Campaigners seek legal challenge to Cuadrilla’s fracking permit


Friends of the Earth is taking legal action against the Environment Agency over the way it granted Cuadrilla a permit to frack in Lancashire.

The campaign organisation announced this morning it has lodged an application with the High Court to seek a judicial review of the environmental permit to frack at the Preston New Road site near Blackpool.

It said the Environment Agency (EA) had failed to take the best course of action to protect the environment from the risks of fracking.

Friends of the Earth said the EA had a duty to ensure that the best available techniques were used by the fracking industry. But the organisation said the EA had failed to conduct a best available technique assessment when considering Cuadrilla’s application.

The case being brought by Friends of the Earth is that Cuadrilla should have been required to use a better technique for dealing with waste fluids – known as flowback – generated by fracking.

According to Friends of the Earth, the more ‘flowback fluid’ that Cuadrilla can reuse, the less waste would need to be trucked offsite. There could be more waste and more trucks on Lancashire’s road because the EA failed to ensure the best available techniques were used, it said.

pnr 180426 Ros Wills 1 slider

Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. Photo: Ros Wills

The environmental permit is just one of the requirements needed before fracking can start. Under the Infrastructure Act, the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, has to give the final consent.

Friends of the Earth has asked him to delay his decision on consent while the challenge is being considered by the courts.

Cuadrilla recently finished drilling the UK’s first horizontal shale gas well and is currently working on the second. It has said it plans to begin fracking in July.

10 days ago, the Energy Minister, Claire Perry, responding to a parliamentary question, said the government had not received an application from Cuadrilla for hydraulic consent.

Friends of the Earth campaigner, Helen Rimmer, said:

“All along, the government stated that gold standard regulation will make everything ok, but we believe our challenge shows the opposite. Where fracking has happened elsewhere, we’ve seen instances of damage to the environment. We were told the UK’s regulation would suffice, but already it’s looking more like fool’s gold, than gold standard.

“Greg Clark should not grant fracking consent while significant questions are being raised about basic regulation in the High Court.”

A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said:

“We can confirm we have been granted all necessary Environment Agency permits required for us to hydraulically fracture at our site at Preston New Road, Lancashire.

“We are moving ahead to apply to the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for the final consent to fracture the first shale horizontal well,  which we completed in early April.

“The Secretary of State will make his decision based on all the information presented to him but we note that the Infrastructure Act clearly states that if the operator has the necessary permits in place this “is sufficient for the Secretary of State to be satisfied”.

“We do have those permits and therefore consider it inappropriate for Friends of the Earth to suggest that there is any reason for the Secretary of State, on these grounds, not to grant consent.”

A spokesperson for the pro-shale group, Lancashire for Shale, said:

“This is just the latest in a long line of stunts designed to delay progress on the basis of yet another spurious claim, and an outrageous waste of taxpayer’s money considering that the Environment Agency, a public body, may now have to incur significant legal expenses to defend this action.

“Lancashire’s economy has already benefited to the tune of almost £9m in supply chain spending since Cuadrilla relocated to Preston and operations began. People and businesses will be rightly furious to learn that Friends of the Earth is trying to deny them further jobs and contracting opportunities with this eleventh-hour legal manoeuvre.

“If it were seriously concerned that the regulator had not followed due process when determining Cuadrilla’s environmental permits, it would have launched this challenge when those permits were first granted in 2015. The fact it has waited until now is a clear sign that it is just gaming the legal system.”

gv inquiry

The issue of flowback volumes was raised at the recent inquiry into fracking at Cuadrilla’s second proposed site in Lancashire at Roseacre Wood.

Local engineer, Mike Hill, questioned evidence from Cuadrilla about how it would reduce flowback volumes and, therefore, traffic from the site.

The company’s technical director, Mr Lappin, had said in his evidence to the inquiry that Cuadrilla proposed to shut-in the well to allow the formation to absorb flowback fluid and reduce volumes coming to the surface. He also said the company had considered on-site treatment of flowback fluid but at the time of the original application there was no permitted technique.

Mr Hill said the EA must look at best available techniques for all fracking waste, including the fluid left in the formation, as well as flowback. He said:

“Recycling of flowback is a complex process and one that has proven difficult to master by fracking operators.”

He said potential toxicity levels rose significantly and the efficiency of fracking fell with recycling. He said:

“It would be prudent to plan for traffic levels that include for tankering off all flowback. The traffic levels need to be realistic and include for unplanned weekend and night movements.” 

127 replies »

  1. But the 85% never said they ONLY supported alternatives! You know that, I know that.

    Good try, no cigar.

    (It’s like saying 85% supported eating vegetables therefore they are vegans!)

    Actually, you are wrong about the plastic. All the plastic I use is recycled, or single use plastic is converted into electricity. I have no problem with using plastic. I believe there is too much single use plastic, but I accept a great deal of that growth has been due to idiots contaminating unprotected products, or threatening to do so and thus attempting to blackmail the retailers. Only recently a person arrested for spraying a substance onto Pick & Mix in Exeter (believed to be acid.)

    It’s a darned nuisance when you start to suffer arthritis in the hands, but a price to pay for the idiots in our midst.

    If I was a landowner I would love to have a wind turbine providing me a net income of £150k/year, whether it is generating, or not. No wonder the big landowners want to keep INEOS at bay. As a consumer, I think it stinks. Equally, I quite like them at sea but I wish more judicious siting could be managed to provide nurseries for some of our sea fish, such as sea bass. We might even get to eat it ourselves shortly!

    Don’t get me started on wood pellets and burning of cereals, or converting cereals into bio-ethanol! Or 99 year leases of good farm land for solar farms, built by gangs of labourers who travel over from what was E. Europe in their vans and then travel back again with the salaries earned, and the panels produced in China requiring a huge input of energy (usually coal) producing huge pockets of pollution and poor health, but supporting the Chinese economy. Good job Paris let them off!

    One man’s clean, is another’s dirty.

    Sorry, I like gas. I might prefer hydrogen when that is available, but I suspect that will come from gas. I also shudder to think back to the 1970s and the cost to good people of this country through not having energy security. We are a long way away from energy security with alternatives. Mr. Musk’s spin and PR are starting to look threadbare.

    It is quite apparent from this particular subject how the antis are fearful of fracking actually being tested, on shore in UK. Their “economic” strategy is a strange mixture of vast industrialisation across the country and it is uneconomic! (The wacky backy approach!) Fracking is no different to any other project. Come up with that sort of mixed up platform (the real term would be moderated) and you will guarantee many will say, “well, let’s wait and see”. So, that’s where we are. The antis have underestimated the patience of the public and the exploration companies, and with the entrance of INEOS have certainly underestimated the financial resource and expertise available to get the tests done.

    We will see what we see. The fact that some don’t want the two thirds to see is hardly giving a confident picture, and some suggesting they are not intelligent enough to understand what they see, hardly adds credibility.

    • This is such a hilarious post coming from you Martin, the twister of stats! I see you cannot even come up with your own witty phrases….

      ‘(It’s like saying 85% supported eating vegetables therefore they are vegans!)’ – nope

      ‘All the plastic I use is recycled, or single use plastic is converted into electricity.’ – nope

      ‘ to provide nurseries for some of our sea fish, such as sea bass. We might even get to eat it ourselves shortly!’ – unfortunately all polluted with micro plastics; makes acid on sweeties feel like honey on toast!

      ‘It is quite apparent from this particular subject how the antis are fearful of fracking’ – of course, read the evidence, who wouldn’t be.

      ‘Fracking is no different to any other project.’ – oh yes it is!

      ‘We will see what we see.’ – or in your case we will see ONLY what we WANT to see….

      No one is saying no to gas Martin, get a grip; just stretch what we have, dump the dirty shale as no social licence.

      I find it ironic you don’t want onshore wind, preferring offshore, but support onshore gas in front of offshore; strange that

      • Thank you for the informative post, Martin. Nice to see that there are rational thinkers on this site.

    • Well at least someone is happy chattering away to himself?

      You know it’s very kind of you to post these headers and footers martin, but I thought the idea was to actually say something intelligible in-between?

      But its OK because I’m thinking of rewallpapering the spare bedroom and I want something kind of soporific, so about 30 more posts in the same vain should about do it if you would be so kind? Works a treat in the loo too? Kind of moving if you know what I mean?


        • header and footer; brilliant; the same crap appears on every page.

          Don’t think the loo paper thing would work well though; would just be smearing shit on shit……

    • Very valid factual points Martin, the antics hate it when such truths are told and try and ignore it and have a nasty go…

      The solar panel information is spot on, I know a farmer near me who has had Chinese panels installed by a van full of Bulgarians

      The antis won’t even mention Biomass after the Dispatches Channel 4 “The true cost of Green energy” available on catch up

      Something a bit strange, sure I saw Ruth taking notes at the Oral evidence session on inquiry by House, Communities and Local Government Select Committee on planning guidance for fracking. 

      Sure it was her gripping her plastic pen scribbling like crazy. Maybe she has reported it and I’ve missed it

      The three antis including the crazy foe woman didn’t do very well. A factual hearing without any theatre involved didn’t suit the antis one bit. The foe woman had enough paper flapping in front of her that was probably a forest. You would have thought an iPad would have helped her cause

  2. I find it ironic Sherwulfe that you have to adjust someone’s text in order to discuss. Trust you don’t try that down the pub! It is exposed quickly, and is even more obvious in print.

    Too much RT again.

    • So you didn’t get it; again; never mind, go to bed sweetie, the nanas will sing you a frack-a-bye….

      • The UK has been powered without coal for three days in a row, setting a new record and underlining the polluting fuel’s rapid decline.

        Coal has historically been at the cornerstone of the UK’s electricity mix, but last year saw the first 24-hour period that the the country ran without the fuel since the 19th century.

        New records were broken last week when zero power came from coal for nearly 55 consecutive hours.

        Scottish Power raises energy bills for nearly 1m households


        Read more

        That milestone in turn was smashed on Monday afternoon and the UK passed the 72-hour mark at 10am on Tuesday. The coal-free run came to an end after 76 hours.

        Without the fossil fuel, nearly a third of Britain’s electricity was supplied by gas, followed by windfarms and nuclear on around a quarter each.

        The rest came from biomass burned at Drax power station in North Yorkshire, imports from France and the Netherlands, and solar power. Drax said it expected to go without coal on Tuesday.

        Gas kicking coal into the long grass…

  3. Sherwulfe – I think you have to get used to the fact that the level of intelligence applied by the pro-frackers is about what you’d expect from passing a small electric current through a potato.

    • Percentage wise at this exact moment 50% of that current will be produced using GAS… Oh and a mighty 6% by wind turbines???

  4. What a lot of nonsense. Many of us on the fylde are very concerned about fracking! Government appears to have little care, and the environment agency a poodle with no teeth! Rainwater on site can now be disposed of in a local stream, with contaminants? No confidence in frackers, government, or linked regulatory bodies, and Lancashire businesses who benefit from fracking and simply don’t seem to care about the consequences of this industry. Money obviously talks!! I and my family and friends are ordinary people, who are concerned about the impact of fracking, chemicals used, and gases released, air and water contamination, and consequently our local produce contaminated. And a sense that we just don’t matter, money is all!

    • Rainwater draining off into stream, it will also be tested to see if any contaminants are in it… what is the problem…

      Your statement saying many on the Fylde are concerned about fracking is untrue.

      I drive past the Cuadrilla site quite often and there is usually just two paid protectors there…

      The Blackpool area needs investment, the Country needs gas…

      • One day you might get it Kisheny. No one is arguing that the country won’t need gas … it will need gas for many years to come. Savvy?

        • There are no paid protectors, that is just a vicious anti anti slur, prove it.
          Water pollution will be measured after it is too late and all ready in the stream.
          The EA might send a stiff letter after a few months but nothing will be done about it. By that time the wildlife will be poisoned and land and livestock and people made sick.
          Post Measurement of pollution is about as useful as putting a lock on the stable door after the horse has bolted.
          A pointless useless bureaucratic waste of time energy and money.
          It’s a sop, a fraud, a get out clause, nothing more.
          Insanity by rubber stamp.
          EA=Everything Allowed (only if you are a government sanctioned exploiter)

          • I live 3 miles from the Cuadrilla site, it is common knowledge locally that there are paid protestors…

            • Common knowledge from whom? Please post details/names Kish as you are a local or stop perpetuating this urban myth….by the way, while you are at it please trace the handful of pro- protesters who turned up for the first PNR/Roseacre hearing who stayed for EXACTLY one hour and then left (£15 I believe was the going rate per hour?)

        • Glad you recognise this Phil. I am in the industry offshore and see the reduction in gas production, so where will we get it from?

          That is the issue…

          A secure reasonably priced supply is imperative for the security and economy of the U.K…

      • When will you stop peddling your ignorant lies about PNR protestors being “paid”? What part of “They are not paid” by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Russians or Father Christmas do you not understand? I’ve been there since January 2017 so am sure I am more qualified than you to speak on the subject.

        • Funny you mention Greenpeace first. All us locals know money is being paid to some protestors… It will come out eventually…

            • Do you want me to have pictures of money exchanging hands?

              Talk to any local police officer or taxi driver they all know some protestors are paid

              I am local Sher you are not

              Have you ever been to pnr?

              You never answer any questions Sher…

            • I’ll take that as a no…

              Never answer questions Sher do you…

              Won’t watch

              Biomass Dispatches Channel 4 “The truth about green energy” available on catch up


              You say you have no TV

              La la la, won’t listen to any other argument, just your own tunnel vision

              You say you don’t have a personal pension, rely on the Government…

              So you think you aren’t part of the economic set up?

              Always banging away on your plastic keyboard though…

            • Right now

              Gas 45%
              Nuclear 27%
              Biomass 8%
              French ICT 7%
              Wind 7%
              Dutch ICT 4%
              Coal 0%
              Solar 0%

              Still think it’s intermittent renewables kicking coal into the long grass???

              Facts don”t lie

              You can waffle all you want, it won’t make any diffrrence…

            • Happy with Biomass being your No.1 renewable champion

              Chopping down huge forest after forest of hundred year old trees

              Destroying wildlife

              Shipping them across the atlantic to burn at Drax

              Emitting more CO2 than burning coal

              All in the name of green energy

              Well done all you greens

              Not one poster on here will even mention it

              Double standards

              Surprise Surprise…

              Hypocrites the lot of you…

            • Since we are on the subject of answering questions Kish, you have not exactly been forthcoming about anything I have pointed out to you at all?

              Exxon ring a bell? Atlantic refueling? No? Didn’t think so?

              Perhaps people in paid for pr gas houses shouldn’t frack stones?

            • You only ask rhetorical questions Kisheny; if the answers don’t match you ideals, they are not answers therefore no one can answer your questions 🙂

            • If you have evidence of paid protesters, then put it in the public domain; if not you are spreading lies and slander. Which would you like to be remembered by?

              [Edited by moderator]

          • Kisheny. For goodness sake. I could just as easily have mentioned Father Christmas first or maybe Uncle Tom Cobley. It doesn’t matter who I name first since none of them are paying the protectors at PNR because the protectors are not being paid. Your source of information which you quote is sadly misinformed. Just as the pro frackers are misinformed and gullible about much of the fracking industry.

      • It’s now late, July, 2019.
        Cuadrilla fracked a small number of sections on Well One last Autumn at low pressure. They caused over 50 earthquakes, several strong enough to close the site down for 18 hours. They are now moving to frack again before long, hoping for an increase in earthquake thresholds from the desperate, Brexit obsessed and rudderless Tory Government.
        Let’s see what happens next, their principal backer’s share price, AJLUCAS from Australia is down to 7cents!

  5. Philip P Fracked gas and in brackets u.k onshore 0%, nice touch as you know we get fracked gas from the U.S.A

    Phil you know this will change

    Thd U.K will produce shale gas 100%…

    • Fracked gas from USA is a miniscle percentage and only in the form of liquefied ethane for plastics manufacture or for emergency supply measures… the latter will only decrease as the next Azeri/ Anatolia pipeline comes onstream.

      If onshore fracking for O & G in the UK was going to be in any way competitve with existing and future supplies then major players like Statoil and BP would be showing great interest.

      You keep tryimg to spook everyone with your transparent nonsense though.

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

      • Dear me, I think someone has had another cheque from his sponsors?
        I wonder if they get paid by the word or by the number of posts?


        Well that’s the awkward corner of the spare room papered now, now the next wall, send some more please kish!

      • Phil that is BS as you well know

        We get LNG into Milford Haven from Cove Point the U.S.A

        Grangemouth also get ethane a by product from U.S.A shale gas. This is a regular supply from JRs Dragon ships.

        Statoil is busy getting ready to explore the Arctic for new oil and gas crushing Greenpeace in the Courts. Why should we get the lions share of our gas from an organisation like this???

        BP is buying into American shale.

        Ineos has aligned with Igas.

        Ineos big enough for you…

        Is this transparent enough for you???

        A disturbing turn in all you antis is becoming more and more prevalent

        The amount of Fake information being posted is increasing. You know your facts and figures so either mix percentages up or try and frame the argument ignoring the facts. When the facts are laid bare in a reply the common response by antis is anger and off subject insults at the poster. This all smacks of desperation and the need to just reply and fill the post with drivel, not helping your cause at all.

        • ‘The amount of Fake information being posted is increasing. You know your facts and figures so either mix percentages up or try and frame the argument ignoring the facts. When the facts are laid bare in a reply the common response by [antis] is anger and off subject insults at the poster. This all smacks of desperation and the need to just reply and fill the post with drivel, not helping your cause at all.’

          This comment is best directed to yourself….

        • Nothing fake about anything I’ve said whereas you constantly hype up the Russian supply threat and side step the the counter points e.g. entirely avoiding the Azeeri reserves and upturn in North Sea supplies (the biggest Caspian field is being mamaged by BP). Tell us what percentage of UK gas overall comes from Milford Haven LNG. Then people can judge for themselves…. before you make further accusations about fakery. Its not even clear that those cargos (in your link) are to be fully discharged in the UK.

          • If you check out the Cons master plan PhillipP it is their intention to ship LNG into the UK to sell on to Europe. With the profit from this venture as we buy in cheaper than any other country the coffers will again be filled from oil and gas as the NS has not paid up this year.

            Ultimately this is the current long term plan of this governance; they don’t support renewables; they don’t support shale; they have cocked up the nuclear and are quite frankly are living for the day.

            The good news is aging population who mainly vote Con, due to the poorly funded NHS will have disappeared before long allowing the young people, whose voices need to be heard, to vote for a government who cares about Climate Change.

            We can argue on this site till the proverbial [non methane producing] cows come home, but ultimately it is each individual’s decision to make changes. Whatever your stance, make inroads to put this right; each household will have different needs and different solutions. If all those who endorse climate change moved their systems to renewable or buy from renewable energy providers, the industry would take note. Without this they will keep pumping to the sounds of Kisheny’s logic and we will all suffer the consequences.

  6. As you just keep changing the subject at random, or whenever cornered, I’ll leave to others to follow you up the garden path Kisheny. BTW…. subsidies are political decisions. Who’s in power? Oh yes, the Tories. Urge them to get a grip.

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