Politics

“Fracking, for the time being, is over” – business minister

200121 Kwasi Kwarteng ParliTV

Business minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, speaking in parliament, 21 January 2020. Photo: Still from Parliament TV

A government minister seemed this morning to support the idea that a permanent ban on fracking would be the best way his department could tackle climate change.

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng was answering a question from Alexander Stafford, the new Conservative MP for Rother Valley in South Yorkshire.

200121 Alexander Stafford 1 parliTV

Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley,asking a parliamentary question, 21 January 2020. Photo: Still from Parliament TV

Mr Stafford is the first ever Conservative to hold the constituency since it was formed in 1918. He has opposed fracking in the village of Woodsetts, where Ineos is waiting to hear whether it has consent for shale gas exploration.

Speaking formally for the first time in parliament, Mr Stafford asked:

“Would my right honourable friend agree with the residents of Woodsetts and Harthill in the Rother Valley that the best way his department can tackle climate change is make the moratorium on fracking permanent?”

200121 Alexander Stafford 2 parliTV

Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley,21 January 2020. Photo: Still from Parliament TV

Mr Kwarteng replied:

“Yes, um, absolutely.

“I obviously want to welcome the honourable gentleman to his place another very successful campaign.

“What I would like to say about fracking is that the moratorium is what it says, we are stopping it.

“The only way that it can be resumed is by compelling evidence which so far is not forthcoming. So the moratorium stays and fracking, for the time being, is over.”

33 replies »

      • Yes, Jono, you could even stop typing on plastic, as could Kaushik!

        However, it seems that some are happier instructing others what to do and carry on doing just the same themselves.

          • Indeed we could, little green jack. Each of the jacks/Jacks could have a keyboard!

            We could also prevent putting sewage in the sea, or mining the sea bed for cobalt. We could reduce the risk of a Torrey Canyon repeat by first of all using what is under our feet and dealing with any environmental issues rather than dumping that on the toes of poorer countries-like Venezuela.

            All quite possible.

            My single use plastic is burned to create electricity, “hard” plastic separated for re-use. Maybe someone along that chain, who I pay for via taxation, doesn’t do their job properly on occasion and they should be held to account.

            But, when I flush my toilet, having paid for that material to be properly treated, then it should be. It really is not rocket science. Meanwhile, Mr. Musk will continue to chop down the trees and displace the sand lizards in Germany allowing “correct” travel to Davos, whilst Donald signs up to help plant a TRILLION trees. Very alternative.

          • Jackthelad, it is quite true that the U.K. has made the mistake of exporting plastic waste to developing countries for disposal. However, the vast majority of plastic that is finding its way into the oceans is created locally. I spend around 50% of my time in India and China – I have done for 25 years and I see exactly how the poor in those countries deal with waste – it’s either burnt on fires or just thrown away. The contribution of the U.K. to this is minor. If you ever go trekking in the Himalayas you might have observed how the tourists at amazingly responsible regarding dealing with waste whereas the locals just throw it anywhere.

          • MARTIN,

            It was you who raised the point in your above post about plastic keyboards….

            YOU said, quote , ” you could even stop typing on plastic, as could Kaushik!”

            I just put forward a solution as to how millions/billions of new plastic keyboards could be produced .

            Whilst greatly reducing the need for additional fossil fuels for plastic production and we could also clean up the planet at the same time.

            LOOKS like a, WIN , WIN situation to me MARTIN .

            • No, jack, the very simple solution is for the human race to correctly dispose of materials it uses, once they come to an end of their lives.

              It has always been thus. Electric cars will require disposing of in the future. There are whole industries that are generated. Surely control of that is not that hard?

              New plastic keyboards would not need to be produced if there was not a demand for them. People could stop using them. No demand=no production.

              Just because plastic is thrown in the oceans and human waste is pumped into the oceans does not mean it has to happen.

              Do you want to stop humans to prevent human waste entering the oceans, or do you think that human waste might still be produced but kept out of the oceans?

              I think you will also find it is not so easy just to recycle plastic into the form it was before. Manufactured into other plastic products, yes.

              • MARTIN ,

                I take your points regarding the disposal of human produced waste …..

                What it always comes down to is MONEY ……. We choose to dump our plastic waste on poorer countries because it saves us, the consumer money.. It also keeps the demand for additional fossil fuels to produce this plastic junk HIGH, keeping plenty of Oil and Gas fat cats and their cling on lackeys in govermental positions in continued financial luxury ….

                MONEY……… It’s hard to believe that in this day and age, with the wealth of scientific evidence from ALL corners of the world that categoricaly prove without a shadow of doubt that what we are now experiencing is the very early , mild signs of what will eventually be extreme climate patterns. ….There are still some fossil fuel dinasaurs in the Oil and Gas industry / investors for the sake of MONEY, that wish to keep the Status Quo as it is, even as the world burns.

                • JackTL

                  Do not forget the coal industry. Presumably there are some fossil fuel dinosaurs in the coal industry who invest for the sake of money, etc, etc.

                  https://www.worldcoal.org/coal-flexibility-–-supporting-india’s-growing-energy-needs

                  India, China and Russia are the main culprits it seems.

                  However, the fat cats in oil and gas, and their lackeys in gov positions ( presumably in china, russia, India ) should worry as China is building ‘coal to plastic` plants.

                  https://www.process-worldwide.com/conversion-of-coal-into-plastics-a-680738/

                  So now they can produce all that plastic themselves and sell it to us.

                  Time to sell oil and gas shares I guess as coal will be king again. This must be why Germany is building a new coal fired power plant.

                  And time to sell wind as the nuclear lackeys embedded in the UK gov push for small and local nuclear ( not because we do not like wind but because the developers fat cat profits are over due to gov policy in reducing fat money type profits to fat cat wind developers ).

                  What with all those lackeys embedded in gov ( coal, oil and gas, wind, tidal, nuclear big, nuclear small, solar, hydrogen, imports ) there must be a shortage of office space. Should we invest in we work ( or Softbank )?

                  However, my wind power investments have done well. Should I just blow the dividend?

                  Is it the weekend?

    • Absolutely! – ban all fossil fuel use and production. We have to imagine we don’t have fossil fuels- what would we do then? And do that!

      • Richard – well that really would cause a proper extinction. On the positive side, those of us who a lucky enough to have secluded properties with access to the sea should do just fine. Hopefully the TV would keep going for sufficiently long to see the plebs eating each other

  1. We simply can not continue to keep burning fossil fuels, fracking and acidising may have been acceptable 100 years ago when we were ignorant and not aware of the harm it would cause, but when the science proves that it is the leading cause of climate change, then rolling it out in the UK and other countries for that matter just for ecoeconomic reasons is utterly ridiculous. Future generations will be saying “what were they thinking”. As Jono points out, every little bit we do to save the planet helps. We seriously have to change our mindset.

  2. ‘…fracking is over for the time being’, a politician’s way of saying ‘until we can think of a way to stick it back on you lot up North!’

    Not sure how it will happen though because our unstable, badly faulted, mined out landmasses will always react badly to hydraulic fracturing as has been evidenced on the Fylde in 2011, 2018 and 2019.

    Give fracking up and move on for Heaven’s Sake!
    Our windy island with numerous river estuaries and many sunny days has multiple viable alternative opportunities for energy harvesting.

    • pkr: stick to the knowledge in your own chosen field! And leave the industry to the experts! #couchexpert #keyboardwarrior

    • Oh yes Peter, our windy Isle with just over 22 GW of installed capacity comprising of approximately 10,267 turbines. Are at this moment in time producing just 0.99 GW or to put it another way 2.2% of our electricity demand.
      Hydro is producing 1.05 GW (2.4%) and Solar is producing a big fat 0%.

      Nuclear would be a good solution to combat darkness and high pressure, but not many agree.

      Fossil fuels however are providing 64.9% of our electricity, with gas doing the heavy lifting and keeping the lights on.

      • Peter, you may also want to bear in mind that according to a recent FOI (freedom of Information) request, admittedly made by an anti wind farm group.

        The area of felled trees on Scotland’s national forests and lands in hectares, from 2000 (the date when the first wind farm scheme was developed), is 6,994 hectares.

        Based on the average number of trees per hectare, of 2000, this gives an estimated total of 13.9 million felled to make room for wind farms.

        Click to access Scottish-Forestry-FoI-19-02646.pdf

        The figures do not include wind farms on privately owned woodlands.

        • John Harrison

          An interesting statistic.

          My friends in Scotland are somewhat wary of the SNP and their need to ( in their opinion ) destroy the landscape by building roads, felling trees and popping wind farms on rich people’s land.

          Thank goodness the grown ups in the room backed offshore wind.

          Hornsea 1 has saved 40,200,000 trees, had it been onshore and presumably in a forest. Well, at least, as onshore turbines are smaller and the wind less and weaker, so to get the same amount of intermittent energy…say 60 Million trees.

          However, it seems that, in Scotland, planting is outstripping felling by a fair amount, and 40% of that is broad leaf, but we may wonder why, given the space available up there, trees need felling to make way for wind farms?

          https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/22-million-trees-planted-in-scotland-to-help-meet-global-climate-emergency-1-4946757

          • Hewes62,

            The figures do not include the areas of privately owned woodlands felled for wind farms in Scotland, but I do hope your information is correct and that planting is outstripping felling.

            The other concern with onshore wind is the amount of moorland and peat bog that is affected. The peat soils are not only severely degraded by the construction traffic and delivery vehicles but also by the vibration effects created once the turbines are operational.

            Maintaining the health and condition of prime peatlands along with the restoration of damaged peatlands has a very large and important role in fighting climate change.

            Offshore wind is a much more sensible option, more space, more wind, larger turbines and less impacts. The wind farms could in time even become marine refuges, but that may only be wishful thinking as I am not an expert or qualified in that area.

  3. I hate to have to counter your FAKE NEWS, Mr Harrison, but here are the most recent government statistics- for July to September 2019.
    ‘The share of total Electricity generation from renewables – 38.9% -is the highest recorded and marginally exceeds the share of generation from gas for the first time’- and will of course increase in the future as the technology moves forward. So as we say in our part of South Yorkshire, that is under direct threat from INEOS- 3 sites within a 5 mile radius of where I live- FRACK OFF!

    • Charles, I was stating the upto date figures for teatime on the 22/01/2020, not the average for the year.

      The current figures at 10:45 am on 23/01/2020 for electricity generation are:- Renewables 11.8%, Fossil fuels 63.9%

      Those figures can be broken down to give further information.

      Renewable generation make up is currently 1.4% ( 0.63 GW) from Solar. 8.3% ( 3.65 GW) from Wind. 2.1% (0.94 GW) from Hydroelectric.

      Fossil fuel generation make up is currently 7.2% (3.16 GW) from Coal. 56.7% (24.99 GW) from Gas (CCGT).

      Renewables in their current form are intermittent and unreliable. A sensible mix of renewables, nuclear to provide constant base load and gas to provide the flexibility, is required to provide an environmentally friendly, efficient and affordable electricity supply in the UK.

      Using gas from under our feet is the most sensible and logical choice.

      • On the issue of fake news Charles, there is a protest element that travel from South Yorkshire to East Yorkshire to help spread the false information that the West Newton exploration site is an acid fracking one.
        Perhaps on their next visit, they could stop for a moment on Staithes Road at Saltend, and see the type of generators that are lined up to provide back at E.ON’s substation and connection to the grid from their Humber gateway offshore wind farm.

  4. Except Charles, no one will notice you have taken the figures July-September and we are now in winter!! John was posting about NOW-January 22nd 2020. Not FAKE NEWS, absolutely accurate.

    Don’t know about anyone else but my fuel bills are much higher in the winter, especially gas for heating but also electricity for heating and light. Yet, solar is almost non existent in the winter in UK and wind also as soon as high pressure forms and the temperature plummets. Ironically, both only work consistently and well in UK if there IS more climate change, and UK has a year long spell of sunshine and wind! Every year. But not too much wind, as the turbines are then shut down.

    As Professor Sir David McKay-the late chief scientific adviser stated:

    “There is this appalling delusion that people have that we can take this thing (renewables) and we can just scale it up and if there is a slight issue of it not adding up, then we can just do energy efficiency. Humanity really does need to pay attention to arithmetic and the laws of physics.”

    And, of course, today is not the same as tomorrow with all the electric vehicles that would need charging and the air sourced heat pumps that would need electricity. Plus population growth.

    Sorry Charles, I will go with the late Sir David.

    • Oh no it will not, Big Green Jack.

      Your maths is from the Ms. Abbott school!

      It will NOT produce electricity UNLESS the wind blows, and then it will be a variable output. That is one of those laws of physics.

      Please also show me that UK houses have a standard use of electricity, even 2, let alone 4.5 million. Is there a standard kettle in each house, that boils a standard amount of water to provide a standard number of cuppers, every standard few hours/minutes??

      So, posting a link and stating something alongside that link that is false, may be what you always do, but it is still FAKE NEWS. You are ruining the post that Charles was so careful to make at 4.51am today by demonstrating yourself how fake news can really be produced-and I am sure his consumption of energy to do so at such a time was worth more.

      • MARTIN ,

        Your opinion, as that’s all it EVER is, has once again been duly noted and filed in the correct place …..

        FAKE NEWS , what’s fake regarding my supplied, above link ??????

        Didn’t you know MARTIN , climate change is increasing the wind strength and duration around our coastal waters .. For two major companies to be investing billions of £ on this project, the maths i’m sure will have been already done …..OR DO YOU KNOW BETTER ?????

        As far as kettles boiling , well you’ve got me on that one….

        HERE’S A LINK , at the bottom of the page there’s a contact address

        https://www.equinor.com/en/news/2019-09-19-doggerbank.html

        I’m sure they’ll be happy to answer all you querries on how many kettles , foot massagers or popcorn makers this windfarm can power at any given time .

    • Only 5% of the UK’s electricity demand?, we’ll that with fluctuate massively throughout the year?, (5% would be at the higher end), then when the turbines become less efficient which will be proven when the blades silt up with the sea air! I would guesstimate 2-4% over 5 years, and the maintenance of such will require an emissions displacing sea vessel with waterpower washer to clean and service these blades? jack may I ask where the other 95% is coming from?

  5. Jack, the 3 wind farms that will form the Dogger Bank project are no where near completed.

    Ground work for the cable that will run across East Yorkshire to the grid connection point at Cottingham has just commenced at Ulrome.

    You could get the activists that are sat doing nothing at West Newton to check and see if it’s fake news. Ulrome is just up the B1242 coast road from where they are.

  6. But people decrying wind power here are forgetting advances in storage. At present we have the crazy situation where industry is paid to switch turbines off because the grid cannot cope with the amount of energy being produced. A smarter grid and better storage facilities will advance things significantly. And it isn’t as though this false “competition” that seems to take place on this forum between renewables/green energy has any merit. As a fact we have to drastically cut using fossil fuels in order to combat climate change and if large scale CCS is too costly or undeliverable for other reasons fossil fuels have to go. Timescales will vary but the status quo is not viable so whether you love the idea or hate it renewables and green energy are the future. And given the enormous public awareness now of climate change, huge public support for renewables plus scientific consensus one can only expect the transition to gather pace more quickly than in recent years.

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