Penalise carbon polluters in oil and gas industry – anti-fracking campaigners

200308 Barbara Richardson and Keir Starmer

Barbara Richardson with Labour leadership contender. Keir Starmer, at Birmingham climate change meeting, 8 March 2020. Photo: Frack Free Lancashire

Life must be made difficult for oil and gas companies that increase – or fail to reduce – carbon emissions, Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners have argued.

Barbara Richardson, of Frack Free Lancashire, told a climate change meeting in Birmingham:

“Extracting oil and gas is still big business and it will continue unless we stop it.

“We must make life difficult for the polluters by penalising those who fail to reduce, or worse still, increase our carbon emissions.”

Representing the group which has campaigned against Cuadrilla’s fracking operations near Blackpool, Ms Richardson called on government to stop listening to the industry’s lobbyists and to scrap tax breaks for oil and gas companies:

“Fracking is a whole new dirty fossil fuel industry which, if allowed to happen, will impact on our ability to meet our climate change targets and will also detract from investment in green, renewable and sustainable forms of energy.

“We call for a complete ban on fracking, and all other forms of fossil fuel extraction, both in the UK and overseas.”

She also warned that loopholes allow the oil and gas industry to evade the moratorium on fracking in England, threatening efforts to tackle climate change:

“At present, there is a national moratorium on fracking but don’t be fooled; there are many ways round this for the oil and gas industry.”

The moratorium was imposed by the UK government in November 2019 on the advice of the Oil & Gas Authority following earth tremors caused by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool.

It applies only to associated hydraulic fracturing – defined in the 2015 Infrastructure Act as the injection into shale of 1,000 m3 of fluid at each fracking stage or 10,000 m3 in total.

Ms Richardson said oil and gas companies could carry out fracking, despite the moratorium, by using different stimulation techniques, such as acidisation, or by using lower volumes of fracking fluid.

After the meeting, organised by the Labour leadership contender, Sir Keir Starmer, Ms Richardson said:

“It was really important for Frack Free Lancashire to have a voice on behalf of all those opposed to fracking, and all other forms of fossil fuel extraction, with the possible future leader of the Labour party and especially with the UN COP26 climate talks taking place later this year in Glasgow. I believe our demands were well received”.

Two other Frack Free Lancashire members, Nick Danby and Gillian Kelly, also attended the event.

Mr Danby said:

“This was a welcome opportunity to meet with one of the Labour party leadership candidates. We were able to discuss a range of environmental issues and, in particular, the urgent need for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable”.

Ms Kelly said:

“Listening to the excellent and well-informed speakers on the panel it was evident that this is the year, and this is the moment, for radical action. The possible next Labour leader, Keir Starmer, appeared to get this and prepared to undertake that radical action”.

Keir Starmer has called for a new green deal “hardwired into every level of government, from Whitehall departments to local councils”. This would, he said, mean good jobs in new green industries, more power and ownership over local decisions, cleaner air and warmer, more secure homes.

Writing in the Guardian, he said:

“We have the capacity, imagination and resources to radically, democratically and fairly decarbonise our economy and repair the natural world. Yet under the Tories the pace of carbon reduction is slowing down. Emissions fell by only 2.1% in 2018, less than half the average of the preceding five years.”

20 replies »

  1. Is there a moratorium on acidisation ( onshore )? I do not think there is, so I guess that its use would not be due to a loophole in a moratorium on HPHV shale fracking.

    • Let’s hope there isn’t a moratorium on acidisation given that it is a standard treatment for our drinking water wells

  2. It’s amazing, Ms Richardson seems to have done so much of her own research that she doesn’t realise that acidization isn’t fracking – if it were many of our friends down from out of Lancashire would be drinking fracked water.

  3. “Life must be made difficult for oil and gas CONSUMERS that increase – or fail to reduce – carbon emissions, Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners have argued.”

    “Extracting oil and gas is still big business and it will continue unless we stop USING it.

    “We must make life difficult for the polluters by penalising those who fail to reduce, or worse still, increase our carbon emissions ie US, THE CONSUMERS”

    Above post corrected as it should have been written.

    Thanks for the Nature Article link Simon & Hewes.

    • [Edited by moderator]

      She would have no idea how many benefits that oil & gas companies bring to this country.

      Be careful what you wish for & what it will cost us all & what you may have to give up without oil & gas.

      Change will come but the infustructure & realistic technical advances at affordable prices for the many not the few need to be redilly available.

      There is a plan being put in place & action speak louder than uncoated words that will leave this country in unafordable debt & will make us a third world country.

  4. All I know is that the two strong Hydrofrac Earthquakes over last August Bank Holiday weekend were logged on the the BGS website by well over 2000 people of whom 200 or so reported property damage. Including me.
    Six months on nobody has published a truthful study of the exact consequences of Cuadrilla’s truncated efforts at test fracking at Preston New Road, Lancashire. Not the earthquake damaged homes, not the precise amounts of gaseous fracking byproducts released both burnt and unburnt over the residents of the Fylde nor the exact degree to which nearby ponds have been contaminated.
    Until this situation is completely transparent I will continue to believe that onshore fossil fuels should be left where they are as they are too difficult to extract safely.

    • Peter – I don’t think it would be very easy to publish about things that are a figment of your imagination

      • Simon Maynard

        Did you read that in your imaginary edition of ‘rational leaks’ Simon. Or was that a figment of your own imagination too.

        Or was it that you were in too much of a ‘rush’ to post anything remotely discernably relevant to the subject.

        These and other ground breaking questions of planetary significance concern the nation don’t they?

        • David – they are only ground breaking questions to those who know very little about this subject.

          • Simon Maynard

            Is that a figment of your own imagination also Simon? ‘rational leaks’ has a lot to answer for.

            But thank you for admitting that you know very little of this subject. Though I don’t think that helps very much with your posts at all.

            Maybe if you were to actually defend the oil and gas industry with irrefutable scientific information and peer reviewed proven facts, then maybe what you say maybe have some remotely constructive significance.

            Whereas the dodgy habit defaming individuals without any evidence whatsoever as you have done here, does not exactly contribute to anything other than the increasing contents of the trash bin marked ‘Simon Maynard’. (not recyclable unfortunately)

            Perhaps if you want to be considered as a ‘rational leaking’ poster, then may I suggest you confine yourself to proveable scientific facts rather than figments of your imagination, and dodgy attempts to defame individuals without any evidence whatsoever in future.

            • David, I have not defamed anyone. The fact is that the only people claiming damage are those against fracking. There isn’t a single person in the area that I know who is pro-fracking that has reported any damage. JP’s argument about polluted ponds is total nonsense and without any evidence or theoretical justification. The air quality was monitored by BGS and there have been no issues. The idea that onshore petroleum is too difficult to extract is complete rubbish as is evidenced by the millions of wells that have been drilled totally safely. Compared to any offshore drilling, onshore is far safer and easier.

              • Simon Maynard

                Yes you have defamed persons, rather than attempting any irrefuteable scientific defense of the oil and gas industry to make deformation. Are these your words?

                ‘Peter – I don’t think it would be very easy to publish about things that are a figment of your imagination’

                ‘David – they are only ground breaking questions to those who know very little about this subject.’




                def·​a·​ma·​tion | \ ˌde-fə-ˈmā-shən
                Definition of defamation

                : the act of communicating false statements about a person that injure the reputation of that person : the act of defaming another : calumny defamation of character a defamation lawsuit.

                Your comments are defamation by dictionary definition.

                Your post above contains no evidence to support your defamatory claims at all.

                Nor have you provided any scientific support of your claims regarding monitoring of air quality. I suggest you look at the next DrillorDrop post which indicates that such information is illegally overwritten. That renders your unproven claims to be untrue.

                That is fact.

                I suggest you provide peer reviewed irrefutable proof of your spurious claims in future and not make lazy off the cuff defamations without the slightest proof.

  5. Life is being made difficult for all oil and gas producers by …er…oil and gas producers. Had Saudi decided to save the world from recession by swamping the world with cheap oil?


    Interesting times.

    • hewes62 – it must create mixed emotions for the greens – on one hand cheaper oil is likely to result in increased emissions whilst on the other it will hurt those operating shale in the USA.

  6. Simon

    It may result in oil and gas production being out of sight and therefore out of mind.

    But it will reduce extraction costs for all the various minerals required for the transition to green transport and energy production, which are energy intensive.

    • Hewes62 – good point – it may also make the electricity from gas powered power stations less expensive so those with electric cars will be happy

  7. Mrs Richardson and Frack Free Lancashire will want to tax all and sundry next for polluting the planet. What about the cows and their methane outbursts, and heaven help us humans! Need better solutions than just this. The renewable investment is the way forward but the onshore windfarms and solar panel sites will experience the same nimbyism as the onshore oil and gas industry, so then what?

    • The reality is that asidisation is used used safely in water wells & does not cause earthquakes.

      So the science does not back up your argument.

      I understand that you want a complete ban of oil & gas but are you being realistic at the present time.

      The reality is that there has been a great reduction of pollution levels over the years & it is planned to reduce the net carbon emissions to 0 or negative by 2050.

      Today is a far cry from the smog filled days of the steel foundries etc. with carbon emissions being reduced further by modern Eco engines in cars & the introduction of duel fuel & electric vehicles despite the pollution causes by electric cars.

      0 carbon does not necessary mean no carbon emissions & the country & the world has to continue to operate. We also have no idea what the effect of sustained 0 carbon would be on the world.

      As a result there is a ongoing transition which will take us to 0 emissions.

      I am not a person who believes that this is the cause of global warming, I believe that the solar energy of the sun is the biggest cause of global warming.

      Maybe you should read some of NASA’s findings. I’m not saying you will agree with it, but I don’t believe the science is wrong.

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