Cuadrilla says this month it expects to carrying out the first UK high volume hydraulic fracturing since 2011. October also sees the deadline for comments in the government consultation on proposals to change the planning rules for shale gas.
You can keep up with the news here with DrillOrDrop’s digest of headlines about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas, updated daily.
Click here for headlines from previous months
Top headlines this month
- Cuadrilla starts fracking at Preston New Road
- High Court judge dismisses campaigner’s challenge to fracking on emergency planning grounds
- Three men jailed for anti-fracking protest to appeal against their sentence
- Letter in support of their cases is signed by 1000+ academics
- Natascha Engel appointed as shale gas commissioner
- Lock-on protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site goes into third day
- Drilling companies accused of harassment by women named in protest injunctions
- Plans for four new wells and production of 500 tonnes/day at Horse Hill
- Early results announced of flow tests at Balcombe and Horse Hill
- Under half arrests at North Yorkshire fracking site ended in convictions
- Welsh government takes responsibility for oil and gas licensing in Wales
31 October 2018
Cuadrilla accepted tough controls on fracking earth tremors six years ago. DrillOrDrop report
Plans to fast-track fracking are “irresponsible” and “downright bonkers”, MP tells minister. DrillOrDrop report
Government consults on consulting the public on shale gas schemes. DrillOrDrop report
Advertising watchdog accepts campaign statement that “fracking is incompatible with tackling climate change”. DrillOrDrop report
Catholic shoemaker arrested at climate change protest. Christian Climate Action reported that Nick Cooper was arrested after locking himself to a gate outside the Palace of Westminster as part of the Extinction Rebellion. He was one of 15people arrested at the event. Another member of CCA, Phil Kingston, who is in his 80s, was led away by police without being arrested after lying n the road for several hours. The Guardian
30 October 2018
Unite calls for fracking to be halted as further tremors strike Lancashire. The Unite union calls for an immediate halt to fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road well.
MP calls for halt to Cuadrilla fracking. Cat Smith, Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, calls on energy minister, Claire Perry, to
Minister updates “myth buster” on earthquakes. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking company Cuadrilla wants relaxation of quake rules. The Times quotes comments by Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, on raising the red light for stopping fracking from 0.5ML earth tremors to 2.0ML:
“We consider that a red light limit of circa 2.0ML [local magnitude] would provide more than adequate assurance that no harm or damage could arise from fracking.” He said the limit in the UK was far lower than in other countries, with fracking companies in the US getting a red light at between 2.7 and 4.5, depending on the state.”
Who decides when fracking starts and stops after an ‘earthquake’. DeSmog Uk reports on the operation of the seismic traffic light system.
29 October 2018
Everything you need to know about fracking and earthquakes. Press Association article for local newspapers
Fracking in Lancashire: This is how many and how big the earthquakes have been since fracking started. Blackpool Gazette update on earthquakes at Preston New Road
British fracking operations of AJ Lucas’ Cuadrilla get off to a shaky start. The Australian website, Financial Review, on the earthquakes at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.
Cuadrilla says UK seismic rules ‘challenging’ as latest tremor halts fracking again. Gas Strategies reports on latest disruption to fracking at Preston New Road.
Fracking company Cuadrilla breached environmental permits seven times in 10 months. DeSmog UK reports on breaches at Preston New Road and concerns about the impermeable liner.
Banner drop on M1 near Sheffield. Opponents of fracking hung a banner on a bridge at junction 35 of the M1 saying “No toxic frack water. Here or anywhere”. The banner is a response to possible treatment of fracking waste water at FCC Environment at Starnhill Close and Blackburn Meadows facility in Sheffield.
28 October 2018
The shadow of Preese Hall over UK fracking regulations. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking risks turning country against Tories, says Zac Goldsmith. The Guardian reports the Tory MP for Richmond says people have legitimate concerns about fracking and government proposals to bypass local planning decisions on shale gas wells are a mistake.
27 October 2018
Cuadrilla tremor tracker. DrillOrDrop tracker of seismic activity at Preston New Road
26 October 2018
First red-level tremor at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site. DrillOrDrop report on the latest tremors in a series now totalling 17. BBC News, Sky News, Blackpool Gazette, Guardian, Metro, Big Issue, Westmorland Gazette, Morning Star, The Times (27/10/2018)
Energy minister had private meeting with fracking firms in May. The Guardian picks up the FOI response on a round-table meeting between Claire Perry and the shale gas industry. Ms Perry did not declare the meeting, the paper says.
Fury and fruit cake: the grandmas vowing to keep fighting fracking after Lancashire site goes active. The Independent reports on activists opposing Cuadrilla’s fracking operation.
New shale gas commissioner, Natascha Engel, interviewed on BBC You and Yours. Ms Engel tells the programme that she is independent of government but as a supporter of fracking she is not impartial. Link to programme
25 October 2018
What does a red light mean for fracking. DrillOrDrop report on the seismic traffic light system.
Residents call for block on “controversial” new oil extraction at Surrey site. DrillOrDrop report on petition signed by more than 20,000 in one day
Lawyer of the week: Kirsty Brimelow, QC, who defended fracking activists’ right to protest. The Times interviews Ms Brimelow about her recent case.
24 October 2018
Earthquake, tremor or seismic activity: what is happening at the Lancashire fracking site. The Lancashire Evening Post reports on the definitions being used to describe activity at the Preston New Road site.
Work restarts at Tinker Lane. TinkerLane.co.uk reports that activity recommenced this morning at the IGas Tinker Lane site. It appears to be a first stop towards mobilising the drilling rig.
Campaigners hit back at minister’s pro-fracking “mythbuster”. Left Foot Forward shared energy minister Claire Perry’s “fracking mythbuster” with Friends of the Earth.
Cat Smith column: We need a green jobs revolution. MP Cat Smith, writing in Fleetwood Today, says “It’s very worrying that, within days of Cuadrilla starting their fracking operations at Preston New Road, a series of small tremors has been detected close to where drilling has begun.
Readers views on climate change and fracking. Fleetwood Today includes letters on operations and protests at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.
Fracking returns to Britain and so do seismic tremors near drilling site. The New York Times reports on seismic tremors around Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.
‘Frack Master’ pleads guilty for 12-year prison sentence. Energy Voice reports that Chris Faulkner of Dallas-based Breitling Energy has agreed a plea deal with a 12-year prison sentence for securities fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. Mr Faulkner regularly promoted fracking in the UK media and advised MPs. Star-Telegraph
23 October 2018
Amber-level tremor while fracking at Cuadrilla’s shale site – operations halted for the day. DrillOrDrop report on 0.4M earthquake, Lancashire Evening Post and update article (24/10/2018), The Guardian, ITV News, BBC News (24/10/2018), EcoWatch (24/10/2018), Independent (24/10/2018)
Fast-track fracking proposals undermine democracy and bypass scrutiny, MPs told. DrillOrDrop report
Leading Surrey councillor lists challenges of working with Weald oil companies. DrillOrDrop report on comments to MPs by the chair of Surrey County Council planning committee
Staffordshire County Council opposes both government proposals to change planning rules for shale gas schemes. DrillOrDrop report
Scottish government opens consultation on policy position on unconventional oil and gas. Link to consultation
Scots ministers to finalise fracking policy in 2019. BBC News reports Scottish energy minister has written to MSPs saying ministers expect to inform the Scottish parliament on the policy on unconventional oil and gas in the first quarter of 2019.Energy Voice (24/10/2018), the Scotsman (Nicola Sturgeon urged to be ‘true to her word’ with fracking ban), Herald Scotland (24/10/2018), Friends of the Earth
Ineos Grangemouth workers vote to restore collective bargaining. The Falkirk Herald reports a recognition agreement ballot vote had a 78% turnout and was won by 83% in favour. Energy Voice (24/10/2018)
22 October 2018
What government told the shale gas industry about success, regulation, jobs and support. DrillOrDrop report on new detail from a round-table meeting between Claire Perry and the industry.
There may be trouble ahead. Frackland blog post by Emeritus Professor David Smythe about seismic activity near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road well.
On commission: Rhiannon Adam documents fracking in the UK. British Journal of Photography reports on the work of Rhiannon Adam, who won its Fractured Stories commission. She is currently working at Preston New Road photographing people caught up in the fracking campaign.
TUC applauds release of anti-fracking campaigners. The Bolton News reports that every delegate at the October meeting of Bolton TUC applauded the release of three anti-fracking protesters jailed for causing a public nuisance.
Fracking protester arrested for attacking Cuadrilla employee. The Preston Hub reports that Barbara Jayne Fish was charged with assault after allegedly pulling the beard of a Cuadrilla employee at the Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool. She has denied the charges.
21 October 2018
What’s happening this week? 22-28 October 2018. DrillOrDrop weekly listing of events about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigns
The Fraxit dilemma. The Refracktion blog reports on earthquakes round Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas well near Blackpool
20 October 2018
British Geological Survey records fifth seismic event in three days near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site.
Opinion: What’s good about fracking? The Fly in the Ointment columnist, writing for the Winsford Guardian, looks at the arguments in favour of fracking.
19 October 2018
“Amber level” tremor recorded today near Cuadrilla’s fracking site. DrillOrDrop report on the tremor and microseismic events yesterday. Metro, Daily Mail, Sky News, Blackpool Gazette, Guardian (20/10/2018), Independent (20/10/2018), British Geological Survey, Big Issue North, TeleSur, Mirror (22/10/2018), EcoWatch (22/10/2018)
West Sussex County Council votes to oppose government proposals to change planning rules for shale gas schemes. DrillOrDrop report
Seven years of protest: inside the fracking resistance – photo essay. The Guardian publishes photos from anti-fracking protests by Christopher Thomond.
Schlumberger chief warns on US shale oil production. The FT reports a warning from Paal Kibsgaard, ceo of Schlumberger that US shale oil production could fall short of its most optimistic projections because of emerging problems in the industry. He said it was becoming more difficult to increase production because of a shortage of pipeline capacity and because new wells were being sunk in areas that had already been drilled.
New commissioner calls for “rational debate” on fracking. The Sheffield Star reports comments by Natascha Engel that fracking could create hundreds of jobs, boost Sheffield’s engineering sector, give the UK energy security, ease the transition to a low carbon economy and raise so much money in taxes it could pay for the social care crisis.
It’s better to use our own fracked gas than import it from overseas. The Lancashire for Shale steering group, writing to the Blackpool Gazette, challenges a comment piece in the paper on fracking in Lancashire. The group disputes that local democracy was “trampled over” by Cuadrilla’s successful appeal against refusal of planning permission.
18 October 2018
It’s time to escalate direct action to protest the climate – freed anti-fracking protesters. DrillOrDrop report on return of three men to Preston New Road, The Guardian, The Mirror, 2BR, BBC News (19/10/18)
Cheshire West and Chester Council approves motion that shale gas applications should be determined in local authorities. DrillOrDrop report
I was jailed for my fracking protest. But others face much worse. Simon Roscoe Blevins, writing in The Guardian, says the injustice of his time in prison was dwarfed by what he calls “the profound inequalities that inspired my action in the first place”.
As the fracking protesters show, a people’s rebellion is the only way to fight climate breakdown. George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian, says politicians, under the influence of big business, have failed us. “As they take the planet to the brink, it’s time for disruptive nonviolent disobedience.”
The fracking protesters’ jail time should worry everyone who cares about democracy and climate change. Emma Norton, of Liberty, writing in the Independent, said the jailing of three anti-fracking protesters because they had “unswerving beliefs that they were right” had “dreadful implications” for protesters across the country. It completely ignored activists’ right to freedom of thought and conscience and trampled their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Fracking democracy, criminalising dissent. A group of academics at Sussex University, writing in The Ecologist, say the release of three anti-fracking campaigners from prison should not distract from disturbing trends in the criminalisation of dissent. They say direct action challenges the role of the state to trigger and manage social change. Direct action also empowers and creates autonomous and disobedient populations. In an example like fracking, they say, it arguably represents the public’s only recourse in the face of the erosion of democracy.
After a long delay, fracking resumes in Lancashire. The Economist reports that the potential for shale gas is big but a viable industry is still a long way off.
Let’s get fracking on with it. The political magazine, Spiked, argues that obstructionism to fracking has gone on long enough. It says “it’s time for the protesters to frack off home”.
Energy minister accused of contradicting herself by using threat of Russia to justify fracking. The Independent contradicts comments by Claire Perry in The Times about dependence on Russian gas. Most gas imported to the UK comes from Norway and a government report on gas security says Britain benefits from supply diversity.
“Sadly, Claire Perry’s timing was out this week”. Utility Week reports that Claire Perry’s long-planned Green GB Week was overshadowed by the start of fracking after a seven-year gap.
Portland declared commercially-viable. UKOG confirms the Portland oil field at Horse Hill is now considered commercially-viable. A statement to investors predicts a production rate of 720-1,080 barrels of oil per day. Energy Voice, Proactive Investors
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has ‘great deal’ of sympathy for residents of north Derbyshire fracking village. The Derbyshire Times reports on the visit by the Labour leader to Marsh Lane, where Ineos has permission to explore for shale gas.
We need to use our fossil fuels. Derek Earl, writing in the Mid Sussex Times, says “We need fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, as heavy plant and nearly all shipping, to name a few, cannot run on batteries”
17 October 2018
Breaking: Appeal court quashes “manifestly excessive” jail sentences for fracking protest. DrillOrDrop report, Guardian, Telegraph, BBC News, Lancashire Evening Post, Morning Star, Independent, ITV, Mirror, Carbon Brief (18/10/18), Jurist (18/10/18), Preston Business Review (18/10/18)
Campaign groups join fracking protesters in appeal against prison sentence. DrillOrDrop report
IGas signals start of drilling at Tinker Lane. DrillOrDrop report
Dorset County Council and West Lancashire Borough Council oppose government proposals on permitted development and NSIP. DrillOrDrop report
Europa Oil & Gas declares loss of £2.3m. Europa’s accounts show an increase in pre-tax losses from £0.7m in 2017 to £2.3m for the year ending July 2018. Net cash balances are down from £3.6m to £1.8m. £1.3m was written off exploration in 2018.
The fracking protesters did us a public service. Jailing them was wrong. Michael Segalov, writing in The Guardian, says:
“if we can’t rely on our government to put our future before fossil fuel interests, then it falls to all of us to lead the way.”
Frack fuels self-reliance. The Telegraph view says the declining carbon footprint of the average Briton says “as much about the gradual industrialisation of the country as it does about the success in switching to renewable energy sources.”
Fracking will stop our energy crisis and bring jobs … we can’t let mob rule stop it. Stephen Pollard in the Sun says fracking offers the UK the chance to reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing the economy.
Protesters should work with, not against, fracking companies. Brian Wake, writing in The Times, says campaigners should work to ensure fracking is done safely after failing in their legal attempts to stop the process.
The government is forcing fracking on communities who have rejected it. Hanna Wheatley, writing for the New Economics Foundation, says “nothing says Green GB Week like the start of a whole new fossil fuel industry”.
Doncaster Borough Council approves a motion not to allow fracking on council-owned land. The motion also regrets government appearance of forcing fracking regardless of local opinion. DrillOrDrop report
MP urges government to ban fracking. The Warrington Guardian reports that Labour’s Warrington South MP, Faisal Rashid, vows to fight fracking in parliament and in his constituency.
Warm welcome to fracking. Dick Lindley, writing in the Yorkshire Post, is reassured by the start of UK fracking. “No longer will we be beholden to the whims of gangster states for the gas we so desperately need”, he says.
16 October 2018
Hull City Council backs formal objection to government proposals to change the rules on shale gas planning decisions. DrillOrDrop report
History of oil and gas production from shale Jeremy Leggett presentation on “Why American shale is heading for a crash and fracking in the UK is doomed to costly failure”.
Top rock-climber Peter Whittacker joins Patagonia-backed anti-fracking campaign. Grough, the website for the outdoor world, says Peter Whittaker, a Patagonia brand ambassador, has produced a video outlining his objections to the expansion of shale gas extraction. Sheffield Star (21/10/2018)
Mock funeral mourns democracy in anti-fracking action. The Northwich Guardian reports a mock funeral procession mourned “bypassing democracy” after UK fracking started for the first tine since 2011.
Leicestershire County Council is recommended to oppose government proposals to make non-fracking shale gas schemes permitted development. DrillOrDrop report
15 October 2018
Live news updates from Preston New Road where Cuadrilla has said it will start fracking today. DrillOrDrop report. Lorry surf protest by Reclaim the Power has blocked the site entrance. ITV, Energy Voice, Lancashire Evening Post, FT, I News, The Guardian, Sky News, Evening Standard, City AM, Fleetwood Today, Business Green, Mirror
I was arrested for direct action against fracking. This is too important to stand aside. Esme North, a paramedic who took part in a protest outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site, exlains why in the Guardian
Derbyshire County Council issues statement saying it will oppose government proposals on planning rules for shale gas. DrillOrDrop report
14 October 2018
Decision on Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood fracking site due in New Year. DrlllOrDrop report
Anti-fracking campaigners in Hebden Bridge bring a shale rig and street theatre to town as part of opposition to government changes to planning rules. DrillOrDrop report
What’s happening this week? 15-21 October 2018. DrillOrDrop weekly events listings. Key events include: Cuadrilla due to start fracking; Dame Vivienne Westwood to break dance on the site injunction line; three jailed anti-fracking campaigners to appeal against sentence; and nationial anti-fracking rally.
13 October 2018
Hundreds take part in anti-fracking rally in South Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News
Top climate scientist blasts UK fracking plans as “aping trump”. The Guardian reports on a letter from James Hansen, known as the father of climate science, to energy minister, Claire Perry. He says the decision to back a UK fracking industry is a “serious policy error that would contribute to climate breakdown”. Independent
Claire Perry interview: “Why is fracking such a bad idea … do we really want to rely on Putin. The Sunday Times interviews Claire Perry – she says she is proud to be identified as a “bloody difficult woman”.
Fracking in the UK: What is it like to live near a site? BBC News interviews people living near Cuadrilla’s shale gas site.
Cuadrilla is to start fracking in Lancashire. But we will not give in. Caroline Lucas, writing in the Guardian, says ministers are getting themselves into “deep political trouble as they ramp up efforts to further overrule local communities” on shale gas planning rules.
Protest in Norwich over government’s fracking move. The Eastern Daily Press reports on a rally in Norwich on government proposed changes to shale gas planning rules.
Fracking in Oxford. Protesters set up pretend company. The Oxford Mail reports residents and university students mocked up a pretend fracking company with a 4m fracking rig, in Radcliffe Square.
12 October 2018
IGas Energy shares zoom up after peer gets green light for fracking. Proactive Investors reports IGas shares rose 12% after the court decision not to extend the injunction on fracking in Lancashire.
Fracking is too high a price to pay for cheap energy. The Independent editorial says there are many answers to the energy problem and fracking need not be one of them.
11 October 2018
Campaigners plan national climate rally near Lancashire fracking site. DrillOrDrop report
Communities take action against government plans to fast-track fracking. DrillOrDrop report
Villagers seek funds for air and water monitoring at Brockham oil site. DrillOrDrop report
Campaigner in High Court bid to stop fracking in Lancashire. The Shropshire Star reports on the legal challenge to Cuadrilla’s fracking plans at Preston New Road.
From green activists to Tory MPs, who does everyone hate fracking so much? Josh Gabbatiss, for the Independent, asks if opposition to fracking in the UK is justified.
Conservative led Cambridgeshire County Council objects to government plans on permitted development for shale gas schemes. DrillOrDrop report
10 October 2018
Horse Hill Kimmeridge flow test exceeds 2016 results, says UKOG. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking company’s accounts are late again and loan rises to £16.9m. DrillOrDrop report on Third Energy delay in filing annual accounts
East Riding of Yorkshire Council opposes government proposals to remove local authority involvement in shale gas planning decisions. DrillOrDrop report
Judge who jailed fracking protesters with “excessive” sentence has family links to oil and gas firm. The Mirror reports that the judge who jailed three anti-fracking protesters last month has family links to the oil and gas industry. Scottish Daily Record
UK government warned to speed up on carbon capture “lifeline” for oil and gas. Energy Voice reports warning by Professor Stuart Haszeldine to take “affirmative action” to take advantage of the multi-billion pound carbon capture and storage industry.
Trade unions condemn “dangerous precedent” set by jailing fracking protesters. The Independent reports that nearly 200 members from a range of unions say the sentencing of anti-fracking protesters threatens the right to peaceful protest for the environment.
The Tories have made fracking as easy as building a garden wall. Rebecca Long-Bailey, writing in the Independent, says fracking is a travesty for local democracy and bad news for the environment and climate. She says it is the result of the Conservatives weakening planning protections.
Carnival against fracking plans. The Sheffield Telegraph reports on a rally at Barkers Pool in Sheffield on Saturday.
Two anti-fracking protesters swore at police officers. The Blackpool Gazette reports that Mark French and Ian Kitching were found guilty of using threatening words and behaviour outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site. Mark French was also found guilty of obstructing police. He was given an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £120 costs. Ian Kitching was given a 12-month conditional discharged and ordered to pay £120 costs.
Protesters deserve to be in prison cells. Gary Cash, writing to the Blackpool Gazette, says “prison was the right decision” for three anti-fracking protesters who were sent to jail last month.
9 October 2018
Campaigners in East Yorkshire stage “gagging protest” over government proposals to change planning rules for shale gas. DrillOrDrop report,
Grandparents for a Safe Environment protest outside Bristol City Council over government proposals to change planning rules for shale gas. DrillOrDrop report
These men staged a peace protest against fracking. The UK jailed them. Tess Riley, writing for HuffPost US, says:
“It is a strange society that massively rewards fossil fuel companies responsible for causing more climate change while jailing the campaigners trying to stop it.”
Anti-fracking cycle marathon tours North Yorkshire. Minster FM reports that a cyclists has completed a 785-mile ride to raise awareness of what he says is the damage that fracking could bring to Ryedale.
“Angry” Bolton Council bosses reject government’s fracking proposals. The Bolton News reports that Cllr Martin Donaghy, Bolton Council’s cabinet member for planning, has rejected government proposals to speed-up shale gas plans. Lancashire Telegraph
Youth call on government to ditch fracking proposals. The Ecologist reports that the UK Youth Climate Coalition is urging the government to drop changes to the planning rules for shale gas developments.
The draconian injunction that’s cracking down on fracking protests. Vice News reports on the Ineos injunction against protests at shale gas sites and headquarters.
8 October 2018
Does today’s climate report change the arguments on UK fracking? DrillOrDrop review of reaction to the IPCC report on actions needed to limit global warming to 1.5C.
IGas pulls out of Cheshire licence. DrillOrDrop report on IGas decision to surrender PEDL188
Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow secretary for business, energy and industrial strategy, visits anti-fracking campaigners at Preston New Road. A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:
“We are grateful to Rebecca for visiting the site again to highlight the issues that face residents living next to the site, and others who are opposing this invasive industry. It is great to see a local MP with such passion and commitment, and her encouragement and support means a lot to the local people who brave all weathers to maintain a constant protest at the gates of the Preston New Road Site”
See also Blackpool Gazette (9/10/2018)
Greens say fracking’s ‘days are numbered’. BBC News reports on comments by co-leader Jonathan Bartley at the Green Party conference
Shale sector still shackled by local opposition, warns Fitch. The Telegraph reports a warning from the rating agency, Fitch, that government support for UK shale gas could strengthen grass-roots opposition to further drilling projects.
Getting into the flow of it: Cuadrilla’s CEO on safety, earthquakes and political hypocrisy as the company gears up to start onshore fracking. City Am
Environment Agency goes on fracking watch ready for operations to start on the Fylde. The Blackpool Gazette reports the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive has had teams at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site as the company puts the equipment in place for fracking.
7 October 2018
What’s happening this week? 8-14 October 2018. DrillOrDrop weekly listing
The Observer view on fracking fissures obscuring the need to embrace green technologies. The Observer editorial calls for green technologies to replace gas-powered electricity generating stations, regardless of how the gas is produced.
6 October 2018
Hundreds march through Preston in support of jailed anti-fracking protesters. DrillOrDrop report, Guardian, ITV, Evening Express, Lancashire Evening Post, Blog Preston, Mail Online, Morning Star (7/10/2018), BBC News
“Our strategy is to build an army to stop fracking in its tracks”. The Sheffield Star reports on a campaign by a group of opponents of fracking to “build an army” of residents to stop the industry in Marsh Lane.
The frackers are back: but will there ever be a British shale gas boom? Adam Vaughan reports in the Observer about Cuadrilla’s intention to frack this week. Market Business News (7/10/2018), The Sun (7/10/2018)
5 October 2018
Fracking due to start in next week, says Cuadrilla. DrillOrDrop report with company comment and reaction from opponents and supporter. Sky News, 2br, ITV News, Guardian, Reuters, Heart, BBC News, Lancashire Evening Post, Channel 4 News, Energy Voice
1,000+ academics call for review of fracking protest prison sentences. DrillOrDrop report
Teaching union, the NEU, unanimously approves motion to oppose Ineos sponsorship of the Daily Mile in 5,000 schools. The biggest teaching union, the NEU, supports the intentions of the Daily Mile charity to improve children’s physical and mental health. But it says it is “deeply concerned by the sponsorship by Ineos – both its intentions regarding fracking in Yorkshire and its promotion of children’s healthy activities as a means to present itself as a caring company”. The union states it finds “it morally repugnant that Britain’s richest man wants to increase his £21 billion fortune at the expensive of out pupils”.
4 October 2018
Campaigners seek emergency court injunction against fracking at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report
Leader of Blackburn Council raises concerns about government proposals on making shale gas projects permitted development and Nationally-Significant Infrastructure Projects. DrillOrDrop report
3 October 2018
Anti-fracking protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site continues into third day. DrillOrDrop report
Tory MPs express fears that fracking will lose them next election. The Independent reports that Conservatives, speaking at their party conference in Birmingham, voiced concerns that backbenchers and councillors think they will lose seats if the government pushes ahead with plans to speed up fracking. The paper quotes MPs Lee Rowley (NE Derbyshire) and James Heappey (Wells).
Proposed Farm-in and Fundraising. Union Jack announces that it has proposed a farm-in for 16.667% interest in Rathlin Energy’s West Newton A-1 gas discovery in PEDL183 in East Yorkshire. Union Jack’s business partner, Humber Oil & Gas is also proposing to acquire 16.667% of the West Newton A licence. Upcoming Drills, Energy Voice, Union Jack RNS
Financially speaking, fracking is a ‘dog’. Three athletes, Pauline Peel Bird, Etienne Stott and David Hampton, writing to the FT, say “fracking has no place in a winning energy policy for Great Britain. The government must abandon its progress down this ecocidal blind alley”.
Anti-fracking campaigner taunts mother over suicide. The Times reports that leaders of the Green Party were facing calls to expel anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, over comments made at the Conservative Party conference to Miriam Lewis. Mrs Lewis’s daughter, Natalie, who killed herself in December. Tina Rothery has apologised. Blackpool Gazette
Council backs no fracking in Pendle. The Burnley Express reports that Pendle Borough Council has reaffirmed its opposition to fracking and called on the government to drop plans to fast-track fracking. The motion was supported by all Liberal and Labour councillors present. The majority Conservative group was split for, against and abstentions.
Surrey councillor calls for response to government planning changes to fracking. The Edenbridge Chronicle reports that Cllr Jonathan Essex, Green Party county councillor, has proposed a motion for the full council meeting on Tuesday 9 October to oppose proposals to make non-fracking shale gas plans permitted development.
Blackburn with Darwen Council leader’s fracking fear over planning powers. The Lancashire Telegraph reports comments by Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn and Darwen Council, that government planning changes for shale gas developments have “the potential to remove or limit the role of the local authority planning process”. He said he was concerned this could:
“set a precedent for driving future changes to planning decisions and limiting the role of local decision making.”
Fracking debate could damage national park brand. Minister FM reports Jim Bailey, chair of the North York Moors National Park Authority, highlighted concerns during a debate over the authority’s response to government changes to shale gas planning rules. Mr Bailey said public consultation would be “usurped” by what would be a “very unhelpful and short-sighted policy”.
Sheffield protester’s jail term deepens anti-fracking campaign’s resolve: “His actions will only add fuel to our fire”. The Sheffield Telegraph reports on a vigil outside Sheffield Town Hall after the jailing of Simon Roscoe Blevins last week. (See DrillOrDrop report, 28/9/2018).
Oxford climate groups renew calls to the university to divest from fossil fuels. Cherwell reports that student campaigners are expected to increase pressure on the university after Oxford City Council voted overwhelmingly to divest its pension fund from fracking.
2 October 2018
Angus Energy announces early results of oil flow tests at Balcombe in West Sussex. DrillOrDrop reports that oil flows were more than 1,000 barrels of oil per day in one test but the company encountered unexpected water and equipment failure restricted the process to two tests. Proactive Investors, E&P, Energy Voice
Judiciary heckled by anti-fracking demonstrators during judges parade. Blog Preston reports that the traditional parade of judges through the city centre for a service at Preston Minster was followed by anti-fracking protesters shouting “disgrace, disgrace, you jailed our mate”, referring to the decision to jail three men last week.
Wrong to jail anti-fracking protesters. Green Party former leader, Natalie Bennett, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says she believes prison sentences given to three men last week will “further galvanise the anti-fracking and pro-democracy movements around England.” Michael Farman, writing to the same edition, says “the sentencing is clearly intended as a deterrent to further peaceful protest, but it will achieve the opposite”.
Natalie Bennett: There are plenty of Tories opposed to fracking. Why is Theresa May not listening? Writing for Left Foot Forward, the former Green Party leader, went to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham with a group of Lancashire women dressed as suffragettes to oppose fracking.
1 October 2018
Anti-fracking campaigners take message to Conservative Party conference.
See also Lancaster Guardian (2/10/2018)
Nine–person lock-on protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop report and pictures
North York Moors National Park Authority members endorse officer’s report opposing government proposals to change the planning rules for shale gas decisions. DrillOrDrop report
Events diary – October 2018. DrillOrDrop digest of monthly events.
What’s happening this week? 1-7 October 2018. DrillOrDrop update on what’s happening each week on fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigning.
Energy minister describes anti-fracking protesters as “shouting few” and pledges to push ahead with shale gas plans. DeSmog UK reports comments by energy minister, Claire Perry, at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. She told a fringe event:
“With the level of protests about fracking we tend to assume that the majority of the British public has made its opinion on the issue, but it is not true.”
Partner of jailed Sheffield fracking protester appeals for funds to help “kind and gentle soul”. The Sheffield Star reports on an appeal for funds to help challenge the sentence of Simon Roscoe Blevins, and two other campaigners jailed last week for an anti-fracking protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. Mr Blevins’ partner, artist Sarah Jane Palmer, urged people to back to a crowdfunding campaign to free the three men. Link to crowdfunder
State has “taken political prisoners for fracking industry”. Chris Saltmarsh, writing in The Ecologist reports on the jailing off three men last week for protesting outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. He tells the website:
“I am one of the 300 anti-frackers arrested and charged as part of the state’s offensive against our peaceful democratic movement.”
See also London Green Left
Welsh government takes responsibility for oil and gas licensing in Wales. In a statement, the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, welcomed the devolution of onshore petroleum licensing to Wales from today. She says burning fossil fuels is number one contributor to global warming.
“Instead of exploring new ways to extract fossil fuels, we should be investing in renewable forms of energy.”
Tory MP says fracking could cost party the next election and ‘the barnacle must be removed from the boat’. The Yorkshire Post reports a warning from North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley, that fracking for shale gas is a “barnacle that needs to be removed from the Conservative boat as quickly as possible”. He tells a fringe meeting there are around 200 seats where shale gas licences have been granted, many of which are marginals.
“Oil and gas goals must sit alongside low-carbon agenda”. Energy Voice reports comments by Colette Cohen, chief executive of Oil and Gas Technology Centre, that the oil and gas sector must be “carbon aware” if it is to achieve maximum economic recover of the hydrocarbons from the UK continental shelf.
“We also have to consider how the low carbon psyche is at play within the social environment, by which I mean your mum, your dad and your kids. People are thinking about the environmental impact of what we do. We have to think about how we are going to position ourselves to be carbon friendly and play our role in the energy transition.”
Tees Valley Mayor backs fracking as report on ‘indigenous feedstocks’ is passed by council leaders. Gazette Live reports that leaders of the Tees Valley Combined Authority backed a strategy which includes supporting fracking. The meeting was on Friday 28 September 2018.
Ineos boss Ratcliffe has reportedly ruled out Grangemouth for new manufacturing plant. The Falkirk Herald reports that the plant to build a high tech version of the Land Rover Defender is apparently not going to come to Grangemouth. Ineos founder, Jim Ratcliffe, has reportedly ruled out Scotland as the base, the paper says.
Ofgem u-turn highlights gas security fears. Lancashire for Shale says the £111m upgrade, announced by National Grid for the Easington pipelines and compressors on the Humber Estuary, strengthens the case for producing the UK’s extensive shale gas resources.
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