Anti-fracking protest at regulator’s headquarters

180915 Bristol Rising Tide protest at EA Reclaim the Power1

Bristol Rising Tide protest at the offices of the Environment Agency in Bristol, 15 September 2018. Photo: Reclaim the Power

Climate activists hung a nine-metre banner from the atrium of the Environment Agency in Bristol in a protest against fracking.

The 50-strong group, from Bristol Rising Tide, accused the regulator of facilitating fracking by granting environmental permits to shale gas companies.

The Environment Agency’s offices had been open for the Bristol Open Doors Day, an event offering free tours of the city’s landmark buildings.

Laurie Underwood, from the group, said:

“On the one hand, the Environment Agency is preparing the country for adapting to the impacts of climate change, but on the other, it is dishing out permits for onshore oil and gas drilling which will exacerbate the climate crisis.

“We call on the Environment Agency and its workers to take a tougher stance against a reckless fracking industry which threatens our air quality, our water quality and our climate.”

The group pointed out that the Forestry Commission, another agency which comes under the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, decided recently not to renew the lease on an exploratory drilling site near Leith Hill in Surrey. The decision was based on the risk of damage to nearby ancient woodland.

Laurie Underwood called on the Environment Agency to be “more pro-active in speaking out against the environmental impacts of new, unwanted fossil fuel extraction”.

“They should follow the Forestry Commission’s lead and tell the government that licensing fracking isn’t compatible with its environmental mission. Stop the fracking permits. Stop approving climate change.”

DrillIOrDrop invited the Environment Agency to comment on the protest. This post will be updated with any response.

180915 Bristol Rising Tide protest at EA Reclaim the Power

Bristol Rising Tide protest at the offices of the Environment Agency in Bristol, 15 September 2018. Photo: Reclaim the Power

On its website, the agency said it ensured “that oil and gas operations are carried out in a way that protects people and the environment”.

It said it works closely with Public Health England, the Health and Safety Executive, the Oil and Gas Authority and local Mineral Planning Authorities.

On a page headed Facts about fracking, it said:

“We are confident that the risks can be controlled by good operational practice, reinforced through effective, robust regulation.

“We have conducted a detailed environmental risk assessment of the potential risk of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale gas and found that the regulations are sufficient to protect people and the environment”.

12 replies »

    • The frequency of your ridiculous postings on here MC indicates you are either getting paid to do a fracking propaganda job (very badly btw) or you have way too much idle time on your hands being useless to society – get a life, or a proper job, or both! Very sad.

  1. Great stuff! Peaceful protest is essential if we are to publicise the behind-the-scenes complicity of the Environment Agency, who seem to approve every single application from fracking companies that comes their way.

  2. If the Environment Agency were doing their job properly this action would be unnecessary. Many of us actively oppose tracking as well as our day jobs

  3. The last statement made me chuckle. “control a risk” hmmmm… Ok, so does that make people feel safe!? a self-regulating industry that has no actual history of this type of oil and gas abstraction in the UK. A “not well thought out” statement from the EA. Deep Water Horizon springs to mind. I’m sure they too had a “detailed risk assessment” Earthquakes/ tremors in Surry, the same in Lancashire 2011. Do I really need to say any more????

  4. Tracking is in need of checking on a regular basis, Ian, as poor road surfaces can throw it out when driving from protest to protest. If you wish to oppose your day job, maybe change jobs?

  5. Their point about The forestry commission.Is not valid as there was not going to be any Fracking at Lieghhill or anywhere in Surrey Weald valley.Fake news again Ruth Hayhurst and co Laurie Underwood get your facts right .NO FRACKING IN SURREY WEALD BASIN

  6. Pity these poorly informed people dont realise that we need to gas to give electricity to the National Grid when the wind/solar supplies are not working. The alternative is coal, or crappy biomass from the US, both of which are high GHG emitters. Or maybe they like power cuts? I didnt when they happened a lot in the 1970s.

    Shale gas has a much better footprint than imported LNG, or gas from distant places. Thankyou Slade for pointing out that there are mo plans to frack on the south coast. Acidising is a common and well understood technique that has a 100 years plus history, and has caused no problems. yet still protesters have a go at it.

  7. Candor, may be unwise to try and connect tremors in Surrey with oil exploration sites.

    If you are so keen to link two unlinked happenings, then are you aware that since oil has been extracted at HH the tremors have ceased??

    Surely that indicates a release of pressure is the solution? Hold the press!

  8. This is brilliant! An inspiration to all of us. Next we need to focus on homeowners because widespread fracking will threaten the value of their homes and could even make it difficult to sell or insure a property. There is a website which could be useful to homeowners in PEDL areas: https://homeownersagainst fracking.wordpress.com

  9. Congratulations activists. Great use of your time whilst making use of the Open Doors days – bet they weren’t expecting that!

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