Live news updates: Day 4 of IGas inquiry into Ellesmere Port well test plans

Ellesmere Port tanks FFEP

IGas site at Ellesmere Port. Photo: Frack Free Ellesmere and Upton

This post has live news updates from Day 4 of the inquiry into IGas plans to test for gas flows at its well at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire. The hearing will hear objections or concerns from three local MPs, councillors, the police and crime commissioner  and members of the public.

The inquiry is examining the decision by Cheshire West and Chester Council, to refuse permission for the well test scheme in January 2018. The council said the scheme failed to mitigate the effects on climate change. 

The inquiry in Chester had been expected to end on Thursday 24 January. It is now likely to reconvene with a separate extra hearing from Tuesday 26 February to Friday 1 March.

Reporting at this inquiry has been made possible by donations from individual DrillOrDrop readers

Preview of the inquirynews updates from Day 1Day 2 and Day 3 link to inquiry page on DrillOrDrop

Key points from Day 4

  • Three local MPs oppose the scheme
    • Local democracy must be upheld – Chris Matheson MP for Chester
    • I don’t want a new housing estate to be half-built because people don’t want to live there – Justin Madders MP
    • IGas plans are step to the past that could do harm and fail to address environmental concerns – Mike Amesbury MP
  • Police and Crime Commissioner has concerns about whether Cheshire could resource policing of protests at the site
  • It is entirely illogical to explore for new sources of fossil fuels when we must take action to limit temperature rise – Friends of the Earth
  • “We cannot take any further risks with children’s health in Ellesmere Port – former teacher
  • “IGas scheme will rob Ellesmere Port communities of opportunities available to them” – local resident and councillor
  • IGas scheme is unacceptable risk that would restrict economic development of Ellesmere Port – local councillor
  • Ellesmere Port has always been considered as a convenient dumping ground for the rest of Cheshire and it is time for this to stop – local councillor
  • The IGas scheme will worsen health problems in Ellesmere Port – local opponent
  • “We cannot take any further risks with children’s health in Ellesmere Port” – local teacher
  • Why would IGas carry out testing if they did not intend to move onto production?
  • Approving the application would set a precedent for gas production in built-up areas in the UK
  • IGas consultation and community engagement does not meet industry guidelines or the Aarhus convention – local campaigner
  • No speakers in favour of the application
  • Approving the IGas scheme would reward the few at the cost of the many- local resident
  • Site location shows “fantastic lack of concern for the welfare of the communities affected” – resident

12.55pm: Inquiry session closes

The inquiry resumes at 9.30am on Tuesday 22 January 2019

12.49: Tomasina Buckeridge – opponent of the scheme


She tells the inquiry that she developed asthma within six months of arriving in Ellesmere Port and was told this was because of the environment and climate change.

She says her home is within 4.5 miles of the Stanlow, where there was a fire in August 2018. She phoned Stanlow several hours after the fire began and was told it had not been put out.

“We in Cheshire cannot survive with the addition of shale gas extraction with yet another site containing potential catastrophes, real or imagines.”

“There is a tipping point and people who can afford to leave will do so affecting employment and the economy.

12.43pm: Gayzer Frackman – opponent of the scheme

Mr Frackman says he has opposed fracking in Lancashire for 10 years.

He pays tribute to three people who he says have died trying to oppose oil and gas developments in their communities.

He commends the Cheshire West and Chester council and local campaigners for opposing the planning application.

He calls for real-time monitoring of air quality on four sides of the site. He says regulators are too slow to respond to breaches of permissions.

Mr Frackman asks that regulators from the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive attend the public inquiry to address public concerns.

Applause from the audience.

12.37pm: Stephen Savory – opponent of the scheme

190118 epi 1238

Mr Savory says he is voluntary director of Chester Community Energy Ltd, which has raised money for local solar schemes.

Mr Savory says:

“Small changes can make a difference if we act together.

“But confidence in combined action only works, globally, nationally or locally if everyone plays their part. Planning permission should not be granted for activities which clearly do no meet the test for sustainable development in the local plan.”

Mr Savory says savings on imported energy, stated by IGas, could also be achieved by insulation of homes.

“Time is running out for action needed to save our planet from damaging effects of climate change.

“This is why we should follow the requirements of the local plan and NPPF and refuse this appeal.

Applause from the audience.

12.32pm: Catherine Green – opponent of the scheme

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Ms Green, a Chester resident, is a climate change ambassador for Cafod.

She tells the inquiry that her original objection to the IGas scheme focused on climate change. She attended recent climate change talks and met people from across the world whose homes were being destroyed by floods and drought. She says:

This cannot the first time government policy and planning law has not kept pace with public knowledge.

She calls for the application to be refused and for shale gas at Ellesmere Port to be kept in the ground.

Applause from the audience.

12.27pm: Fiona Leslie – opponent of the scheme

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Ms Leslie says she lived for many years in Ellesmere Port and visits family there regularly. A year ago, she moved to back to Cheshire from London.

“I now live in Weaver Vale. My mother was extremely disappointed I didn’t move close to her in Ellesmere Port.”

She says she chose not to live there because of the already noxious environment with smells and tastes in the air

“I do not think it is appropriate to start yet another dirty industrial activity so close to the town and thousands of innocent people living and working and going to school there.”

Applause from the audience.

12.20pm: Fiona Jackson – opponent of the scheme

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Ms Jackson says she has lived at Ince, near Ellesmere Port, for 30 years. She says she first heard about unconventional gas extraction when IGas drilled within 1km of her home, without notifying her.

“After talking to IGas, I found them to seem evasive and felt intimidated by their security. They seemed unable to answer some of my questions.”

She says she saw a BBC report in December 2014 showing an IGas pipe connector linked to a large storage tank with bolts missing from the connection and held in place by gaffer tape.

141217 Ellesmere Port BBC North West

Photo: BBC News

“IGas repeatedly told us, that if they had no social licence to drill and operate their bysiness in our area, that they would listen to local opinion and go elsewhere. IGas you have no social licence to be here.

Ms Jackson reads a letter from her 11-year-old daughter, Amy, to the inspector, . This includes:

“With global warming, sea level rising, seasonal patterns changing and increased rainfall and flooding, burning fossil fuels will only destroy planet.”

Applause from the audience.

12.15pm: Alan Scott – opponent of the scheme

190118 epi 1238

Mr Scott says:

“It is shocking to see a shale gas exploration site inside an industrial estate next to a busy motorway which is next to a housing estate and near to schools and Ellesmere Port town centre.”

“This shows a fantastic lack of concern for the welfare of the communities affected.”

He says if the application were approved it would could stress, fear and anxiety which would last for years in the community.

He describes opposition to another IGas scheme at Upton.

Applause from the audience.

12.10pm: Pam Bellis – opponent of the scheme

190118 epi 1218

Ms Bellis says there is a responsibility to protect the environment now and for future generations.

“Whilst this planning application is stated that it is for exploration only, IGas would not be going to these lengths and spending thousands and thousands of pounds unless they felt there were future opportunities for them to then apply for Shale Gas production to take place on this site.”

Ms Bellis says:

“We should no longer be pursuing the extraction of fossil fuels but should be actively funding and supporting sustainable renewable energy”

We have a responsibility to change our country’s habits.

“If this appeal is upheld it will be a travesty of justice and democracy, paying no heed to the impact on the environment, to the public view sought in the correct democratic manner and on the public’s health and well-being and it will be rewarding the few at the cost of the many.

Applause from the audience.

12.05pm: Drew Bells – opponent of the scheme

190118 epi 1206

Mr Bells says he lives in Ince, where IGas has also drilled a gas well.

I am painfully aware that if this appeal is successful, the likelihood is that my quiet little village will be next in line for shale gas extraction.

He says

“We are here because thousands of people in our community said no. Our council said no. The science says no. Planet Earth says no. Why won’t IGas take no for answer?”

He says IGas is wasting vast amounts of time and money at expensive public inquiries on expensive lawyers. He urges the company to direct resources at the future, not the past and stop extracting fossil fuels.

Applause from the audience.

12.03am: Linda Shuttleworth – opponent of the scheme

190118 epi 1203

Ms Shuttleworth asks:

“Where are the local residents speaking on behalf of the appellant, IGas,  I am not hearing any local people saying yes, we do want exploration, drilling, assessment and extraction of shale gas in the midst of our communities.

On the contrary, the members of the public present at this inquiry are here because the are worried about these developments. They are here to say No again.”

Applause from the audience

11.59am: Jackie Mayo – opponent of the scheme

Ms Mayo says she has lived in Ellesmere Port for six years.

She says she didn’t realise how polluted the area was until she moved there. She discovered black spots on her car from pollution from the Stanlow refinery.

Pollution is a joke in Ellesmere Port, she says. She says there was a fire at the Stanlow refinery and there is pollution from waste incineration.

She tells the inquiry:

I have to take a day off work to be here.

Other people want to be here but cannot afford to take time off and don’t want to speak publicly.

The people say no, the council said no, and now IGas expect us to pay for this appeal. I think it is disgusting.

Applause from the audience.

11.53am: Tim Budd – opponent of the scheme

190118 epi 1154

Mr Budd has lived in Ellesmere Port for more than 20 years. He says he, and local friends and family oppose the scheme.

He says it has been proposed to him that the Portside area of Ellesmere Port is the best place for the site because of the docks, industry and motorway. He asks:

Haven’t the people of Ellesmere Port suffered enough?

He says they have already had to put up with polluting industries and a motorway carved through the community.

Just as Ellesmere Port is beginning to be regenerated, IGas seems to believe it can come in an start this proposed development, hidden behind the motorway.

Local people work in the local heavy industries. They know that emissions limits, noise levels, operating procedures are sometimes breached. No one will know what the effects will be, he says.

No one can deny there is potential for light pollution, noise and reduced air quality, he says.

Applause from the audience.

11.46am: Phil Coombe – opponent of the scheme

190118 epi 1150

Mr Coombe is a founder member of Frack Free Upton. He says he is speaking about public consultation.

He says local independently verified surveys show 70-80% of people surveyed in local Cheshire villages oppose oil and gas developments.

IGas claims to have engaged with the Ellesmere Port communities because of three exhibitions in the town and by leafleting. Mr Coombe says he has not met anyone who has received a leaflet.

Businesses neighbouring the site have opposed the scheme, he says. Frack Free Ellesmere and Upton has not met any residents on new estates nearest the site who have been contacted by IGas or the council, he says.

The Aarhus Convention requires that people have the chance to contribute to environmental decision-making.

Natural justice requires a much higher standard of consultation than that carried out by IGas. It does not meet the UKOOG guidelines.

The 2017 exihibition was poorly publicised and poorly attended. IGas has been disingenous and disrespectful to Ellesmere Port residents.

Applause from the audience.

11.40am: Paul Bowers – opponent of the scheme

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Mr Bowers is representing Cheshire West and Chester Green Party.

He says his objection is on climate change and air quality grounds.

He says the area already exceeds legal limits of air pollution and additional increase in traffic fumes is unacceptable.

“The existing strain upon the social and physical well-being of the local population, in which rates of mortality are significantly greater than the national average, means that the high levels of toxicity inherent to the process of extracting and flaring untreated gases must be avoid.

“The proposed development is simply too great a risk to establish so close to communities that are already sensitized to the adverse accumulative effects of heavy industry and environmental contamination.”

“The extreme proximity of the Portside site to an urban area, whilst posing various risks to the local population, also threatens communities throughout the UK, by setting a dangerous national precedent if permitted.”

Applause from the audience.

11.34am: John Tacon – opponent of the scheme

190118 epi 1140

Dr Tacon worked for the Environment Agency for 19 years until he retired in 2010.

He is speaking on behalf of the Chester World Development Forum. He says he distrusts many policies adopted by the UK government, particularly on the unconventional oil and gas industry,  which he believes are “driven not by evidence but by financial expediency, political dogma and favour special interest groups over the national interest.

Fracking for oil and gas is, he says, “dangerous, unnecessary, and unsustianable”.

He says he wants people to be aware of how the EA regulates sites.

It relies on self-monitoring by the process operator through adoption of an agreed process management system.

A breach of a permit condition would have to be reported, like an uncontrolled release of gas, within a specified period. Failure to report the release, rather than the release itself, would be grounds for a sanction by the Environment Agency. He says this is the equivalent of relying on motorists to report their own speeding.

The EA does this because of the low number of inspectors. Inspections are a rarity and control relies generally on annual submissions for the pollution inventory.

Since he left the EA, Dr Tacon says, staff numbers have fallen because funding was cut to the parent department, Defra, and staff have been seconded to government to work on Brexit. It originally has some degree of independence but is now dependent on Defra.

Dr Tacon says:

“I believe developing fracking in this crowded country, with its fractured geology,

He argues that aquifers are at risks of pollution. .

The proposed development by IGas at the EP1 location – within an urban area – is, in my personal opinion, absolutely expletive deleted bonkers, whether or not it involves the process defined as “fracking”.

“Why would they carry out expensive exploration testing if you’re not planning to move on to production to recoup your investment?

Applause from the audience.

11.28am: James Cameron – opponent of the scheme

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Mr Cameron, an architect and resident of Chester, says he is concerned about the effect of noise from flaring and about climate change. He says the ecologically-important sites on the Mersey Estuary, north of the IGas site would be more greatly affected from noise than the houses on the south, which are screened by the M53 motorway.

He says Ellesmere Port’s future regeneration should  not be “discouraged by the potential or adverse impacts of the appellant’s development with its noise, flaring, lights, heavy transport, fugitive and noxious gases, hazardous and contaminated materials, risk of fire, explosion and blow out and potential presence for a further 16 years or more under the 2010 planning approval.”

Mr Cameron said adds:

“It is disingenous to refer to this development as only short term as the appellant and others have done. It was proposed in 2009 and has been here for nine years already.”

He says IGas’s argument that the site did not discourage redevelopment was false and misleading. The site has been inactive for eight and a half years and there has been little information about the testing plans.

This appeals threatens the wellbeing of the local population, the sustainability of the town as a whole and the nearby ecological important sites, he says..

Applause from the audience

11.25am: Inquiry resumes

11.10am: Break

The inquiry resumes at 11.25am.

11.05am: Peter Benson – opponent of the scheme

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Mr Benson says he is speaking for the Cheshire branch of Friends of the Earth.

He says he joined Friends of the Earth because of concerns about climate change. He says

“Future generations and even people living within the next 12 years will judge us on whether we take we take the action to tackle climate change.”

Applause from the audience

10.56am: Helen Rimmer – opponent of the scheme

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Ms Rimmer, north west campaigner for Friends of the Earth, objects that the application is incompatible with the original application. She says there is also insufficient information about the environmental and health impacts, and local and government policy on planning and climate change.

She says the proposal does not make a positive contribution to local poor air quality. It will exacerbate problems, she says.

The proposal goes against the regeneration scheme for Ellesmere Port, which seeks to address negative perceptions and promote clean energy.

It also conflicts local planning policies, particularly on air quality, residential amenity and local environment.

On climate change, she says rapid and unprecedented changes are needed to limit temperature rise.

High-carbon fossil fuel development is not compatible to the aspiration to a low-carbon economy. Shale gas is not low carbon, Ms Rimmer says. This makes the case against fossil fuels is even greater, she says.

In this context, it is entirely illogical to explore for new sources of fossil fuels. Councils have a crucial role to reach climate targets. The council should be applauded for leading the way.

Worryingly, the air quality impact assessment concedes there could be period of venting, she says. Key information on the test process was excluded until after the original public consultation. IGas is unclear on how it will stimulate or what pressures it will use to extract gas trapped in the shale.

This proposal will have adverse impacts on climate change mitigation on air quality. It has been thoroughly rejected by local people and it should be refused.

Applause from the audience

10.50am: Chris Hesketh – opponent of the scheme


Mr Hesketh is speaking about his experience of IGas at a site 17 miles from Chester, at Duddleston.

He says Dart Energy, later bought by IGas, applied to drill for gas at Duddleston in Shropshire.

Mr Hesketh says Frack Free Duddleston showed how the geology of the area was unsafe to extract gas. IGas published a letter which derided the expertise of the group and rejected its conclusions.

IGas appealed against non-determination of the application. The appeal was to be heard by written representation, on IGas’s request, then upgraded to a hearing. It was later downgraded after complaints from IGas, and finally upgraded again.

IGas then withdrew the appeal on the grounds that the geology was unsuitable. The company did not apologise to local campaigners and then gave up the licence, Mr Hesketh says.

He says the experience involved the community in a lot of work and caused considerable stress.

Applause from the audience.

10.43am: Tony Walsh – opponent of the scheme

190118_104422Mr Walsh, a resident of Ellesmere Port, is a former head teacher.

As a teacher I was very concerned to promote environmental studies, aware of a need to foster in the pupils to care for the natural world and play our part in conservation.

The children were taught we have only one world and to ensure its sustainable. They have their lives in front of them.

Mr Walsh says the IPCC says there could be less than 12 years to address the affects of climate change and to keep temperature rise to 1.5C.

I oppose the application for climate change reasons. We should be giving all our attention to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

He says there are other major issues on the proposals. These include the regeneration proposals for Ellesmere Port, providing jobs, housing and social infrastructure. Nothing was said in a public consultation on the regeneration about the IGas plans, he says.

Mr Walsh says he is also concerned about the proximity of the site to local housing. Granting permission could have impacts on proposed new estates, he says.

He is also concerned about extra traffic generated by the scheme. Ellesmere Port already experienced traffic congestion and there could be grid lock in the town, he says.

Mr Walsh says there is ambiguity about the type of acid. He also raises concern about hydrogen sulphide gas. This is a risk to local residents.

Applause from the audience.

10.34: Felicity Dowling- opponent of the scheme


Ms Dowling says she is speaking as a teacher and trades unionist.

She says the proximity of the well to local housing and industries is a major concern.

She says there will be an impact on sub-structure of the industry in the area. It is ridiculous that it would not affect a pipeline that crosses the area to Liverpool.

This is not a little industrial estate. It is heavy industry, she says.

To allow this in an area with heavy toxic industry and the pipeline is ridiculous.

It is dangerous

There is also a risk to the structure of the Victorian Ellesmere Canal, she says.

Ms Dowling says burning fossil fuels is the leading cause of childhood asthma.

She says that when she first started teaching she might see one asthma inhaler. Now there is a line of inhalers on a teacher’s desk.

“We cannot take any further risks with children’s health in Ellesmere Port. The statistics are a very clear. We need to improve the health of our children. There is no greater responsibility but to look after the health of children.”

We think the oil and gas industry is something that needs to be campaigned against, as asbestos was in the past, Ms Dowling says. Our children are suffering now. No further risk is acceptable.

Fossil fuels should be left in the ground. People who care about children in Ellesmere Port want clean air and a safe environment for them to grow up in.

Applause from the audience

Giles Cannock, for IGas, repeats that the scheme does not include fracking.

10.29am: Barbara Gegg – opponent of the scheme

Mrs Gegg says the IGas scheme could adversely affect the health of local people, in an area where there is already poor health.

She says traffic would be increased, adding to pollution. Lorries are already using unsuitable roads, causing noise and vibration.

There is already more than enough pollution in the area. There is already light pollution, which means she has to use black-out curtains in their bedroom.

People with respiratory illnesses on new housing estates will be affected by increased traffic.

Heavy industry is already affecting local people. Allowing the IGas scheme will only make things worse. These industries affect people’s health. People matter.

Applause from audience.


10.28am: Comment on applause

Brian Cook, the inspector, says the session will finish at 1pm.

He says if there is lengthy applause for each speaker fewer people will have a chance to speak.

10.19am: Jill Houlbrook – opponent of the scheme

Ms Houlbrook, while a councillor, says she is speaking as a resident. She says she has concerns about the impact of the scheme on the natural environment and local people.

She says if the refusal is overturned, Ellesmere Port will struggle to attract jobs and investment. The aspiration for the town is based on sustainability and clean growth.

There is an assumption by IGas that emissions are an acceptable result of the operation of the site.

That IGas is willing to enter into an agreement on the description of the scheme suggests there is a certain amount of eagerness by IGas to see this scheme approved.

She asks what IGas does not understand about the local opposition to its scheme

Public opinion is a material consideration. This is why our communities are here today.

The IGas scheme will rock Ellesmere Port to its core.  It will rob communities of the opportunities available to them.

Ellesmere Port deserves a clean and happy future.

Giles Cannock, for IGas, says the scheme does not include hydraulic fracturing. Without prejudice, the company is willing to discuss an amended description or a condition to allay local concern.

Applause from audience

190118_10125010.12am: Cllr Ben Powell – opponent of the scheme

Cllr Powell says

I looked at this application and think it represents an unacceptable risk to the local economy.

He refers to the National Planning Policy Framework on climate change, sustainable development and local businesses.

Cllr Powell says Ellesmere Port has succeeded in attracting local businesses recently. The site location is 270m from the Mersey Estuary SSSI, 100m from other businesses and close to the motorway and local houses.

I would submit that the application could restrict economic development and future growth of the area.

Approving this application would make the area an exclusion zone for some forms of economic development. This is against the NPPF. It carries a risk with very little economic benefit.

The council made a fair and proportionate judgement when deciding this application.

Applause from audience

10.08am: Cllr Pat Merrick – opponent of the scheme

Cllr Merrick represents the Rossmore ward which includes the well site on the Cheshire West and Chester Council.

She says she was not a councillor for the area where the drilling application was made until 2011. Cllr Merrick says:

Ellesmere Port has always been considered as a convenient dumping ground for the rest of Cheshire and it is time for this to stop.

I grew up in the shadow of Stanlow [oil refiner] and there have always been fears about an explosion or terrorist attack.

Breathing problems are a bigger problem in the local community, she says.

I am not opposed in principle to extract shale gas, she says. It is fine in open countries. It is not right in Ellesmere Port. It is not suitable anywhere in the UK. We are a very small island. We are over populated. It is the wrong place.

Applause from audience

Cllr Merrick is asked by IGas about the timescale of recent investment. He says it is in the past 5-10 years.

10.01am: David Keane, Police and crime commissioner – concerns


A representative of the Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner says he has a statement to read to the inquiry.

The statement expresses concern about the impact of the scheme on police resources. The concerns are based on the police eviction of a protest camp at the IGas site, which involved 200 police officers, involved three months of planning and cost £250,000+, the statement says. Soon after the eviction, IGas abandoned the site.

Police officers have to manage protests but continue to police with consent of the local community, the statement says. The protest at Upton was peaceful and good-natured, it says.

I am concerned about the likely implications if the development goes ahead and the impact this could have on the police service where demand outweighs resources.

I have great concerns whether Cheshire police could resource this operation.

Applause from audience

The inquiry inspector, Brian Cook, asks for clarification on the responsibilities of the Police and Crime Commissioner.


9.52am: Mike Amesbury MP – opponent of the scheme

Mr Amesbury is the MP for Weaver Vale.

He says:

“My constituents love the area where they live for many reasons; high among these are its natural beauty and its proximity to important wildlife habitat.”

He says what happens in the neighbouring constituency is of huge importance to them. Nearly a thousand constituents have contacted him since he became an MP about environmental issues. He says:

IGas plans do nothing to address concerns about natural habitats and climate change.

He says the Cheshire Science Corridor is working to be at the forefront of low carbon clean technology.

Shale gas is a step to the past. It fails to take our area in the right direction. It has the potential to harm what we already have.

The proposal is close to the Site of Special Scientific Interest – if these areas aredamaged or undermined it could decades before the ecosystem recovers. It could be changed permanent.

Mr Amesbury says there are already four air quality management areas in the county.

The proposal has the potential to make air quality worse. Acidisation could also harm local regeneration.

The company has failed to reassure the council and the local area on the impacts of acid and carbon emissions.

My constituents believe the decision made by the council was the right one and was justified on the evidence.

Constituents are at a loss to understand why when politicians have got something right they are being challenged.

I believe, as a local MP, I have reflected the views of people that the three MPs and councillors represent. We hope this view will be listened to.

Applause from the audience.

Giles Cannock, for IGas, asks whether the MP has confidence in the regulators. Mr Amesbury says the regulators should be strengthened. He says the government is trying to ensure that the industry, which he says should be kicked into the long grass, can march forward.

190118_0946239.46am: Justin Madders MP – opponent of the scheme

Mr Madders is the MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

He says he wants to object on grounds of democracy, local developments and climate change.

He says he does not support unconventional oil or gas extraction. He says the planning committee and local decision making should be supported.

He says the site is a few hundred metres from new housing and leisure facilities.

“The area is changing. I don’t want that estate to be half built because people don’t want to live there.”

My biggest concern is climate change, he adds. Temperature rise must be limited to avoid climate change. More efforts on oil and gas extraction will lead to more temperature increase.

Applause from the audience.

190118_0935549.34am:  Chris Matheson MP – opponent of the scheme

Mr Matheson is the MP for the city of Chester. He says he has questioned the record of IGas on engagement with the public, the depth of the Ellesmere Port and the eviction of a protest camp at Upton. He expresses his concern about any promises the company may make on the Ellesmere Port test plan.

Mr Matheson says local democracy must be upheld. To overturn the council’s decision would challenge local democracy. He says his increased majority in elections is in part to his position on fracking and onshore oil and gas. He says world leading climate scientists from the IPCC conclude there are just 12 years left to take action to keep temperature rise to 1.5C. The IGas scheme does not contribute to these efforts. The government has said quick action  ust be taken to tackle climate change.

This specific application will affect people adversely in Ellesmere Port – with a negative impact on air quality. The town is in the process are large-scale regeneration. The IGas scheme will affect the local economy and the health of local residents. It will also affect his constituents in Chester.  The benefits of the scheme are likely to be minimal, he says. He calls on the ispector to reject the application.

Applause from the audience.

Giles Cannock, for IGas, asks if he has followed the progress of the inquiry. Mr Matheson says parliament has been following other matters. Mr Cannock says the council’s planning witness accepted the Ellesmere Port well was drilled lawfully. He asks Mr Matheson what reliance should be placed on the weight of the council’s evidence.

Mr Matheson says IGas forced an eviction of the Upton protest camp, resulting in considerable cost and disruption and then within days decided not to go ahead with operations at that site.

That is a level of the irresponsibility which I find very difficult to comprehend

That is not relevant to the inquiry, Mr Cannock says.

Estelle Dehon, for Frack Free Ellesmere Port and Upton, says IGas was not forthcoming with the community about the depth of the Ellesmere Port well.

9.30am: Day 4 of the inquiry opens

The inquiry inspector, Brian Cook, opens the inquiry

Reporting at this inquiry has been made possible by donations from individual DrillOrDrop readers

66 replies »

  1. Oh Jack. Still following the same nonsense route.

    You can provide a link showing the height of Salisbury Cathedral. It still doesn’t make you a tourist!

    How much oil and gas is produced in USA? How much of it from utilising fracking? All losing money? Twaddle, with NO credentials.

    PS Many know what I am talking about regarding the NT. They have the ability to follow references-some will have, some will not have done so. You just ignore information and say it doesn’t exist. Put the telescope to the other eye Jack, and cut out the fabrication about tax and investors. You are simply guessing based upon nothing of substance.

    Build your house on sand. It simply shows you are not a good builder.

    • NO MARTIN ,

      I back up what I say with evidence.

      YOU only ever give an opinion, backed up with nothing .

      I’m still waiting, evidence and supporting links please .

      • MARTIN ,

        If you are going to try and present something as a fact, or try and dispute something I say, you will of course need to put forward some evidence in the form of LINKS so ALL the forum members can see it for themselves.

        FAILURE to do so will just render all your posts as oppions .

  2. Oh really Jack!

    You mean like your “economics of UK shale” or “no tax” regarding UK shale gas???? Not opinions? Either that or simply speculation.

    Or, USA shale bankrupt? Not opinion, or speculation, but simply fabrication.

    No, Jack. Links that are selected just to “prove” black is white, that fail the common sense test, may make you excited but it is not difficult to tell black is black and white is white if there is someone pointing that out. Sorry to spoil your fun.

    Still no response to the direction I supplied, specially for you, regarding the NT. Too uncomfortable?

    I think you will find many of the forum already recognise what you do not. I don’t expect them to agree with my views but many still recognise reality.

    • NO MARTIN,

      Yet again you ONLY put forward your opinion. You never provide ANY evidence.

      I always back up what I say with credible evidence. I always provide LINKS to back up what I have said ( Links from professional bodies. )

      You provide nothing , therefore the readers can only accept that what you say is your own opinion, only.

      Please let’s now talk about some of the above links I have provided …… ARE YOU going to agree with the evidence I have provided , or are you going to try and dispute it ??????? If so , with your next post please supply evidence ( links ) to support what you say .

      OR are you going to pretend you have not seen my above links and go very quiet, or randomly move on to a different topic , like when I put forward my link from Breast Cancer Action , that warns people of the dangers of living close to a fracking site ??????

      Please now , in the open , let’s discuss these issues in depth .


        Provide a link to the National Trust story . Then I can make a comment.

        Until then , I will not have a clue what you are talking about .

      • Your post highlights one of the key problems with the anti-fracking community – they simply don’t seem to understand what constitutes a peer reviewed scientific paper and seem incapable of critically appraising evidence. The link you provided is totally meaningless

        • Happy to have you on board JUDITH,

          What are you trying to say??????

          Surely not that a leading Breast Cancer Charity could be telling porkies .

          Whoever are the public going to believe, a leading Cancer Charity or the Pro-Frackers ????? Answers Please

          Anyway you must have some excellent evidence , with supporting links, or are you only giving us your own opinion ???????

          I have so much evidence from leading medical professionals, scientists and engineers that warn of the fangers of Fracking. All supplied with links of course to back up what I say.

          I do hope we can spend the next couple of months working thorough these many recognised studies .

          • Greenpeace and FOE are leading charities on the environment but it doesn’t stop them talking total rubbish about fracking, which is exactly what Breast Cancer Action are doing; looking at their webpage they don’t present peer reviewed papers, which any scientist would view with suspicion

            • JUDITH , or should I call you the tree of knowledge?????

              Back up what you say with evidence, not just your words please .

            • Jackthelad – what evidence do you want me to provide to back up my point that the Breast Cancer Action website doesn’t contain peer reviewed work – you only need to look at the website. Surely it’s easier for you to show me their references to peer reviewed work.

  3. No, you do not have a clue about it Jack, although I have provided the reference several times in the last few days. “You provide nothing” is a false statement/ fake news. (You can check back from Friday onwards.) You have simply not checked it out, or want to ignore it for your own reasons. Mind you, don’t feel bad about it, I had to do the same for someone else who claimed, based upon nothing, that I had no knowledge about fusion. I, again, supplied several references for him/her to follow but it took a long time until there was even an understanding that the reference was actually about fusion! Oh dear.

    Now, if you wanted an interesting link about human health and fracking, I could provide one, based upon the USA experience you love, that “shows” sexual activity is increased near fracking sites! I refrain from doing so because we don’t want property prices escalating around PNR and preventing locals getting on the housing ladder, do we? (My own theory about that is increased disposable income and then alcohol intake. The two tend to go together and the third tends to follow.) Perhaps the connection with that and breast cancer should be examined? (No, I will not specify. but Giggle will keep you busy in respect of that for the rest of the week.)

    But, talking about disposable income, who is it who talks down the inconvenience payments at PNR by quoting the lowest figure and refusing to acknowledge that is per well, not per site, and that the payment is initial, during the testing phase??

    I provide lots, Jack-and it is accurate. Not historic discredited “economic speculation” from 2013 and no one is expected to know what the fracking sector did in 2014, and onwards, links.

  4. Found the NT info yet Jack?

    PNR-How much- per site or per well? ie. X1 or X4?

    Initial payment or full payment, if the site started production?

    Crystal clear? Oh yes. But not the “crystal” you have posted-repeatedly. Many readers already know that info. Jack. I do not need to give them a partial picture, most already know the full picture. It has been discussed repeatedly and the data is freely available. Not sure implying they don’t will get you anywhere as you suggest they are not informed on the subject.

    “So much evidence”. Maybe. Shame you use it so selectively.

    • NO MARTIN ,

      I only post relevant points of interest backed up by credible experts .

      As far as payments from fracking companies go , based on the £150 on offer for 90% of PNR residents . Your hardly going to have a Klondike style stampede of desperate homebuyers wanting to move in to the area .

      If the site started production and more importantly went in to profitability, which lets face it , it never stood a chance of . Then maybe, just maybe the residents living within the 1km-1.5km fallout zone could expect to reap the dizzy fortunes of £160, maybe even £170, WOW now we’re really talking big-time .

      • Seems you are unable or unwilling to provide the information then Jack! You did manage the £2070 bit, (reluctantly) but not the answer as to whether this is it, or does it become £2070X4=£8280???

        How about the Community Benefit Fund-a link for you 17/8/17??!!

        Let me help you out. £100,000 paid.

        And yes, another £300,000 due if the other 3 wells are completed.

        Beginning to feel like Father Martin now, drawing out the confession from the reluctant sinner!

        Come on Jack. Get it all off your conscious. You will feel so much better for it.

          • Opinion again, Jack. Tut,Tut.

            The facts are there Jack. Your reluctance to embrace them, or even go anyway near them, is revealing.

            Now, anyone can understand a question around future possible payments around production, as quite a few tests required before that can be calculated and confirmed. But to deliberately avoid the reality of what has already been announced? Hmmm.

            • MARTIN is providing a laugh for us ladies and gentlemen.

              Hold on tight to your sides .

              MARTIN’S maths , please see above.

              FIRST THOUGH ,PLEASE ladies and gentlemen take note . MARTINS above figures are pure speculation and fantasy , backed up with the usual SWEET NOTHING.

              I will though for the benefit of MARTIN , use his numbers .

              £2070 x 4 = £ 8280

              AND let’s not forget using MARTIN’S maths £150 x 4 = £600 for 90% of the PNR residents living within 1km – 1.5km of the fracking well.

              CONSIDER the area , with an average house value at £218,000. When also you take note that leading estate agents in the area are talking about a 30% drop in house values and leading insurers are refusing buildings cover for properties in fracking zones.

              Do you honestly think MARTINS joke figure of £600 is going to sway anyone ??????

              Even MARTINS made up figure of £8280 for 10% of the residents is chicken feed when you factor in the residents financial loses and health .

              Now I know how you always like to totally ignore or change the topic when members post you difficult, uncomfortable facts . BUT I now MARTIN , want to get back on to talking about public health and CANCER RISKS FROM FRACKING .

              No trying to divert the conversation again …… I’m going to re-post these links to you , in the hope of gaining a response

              Fracking is LINKED to Breast Cancer . ( NEW study shows )


              The Harms of Fracking’: New Report Details Increased Risks of Asthma, Birth Defects and Cancer


              Fracking tied to cancer-causing chemicals


            • Jackthelad – surely you can find some scientific articles that have been peer reviewed to back your case instead of the daily mail

            • Ahh, you thought no-one would notice the omission of the £400,000, Jack! Oh yes, they did.

              Or the avoidance of the possible income if/when production commenced. Oh yes, they did.

              Jack, you will not be forgiven unless you repent ALL. We can see your reluctance to address the full issue but you know you will feel better if you do.

              Or, you can continue to duck the issue and the Ladies and Gentlemen will recognise that you do not want to see the complete picture and only focus upon one piece of the jigsaw-that, on its own, is meaningless.

              But, helpful as I always am, perhaps you might want to look at the survey on MoneySavingExpert, that shows 28% of Britons will not be able to keep their houses and flats warm this winter because they do not have enough money to pay their energy bills, with fears that as temperatures dive this week thousands could lose their lives. You can get a summary via the Daily Express (not mine, my wife’s! She can’t complete the Times crossword.)

              Let’s trust a few around PNR have the bit of financial support to avoid that.

            • Concerned MARTIN, about fuel poverty.

              But as we all know expensive Fracking will not reduce fuel poverty in the UK ….. As any simple layman will know.

              FRACKING in the land of zero regulations, the USA can NOT make it pay . It has riddled the country with HUGE DEBTS .

              Look at the at the bankruptcies in the US , Fracking is a great debt ridden ponzi, which will end up on the shoulders of the cash strapped American tax paying people. ARE YOU CONCERNED MARTIN ???????

              The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground

              U.S. Oil Companies Face $240 Billion Debt mountain


              US Shale Companies Facing “Catastrophic Failure” over Ballooning Debt


              Fracking’s shaky foundation of DEBT.


              And you MARTIN are willing to expose the hard pressed tax paying British people to the possibilities of debts runing in to hundreds of billions…… shameful.

            • Jackthelad – the links you pose are opinion pieces. I’ve been to conferences where companies such as PriceWaterHouseCooper etc have presented analysis of the USA market. The general feeling is that things are looking far better than the links that you provide suggest. I agree there were massive worries around five years ago regarding companies such as Chesapeake but things for them have turned around pretty well. It’s also noteworthy that companies such as ConocoPhilips and Chevron are moving from conventionals to unconventionals based on the profit that they get from such assets.

            • I’m SORRY JUDITH , what you say about my bankruptcy posts ( LINKS ) being ‘ opinions ‘ only is a lie and a dangerous one at that …

              For any naive people who may be thinking of investing in Fracking, your comments which are backed up with SWEET NOTHING could cost them their life savings, if they were gullible enough to invest .

              Ladies and Gentlemen please note, JUDITH has given her ‘opinion ‘ ONLY . It is not reflective of the true financial nightmare which is unfolding today in Fracking countries like the USA.

              Don’t take my word for it , GOOGLE , fracking bankruptcies USA and make your own minds up….. Also note that the information I have supplied is from reputable organisations.

              JUDITH, the LINKS I have posted are not outdated, they are reflective of the dire situation the US Fracking industry is in TODAY .

              I can also supply you many more if you are still not convinced.

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