Campaigners take first step to challenge Lincolnshire oil drilling

North Kelsey Egdon Resources 2

North Kelsey oil drilling plan. Source: Egdon Resources planning application

Opponents of proposals to drill for oil in Lincolnshire are seeking to challenge planning permissions for sites at North Kelsey and Biscathorpe.

Egdon Resources got the go-ahead to drill at both sites from Lincolnshire County Council last month. DrillOrDrop report

But two community action groups – Friends of Moortown against Drilling and S.O.S Biscathorpe – have now instructed lawyers to lodge judicial reviews of the decisions at the High Court.

The news, announced today, follows moves in the past week by campaigners in South Yorkshire to challenge permission to Ineos for shale gas drilling at Harthill. DrillOrDrop report.

The challenge against the North Kelsey decision is being sought on two grounds. One of the campaigners, Elizabeth Williams, said:

“Permission for North Kelsey includes hundreds if not thousands of extra traffic movements through a conservation village Holton-le-Moor, ending on a single-track road to the site used by walkers, cyclists, equestrians and farm traffic.”

The campaigners are seeking to challenge the Biscathorpe decision on the risk to groundwater. The planning permission allows Egdon to discharge treated site fluid into a nearby chalk stream at up to 5 litres per second, Ms Williams said.

“When asked how contamination of a rare aquatic ecosystem can be 100% avoided – Egdon Resources say only pure water will be discharged into the stream.

“As any ecologist will tell us, even the purest of water introduced at this rate into a delicate ecosystem can result in an imbalance in the fragile micro-habitats.

“And how on earth can there be a guarantee that no accident will happen through system failure, human error or severe weather events.  Or a perfect storm of all three.”

The campaigners are raising money online to support the challenge. At the time of writing, 68 people had raised nearly £4,500.

28 replies »

  1. An industry with no social licence and an awful track record will opposed by all available legal avenues by local residents. We are many, they are few. Its now a matter of time and snowballing opposition, and we can kiss this industry goodbye. I know its summer but…. No well, No well.

    • ian
      I live in Lincolnshire and I support oil extraction. Where do you live?
      Plus, I think the oil industry will be here for a while, especially in rural areas where fuel oil powers the economy ( agricultural machinery ) and the majority of heating systems.
      Plus Lincolnshire has a booming chemical and renewables industry. What’s not to like about being in this rural area?

  2. Brilliant response from Friends of Moortown against Drilling and S.O.S Biscathorpe.

    Egdon Resources appear to have made a £1.6m loss as at July 2017 (latest published accounts). How many years can they sustain this? To drill an exploratory well costs around £6m. Six years of exploration and not a sniff of shale gas. Speculators won’t hang around forever.

    • Waffle. Speculators are like those who have placed a bet and lost, so doubled their next bet to win back their initial stake; impossible for them to let go, particularly with the hype and lies about a non-existent future. The ‘director’s cut’ is the only motivation for those still in the game.

      • So now approaching midnight on June 26th and still no response to the 10 point challenge to pro fracking posters.
        A reminder, the question posed;
        Can you tell us how shale gas extraction in the UK:
        1. Will be economically viable
        2. Will provide energy security
        3. Is not for plastic
        4. Will replace clean renewable energy production
        5. Won’t cause seismic activity
        6. Won’t pollute ground water
        7. Won’t cause property devaluation
        8. Will stop imports of gas from conflict areas
        9. Is supported by the majority of the UK
        10. Will be better than renewables at slowing climate change

        Don’t forget, 100% ‘leaves no doubt’ evidence, peer reviewed preferably.

        • For the record Comrade Sher I am extremely happy as in a few weeks the first U.K shale gas will reach the surface which will provide the U.K with a fantastic opportunity with £Billions into the Treasury to fund public services NHS at the top of the list with £Millions already promised to it. Stability with energy prices facilitating the Governments energy price cap and on top of all that a secure stable supply enabling the U.K to be self sufficient for decades to come.

          What’s not to be happy about?

          Come on England!!!

          Stop hating Sher and join the party, come on smile!!!

          • Me too. As for his list his answers are either not available, or are buried in reports no one can be bothered to look up for him. I really can’t. He’ll take that as a win of course, but much of what he asks has been dealt with elsewhere.

            1. Will be economically viable
            I believe both the Royal Society and the BGS have stated the obvious. It will take a number of test wells to determine this. Who knows, it might, or it might not. Caudrilla recently released results saying the rock mechanics were positive, as were the gas samples. The BGS has had access to the data to produce its estimates.

            2. Will provide energy security
            Producing more of something ourselves doesn’t harm our energy security. During the Beast from the East event several smaller, many of them renewable, companies were killed because they couldn’t source natural gas as cheaply as they told their customers and so they lost money. Due to a lack of energy security, several smaller renewable suppliers literally went bankrupt and their customers were transferred to other providers. People seem to not know this. They seem to think that security of supply is the same as complete energy security. The two are different. My energy bill for the Beast from the East was an extra £240 (with Green Star Energy – a 100% renewable provider). Many people I know saw the extra amount owed coming in at over £200. That is the effect of a lack of energy security. It isn’t simply that the lights don’t turn on. We go through a sequence of events when we run out of energy. The lights not working is at the end of that sequence. Companies going bankrupt or us all getting sudden larger bills is also a lack of energy security and it happened just a few months ago.

            3. Is not for plastic
            I quite like plastic. It just doesn’t need to be wrapped around everything, and the world needs to stop throwing it in the oceans. For reference, most of it enters the oceans from Asia and Africa. The Thames emits an estimated 18 tonnes per year, compared to 1.5 million just one, large, river in China.

            4. Will replace clean renewable energy production
            It won’t. Thats the policy point. Renewable energy is taken by the grid first. Increase renewable capacity and it displaces gas, and potentially nuclear, from the grid. However, wind and solar have some very serious issues when it comes to reliability. Solar is great during the day, obviously, but it also drops 90% during winter. So a 9KW array produces that only around June. In December it will produce 0.9KW. So solar basically gets turned off for months each year. Wind is unreliable. Most of the time that isn’t a problem, but no-one can deny that wind doesn’t sometimes take a break for days at a time, or even weeks. There are even whole years where it is less windy.

            5. Won’t cause seismic activity
            It probably will, but it should go undetected on the surface. Activists have tried to scare people with fake data from the US – fake because they put Oklahoma on their leaflets, when that was wastewater injection into the Arbuckle Formation, which is in hydraulic communication with basement rocks. I.e. it wasn’t related to fracking. Fracking can cause earthquakes though, which is why you need some sort of regulations surrounding it. With those regulations in place it should be very minimal and seismic activity at surface should be avoidable. Bear in mind that the data is good on this. +2 million frack jobs in the US alone, used on 200,000 wells. The Royal Society recommended the traffic light system be put in place to stop earthquakes in the UK and an academic recently commented on this, recommending fracking not be done in mining areas because it has a higher risk of triggering the 0.5ML regulatory cut off point. He noted that 1m faults can produce this amount of energy. He also noted that the resolution of the seismics used is at 5m. I.e. it will be quite hard for companies to not exceed the 0.5ML limit by interacting with <5m faults. So fracking will almost certainly cause some seismic activity and it will almost certainly occasionally result in the regulatory pause on individual wells before continuing. However, does that mean we're all going to be in a Hollywood movie with the mountains and our houses collapsing all around us? Of course not. Causing activity of that level literally cannot be detected without sensitive scientific equipment.

            6. Won’t pollute groundwater
            There are some common misunderstandings on this point. The main examples from the US are not related to the UK and activists have either unknowingly, since they are not educated in the subject, made this mistake, or, more likely, made it willingly to frighten people. Fracking itself out of millions of frack jobs in the US still hasn't been proven to have caused a single case of water contamination. However, there are a few where it probably has. The activists have been quick to pass a few of these around the globe as proof against 'fracking', but a little educated easily dispel this.
            So in the UK activists have said that we should ban fracking because it causes groundwater contamination. We all know that because we have seen them doing it for years. This very question is an example. What they don't tell people is that the ASA rejected Friends of the Earths claim on this and that in 2014 Greenpeace gave evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on Shale Gas and stated that it didn't have good evidence of groundwater contamination and that its evidence was only anecdotal. All this is public record.
            So, how have activists been both claiming they have good evidence and that fracking does cause water contamination and then losing this argument with the ASA and having to admit behind the public's back that they don't have good evidence for this? It works like this:
            Take one site that had reasonably good evidence that fracking did cause water contamination – Pavillion, WY. At Pavillion the company constructed a well that fracked at 1000ft when the local water wells abstracted at 750ft. I.e. it was shallow and there was only 250ft separation between the fracked horizons and the base of the aquifer. Everyone can see why that might be a very bad idea, especially given average fracture lengths of 150-200ft. It is very possible that some fractures exceeded the horizon and propagated upwards to the base of the aquifer.
            Now take the UK where shallow fracking is banned. The separation distance is thousands upon thousands of feet. Within this strata are multiple different lithologies, some much harder than either the shales or the rocks above. No geologist is suggesting these fractures will propagate thousands of feet and penetrate through much harder layers (rather than spread horizontally at the base of them). However, if by some negative-miracle they were going to the Royal Society has stated that micro-seismicity be used in the UK, i.e fracture propagation can be watched in realtime and if something is untoward activity halted. This obviously did not happen in these US examples. Other examples from the US, such as Dimmock and Parker County are exactly the same as this. Faulty design or bad relationships with local geology that have been easily stopped in the UK by introducing regulations, such as banning shallow fracking, or through not building well designs as per the bad US examples. Get an activist to actually give examples and go through them. I guarantee you'll find that their argument isn't anywhere near as good as they are imagining.

            7. Won’t cause property devaluation
            The arguments here are complex, in part because it hasn't happened yet. Nimbyism is absolutely fine and normal. A tennis court can affect property value. Anything can. However, there is alot of other industry and activity in the UK and we manage OK. A fracking pad can be hidden if designed well – as can other industry. Many many many times we live near industry and don't actually know it is there. Property values manage just fine around the country, even though they are near far far larger human activity. There are already 2200 wells in the UK, of which something like 100+ are active. There is no evidence that these are affecting property values. The York Potash project drilled 17 wells from 9 wellpad over 2 years all within 3 miles of Whitby and all within the North York Moors National Park and didn't crash tourism or collapse property values. Europes largest onshore oilfield sat around some of the UK's most expensive property valued at millions and you can even see drilling rigs in the background of sales brochures for property and no-one exploded. However, I'm not going to say that a fracking pad can be built anywhere. Obviously, there will be sites where it is not right for any number of reasons. I'll even support those not going ahead. That's a far cry from pretending that no-where in the country can support these sites though. That's clearly nonsense when we happily admit that we need to build 250,000 new homes per year, plus all the places of employment, from services to new industry etc.

            8. Will stop imports of gas from conflict areas
            If it reduces imports then it can obviously do this, though policy of not doing this is surely better. The US shale plays give us a great opportunity to not import from conflict regions or regions with poor/horrid human rights. If we don't produce it I'd suggest this will continue to be done and increase. Scotland is already regularly importing US shale gas.

            9. Is supported by the majority of the UK
            I'm actually quite amazed that support and antipathy are as high as they are given the coordinated assassination campaign by activists and the reality that it will encounter nimbyism most places it goes. The wave surveys pretty clearly show what is going on because they're mostly flat over the past decade. There's been no massive swing either way. The majority of people neither support or oppose shale. Then the group that opposes it is larger than the group that supports it by around 8%. However, the that is bulk numbers. E.g. it should be easy to assume that 100% of Green Party voters oppose fracking. Surprisingly they don't, which I think is more indicative of Green voters just voting Green to feel good about themselves and not really knowing the Party manifesto or following it much between elections. However, my point is that just looking at the results of the Wave survey is not the best way to understand the politics. Support for opposing fracking is very high in the Green Party and the Lib Dems, but support for fracking is higher among Conservatives. Given that the Conservatives are in power it is easy to understand why the policy is what it is.

            I.e. it isn't how many support something or oppose it. It is how many people will still vote for you if you propose something. Not only is fracking support higher among Conservatives very very few people vote based on any party's position on fracking. Take note that during the election debates even the Green Party never mentioned it.

            10. Will be better than renewables at slowing climate change
            Definitely at first. Renewables are struggling to offset increased global energy demand. Most of the installed renewables have actually just offset the removal of nuclear facilities. Every type of energy source, from wind, to solar, gas, to coal is increasing year on year. The absolute most powerful thing we can do right now is to increase renewables and switch coal to gas while being very strict on methane emissions. If anyone suggests to you that we should try and cut out gas right now then they are not really serious about tackling climate change. Let's not forget that gas capacity in the UK has failed a few times in the past months and coal has been used. Wind farms seem to be using diesel generators too as backup. Methane emissions are the thing though and our best bet for keeping those down is to do it ourselves, else we're really just playing a game outsourcing them and pretending their not our problem. Next to that we have the future modelling from any of the worlds forecasting institutions, from the grids themselves to environmental groups, the IPCC etc etc etc. Take your pick. None predict the end of gas any time soon. Most hope for an end to coal over the next 20 years. That will not happen without switching fuel types and renewables will not do it alone. No-one serious is saying otherwise.

            • Thanks for your contribution Garry, but you still have not put the 100% indisputable evidence needed. You raise some interesting points, but you need to back them up, other wise is still hearsay and conjecture.

              ‘None of the points I have raised have been dealt with elsewhere, and if indeed there are ‘reports buried that no one can be bothered to look up’ – I suggest you bother.

              So let’s look at your personal responses

              1. Will be economically viable; no evidence provided.

              2. Will provide energy security; no evidence provided (these questions are not about renewables)

              3. Is not for plastic; no evidence provided.
              Regarding plastic and ‘someone else’s problem’, this may interest you

              4. Will replace clean renewable energy production; no evidence provided, again this is not a debate about renewables

              5. Won’t cause seismic activity; a credible response but ‘The Royal Society recommended the traffic light system be put in place to stop earthquakes in the UK’ so this is nonsensical; 50 seismic events already at Preese Hall; the traffic light system is just a monitoring system; you cannot get the gas flow without ramping up the machine; Eric will tell you this.

              6. Won’t pollute ground water; no evidence provided

              7. Won’t cause property devaluation; no evidence provided

              8. Will stop imports of gas from conflict areas; no evidence provided.
              As you may be already aware the UK governance is ramping up its LNG imports, shale does not seem to be in the equation, but this ‘approach’ seems to gush irresponsible comments to the contrary from pro frackers.

              9. Is supported by the majority of the UK; no evidence provided.
              ‘ Not only is fracking support higher among Conservatives [reducing as we speak]
              very very few people vote based on any party’s position on fracking [not so, increase in Labour vote from those who have joined after declaration of no support for fracking] .
              Take note that during the election debates even the Green Party never mentioned it [actually, they did].

              10. Will be better than renewables at slowing climate change; no evidence provided. Remember to define the difference between shale gas and natural gas.

              So again, Garry, thanks for taking the time out to answer, but we need 100% indisputable evidence to back up the many ‘sayings’ and misconceptions posted by the pro-fracking spin machine before a decent discussion can take place.

          • Am smiling a lot Kish as you still are not able to take up the challenge.
            For starters 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
            Still no evidence provided.
            Game Over; you score null points.

    • Waffle
      It’s oil. But let’s not let that get in the way of the red mist when someone mentions drilling.
      All good fun. I look forwards to the next anti frack post when discussing Lincolnshire oil.

  3. You have to love how informed some are, that they are tagged accordingly!

    Waffle-Egdon are not involved in shale gas exploration currently, or previously. They have licences to explore in the FUTURE but their activity to date is just traditional oil. Keep up.

  4. So, Sherwulfe, still having trouble with maths., I see.

    For anyone who might be interested, the subject being Egdon, take a look at their current share price and what it was a few weeks ago. My maths. show a foolish capitalist in the real world could have returned around 50% profit, if they had been so inclined.

    So foolish, he/she could have ended up with a silly smile on their face. Better than egg, though Sherwulfe. (I will remind you again, some people do actually invest in such companies for the short term, as well as those who may take a longer term view. Some others do the lottery.)

  5. So we still don’t have the 100% evidence to back up the PR spin from the many pro -fracking avatars. Thanks to Garry and Hewes for their personal responses.

    Starting to sort the wheat from the chaff 🙂

  6. Can you provide 100% evidence you exist, Sherwulfe?

    I think the chaff blew away a long time ago on that one.

    When you have something of substance to contribute, please let us know. Thanks Garry. Some objective summaries there. Rare to see, but nice to see such is not extinct.

    Somewhat more interesting than Mr. Musk with his “farting unicorn” problem. And even with that, he is now accused of nicking it. A true metaphor for the alternative!

  7. Ahh my ‘invisible friend’; you are now talking metaphysics; perhaps we could also debate the existence of god…on another site of course, as yet again a diversion as you cannot provide the evidence for your PR spin.

    [Edited by moderator]

  8. Didn’t think you could. Point proven?


    But then anyone who has at least one brain cell recognises that proving almost anything 100% is nigh on impossible. But, perhaps you are after a select audience amongst the antis? Not very appreciative of your buddies, real and imaginary.

    Following the Newbury pattern. Gets sillier as the end approaches, which the wider public pick up on very quickly and lose what little patience they had left.

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