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UPDATED: Local councils invited to secret talks with fracking companies

i Apr 4th 1 Comment by

Concerned residents have revealed that fracking licence holder, INEOS has invited parish council representatives across Ryedale and York to a private meeting next month.

Details of the meeting, on May 11th in Malton’s Milton Rooms, appear in a leaked letter seen by Frack Free Ryedale. The meeting will take place behind closed doors with the public excluded from observing or contributing to the process of consultation.

Malton, Norton, Helmsley, Pickering and Kirbymoorside town councils and 10 parish councils in Ryedale have already passed motions against fracking, as has Ryedale District Council.

Ian Conlan, of Frack Free Ryedale, says: “Even some parish councillors, who are all volunteers, will be unable to attend because they have day jobs, and the wider public are being treated with utter contempt as they are completely excluded from this sham consultation.

“The meeting looks like it is little more than a slick PR exercise. Those councillors who are able to attend need to ask the many awkward questions about the real impact of fracking on local communities that INEOS hope to avoid by excluding the wider public.

“A key element of the INEOS presentation to the meeting will be to offer 4% of revenues to land owners who are willing to have a fracking site on their land and a further 2% to communities. It is interesting to note that payments in the United States range from 12% to 21% of revenues, so INEOS is also short changing the public in their effort to bribe people to accept fracking.”

Russell Scott, Frack Free North Yorkshire says: “This isn’t the first time councils have been offered private meetings in the area: it has taken our Freedom of Information request to reveal that Pickering Town Council has already met privately with Cuadrilla at an informal un-minuted private “briefing”.

“Given that it is Third Energy that hold the licence covering Pickering, it would suggest Cuadrilla, with their dreadful record in Lancashire, is looking to take over Third Energy’s P.R. and try to hoodwink councils just as INEOS are also looking to take over sites in the area.”

Cllr Paul Andrews says: “The amount paid to communities will never compensate individual householders and property owners for the loss in the value of their properties, blighted by fracking, or for the decimation of a tourist industry that relies on our reputation for beautiful unspoilt countryside.

“It will be of no comfort if the landscape is ruined with thousands of wells, water contaminated and lives disturbed by continuous drilling. All these things have happened in other areas, and recent research has now added cancer causing chemicals to the mix.

“INEOS should be turned away just as local district, town and parish councillors have said no to Third Energy’s plans at Kirby Misperton.”

Malton resident, Dr Liz Garthwaite says: “My town council in Malton gave short shrift to Third Energy. This issue has energised ordinary people who have never got involved in politics before, because it is their health that is threatened, as is displayed in a wealth of studies.

“It is exactly those ordinary people that this company shows contempt for. Let’s show them what local democracy is made of by demonstrating outside this meeting. If the public are excluded I think there are going to be a lot of empty seats inside this building, and rather more people protesting outside it.”

UPDATE: Here’s what Friends of the Earth Scotland had to say when Ineos launched a similar “lovebomb” PR campaign in their licence areas north of the border last year.

Four more reports on fracking

i Mar 31st No Comments by

The recently published Medact report on the health impacts of fracking mentions that “There are now over 450 peer-reviewed publications in this
field, consisting of studies, reviews and commentaries. “

Some of the key ones are the December 2014 review of evidence by the New York State Department of Health (already published on this site), plus four other reports not seen here before:

The evidence is very, very clear.

Anybody who ignores it is either:

a) unintelligent, or
b) lying, and
c) doesn’t care about the health of the people or the other negative impacts, which are now very well known and well documented.

Lord Howell of Guildford on fracking

i Oct 21st No Comments by

Screen shot 2014-10-21 at 11.44.50In May this year, Lord David Howell published this short opinion piece on fracking, in the Journal of Energy Security.

He opens by saying that he had recently attended two key meetings, that between them “gathered just about all the expertise in the planet on shale oil and gas and fracking issues.”

And then he summarises the current situation, and lessons learned from the USA, before drawing five conclusions for fracking in the UK.

I’ve summarised his points below, though to be honest his piece is very short and you would likely be better off reading the whole thing here.

And what I think this means for us in Ryedale is:

  1. Ryedale must be very close to the top of the target list for fracking, since our population density is so low.
  2. They know fracking damages the water supply, and has other ‘environmental’ impacts, but they want to go ahead anyway.
  3. Fracking in the UK is currently only borderline achievable, physically, financially, and politically.
  4. They believe (or Lord Howell believes) that people have the potential to stop fracking in its tracks, physically, and economically, and politically.

Remember also that since this article/viewpoint was published,

i) Rather than trying to negotiate, the government has chosen the path of confrontation, seeking to impose fracking via the so called ‘Infrastructure Bill’,  currently before the House of Lords.

ii) Third Energy has made planning applications to NYCC to put in place some of the critical infrastructure without which it would not be able to frack.

(more…)

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.

“Half of Britain to be opened up to fracking”

i Jul 28th No Comments by

Michael Fallon, the former energy secretary, has described shale as an "exciting prospect"

“The report warned that communities close to drilling sites could see a large increase in traffic. Residents could face as many as 51 lorry journeys each day for three years, the study said.”

“It also warned of potential strain on facilities for handling the waste water generated by hydraulic fracturing, the process known as fracking, which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into rocks at high pressure to extract gas.

“There were also concerns over the potential environmental impact on the countryside.”

Source: Daily Telegraph

Great news!

i Jul 22nd No Comments by

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The application for “exploratory” fracking at Wisborough Green in Sussex has been unanimously rejected (on the grounds of excess lorry movements).

You can  read more about it here. (Source: Independent)

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“Fracking company hugely underplayed number of heavy lorries needed”

i Jul 20th No Comments by

Local highway officials say that fracking company Celtique Energie presented data that hugely underplayed the number of heavy lorries needed for its planned drilling operations in Sussex.

Protest against Fracking traffic and Celtique Energie drilling rig in Fernhurst West Sussex

Other experts for the South Downs national park, in which Celtique plans to drill, said the company’s claims about noise were “opaque” and understated the increase in noise levels.

Source: Guardian