Opposition

More calls to block fracking – over emergency plans, evidence review and legal challenge

Roseacre sign

Photo: DrillOrDrop

In the past three days, there have been three formal calls to halt fracking, scheduled to start soon for the first time in the UK since 2011.

Cuadrilla has applied to the Government for final fracking consent for its shale gas site at Preston New Road in Lancashire. The company has said it expects to frack two horizontal wells at the site in the second half of 2018.

Local concerns about emergency planning

pnr 180614 Jonathan Bartley

Jonathan Bartley with residents and campaigners outside Preston New Road. Photo: Green Party

Earlier this week, the Green Party co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, wrote to the Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, urging him to investigate concerns about emergency plans at the site, before granting consent.

DrillOrDrop reported last week on local calls for emergency plans to be published for Preston New Road. Residents, campaigners and a councillor said there should be an investigation into whether an evacuation plan was needed for homes surrounding the site and three nearby schools. Questions to Lancashire police and fire services have failed to establish what procedures would be used in an emergency, they said.

Mr Bartley, who met Cuadrilla last week, said:

“We’re calling on the Secretary of State not to make a decision over whether to grant a licence to frack until the matter has been investigated thoroughly and safety concerns are addressed. The fact that local residents don’t even know if there’s even a proper plan in place for emergencies – let alone evacuation – is deeply concerning.

“It would be completely unacceptable and be playing fast and loose with people’s safety to ignore these issues. The Secretary of State clearly shouldn’t make a decision on whether Cuadrilla should be allowed to frack until these serious questions are answered and the concerns of local people are addressed.”

Challenge over best practice

Yesterday, Mr Bartley’s fellow leader, Caroline Lucas, urged Mr Clark in a parliamentary question to also delay the decision.

She said he should wait until the conclusion of a legal challenge of the decision by the Environment Agency (EA) to grant a permit for fracking at Preston New Road.

180620 Caroline Lucas written question

Written question and answer, 20 June 2018. Source: TheyWorkForYou.com

DrillOrDrop reported last month that the EA had been accused of failing to take the best course of action to protect the environment from the risks of fracking.

Friends of the Earth, in its application for a judicial review, said the EA had a duty to ensure that best available techniques were used – but it had not carried out a best available technique assessment when considering Cuadrilla’s application.

In a reply to Ms Lucas, the Energy Minister, Claire Perry, said:

“There is no set timeframe for my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State to take a decision on an application for Hydraulic Fracturing Consent. The Government has always been clear that shale gas development must be safe and environmentally sound. We are committed to ensuring a rigorous, evidence-based approach is taken to reviewing any applications for hydraulic fracturing.

“Hydraulic Fracturing Consent approval will not be issued unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that the legislative conditions in the Petroleum Act 1998 have been met and that he is otherwise satisfied that it is appropriate to issue consent.”

Fracking evidence review

Royal Society Royal Academy report

This afternoon, the anti-fracking umbrella network, Frack Free United, called for an immediate moratorium on fracking in response to news reported by DrillOrDrop this morning that the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering report was to updated.

This landmark review of fracking, issued in 2012, concluded that health, safety and environmental risks could be managed effectively in the UK as long as best practices were implemented and enforced. It has been quoted frequently by ministers in their support for shale gas development.

Frack Free United also called for a halt to government consultations on proposals to take many shale gas projects out of local authority control.

Last month, Written Ministerial Statements announced that fracking applications in England could be classed as Nationally-Significant Infrastructure Projects to be decided by a government-appointed inspector. Non-fracking shale gas proposals in England could become permitted development under the proposals, avoiding the need to go through the full planning system.

Baroness Featherstone

The Liberal Democrat spokesperson for energy and climate change, Baroness Lynne Featherstone said today:

“This is serious. The evidence that the Tory government currently relies on for justifying its pro-fracking viewpoint is being reviewed. This means the government could be relying on outdated science to prove that fracking is safe.

“It is not worth taking a chance on this. We no longer need fossil fuels to help us generate our energy. The government should halt its obsession with fracking and instead use the money to invest in more renewable projects instead.”

58 replies »

  1. OK – EKT needed some help with this ‘ban’ thing… in case you missed it, here goes:

    “What don’t you understand about this? – the moratorium process is actioned through planning. NB Moratorium is synonymous with Ban but it’s legal application and context is different. It is NOT wrong to call it a ban but it would be more correct to say ‘effective ban’ because that’s what it is. Not that confusing except for people who don’t like it and need further explanation.

    This matter was discussed on DOD 6 days ago where I said “As stated, the moratorium is tantamount to ban (different procedural logic, same outcome). ” …even GBK agreed!

    and the ministerial quotes were clarified there as follows:
    ——————–
    Ms Blackman was pressed by Any Questions? host Jonathan Dimbleby, to clarify the Scottish Government’s position. She said:
    “The reality is that we don’t support the development of an unconventional oil and gas industry in Scotland and that’s why a moratorium was introduced in 2015.”

    Kirsty Blackman asked if it amounted to a ban, she replied:
    “We don’t have the full powers over this. We’ve had to introduce a moratorium in terms of the planning process. Because it’s through the planning process, a clear legal process has got to be followed.”
    ———————-

    i.e. the moratorium had been in place since 2015. Here’s a couple of statements from then…

    Fergus Ewing: told the Holyrood chamber, to applause. “I am therefore announcing a moratorium for the granting of planning consents on all unconventional oil and gas extraction including fracking.”
    Dr Richard Dixon stated:
    “While we are calling for an outright ban, a halt on the industry while a full examination of health and environmental impacts is carried out is very welcome. Scotland joins France, Ireland, the Netherlands and New York State in a long list of countries and regions which have acted to stop the unconventional gas industry. We are convinced that a proper examination of the mounting evidence of health and environmental concerns must lead to a full ban.”

  2. Why did you bother with all of that PhilipP and omit where it WAS referenced as a ban?

    We are supposed not to have noticed that?

    But then, when it would be so simple to recognise the full facts you simply have to revert to trying to produce a smokescreen. There is absolutely no point to it, it will not influence the “final” decision in October, and only underlines how facts are manipulated, even when there is no possible benefit to it.

    What may be of interest, is the third “term” that the Scottish Government might utilise in October if that follows a Blackpool Bonanza headline. We could start a book on it. I will start it with-“Oops”.

    • Read more carefully and take your blinkers off Martin. Planning applications are to get turned down by way of a moratorium and it is Scotland’s constitutional right to have devolved control over local applications. You can insist on calling it not-a-ban if you must, but for most English speakers (including Scots) a one syllable is word more convenient than a five syllable word – they are synonymous after all. The judgement was pronouncing on the strict legal context but I expect Ban is still permissible so long as it is qualified according to context.

  3. You don’t happen to work for FOE, producing posters, do you PhilipP?

    Within any material produced, words have to be chosen carefully. Any verbal statement is the same. Companies are expected to do that, otherwise people like refracktion will refer them to the ASA. Politicians should be expected to do the same, especially when £ millions have been invested.

    All you are doing is compounding the same twisting of words and meanings that was attempted back around the ASA investigation into the FOE posters. You, and Nicola, might find it will come back and bite.

    • Synonymous means twisting of words? No . The twisting is all yours. You can’t let it go can you? Bitter and twisted .. sad.

  4. Ahh, the resort to the personal!

    Signal of the weakness of your argument. However, with a sweet and straight contribution, Oxford English Dictionary is there to help you out-they are NOT synonymous. Here’s a clue-one indicates temporary, one does not and to be synonymous would need “temporary” as a prefix.

    Like saying a loaned player within the transfer window is synonymous with a signed player. Possibly £50m between the two. Let’s see if Nicola gets away with less.

    Is it the stress of the approach of fracking which is producing the errors of fact amongst the antis? Or the stress of increased fuel and energy prices? Probably not. More like the ones who were accurate seem to have melted away.

    • Good, at least you’ve learned something by looking it up. That’s a start – that’s always been the meaning of moratorium. The next thing you need to inquire about is does it have a definite end point? If it is open ended you can then report back on how it is still different to a ban. Also, as any ban could be overturned by a change of government and a new law then perhaps you can explain why all bans shouldn’t just be called moratoriums anyway

  5. Well, if you will use the RT dictionary PhilipP, that’s what you get!

    Meanwhile looking at the “alternative” world from the real world this weekend (if you are not engrossed in Jim’s book):

    “Tesla’s recently announced job cuts are to fall squarely on the solar electricity business it bought two years ago in a deal that was criticised by investors.
    Tesla bought Solar City, a solar panel manufacturer and installer, for $2.6billion in 2016.Investors expressed concern at the time about apparent conflict of interest, given that Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, was the majority shareholder in both companies and that his cousin, Lyndon Rive, ran Solar City.
    Tesla has earmarked solar installation sites for closure in nine American states. The company had dismissed dozens of customer service workers at its solar call centres in Nevada and Utah”

    Threat of energy price rise (again).

    “Households face a rise of up to £7 a year because the government is considering granting businesses exemptions from payments for renewables schemes-because they have the highest costs in Europe due to contributions to green energy”.

    So, the households can be forced to pay more! On top of the 22% rise in wholesale energy prices since March, that the antis told us would not happen due to all the “cheap gas and oil sloshing around the market”. Even the two thirds will not get the choice.

    Not just the Green bottles falling off the wall, but wheels off the flagship wagon also.

    You couldn’t make it up!

    But, you will.

      • Martin’s Lore now states
        ‘everything that isn’t permanent will either have to have a different name or have the word temporary in front of it.’
        Let’s see …
        – temporary pregnancy
        – temporary red light
        – temporary Weekend
        🙂

  6. Took a long while to think that silliness up PhilipP.

    Just dismiss facts as nonsense? How about some facts from yourself? You must have them somewhere.

    If you want to test out synonymous-here’s another test for you down the pub: (good luck)

    Try suggesting to the young ladies a one night stand is just the same (synonymous) as a relationship. They will laugh as much as we do. If you are discharged from hospital next week, see you then.

    Oh, by the way, did you see today’s press?

    “Green car giant Tesla ‘no cleaner than petrol rivals'”

    OMG, and that’s before all those emissions from firing them into space, or when they catch fire! Looks like the wheels are coming off. Probably needed to so the brakes could be fixed!

    Too much time spent on PR and not enough on serious management.

  7. Gawd. Cool your jets Martin. So much excitement isn’t good for you. I expect that Tesla yarn which we’ve seen before will get recycled periodically for the gullible and the easily excitable. Its so easy to balance carbon footprints when you assume the power is generated by dirty sources

    You need to step back and look at the bigger picture. Musk’s SpaceX has a backlog of launch orders worth $12 billion. Tesla Model III back orders are huge too. The robotic assembly lines productivity were overestimated and meanwhile Tesla had spent hugely on the rollout of over 10,000 fast charge delivery points across Europe and America… Growing pains aren’t a sign of terminal decline much as you would like them to appear to be.

    [Typos corrected at poster’s request]

  8. Tesla back orders are huge. Yes, they are PhilipP, and for some it is obvious why and that is why those that are funding Tesla are putting their foot down.

    I have come across a number of companies who spend a disproportionate amount of time spinning to cover up real difficulties in performance. If you think 15 years and yet to make a profit are “growing pains”, do not invest in business!

    I quite like Mr. Musk, in terms of his ideas and drive, but his ego seems to get in the way of allowing others to professionally manage his business. After 15 years he is starting to find the market wants results.

  9. You mean that same shale gas that has kept thousands in jobs in Grangemouth, mainland Europe and Shanghai?

    So easy to lead them to the edge and in they jump! Hence the collective name.

    Is it a coincidence that the last few weeks have seen a significant increase in fake “news”? Err, no.

    Buy the book PhilipP. Only a part of the story, but a start with some facts would be a good start. (You could always put it on your Barclaycard!)

  10. But you don’t get that you raised US shale gas was not producing profit!!

    Shame you don’t understand the facts, even when you raise the subject yourself!

    Perhaps you should get a bit of mentoring, “Telemachus”? (Certainly see the Homer connection!)

    “Don’t go there”-would be an easy starting point, but there could be quite a list.

    • Care for me to list all the Shale companies that have filed for Chapter 11 (bankruptcies) in the States? You can easily cherry pick the occasional profitable ones – that’s what keeps the whole looting and polluting casino going. Quite a racket.

      Still waiting for your explanation of how a moratorium isn’t a ban.

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