Energy minister promises to visit anti-fracking protesters

181120 claire perry

The energy and clean growth minister, Claire Perry, told the House of Commons today she would go to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site and would visit protesters.

Ms Perry was responding to a question this morning from Labour’s Barry Gardiner who asked whether she would finally visit residents living near the site.

It emerged last month that the minister had never visited a shale gas site and earlier this month DrillOrDrop reported that she had been invited four times to meet with opponents of Cuadrilla’s operations in Lancashire.

Ms Perry replied that she had been advised for security reasons to “be very careful about engaging with protesters”. She said

“I was aggressively approached by a protester who threatened to visit my home because he knew my children were home alone”.

But she said: “I would be delighted to visit Preston New Road” and she added:

“Of course, when I go, unlike some opposition members, I will make sure to visit the protestors and also those exploiting the resource to create jobs. Those of us on the Government Benches believe in jobs, not mobs.”

DrillOrDrop asked the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy when and where the incident with the protester took place.

A spokesperson said:

“Thanks for your query – we have nothing more to add to what Claire said earlier”.

Ms Perry denied there had been a change in government policy following a pause in fracking at Preston New Road. Campaigners at the site have estimated that there has been no fracking since Friday 2 November.

Replying to Labour’s Jim. Cunningham, Ms Perry replied:

“Not at all.

“We are calmly and soberly going through the process of seeing whether this potentially valuable resource that can reduce our energy dependency on imports can be exploited, but it has to be done in a way that is consistent with our world-beating and tough regulatory regime.”

She referred to a one-day study by Liverpool University which likened the 1.1ML (local magnitude) earth tremor at Preston New Road to a 1kg bag of flour dropped from waist height to the floor.

The minister also denied she had broken the ministerial code by not declaring a meeting with fracking companies in May this year.

Ms Perry said:

“the ministerial code does not require Ministers to disclose meetings that they drop in on, as opposed to host in their office. I have made it clear to my officials that any meeting ever held with anyone related to shale gas should be recorded, whether or not that is in accordance with current guidance”.

95 replies »

  1. The antis seems to forget CP im her role as an energy minister she represents the interest of national energy security issues and not just nimby and green ideology.
    Call it what you want but you dont harass anyone while they go on about their daily life activity. If they do have an issue take it to her electoral office and confront her there during her working hours. That’s how civilised people in a free democratic society do act and behave.

    • ‘she represents the interest of national energy security issues’

      The NPPF paragraph 144 states that when determining planning applications Councils should

      ‘give great weight to the benefits of the mineral extraction’

      As Claire Perry is well aware that onshore wind is the cheapest form of energy why has she not proposed a bill to alter the NPPF so it reads,

      When determining planning applications Councils should ‘give great weight to the benefits of onshore wind power’

      That bill would almost certainly get passed and give her some credibility.

      • John Powney, The costs involved in onshore wind have come down, but it is far from being a low cost solution. The articles you read which cite onshore wind costs as low in comparison to other forms of energy use a levelized cost of energy methodology for making cost comparisons across various generating technologies. LCOE, which simplistically calculates a $/MWh based on generalized assumptions, has some serious drawbacks. Most important from my perspective are the various costs which are not taken into account in the model. In particular, system costs are important with respect to renewable power – which is, as you know, very often randomly intermittent in nature. The larger the penetration of intermittent power source, the greater the instability introduced to the grid. That instability has some very real costs. You can ask South Australia if you want to hear about those costs. But an easier way to understand them, is to calculate what it would cost to make those problems go away. This gets somewhat complex, but at the limit, where it is easier to comprehend, you must provide a tremendous amount of dispatchable backup power for the grid to provide energy when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining (ie. a lot of the time). That backup can be all battery (impossible from a materials perspective currently, and very expensive) or all fossil (gas/coal)which is much less expensive. The problem is that even coal and gas become expensive if they are only run to backup wind/solar. Your LCOE analyses do not take into account the costs of backup and/or the systems costs imposed by various generating sources, therefore using that LCOE tool will lead you to some flawed decisions if you rely on it. This is part of the reasons why many nations are being careful about jumping headlong into large scale wind deployments. http://www.wattclarity.com.au/articles/2017/07/cost-confusion/

          • John Powney

            Always good news to see battery wind combined to smooth out renewable fluctuations, smooth troughs ( such as a coal fired power station trip as noted ) and enable the company to sell power to the grid in these cases and others. That capability to sell such emergency power means they could cover the cost of the battery installation in a year.

            Plus, good that a competitive environment brings on such players to the market.

          • Based on Tesla’s specs in Australia, it would cost the UK approximately $8.4 trillion USD to create a 10 year battery backup system for the island. That number is low, because it assumes that only the UK would demand the materials for those batteries. The other painful point is that there aren’t enough resources (cobalt esp) to make that UK battery, much less batteries for the entire world – for ten years. Sorry.

  2. On a personal level she does p me off but as long as she does the same to the collective known as the anti army I’ll be more than happy.

  3. O yes sorry did forget to mention I’m part of the pop up traveling circus ,but only when I’ve clocked out from WORK

  4. I think you have struck a chord there Kisheny! That has been rather comical for some while.

    But now, we can enjoy the even more comical aspect of having a conversation to an “attack dog” of a soft wabbly dessert!

    A trifle unexpected.

  5. [moderator] There are allegations, reported in the Guardian that [/moderator] It’s not just her constituents that she treats with contempt (thanks for the insights Polly Molly Moo), she also swears and screams at the civil servants under her. She [allegedly] texted one civil servant to say “F**k off”, and wrote, “What’s this s**t?” on a memo produced by staff.

    I hope these [allegations of] bullying behaviour are properly investigated.


    • Dorkian
      That would be allegedly etc etc as they are accusations ( as the Guardian notes, just as the Mail was circumspect re a Judges links to offshore oil and wind companies ).
      The accusations relating to threats to her family are similarly just that at present, tho something written on a memo could be produced as evidence one presumes.

      So an investigation would be to determine if the accusations are correct and take it from there?

      • If someone threatened my family I would be reporting it to the police.

        With the sad demise of the lovely Jo Cox you have to be very cautious these days. As CP clearly spoke to this individual, am sure a good photo fit would yield results, particularly as the police have a lot of footage of events.This alleged person, if is as stated, needs to be found and dealt with; if this person does not exist or is something else entirely, then an investigation would sort this out.

        • Sherwulfe

          Quite. Both are allegations.

          Sometimes allegations move from alleged to actual on here without investigation ( and no doubt elsewhere ),

          How it pans out if investigated is something else.

          • hewes, the allegation about a threat to harm to an individual and their children must be followed up in the light of the attack on Jo Cox. It cannot remain an allegation; it cannot be a sometimes…..

            There have been allegation in the past regarding protestors that have been found to be something else.

            It is not a excuse not to meet those peacefully defending their homes and local environment because of, what appears to be, an unsubstantiated allegation. A allegation such as this would have been met with a response that it was under investigation, not passed off as an aside.

        • Hi Sherwulfe,
          I feel that my family are being threatened right now.

          Trouble is that the threats are from a corporation thrust upon us by a Governmen we certainly didn’t vote for and facilitated by a Constabulary I pay for but have lost all trust and respect in.

          I have tried to lodge a complaint and ask for this threat to be removed but for some reason I’m struggling to make progress.

          Anybody any suggestions please?

            • The local MP at PNR is, sadly, a Conservative. In the almost 23 months that Cuadrilla has been at PNR he has not made one appearance at the gates despite numerous invitations. MPs and representatives from every other party, apart from UKIP, have visited on countless occasions. They have all been met with respect and been made very welcome by those opposed to fracking. I fear the local MP thinks more of his standing in the party than the concerns of his constituents.
              Before anyone replies that locals can’t care about fracking because they voted for him. This is the sixth safest seat in the country for the Tories. A monkey wearing a blue rosette would win here.

  6. It is what it is, Kisheny.

    There are a few, or several versions of a single, who seem to have the function solely to attack anyone who may disagree with their adopted position. Not with a counter argument, but simply with bile, or silliness. If you react a little forcefully, then you may find your view is removed. Of course you could post at around 2am, and then your view would be there for some time!

    But, I suspect you have better things to do.

    I know the situation your refer to. I also remember the underwhelming support she obtained compared to the elected MP.

    That’s an example of the reaction against CP. She will see through the fog and probably make it clear to some that she does.

  7. Oh Dork.

    Minister has a snipe at JC, Guardian “finds” some “evidence” a few days later to attempt to discredit her!! Send her to Siberia!

    Bit of a coincidence!

    When she has finished laughing, and checking her messages for notification regarding the promotion, she could have a badge produced.

  8. Ah, here we go !

    I found this information elsewhere which appears to confirm that Ms Perry’s memory is perhaps not all it might be:

    She claimed in her commons speech quoted above that “the ministerial code does not require Ministers to disclose meetings that they drop in on, as opposed to host in their office”

    I have searched the ministerial code published in January of this year, and can find no reference to a difference in disclosure requirements between meetings that they host in their offices or meetings they are present at, and/or make presentations at, elsewhere.

    Click to access 2018-01-08_MINISTERIAL_CODE_JANUARY_2018__FINAL___3_.pdf

    It would also appear that her involvement in the round table was not perhaps quite as casual as she suggested when she referred to just “dropping in” on it.

    She said at the Westminster Hall Debate, July 10th 2018

    “I did hold a very effective shale industry roundtable ”

    The words “I did hold” would suggest that she felt she organised this meeting rather than just dropped in on on a whim.


    This throwaway comment led to an FOIR query and it was discovered that she did indeed play quite a major part in this round table meeting which had, it would appear, not yet been disclosed.

    (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/shale_gas_round_table) ;-

    “Agenda of meeting on May 21st 2018 (extract)

    13:15 5mins Emily Bourne Official Welcome
    13:20 20 mins Claire Perry Presentation on the Shale Gas Opportunity
    14:30 5 mins Claire Perry Closing Remarks
    14:35 Finish”

    The full agenda is here:

    Click to access Agenda.pdf

    Notes from Ms Perry’s 20 minute presentation (which she tells us she just “dropped in” to make) can be found here: https://investigatingbalcombeandcuadrilla.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/less-redacted-notes-of-claire-perry-meeting-with-shale-industry.pdf

    So Ms Perry was there at the start of this meeting, presenting for 20 minutes, and she was there at the end less than an hour later to wrap it up for 5 minutes . She was timetabled to present for 25 minutes of this 80 minute meeting. That is nearly a third of the entire meeting that she claims to have just “dropped in” on and therefore did not need to disclose according to a dispensation in the ministerial code which does not appear to exist, at least in its published form.

    Out of interest, the Principles of Ministerial conduct (http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN03750/SN03750.pdf) states that:

    “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister;”

    I wonder if somebody might ask her to explain these apparent discrepancies?

  9. I’ve recently taken note of an interesting word I picked up on in a documentary which describe the Tory government as ‘MENDACIOUS ‘.
    Apparently this means deceitful, untrustworthy, dishonest etc., etc.
    Seems about right.

  10. Right then Kisheny,
    It’s 21.10 on Wednesday, 21st November, 2018.
    I’m off Drill or Drop henceforth.
    I’ll be back 9pm next Thursday.
    If you and your pro-fracking friends have stopped posting their propaganda I’ll stay off.
    But I will be checking.
    Bye bye.

    • Peter – in your time off you might be able to get some therapy. Many people on here who criticise fracking seem to be NIMBY and very cynical in their arguments. You on the other hand seem to be genuinely worried. There really isn’t any need to be worried – fracking is very safe despite what FOE, Greenpeace and you’re local NIMBY’s might say. In your much needed week off you could try different goggle searches instead of “fracking and health risks” and get a broader view of the science – you should feel far better afterwards

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