How residents convinced W. Sussex CC to reject the application to frack

How residents convinced W. Sussex CC to reject the application to frack

i Jul 31st 2 Comments by

This page on the Friends of the Earth website explains how West Sussex County Council were persuaded to turn down an application for exploratory shale drilling.

One of the tactics used by local people was a video showing how unsuitable their roads were for large lorries. You can view the video and a powerpoint presentation given at the council meeting here:

And you can read the Friends of the Earth blog about it here.

Summary of UK situation for Fracking

i Jul 31st No Comments by

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This July 2014 report by Scientists for Global Responsibility and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and  concludes:

In this briefing, we have summarised key evidence concerning the environmental, health and wellbeing, and socio-economic aspects of fracking for shale gas in the UK. In particular, we have critically examined some of the most common industry and government claims, drawing extensively on independent academic and expert literature. We have found several areas of concern.

Regulation of the industry in the UK is currently inadequate, although it is stricter than in the US, thus somewhat reducing the potential for local environmental impact by comparison. With technological advances and an improved regulatory environment, groundwater contamination risks could conceivably be reduced to an acceptable level, although there is much to do to reach that point. Furthermore, the requirement for vast quantities of freshwater (expected to become scarcer under climate change), which require road transportation, is unlikely to be resolved. Confidence in the practice is undermined by a series of disingenuous claims made by both the Government and industry.

Virtually all economic analysts refute the claim that fracking will reduce energy bills in the UK. Instead, it will lock us into continued reliance on fossil fuels and the increasingly volatile and expensive international gas market. Although fracking will generate jobs, job leakage is probable, and it may result in job losses in other industries, for example, agriculture and tourism. The job creation potential has been substantially exaggerated, and is also significantly less than that of the low-carbon energy sector, which itself may suffer from diversion of investment to shale gas. Community benefits have also been exaggerated, while the substantial policing costs do not generally feature in the discussion. There is also some evidence of house prices having fallen near fracking sites.

Given that, even without shale gas, proven global reserves of fossil fuels are five times higher than can be burned without risking a 2°C global temperature rise, the exploitation of shale gas is dangerous and unnecessary. It is true that, assuming minimal methane leakage, shale gas might have a lower carbon footprint than coal. However, in the absence of a global cap on emissions, the use of shale gas will undoubtedly be in addition to, not instead of, coal, and will therefore result in an overall increase in emissions. Until such a  constraint on emissions is in place, this problem remains unresolved.

You can read the full report here or download it here.

Health impacts — Risks and harms of fracking

i Jul 31st No Comments by

Screen shot 2014-07-31 at 21.09.21This very recent (July 2014) report by Concerned Health Professionals of New York State summarises the known health impacts of fracking.

The Executive Summary demonstrates evidence of risks, harms and associated trends” under the following headings:

  • Air pollution
  • Water contamination
  • Inherent engineering problems that worsen with time
  • Radioactive releases
  • Occupational health and safety hazards
  • Noise pollution, light pollution and stress
  • Earthquake and seismic activity
  • Abandoned and active oil and natural gas wells (as pathways for gas and fluid migration)
  • Flood risks
  • Threats to agriculture and soil quality
  • Threats to the climate system
  • Inaccurate jobs claims, increased crime rates, and threats to property value and mortgages
  • Inflated estimates of oil and gas reserves and profitability
  • Disclosure of serious risks to investors
  • Medical and Scientific calls for more study and more transparency

Unfortunately the document is a pdf so we cannot copy and paste it here. However, you can read it online here. Or download the document here.

Fracking around the world, including Germany

i Jul 31st No Comments by

This page summarises the position on fracking in different countries around the world.

Of course, being part of wikipedia, it is always useful to check for other sources.

But until we find those, the excerpt on German policy is highly instructive:

“Massive hydraulic fracturing of gas wells in tight sandstone began in Germany in 1975, and became common during the period 1978-1985, when more wells received massive hydraulic fracs in Germany than in any other European country. Germany also had the largest hydraulic fracturing jobs in Europe, using up to 650 tonnes of proppant per well. Most German fracs used water- or oil-based gels.[22] The most popular target formation for hydraulic fracturing was the Rotliegend Sandstone. Hydraulically fractured wells are today the source of most of German natural gas production.[23]

“In February 2013, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel announced draft regulations that would allow for the exploitation of shale gas deposits using the same fracking techniques common in the U.S., with the exception only of wetland areas that make up just over 10% of German territory. The draft legislation had come from the Federal Department of Economics, then headed by the party head ofMerkels coalition partner, the pro-business free Democracts.[24] This policy was said to be motivated by fears that consistently high energy costs were harming German industry, facing competitors for example from the U.S. where energy prices had shrunk to less than 25% of German energy costs.[25]

“However these plans immediately drew massive critique both from opposition parties and elements of Merkel’s own CDU, as well as from major NGOs, large parts of the press and the general public. Within less than a month, the original plan was put on ice for the foreseeable future and a moratorium was declared. Ever since shale gas fracking has de facto been banned in Germany and the stance of the newly formed Grand Coalition government expressed in the coalition treaty is that unconventional gas exploration will not be pursued in the country under this government. Here is an excerpt from the coalition contract:[26] (more…)

Planning policy on National Parks, AONBs, and World Heritage Sites

i Jul 31st No Comments by

For reference, here is the government’s own policy on how it is planning to enable fracking in AONBs, National Parks, and even World Heritage Sites.

The policy should of course be “We will not consider fracking in these areas under any circumstances. These areas are special and we must keep and protect them as such. Anyone who has needs energy must find an alternative solution, rather than damaging or destroying any of these unique areas.”

See also German policy.

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Fracking company is Barclays Bank

i Jul 31st 2 Comments by

“Barclays Bank is backing the search for shale gas in Yorkshire and could fund fracking in the area as early as next year [ie 2014!, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.” (Nov. 2013)

Click to read article


“Third Energy, which is 97pc-owned by Barclays Natural Resource Investments, a private equity arm of the bank, took shale rock samples while drilling in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale, this summer and is now analysing their potential.” (more…)

The effects of fracking in Canada

i Jul 29th No Comments by

The effects of fracking in Canada are not a pretty sight. And too comprehensive to summarise in a single sentence here.

There’s a link here:

The website is written by someone who understands the process — an expert in the field.

The first headline is “Loss of livelihood, sickness and death”. The second “A parent’s worst nightmare”. Then “Building the legal case: Breaking ground to protect nature”, “Persistence in the face of ridicule”, “Canada’s political disconnect”…


Energy Minister fails to name a single village that supports fracking

i Jul 29th No Comments by

Energy Minister Matthew-HancockEnergy Minister Matthew Hancock was unable to name a single village that supports fracking, as a leading scientist warns that 1,000 successful wells a year would be needed to meet the daily demand for gas.

The fracking expert said it would be years before companies in Britain could sink enough wells to make any impact on the domestic energy market.

Britain will “probably never” meet the “big target” of securing our future gas supply through fracking, he added.

Source: Daily Telegraph

“Fracking push gets go-ahead across UK” despite looming cheap renewable energy

i Jul 28th No Comments by

From our correspondent:

When I met Louise Hutchins, Greenpeace spokesperson on Energy and Climate change at the weekend, she told me that China is only two years away from making green energy products that will be competitively priced with fossil fuels. But guess what you can’t make the huge profits out of sun and wind power so the big energy companies aren’t interested! This article does not categorically state that there will never be fracking in National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, I think they are still keeping the door open. But the government are shocked to find large swathes of the country are against fracking, what a surprise ! 
even in the desolate north east!!!

Fracking protest camp

Meanwhile, our government will give the go-ahead on Monday [today] for a big expansion of fracking across Britain that will allow drilling in national parks and other protected areas in “exceptional circumstances”. Source: Guardian

This in spite of the known fact, as this article says very clearly, that by 2020 solar electricity will be competitive with fossil fuel electricity for 80% of the world’s population.

Solar electricity already is competitive for people who live in sunny countries. Within 6 years that will have 
spread to include less sunny countries like ours.


“No Fracking” message appears on Humber Bridge

i Jul 28th No Comments by


This is probably related to the “shale gas exploration well” at the site at Crawberry Hill, Walkington near Beverley in East Yorkshire.

The well was drilled last summer under the guise of being purely conventional, but also penetrated the Bowland Shale to take core samples (“by accident”).

Drilling company Rathlin now want to return to continue testing the well, including a ‘mini-frack’ on the Bowland Shale to test whether it is possible to hydraulically fracture the formation.

A camp has been set up outside the site and the community is getting organised to resist Rathlin’s plans.

For more information about Rathlin’s plans in Yorkshire, see Fracking Yorkshire: Rathlin Energy’s Plans Revealed.