Shale gas commissioner to meet Lancashire residents

Natascha Engel DoD

Natascha Engel, the government’s shale gas commissioner, pictured (centre) with panellists at a meeting in Malton, 11 October 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The government’s new shale gas commissioner, Natascha Engel, is to meet representatives of residents living near Cuadrilla’s existing and proposed fracking sites in Lancashire.

The energy minister, Claire Perry, has said she will be briefed about the meeting.

Ms Engel’s visit, on Thursday (15 November 2018), follows a guest post on DrillOrDrop by the campaigner, Barbara Richardson. She had expressed frustration that invitations to meet local people to discuss their concerns about fracking had been unanswered by Ms Perry and Ms Engel.

After the post was published last week, Ms Engel got in touch about meeting residents. Ms Perry also wrote to Mrs Richardson saying:

“I look forward to hearing the outcome of these discussions”.

Ms Engel will meet representatives of the communities near Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road and its proposed operation at Roseacre Wood.

Mrs Richardson, who chairs the Roseacre Awareness Group, welcomed the visit. She said:

“It is about time the government took our views seriously.

“I am expecting the shale gas commissioner to listen to us and not preach to us.”

Ms Engel has said she is independent of government but, as a supporter of shale gas, she is not impartial.

Mrs Richardson said:

“We are well aware of the shale gas commissioner’s role to try to convince us that shale gas is a good thing.

“We already consider ourselves well informed on this matter, having been researching for over four years.

“This is an opportunity to get across our views to government about why we do not agree with its policy on shale gas.”

She said community representatives would be telling Ms Engel about their particular concerns over recent earth tremors caused by fracking at Preston New Road and Cuadrilla’s call for the seismic monitoring regulations to be relaxed.

The representatives would also explain why they opposed government plans to change the planning rules for shale gas sites, which would in some case bypass the local authority, she said.

Susan Holliday, who chairs the Preston New Road Action Group, said:

“We are under no illusions that Ms Engel’s agenda will be different to ours but we trust that she will be prepared to listen to well-informed residents.

“Visiting the area will allow her to see just how close people live to the site at Preston New Road.

“We have already written to her regarding the seismic events and the traffic light system. This will be a good opportunity to discuss our concerns with her.”

Some anti-fracking campaigners in Lancashire have opposed Ms Engel’s visit, which they have described as propaganda. DrillOrDrop understands that a local artist is working on a satirical “seaside-style” postcard about the visit (link).

26 replies »

  1. All credit to the good lady for visiting the Fylde Coast fracking site and area, maybe our own MP Mark Menzies will be escorting her?
    Please be sure to include Weeton Primary School, Ribby Hall and Kirkham Grammar School, all within the accepted hazard zone from the fracking site!

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

    • Peter please don’t forget Treales CofE, Inskip St Peters or Inskip pre school on Higham Side Road, all in the sacrifice zone for Roseacre Wood.

  2. Please also ask Ms Engel to explain clearly to you and to us all how the government’s drive for new fossil fuels contributes to combating the climate problems they have caused. Point out to her that in the opinion of those best qualified to judge – clearly not Her Majesty’s Government – by the time shale is thought to be able to yield a dividend (!), it will be impossible to hold global warming to 3 or 4 degrees, let alone 2 or 1.5. Point out to her that Carbon Capture and Storage is, for a variety of reasons, not going to be up and running in time – if ever. Mention that the traffic light system might warn of an impending accident, but might not be able to prevent or contain it, any more than the Early Warning System of the Cold War was able to turn back the missiles. Remind her that the Fylde is part of the planet.Please!

    • Iaith1720
      I think your analogy regarding the traffic light system and the early Warning System is not quite right.

      The traffic light system is designed to limit seismic activity by stopping fracking and the taking of various assurance activities prior to restart. So it can prevent ( for a time ) and contain if followed.

      As you note, the early warning system could not stop the missiles, but the traffic light system stops fracking.

      Details of how it all works are in the frack plan.

  3. Shale gas commissioner – independent of the Government, she says – but appointed by the government and paid for by the government (therefore us!).
    Openly states that she is in favour of fracking. She aims to direct concerned residents to valid research. So no research into environmental concerns, pollution of water, toxic chemical damage, air pollution caused by fracking,climate change by fossil fuels such as fracked gas, earthquakes etc., actually happening in areas such as Pennsylvania, homes and farms that are virtually worthless in many of these areas because of proximity and harm done by fracking.
    She will no doubt talk about ‘gold standards’ and how our country is better at regulating these matters than anyone in the world. Everywhere fracking is initiated is promised better gold standards than anywhere in the world.
    Yes she will definitely mention Carbon Capture – such a good idea ! Millions poured into it, years of inaction and expense for reports presented and never sanctioned,
    Will she talk about how little the fracking companies are putting into the areas that they destroy.
    I think not – cos after all – the shale gas commissioner is in favour of fracking. She has already decided

  4. Well, a lot about what is going to be told to NE. If that is followed through, this will go nowhere.

    A dialogue is a two way street. But the antis have no support unless they generate a grievance culture, so more of the same old.

    • Been through the dialogue Martin,

      Original planning app rejected by Planning Authority after hearing professional evidence and local residents concerns heard.

      HMPI at first inquiry recommends refusals after hearing professional evidence and local residents concerns.

      SoS “minded to approv” even after the above so requests a second inquiry to try and get a positive(in their terms) outcome.

      Clearly someone isn’t listening to the dialogue that’s going on but it’s not the locals.

  5. This woman has no credibility. Hired by the government, previously hired by INEOS, but supposedly ‘independent’. She’s just being used as a shield so Claire Perry doesn’t have to make the journey up north to meet pesky local residents standing in the way of her political ambition.

      • Crembrule
        Same here … receptors from coal fired power stations, chicken farms, rendering plants, main road ( tourist driven ) fumes, the school pellet fired boiler, wood burning stoves …….
        So it’s a large church.

        • Agreed Hewes62 it’s not just Fracking related planning issues that treats local concerns with such disdain, it’s anything where people have the temerity to be in the way.

  6. There are thousands of developments progressing across the UK crembrule without local consent, either from a minority or a majority. You make out PNR is unique in that respect. It is not.

    If that is going to be what is told to NE, she is indeed wasting her time even making the trip.

    Perhaps it might be more constructive to accept what has happened is quite usual, even when not acceptable to some, and go from there.

    Nah, that would lose the sense of injustice and grievance support, so will not happen. But that is why the two thirds are not convinced by an attempt to make one issue out to be particularly against local democracy when local democracy has never been seen by the majority as an ability to conduct UDI.

    • Gordon Bennett do keep up Martin you are that far off kilter you don’t even know which fracking site I have been talking about. Here’s a clue it’s not PNR. 🔧

  7. I hope that you’ve all watched the Channel 4 coverage of the damage done to Groningen, Holland by years of fracking!

    It’s banned now if course but the damage has been done!

    • Peter Roberts – please get your facts right. Groningen seismicity is due to subsidence caused by reservoir depletion. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you make statements like this? Channel 4? Just as bad….

      Last time I checked Groningen was still producing gas?

      • Paul

        I watched the coverage with incredulity.

        But I guess only a few on here were sucked into the fictional link between fracking and Groningen.

        Good that Drill or Drop we’re not sucked into reporting that Groningen was a fracked field.

  8. Quite correct! Well spotted Paul Tresto.
    Groningen wasn’t even fracked just fossil fuels extracted in massive amounts and look at the damage done!
    Turning the Fylde Peninsula into the largest onshore gasfield in Europe would, because that would involve industrial scale fracking, cause massively more damage in my opinion.
    Never mind that we’ve all agreed that burning fossil fuel is something to be discouraged for everyone’s sake.

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