DrillOrDrop is compiling reaction to the government’s announcement that it will lift the moratorium on fracking in England.
We’ll update this with new comments as we get them.
Claire Stephenson, Frack Free Lancashire
“We’re in the midst of a climate crisis. There can be no mitigation of this fact, and to allow fracking to restart is both dangerous and regressive.
“The shocking lack of details in this decision will need to be considered within a legal context. There has been a desktop review done by the British Geological Survey, in respect of the safety aspect of fracking and the unmitigable earthquakes that Cuadrilla previously caused. Where is this report? What fresh science is there to support this reckless reneging on the moratorium?
“Communities do not support fracking. We have been here before. This is not a new experience for residents in Lancashire and beyond. We’ve dealt with this nightmare for over 10 years now.
“Communities want renewable energy sources. 100 constituencies of Conservative voters surveyed in a poll this week, support wind and solar farms for energy production. 76% of people surveyed supported offshore wind, 81% supported solar and 74% people were in favour of onshore wind. Fracking had just 34% support of Conservative voters, who preferred onshore wind to fracking by a majority of 2 to 1.
“As we’ve previously stated, after 10+ years of fracking attempts in Lancashire, there has been absolutely no progress other than communities being torn apart, mass uncontrollable methane emissions, structural damage from earthquakes and most notable of all: zero commercial gas produced.
“We stand strongly opposed to fracking anywhere and will fiercely challenge any attempt to restart this dirty technology.”
Susan Holliday, Preston New Road Action Group
“It is astounding that the government have decided to lift the moratorium on fracking as they have continually said that they would only do so if the science proved that it could be done safely. As far as we are aware nothing has changed since the earth tremors of 2019. What has happened to the the report that the BGS were commissioned to produce?
“Once again communities are going to have the cloud of fracking hanging over them. As a community the people round PNR have consistently demonstrated that they don’t want fracking”
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla Resources
“I am very pleased that the new Government has acted quickly to lift the moratorium. This is an entirely sensible decision and recognises that maximizing the UK’s domestic energy supply is vital if we are going to overcome the ongoing energy crisis and reduce the risk of it recurring in the future.
“The last few months have highlighted the risks associated with ever increasing reliance on expensive, uncertain, and higher emission gas imports. Without the strong measures set out today, the UK was set to import over two thirds of its gas by the end of the decade, exposing the British public and businesses to further risk of supply shortage and price hikes down the line.
“Any rational analysis of UK energy supply, including those put forward by the Climate Change Committee, recognise that our transition to Net Zero will require the continued use of gas until at least 2050. Today’s announcement sets the foundation for us to move towards gas self-sufficiency, and not be reliant on the whims of dictators, or the vagaries of international supply lines and prices.
“A thriving shale gas industry will drive job creation across the North of England, generate much needed tax revenues for central and local government, and benefit local communities financially.
“The Government has made the right call, and we look forward to working with them to ensure this industry can start generating results as soon as possible. The prize if we get this right will be an energy strategy fit for the 21st century, that provides security of supply, economic prosperity, and vital support to the British public.
“We look forward to getting started.”Statement
Mark Abbott, managing director, Egdon Resources plc
“The lifting of the moratorium is a logical and pragmatic response to the new geopolitical reality and the new Government should be congratulated on the speed and foresight of its action. In contrast to a growing reliance on imports, the development of indigenous shale gas could have a positive impact on energy security, gas prices and the UK’s balance of payments, whilst delivering tax revenues, business rates, community benefits and thousands of well paid, skilled jobs. Importantly shale-gas can also play its part in delivering the goals of Net Zero and the Energy Security Strategy.
“With Egdon’s material shale-gas position, we now look forward to working positively with Government and local communities to deliver this nationally important resource in a timely fashion.”Statement
Frack Free United
“We are clear that any decision to renege on the fracking moratorium is based on political dogma. The moratorium which has been removed had required evidence for it to be lifted but there is no sign that the evidence has changed. Instead, a new government has made a knee-jerk decision and appears happy for communities across the UK to take the risks that fracking the complex UK geology poses.
“FFU believe this will lead to more CO2 emissions and speed up global warming, without having any effect at all on the price we pay for our energy. It does not matter how much gas the UK yields: producers operate in a world market and sell their oil and gas at the market price.
“Fracking will not be a quick supply fix. It will be several years before any production is possible, despite the Prime Minister’s fanciful ‘six months until gas flow’ soundbite today in Parliament.
“We know that many communities across the UK will not understand the reasons for this announcement and will see it as a decision against all the evidence about the risks and harms fracking will bring to them. We do not believe there will be any genuine democratic power in respect of making any of the decisions relating to fracking. Communities will remember this U-turn at the ballot box across the UK, particularly in areas where there are marginal seats.
“Finally, Frack Free United are aware of the generational impacts on our children and grandchildren. Global warming is a scientific fact and requires urgent action to mitigate it. By increasing our use and dependence on fossil fuels, the future looks unsustainable.”
Frack Free Ryedale
“Everyone is worried about high energy prices and the terrible situation with the war in Ukraine. We are all affected by this.
“But repeatedly the government has been told by independent energy experts that fracking is not the solution. Not only is the industry unproven but any meaningful production is years away.
“Not only that, but the gas belongs to the companies that extract it and would be sold at market price. In fact earlier this year the then Business Secretary, Mr Kwarteng, stated that fracking would not lower prices, production of any useful quantity of gas was a decade away and that fracking was not the solution to the energy crisis.
“The lifting of the fracking moratorium is a political decision, not a sensible decision. The quickest way to lower bills is to reduce our dependency on gas by better insulating homes and developing more renewables. Renewables are now nine times cheaper than expensive gas.
“We remain opposed to fracking for all these reasons and because of its unacceptable impacts on the environment, climate change, the countryside and communities. “Statement
“IGas welcomes the Government’s statement today on the lifting of the effective moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in England and the review of energy regulation.
“We have always believed the science, as well as the need for increased domestic production of gas, supports a lifting of the moratorium.
“The data that we have collected in the Gainsborough Trough over the past five years shows that we have a world class shale gas resource which is now, given the energy crisis, a strategic national asset.
“The development of IGas’ shale gas assets has the potential to provide secure and affordable energy for the UK in the near term, helping to decouple the UK from volatile and competitive international gas markets. Aside from the clear benefits in job creation and balance of payments through producing indigenous natural gas, we will support local communities with a comprehensive benefit package.
“The accelerated development of this strategic natural resource, which we believe is imperative in helping with the ongoing energy and cost-of-living crisis, can only be achieved through a streamlined regulatory process, something the Government has committed to today. To this end, we look forward to working constructively with the new administration.”Statement
Mark Menzies, Conservative MP for Fylde
“Twice fracking has taken place here and twice it has resulted in a national moratorium. That is no coincidence. The last seismic event here was 250 times the industry-agreed safe limit, releasing 3,000 times more energy.
“It has been demonstrated without doubt the geology here is not suitable and I have made clear to the prime minister exploration should not resume locally. If she is serious about fracking only going ahead with local consent she will listen carefully to what I have to say.”Guardian
Michael Rosen, poet
Their pants, the government, were cacking;— Michael Rosen 💙💙🎓🎓 (@MichaelRosenYes) September 8, 2022
one possible tactic would be sacking
those who had wrecked
(through design or neglect)
the economy. Instead they chose fracking.
Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy, CPRE
“The brutal reality of fracking is that to get any meaningful amount of gas from the ground would require wholesale devastation of the countryside.
“The numbers of horrifying. Previous research has shown we’d need 6,100 fracking sites – that’s one new site a day for 15 years – to replace half the gas we currently import. That would require approximately 3,500 hectares of land, or around 4,900 football pitches.
“That’s why, leaving aside any environmental concerns, fracking is the least popular and least effective way of enhancing energy security. The reason it was banned is because people wanted it banned.
“Allowing fracking in the two southern ‘jurassic’ areas, in particular, would be likely to have major visual and polluting impacts on some of our most valuable countryside and coastline, particularly the Jurassic Coast and the South Downs National Park. Similar damage in the northern area would directly impact the Peak District National Park.
“Shale gas deposits in the UK are located under major population centres. Huge swathes of the northwest and Yorkshire and large south coast resorts and ports, primarily in Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset, would be directly in the firing line.”Statement
Tessa Khan, director of Uplift, part of the Warm this Winter coalition
“Whilst there is no doubt that many across the UK will feel relief at the energy prize freeze, the plan is an utterly wasted opportunity to fix the UK’s broken energy system. This is just an enormous sticking plaster.
It feels like the new PM has spent the whole summer listening the whispering of oil and gas companies. This energy bill bailout is in fact a huge oil and gas subsidy. They are being allowed to keep all their profits on the vain promise that they will invest in UK future energy.
First, the UK has already burned most of its gas. Most of what’s left is oil, which we export. No amount of ideologically-driven, political will can change the geology of the North Sea. Truss can issue as many new drilling licenses as she likes, but the likelihood of it leading to new gas production is slim.
As for relying on oil and gas companies to invest in renewables, nearly three quarters of operators invest nothing right now and the majors, only a tiny fraction of their profits.
This energy bill bailout buys us time, but we cannot afford to waste it doing more of the same. If we don’t fix the UK’s leaky homes and cut our dependence on gas with a massive acceleration of cheap renewables, we will end up in the exact same place for years to come.”Statement
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion:
“A massive kick in the teeth for vast majority of communities who don’t want #fracking, a disaster for #climate policy, & a measure that will make absolutely zero difference to the cost of energy bills. Performative politics at its worst
“And huge U-turn for new Chancellor Kwarteng who, 6 months ago, said “those who call for return (of fracking) misunderstand the situation: no amount of shale gas from 100s of wells across England would be enough to lower European price any time soon”. He was right then, wrong now.”Twitter
Charles McAllister, policy director, UK Onshore Oil & Gas
“UKOOG welcomes the decision to lift the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in England, given the new geopolitical realities. Lifting the moratorium demonstrates sensible foresight from the new Government and gives our members the chance to progress in developing natural gas from the abundant Bowland-Hodder shale formation under the North of England.
The development of UK shale gas offers community benefits, tax revenue, tens of thousands of well-paid and skilled jobs, a real chance to level up the UK and energy security. Imports offer none of these benefits.
UK shale gas production can also be instrumental in delivering the goals of Net Zero and the Energy Security Strategy.
We look forward to working constructively with Government to deliver timely shale gas production in the national interest, as well as working closely with local communities to ensure they share in the benefits of domestic shale gas development”Statement
James Murray, editor Business Green
“Leaving aside environmental implications, reviving fracking makes little political sense. There are hugely popular options available and yet the govt is choosing to prioritise and promote what is literally the least popular and least effective way to enhance energy security.
“You could perhaps position fracking as a minor part of a wider package based on the things polling shows the public likes – energy efficiency improvements, onshore renewables, price support, even N Sea development.
“But instead they’ve gone with lifting the ban on the thing people want to be banned. It’s picking a massive fight right from the off and guaranteeing the headlines are dominated by protests.
“And all for negligible amounts of gas that won’t come online for years and won’t make any difference to prices and little difference to security.
“As David Cameron and Theresa May found these protests won’t just be from environmental activists, who they never cared about, but people in the communities affected.
“The people who will be most worried this morning, apart from those communities, are ‘red’ and ‘blue’ wall Tory MPs. The net zero transition should ultimately leave new fossil fuel assets stranded.”Tweeting in personal capacity
Dr Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK
“I’d say party that is scrapping planning rules on fracking when essentially blocking onshore wind, whilst a large chunk of Pakistan is underwater because of climate change is not really fit to govern in 21st century.”Twitter
He also called for the BGS survey to be published:
“This survey should be published so we can all see the evidence on which the government chooses to make its decisions. However, the report is about the risk of fracking causing earthquakes – that’s not the only thing that informs any decision.”Statement
Danny Gross, campaigner at Friends of the Earth
“Anyone who thinks that bringing back fracking will solve the energy crisis is living in cloud cuckoo land. Fracking is a failed industry that’s unpopular and unfeasible.
“In the decade before it was banned, the industry only managed to frack two sites, and both were aborted due to earthquakes.
“Fracking is a false solution to the cost-of-living crisis The most effective way to bring down our bills and boost energy security for good is to invest in cheap, clean renewables and a nationwide home insulation and energy efficiency programme.
“By breaking its manifesto promise on fracking, the government is showing that it’s completely out of touch with communities across the country. They have already defeated fracking once and they’re ready to do so again.”Statement
Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, shadow trade minister, tweeted:
“Fracking would take 10 years to produce gas as Kwasi Kwarteng said. We will only solve the energy crisis by addressing the climate crisis. We should invest in more offshore wind, end the ban on onshore wind, support tidal, more solar, nuclear and hydrogen.”Twitter
Fracking would take 10 years to produce gas as Kwasi Kwarteng said.— Bill Esterson (@Bill_Esterson) September 8, 2022
We will only solve the energy crisis by addressing the climate crisis.
We should invest in more offshore wind, end the ban on onshore wind, support tidal, more solar, nuclear and hydrogen. https://t.co/FtNLlA8Tbw
Tina Rothery, Lancashire Nanas
“UK prime minister in post just two days and is goinig to re-open the UK to fracking; we need to be asking what has really changed?
The current moratorium came about because it was clear after 10+ years of trying to frack for shale gas in the UK, that the geology wasn’t suitable and communities would be at risk.
“Nothing has changed to make fracking any safer or more suitable now, than it was when work was halted following multiple seismic events and public opposition.
“Nanas along with residents from throughout the UK and internationally have worked relentlessly to get this industry banned and nothing has changed for us either. We WILL take action to prevent the development of shale gas sites because the health and wellbeing of our children depends on it.
“New PM says drilling projects will go ahead where ‘communities support drilling activity in their local area’ and fracking companies are dangling cruelly-tempting 25% cuts to energy bills for hard-pressed residents. With people facing the cost of living crisis this government created – anyone saying yets to a cut to energy bills will be doing so out of desperation. Not support.
“Claims that fracking for shale gas will have any meaningful input into our energy supplies any time soon, are lies. Claims that shale gas from UK shale is for UK residents is also a lie. Gas is bought and sold at the international market price which will not bring down energy bills here and the gas won’t be labelled ‘UK gas for UK use’.
“This government has been in power for more than 12 years and has failed to get residents or geology to play along with their ambitions to frack the UK; as Nanas we will continue to do all we can to ensure they do not succeed this time either.”
Net Zero Watch
The Government’s climate change tsar has been told he needs to ‘live in the real world’ after warning Liz Truss against lifting the fracking moratorium despite Britain suffering from the energy crisis. Spot on, @cmackinlay!#CostOfNetZero— Net Zero Watch (@NetZeroWatch) September 8, 2022
Read more: https://t.co/5VpDrqHzKp pic.twitter.com/NIuRxZ2CcC
Union Jack Oil
CPRE North and East Yorkshire
“Lifting the moratorium on #fracking does not make sense at all and is simply a knee jerk reaction to Putin’s actions that will make NO impact to our pockets when it is needed in terms of the #EnergyCrisisTwitter
DrillOrDrop invited Ineos, the UK’s biggest onshore shale gas licence-holder, to comment. It did not respond. Ineos’s Tom Crotty told Power Engineering: ““Shale has helped transform the energy landscape and the local communities in the US. The US is well protected against the energy crisis as it is making the most of its natural resources. “It can do the same here in the UK. We have promised to invest the first 6% of the value of the gas back into the local communities. It goes without saying that the government would also have an increased tax take.”