would say this review is more about the ‘outage’ which was of course hyped up by the media [and was indeed managed]. Certain individuals took advantage of the situation to strut and cluck.

          The irony is that we are in a loop. The gulf stream is what allows the mild winters in the UK. It’s disruption is already having an effect on our climate with many staple crops already late or not being sown at all so far this year [potatoes] which will eventually will result in more imports of food and higher prices. Burning more gas causes increased climate shift which affects seasonal variation; colder winters need more energy; more LNG could create more revenue [scenario proposed], but in turn will create more need and eventually we will reach tipping point – no going back. Fossil fuels are finite. Sometimes policy makers are blinkered and don’t look at the bigger picture, just the quick fix.

          This article is interesting reading:

          It is becoming more apparent that the US want into Europe as a market for their oil and gas. It is a worrying observation that those countries who would benefit from a larger share selling to Europe were involved in the current escalation of conflict over the weekend. The current main supplier looks like they will be curtailed in the near future leaving the markets open?

          I believe if you open the country’s money box at the moment moths will fly out; it’s empty. This must be fueling the desperation by those who ‘manage’ the economy into making bad choices. You can argue the toss on who is responsible, but the answer is actually each individual person in this country; we expect too much now days and we just don’t have the income; this leads to predators exploiting the situation with empty promises leaving devastation in their wake as they exploit and harass and then take off in their yachts to their second, third and fourth homes in the sun….

          We must wise up, read and question everything. There is no one answer to the future energy production demanded by the populous, just as there is no one answer to our food security. What we do need though is foresighted people who weigh up the real pros and cons, not the digital diarrhea that abounds fed by the business hounds. Each should do what they can; ignore the business controlled media hype and become a real person, not a copy of some picture in a magazine.We must all make changes. Life is not static. Adaptation is what enables us to survive.

          Making the right decisions for the future will also make the present pleasant. Get it wrong and we will all, like the gas, go up in a finite puff of toxic smoke.

    • Saoirse37
      The justification is that some distance is better than none I guess. So 500m has been chosen, and it could have easily have been 400 or 600. There will be no justification that 500 is better or worse than a different number in that region.
      How it is applied will be interesting

      1. Will anything more than 500m be easier to approve? Ie it’s not breached that requirement so must be OK ( I doubt it ).
      2. What additional hoops have to be jumped through to be less than this, as it’s not a ban yet, more an additional hurdle ( maybe no suitable road?).
      3. Who has worked out where the potential sites are ( if any ) due to this restriction yet. I expect something to turn up.

      I think the industry concern is no3, ie given all the other constraints, the limit is a ban by any other name.

  7. Well, that was a lot of nothing based upon the “alternative” fairy dust! Apart from the fairy dust being untried on a large scale, and the costs prohibitive, all very illuminating-or not!

    No wonder the antis are frightened around the economics of shale gas. I just wonder how they will deal with it when it becomes factual rather than estimates/speculation.

    In respect of 500m (or whatever), by definition this would move any development to areas without much supporting infrastructure, including good, wide, roads. Seeing what is currently being discussed in Lancashire the industry is not going to put up with such double restrictions and it will be challenged. Perhaps the best thing for the industry is if Cuadrilla are not successful with their TMP.

  8. Returning to Monday morning reality, “Green policy to force up electricity bills by £200.”-Emily Gosden, Times 16/4/2018.

    By 2025, because of increasing wholesale prices (largely gas) and green subsidies, leading analysts have warned.

    Another green bottle, accidently falls.

    • So let’s put this in perspective:
      British Gas price rise unjustified, says government
      ‘A 5.5%, or £60 a year, rise in energy prices for British Gas customers on default deals has been branded as “unjustified” by the government.

      The company, the UK’s largest energy supplier, said that 4.1 million of its customers would be affected.

      The increase will take effect from 29 May and follows its 12.5% rise in electricity prices last September.’
      So that’s an average £136 increase in less than a year for a finite fuel that goes up in a puff of toxic smoke…..and next year? The year after? The year after that?

      Martin, the actual article you refer to states:
      ‘Annual household electricity bills could rise by almost £200, or a third, by 2025 ‘ – note ‘could’ and ‘almost’ and particularly ‘2025’ [seven years from now; for those who hate maths that would be ‘almost’ 200 divided by 7 = £28pa for an energy source that is not single use; I wonder which one the consumer would prefer?

      Give up the green bottles, they are clouding your judgement.

  9. We have already seen Ineos threatening to haul the National Trust through court – and the democratically elected Scottish Government. Now it wants to force its way onto your very doorstep. 500 metres is nothing.

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