Academics cast doubt on shale gas

i Mar 10th No Comments by

Academics from Warwick Business School and University College London have published an opinion piece based on research funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).

They advise policymakers that, for continuing economic, social and environmental reasons, the UK’s gas strategy should be developed on the assumption that there will be no domestically produced shale gas.

They say that recovery of UK shale gas (while still keeping within two degrees of climate change)  might only be an option if ten conditions apply.

Summarising, these conditions include:

  1. That there is recoverable shale gas under the UK. (Our difficult geology make make this too difficult or costly.)
  2. That we produce zero electricity using coal after 2025.
  3. That there is widespread cheap technology to capture and store the CO2 that would be produced.
  4. That we are able to measure and manage the methane that is released during shale gas production.
  5. That the fracking industry wins the ‘social licence to operate’ from the people of Britain, because we trust the companies to avoid or control the negative environmental impacts that exist.

Given that Deutsche Bank (and others) is already saying that solar power has won, these conditions seem increasingly unlikely to be met. (In some countries, such as Australia, solar electricity is already less than half the retail price of electricity from the power companies. Within two years it expected to reach ‘grid parity’ in around 80% of countries worldwide.)

You can read more about the academics’ report at:

Man attempts to make citizen’s arrest of four key members of government

i Mar 6th 2 Comments by

11030718_10155256444575258_3059942275906713145_oYesterday, 4th March 2015, a man from Banbury called Paul Mobbs went to Downing Street with the intention of making a citizens arrest of four key members of government who he believes are guilty of ‘Misconduct In Public Office’ in relation to fracking.

The police refused to allow him entry, so he explained his reasons and showed them his evidence.

After several hours, when they still refused, he threatened to block access to Downing Street and was arrested under the Terrorism Act.

Because he was carrying his documented evidence on his person, this will now have to be taken in as evidence when charges are brought.

You can read below the account given yesterday by one of his supporters. A separate post later in the evening announced that he had been released and was back at home.

The two linked sites contain interesting information.


RDC Fracking Debate on February 4th

i Jan 20th 1 Comment by

ryedale_logo_large[1]The long-awaited debate on fracking has now been announced, and will take place on Wednesday February 4th at the Milton Rooms, Malton, at 6.30 p.m. The meeting, facilitated by Ryedale District Council, follows a unanimous decision by councillors to hold an impartial public meeting on fracking to raise public awareness on the issue.

Panellists at the debate will be:

  • John Dewar, from Third Energy
  • Chris Redston, from Frack Free Ryedale
  • Mike Hill, Chartered Engineer
  • Professor Richard Davies, Durham University

Admission to the meeting will be by ticket only – due to restrictions on numbers allowed in the Milton Rooms for health and safety reasons – and numbers are limited to 250.

For further information, to book a place and submit questions please use the online booking form, ring 01653 600666, or write to Public Meeting, Ryedale District Council, Ryedale House, Malton YO17 7HH.

Closing date for applications and questions is noon Wednesday 28 January 2015. Tickets will be allocated on the basis of one ticket per application form, so if there’s more than one person who wants tickets, you will need to apply separately. Depending on numbers received may be allocated on an ad hoc basis.

You can also ask a question on the online form, which will be passed on to the panel and either answered on the day or after the event.


Halliburton to frack at Kirby Misperton?

i Jan 13th No Comments by
Protestors outside Third Energy's offices in Knapton

Protestors outside Third Energy’s offices in Knapton

The Guardian reports that Halliburton may be the drilling contractor for Third Energy’s proposed frack at Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale. Frack Free Ryedale and other anti-fracking groups are extremely disturbed that Halliburton would be involved in any possible fracking operation at Kirby Misperton, given their very dubious safety record and reputation. Read the full article in the Guardian Environment.

Meanwhile, protestors from Frack Free Ryedale assembled outside the gates of Third Energy on Tuesday to protest against Halliburton’s involvement.

Halliburton were fined $1.1 billion for their part in the BP Deepwater Horizon connection. Halliburton were responsible for the concrete that caused the leak, and were implicit in the cover-up that followed, in which a director of the company was charged with destroying evidence.

From Wikipedia: “On September 8, 2010, an internal report released by BP into the Deepwater Horizon explosion claimed that poor practices of Halliburton staff had contributed to the disaster. Investigations carried out by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling found that Halliburton was jointly at fault along with BP and Transocean for the spill. The concrete that Halliburton used was an unstable mixture, and eventually caused hydrocarbons to leak into the well, eventually causing the explosion that started the crisis.”

For a full report on the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, click here.

Dead fish in a creek due to leak of fracking fluid at Halliburton's site in Monroe County in Monroe County, Ohio.

Dead fish in a creek due to leak of fracking fluid at Halliburton’s site in Monroe County
in Monroe County, Ohio.

Halliburton were also responsible for another environmental disaster, in which thousands of gallons of toxic frack fluid leaked in Monroe County, Ohio, in June of last year, in which a river providing drinking water was polluted and over 70,000 fish died. Read more on this on Mother Jones.

As Halliburton would not only be providing frack fluid to Third Energy but also doing the frack, this recent experience of both the environmental disaster and their reluctance to reveal which chemicals ended up in the
water is a very worrying precedent.



Letter from Pennsylvania – December 2014

i Jan 6th No Comments by
Fracking wells in Pennsylvania

Fracking wells in Pennsylvania

Ryedale Resident Robert has been in correspondence with an old friend called David, who lives in Pennsylvania, to ask him about his experiences of having fracking on his doorstep. The email correspondence, which we have had permission to include on our website, makes very interesting reading and gives a powerful account of what it’s like living in the middle of the gaslands.

Here are a few of David’s comments about fracking near his home in Pennsylvania:

Basically our township is being transformed from a rural residential area into a more heavy industrialized zone in some respects. 

When a new well pad was beginning to be developed only ½ mile from the local high school and middle school challenges were made.  This is ongoing.  

The major impact so far has been the tremendous increase in tanker truck and heavy equipment traffic on our local roadways.  Trucks hauling water in for fracking is a continual operation day and night for months.

I also failed to mention the noise, 24 hours a day for 6 months that we had to deal with while the one closest well was being drilled. 

You can read the full correspondence by clicking here: Robert and David in conversation.

Also please read this article in West Coast Conservative News about the water contamination in Pennsylvania, where water was found to have been contaminated 243 times.

New York State Bans Fracking

i Dec 17th No Comments by
Governor Cuomo bans fracking in New York State

Governor Cuomo bans fracking in New York State

In a landmark ruling, Governor Cuomo has declared a ban on fracking in New York State. “I will be bound by what the experts say,” Cuomo said at a press conference.

In his remarks at the conference, Cuomo lamented the emotionally charged nature of the debate over fracking and quickly turned the press conference over to state health and environmental officials.

The officials said the potential health and environmental impacts are too great to allow fracking to proceed in the state at this time, and pointed to a dearth of studies regarding the long-term safety of hydraulic fracturing. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will issue a legally binding, supplemental environmental impact statement next year outlining its findings on the issue.

This is a huge win and shows that when politicians actually take time to look at the science and health reports, then they come to the conclusion that the health and environmental impacts of fracking are too dangerous to allow this to happen. If only our government would read a health impact assessment once in a while …

To read more, please see the Huffington Post or the New York Times.

You can read and download the full report here.



(If that fails you can also download a copy of the pdf from our website here (1.6MB).)

Kirkbymoorside Town Council passes anti-fracking motion

i Dec 17th No Comments by

CouncilLogo[1]Kirkbymoorside Town Council has become the first authority in the district to oppose proposals to extract gas by fracking.

Members moved a motion at their meeting on Monday night regarding their “unresolved concerns” about Third Energy UK Gas’s intention to hydraulically fracture its KM8 site in Kirby Misperton.

The full text of the motion, which was approved unanimously, reads:  “We have unresolved concerns about important aspects of fracking and are opposed to any fracking activity in our area until satisfactory answers are forthcoming.”

Cllr Michael Clarke said his main concern was the visual impact the mining rig at KM8 would have on the area – and the longer term knock-on effect on the district’s tourism industry.

“I am conscious that Ryedale is reliant on its tourism,” he said. “If it goes ahead, it will be to the economic detriment of the district. People will be reluctant to come into the area.”

You can read more about this promising development in the Malton and Pickering Mercury and the Gazette & Herald.

Anne McIntosh demands redacted fracking report

i Dec 17th No Comments by

220px-Anne_McIntosh[1]MP Anne McIntosh told the Prime Minister the public must be given all the facts if they are to be asked to back fracking.

Mr Cameron was being grilled by MPs on the liaison committee when he was asked by the Thirsk MP to explain why the public were being kept in the dark on issues surrounding social and housing safety as detailed in the controversial Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts report.

In a confrontational exchange Ms McIntosh said that the PM’s support for fracking was unlikely to impact on his constituents, pointing out that fracking would “not be coming to Witney anytime soon,” though the PM insisted he would welcome it if it did.

Ms McIntosh told the PM: “You are asking the public to take a lot on trust, so why is the shale gas economic report so heavily redacted? Will you ensure an unredacted copy, particular on social impact, housing impact and safety in relation in flares is published unredacted?”

Show us the report, Mr Cameron. In the meantime, read the full article in the Yorkshire Post.

Ryedale fracking concerns on Look North

i Dec 16th No Comments by

BBC_Look_North_(Yorkshire_and_North_Midlands)[1]The recent debate at Kirkbymoorside and concerns of local residents was the focus of a recent segment on Look North. In the broadcast the focus was on an anti-fracking talk at the Methodist Church in Kirkbymoorside, and also the recent announcement of Third Energy to frack at Kirby Misperton.

You can see the full broadcast on Look North Yorkshire.

Government pledges £36m to boost shale gas industry

i Dec 5th No Comments by


Chancellor George Osborne’s final Autumn Statement said the government would be “taking steps to ensure that the UK leads the way with shale gas regulation” by allocating £31 million in funding for “sub surface research test centres” as well as £5 million in funding to better engage with the public on the shale industry’s regulatory process.

The test centres, to be funded through the Natural Environment Research Council, will produce research relevant to both the shale and carbon capture and storage industries, the statement said.

The government will also fund a £5 million drive to “ensure the public is better engaged” with the shale development regulatory process through independent evidence on “the robustness of the existing regulatory regime”.

In addition, Osborne confirmed plans to establish a long-term investment fund for communities in the north of the country hosting shale development using revenue from shale tax to ensure that the economic benefit to the area continues for generations.

So the government are cutting public spending to its lowest level since the 30s, but have given the shale gas industry £36 million of taxpayers’ money. Sounds fair …

Read more in Utility Week – amazingly, hardly reported in the mainstream press. Actually, not that amazing …