Government announcement on fracking “shortly” – PM

191030 PMQ Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prime Minister’s Questions 30 October 2019. Photo: Parliament TV

The Prime Minister has said the government will be making an announcement “shortly” on fracking in the UK.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions this lunchtime, Boris Johnson said the statement was prompted by what he described as “the very considerable anxieties” legitimately being raised about fracking-induced earthquakes.

The most powerful tremor caused by fracking in the UK, measuring 2.9 on the local magnitude scale, was felt by people across the Fylde district in Lancashire on 26 August 2019. It was one of more than 300 seismic event caused by the resumption of fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site.

The regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) suspended fracking at the site within hours of the 2.9ML tremor, which reportedly caused damage to walls, windows and doors in homes in the area. An OGA investigation into the tremors is now underway.

Mr Johnson told the House of Commons:

“We will shortly be making an announcement about fracking in this country in view of the very considerable anxieties that are legitimately being raised about the earthquakes that have followed various fracking attempts in the UK and we will certainly be following up on those findings because they are they very important and I know they will be of concern to members around the house.”

191030 PMQ Whitehead

Dr Alan Whitehead at Prime Minister’s Questions, 30 October 2019. Photo: Parliament TV

The Prime Minister’s comment followed a question by the shadow energy minister, Alan Whitehead (Labour Southampton Test), who said the Labour Party’s election manifesto would include a “full ban on the extraction of fossil fuels by fracking”.

Dr Whitehead asked what chance the Prime Minister thought he had in matching Labour’s offer. He referred to a report in today’s Guardian newspaper that the Conservative manifesto would be written by a lobbyist for the fracking firm, Cuadrilla.

  • Yesterday, the Fylde MP Mark Menzies reported that he had visited the energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, to ask for a permanent moratorium on fracking in the constituency.


33 replies »

  1. Maybe an outright ban. Then all the licence holders can sue the government. That way it’s handshakes all round. Egan, Ratcliffe etal can be recompensed at the taxpayers expense, the lawyers can make a few more bucks out of another fracking case. A few bungs to the politicians and agencies for saying and doing the right things for a good pay out all round.

      • Perhaps she is good at her job, and therefore in demand? Many ladies do fall into that category. Major tech companies do recognise that.

        I suspect the Guardian would rather support a lady who produces a useless report and is immediately plonked into the House of Lords, with the report she produced so useless that the party she joined to do so is now being officially investigated for failures that the report was supposed to address!

        I have done consultancy work and can think of no employer who would have given me more work, if my original stuff had been so exposed. Seems Ms. Wolf is outside of that as well. Maybe that is what concerns the Guardian?

        • Martin mate. I don’t want to be too brutal but if your reports ramble as much as your comments here I can think of no employer who would have given you work in the first place 🙂 How much a pound is collywibble these days?

          • I consider my many readers mate, and use words rather than symbols. But I do understand English A levels have moved a bit “alternative” more recently.

            Some employers pay for quantity, some for quality. Those who can purchase both in one package are just blessed!

            Helpful that I am, as always, my research may have “rambled” to enable me to review the whole subject. My end report then focused upon the optimum solution, usually looking at future trends. (Can also be used when purchasing vehicles!) That one is for free.

  2. If I was a betting man, I would go for an “independent” review announcement, that takes around 12 months and then results in a “safety zone” around a site, as a means of completing testing. Compensation to the licence holders could still be part of that.

    Unless part of our free trade deal with USA includes more fracked gas and oil with which to cook our US chickens! If we end up with nothing to generate the funds to pay for that, then crowd funding could really be put to wider use!

      • Ermm, that would be decided by the “independent” review, delayed reaction.

        And, would then allow the opportunity for all the gathering of keyboard warriors to disagree. A few to crowd fund and legally challenge, and the rest to continue their grumble.

        Cheer up-it would keep you in a job with the night time working, and justify the 3 litre diesel “company” car. (Shame about the demise of the Bristol market to take it off your hands. Depreciation level will soon be up with the electrics and hybrids!)

        This speculation stuff can become addictive, can’t it?

        Paul may be closer, with the moratorium, although that may cost a new factory in Wales before it has even been started upon. So, I lean towards the review, which would in reality be a moratorium whilst it deliberated, but could be “constructed” to keep the factory-and perhaps the head office.

        But, “quality gas” could come into play, if quantity gas can be added. Someone soon is going to start questioning how hydrogen is to be produced. Maybe it will surface in a manifesto? (Suspect not.)

  3. Martin

    Yes, I agree with most of that. I am not sure about the safety zone re seismic activity though. Maybe they will just give up on the fylde and look to Misson instead.

    Meanwhile ( to keep things going while we wait for frack news, weald horizontal well news and Rathlin well test news)

    From the same sort of people who brought you the industrial revolution


    All part of the grubble

  4. Yes, hewes62, that could fit in (Misson). Although the “high quality” gas at PNR may not take the Fylde out of the equation completely!

    Meanwhile, I note “more turbines mean less wind”!! The wake effect has been mentioned before but it seems it is larger than previously suggested. Significant anywhere, but one of the reasons I don’t like them on land. Land is for trees-and food.

    I suspect there may be a similar effect for air sourced heat pumps. Not a problem if you have a large garden and distant neighbours, (mine works great) but may be if you are in the middle of a large housing estate on a postage stamp sized plot-which is the majority.

    The Laws of Physics will not be denied.

    Also, I note that following a lost election in Australia, green issues are fueling separatism in Canada (Alberta and Saskatchewan).

    Some people do not seem to like being told what not to do.

    • It has been shown large scale wind farm do disrupt and disperse natural wind flow pattern and strength downstream. With large scale off shore wind farms this will have impact on normal natural ocean surface wind flow. Given ocean surface wind flow is very important for ocean current which in turn regulate regional if not global weather and rain pattern it maybe wise to look at the impact of wind turbines on natural wind flow.

  5. Daily Mail predicts moratorium. It will probably be this rather than a ban as the SNP seemed to have some legal difficulties with an outright ban. Certainty is needed for both impacted residents and the companies.

  6. Announcement ‘shortly’ could mean anything, given the response to PD and NSIP. However, given that an election is imminent, my cynicism (greatly increased by involvement in fracking issues) suggests to me a little more alacrity, along with a raft of weasel words, half truths and strategic silences from the Tories.

  7. From reading the runes being spread by that No 10 Spokesman who has been briefing the Tory press my expectation is an O&G report which is critical of the industry’s ability to control seismicity with a recommendation not to shift the TLS limit.

    Then early next week a moratorium announcement, but Cuadrilla allowed to keep flaring so the government can whine later about their “amazing” results and a national resource being squandered because of we Northern “aboriginals” and “nimby numpties” (© Prof R Selley) who don’t like cracks in their houses. I’d also expect a door to be left open for “exploratory” work or “testing”.

    Then, if the Tories were to win an election with a majority, a re-evaluation of Cuadrilla’s flow testing and some timely panicky “crisis” reports to allow them to row back to where they were.

    • Refracktion

      Maybe Cuadrilla hope for a moratorium on on fracked well testing to save face! Tho a moratorium on HPHV fracked well testing would seem pointless ( given that the main issues of concern for well testing seem to be almost the same across fracked and conventional wells ).

  8. Ahh, you have been converted to my thinking, reaction.


    Repenting is more fun than not ever needing to do so.

    I agree with you-SHOCK/HORROR. No redundancy for a while. Maybe the Tories will use your continued employment as a commitment by them to the Northern Powerhouse?

    In seriousness, I would add there could also be an acknowledgement that outside the Fylde testing may also be needed to establish whether the Fylde has particular issues. There may be something that O&G see in that and it could be a gesture towards INEOS. Can’t see it would look good for one of the leading companies who supported Brexit, to be penalised by those wishing to DO BREXIT.

      • Ahh, I see!

        Just living up to the delayed reaction title before you shared your wisdom?

        That’s OK. As long as we agree. Don’t fret pet-its not an offence. Oops-must keep away from the fences. Thought association taking over.

        • Thought association? Nah – It just sounds like your normal disconnected and confused output to me Martian.

          We don’t ALL have to leave our scent mark here as soon as anything is posted you know 😉

          • The Surrender Act again! The royal “we”, plus “all” and “our” have been loaded and launched. I feel very honoured.

            “As soon as anything is posted”-you mean, like 2 minutes? 5.33pm until 5.35pm.

            It would be much more simple if you found an Emoji with hands raised!

            But to show my kind side-10p per litre vouchers now available in Sainsbury to decrease the cost of your diesel if you buy sufficient Shiraz-or other goodies. Donald and his frackers doing the business again. Who knows-if they had not throttled back it could be 15p!

  9. No viable shale gas developments since Cuadrilla, with claimed extensive knowledge and experience of hydraulic fracturing, were granted unopposed planning permission 10 years ago.

    Their PR machine is not fit for purpose. Their lobbyists have failed miserably. Well organised communities have pummeled the industry.

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