In what is hoped to be a landmark ruling, an application for exploratory drilling near Fernhurst, in the South Downs National Park, was unanimously rejected.
The National Park Authority concluded that there were no “exceptional circumstances” to justify drilling at Fernhurst, in line with a recommendation from its planning officials, who had taken legal advice.
The dispute centres on Government guidance issued in July, which said that unconventional oil and gas developments in national parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and World Heritage Sites “should be refused… other than in exceptional circumstances and in the public interest”.
More than 5,000 people had lodged objections to the application with SDNPA, with just 11 in favour.
Read the full article here.
A very good letter appeared in the Malton Gazette & Herald this week, from Jill Hopkins of Great Barugh. She makes many good points about the dangers of fracking, and reiterates concerns we have about increases in heavy traffic, noise, light and air pollution and falling house and property prices.
She also mentions a documentary on how shale gas is extracted using fracking, which is on the Sky PBS channel on September 12 at 10.15am, called “Fracking; shattered earth”. Try and watch if you can.
Read Jill’s letter here.
An article in the Guardian gives a very interesting picture of the effect grass-roots opposition groups like Frack Free Ryedale are having on the political landscape.
Research suggests that more than 120 Tory MPs face protest groups in their constituencies. Of the 40 key marginal seats identified in the party’s election strategy, 31 fall in areas where exploratory drilling is about to start or has been permitted. Only seven cabinet members will not be affected. Of the 160 protest groups, 70% are in Tory areas, and just 15% in Labour held areas. The remainder of the groups cover several seats.
“The number of anti-fracking community groups has exploded in the last year. There were roughly 40 groups this time last year, now there are over 160 with about 10 new groups forming each month”, said Sarah Mackie, a Frack Off campaigner.
Read the full article here.
We’ve just read about a very exciting breakthrough in the field of solar energy from the USA. A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that, when placed over a window, creates solar energy while still allowing people to actually see through the window.
“It opens a lot of areas to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way,” said Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering. “It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.”
Read the full article on sciencedaily.com.
Frack Free Ryedale asks why isn’t the UK government investing heavily in this kind of technology, instead of subsidising fracking companies to drill for more fossil fuels, which destroy the countryside, pollute the water and cause more climate change.
A record high of 22 per cent of the UK’s electricity was generated by wind, while coal only provided 13 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs on Sunday. Solar and biomass both provided three per cent, hydro power provided one per cent, while nuclear generated 24 per cent and gas provided 26 per cent, Renewable UK said.
Jennifer Webber from RenewableUK said: “This proves yet again that onshore and offshore wind has become an absolutely fundamental component in this country’s energy mix. It also shows that wind is a dependable and reliable source of power in every month of year – including high summer”.
While Frack Free Ryedale appreciates that wind farms need to be sensitively placed, if there is a choice between a wind farm or a series of noisy, dirty, polluting fracking wells, we know which we would prefer.
A reader complained to the ASA that the claims were misleading because they exaggerated the extent of Britain’s gas shortage, the supposed benefits of fracking were not known, and Russia did not supply gas to the UK.
The ASA ruled against Breitling on all counts. It told the company it must not make its claims again and that future ads should be supported by hard evidence. Read the full article here.
As people in Yorkshire are becoming increasingly concerned about oil developments in the North York Moors national park, there is some positive news about another National Park in the south of England.
Plans for exploratory oil drilling in the South Downs National Park have been recommended for refusal by the park’s authority. Officers from the park’s authority said the company had failed to demonstrate that “exceptional circumstances” exist for the work and that it was in the public interest. The final decision is to be made on Thursday 11th September.
Let’s hope the North York Moors National Park Planning Committee take note!
Read the full article here.
Balcombe is a village and civil parish in the Mid Sussex district of West Sussex, England.
In this short video, Balcombe Resident Charles Metcalfe talks about his experiences of fracking.
The front page article in the Malton Gazette & Herald breaks a story that we have known about for a while. A whistleblower from within the North Yorkshire County Council approached Frack Free Ryedale saying that council chiefs had told the Highways Department to begin immediate work on widening and strengthening roads around the Third Energy drill site in Kirby Misperton.
We were also told that this work was due to begin as early as September 8th and that the money for this had been taken from other areas of the council budget, despite protests from within the council highways department.
As the whistleblower approached Frack Free Ryedale with no prompting from us whatsoever, we have no reason to disbelieve the story. We were also provided with further details that have not yet appeared in the press, which only strengthen our belief that this is true.
A spokesman from Third Energy claimed that they did not know anything about the roadworks, but did not deny the possibility of fracking there in the future. Frack Free Ryedale have called for a full inquiry and a moratorium on approving any further planning applications for conventional and unconventional gas production.
Please read the full article here.
The other major story of the week is that Third Energy and their partners, Moorland Energy, have applied for planning permission for further expansion of their well at Ebberston Moor, which is situated in the North York Moors National Park.
Frack Free Ryedale are still studying the planning application, but one of our main concerns is that permission is being sought for a second well to be drilled. This will be used to produce water that is needed for the production process, which will then be re-injected back into the ground. This water will then contain a cocktail of toxic and radioactive chemicals, which could leak into the water supply as pipes and casings decay over time.
We will give you more details on the planning application when we have it, as well as guidelines on how to object to this. In the meantime, please read the full article here: G&H ‘It’s no place for borehole’ 03.09.14