Category Archives: Government

UK fracking decision is nothing short of hypocrisy | The Guardian

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 Cuadrilla Resources drilling pumping equipment at Preese Hall farm, Lancashire. Photograph: Alamy

Cuadrilla Resources drilling pumping equipment at Preese Hall farm, Lancashire. Photograph: Alamy

Damian Carrington

Spot the difference. Fracking, which is climate-polluting and unproven in the UK, gets “all-out” government backing, with ministers steamrolling over local opposition. Onshore windfarms, proven to be low-cost and low-carbon, get undermined by the government, with local opposition given power to block applications.

The decision by the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, to overturn Lancashire council’s rejection of Cuadrilla’s plan to drill four fracking wells in the county is, therefore, nothing short of hypocrisy.

It is a vital win for the nascent UK shale gas industry. But these are merely the opening skirmishes. To really know if fracking can provide significant gas for the UK, hundreds – if not thousands – of wells need to be drilled. Given the hand-to-hand combat that accompanies even single wells at the moment, the frackers still have an uphill struggle.

But the government has their back. It has promised cash handouts to local people in fracking areas: compensation or bribes, depending on your point of view. Yet why are the same incentives not offered for windfarms? A key underlying reason for opposition to turbines is the feeling of invasion of a community which derives no benefit from the development.

Ministers cannot say they did not know. The government’s own public opinion poll shows nearly eight in 10 people agree that renewable energy developments should provide direct benefits to the communities in which they are located. The poll also shows 81% in support of renewables, with 4% against. Contrast that with fracking: 19% in favour and 31% against, with the rest undecided.

So why does the government persist? The heady fracking fumes drifting across the Atlantic from the US, where shale oil and gas have transformed the energy market, are intoxicating. Ministers initially argued that fracking in the UK would cut energy bills, only to discover than no one else agreed with them.

Please click here to continue to full article on TheGuardian.com

Ministers plot to foil anti-frackers | The Telegraph

Exclusive: Leaked Cabinet plans propose letting unelected planning inspectors, rather than councils, give the go ahead for shale gas wells to boost production

Communities could lose the right to block fracking wells as part of a Cabinet plan to create a shale gas industry within a decade, the Telegraph can reveal.
The 10-page plan, leaked to anti-fracking campaigners, sets out a timeline for the expansion of the shale gas industry in Britain.
The Prime Minister blamed a “lack of understanding” about the process for some of the opposition to it, and insisted they would be addressed once people could see functioning shale gas wells in the UK.
LACK OF UNDERSTANDING DAVE!? We understand it completely – lots of money for you and your friends, whilst causing devastating, irreversible damage to our water, air and land. We UNDERSTAND the absolute nightmare people are having to live (and die) with in the USA and Australia. We UNDERSTAND that drilling a huge hole into the ground, pumping it with gallons upon gallons of water and toxic chemicals is never going to be a good idea. We UNDERSTAND that ‘addressing’ the completely justified warnings and concerns about fracking AFTER you’ve fracked the land really means that it is much easier to ask for forgiveness rather than our permission.
Please click here to continue to the original article on The Telegraph website

No insurance cover if you live within FIVE miles of a fracking site | The Independent

no insurance near fracking site

Householders could face an insurance double-whammy if they live within a five-mile radius of shale gas exploration sites

As householders across the UK continue the great flood clean-up, many are battling with insurance companies. Some are discovering that they now face an insurance “double whammy” – especially if they live in one of the areas covered by the new fracking licences announced by the Government before Christmas.

Many of the UK’s best known insurance companies will not insure against fracking-related damage, an investigation by The Independent on Sunday and the campaign group Spinwatch has found.

This could include contamination caused by polluted water from a fracking site being spread during exceptional flood events and could also include groundwater contamination from underground fracking operations. Companies representing two thirds of the UK insurance market will not insure against damage caused as a result of fracking, or else have exemptions covering potential pollution of water from the controversial technique. This means tens of thousands of people will find it difficult to insure themselves against fracking-related damage to their property or land.

Please click here to continue to original full article on TheIndependent.co.uk

 

Our weapon against fracking is our love of the land | John Ashton

Barton Moss, Salford, 2014

By John Ashton

Believe it or not, and I know it’s hard to believe, in Westminster, in Whitehall, in the City of London, there are people who say – there really are – they say: we’ve just got to drill.

They say: the United Kingdom needs fracking, it needs underground coal gasification, it needs coal bed methane.

But then they say: not everybody in the UK needs to have dirty energy on their doorstep. They say: here in the leafy, crowded south of England, our hills are too green, our views are too beautiful, our lives are too precious, to be contaminated by the dirty energy that we nevertheless need in the UK.

The place to have dirty energy is in the North, they say. The North is desolate anyway, they say. In the North, they do not love where they live as much as we do. In the North, their hills are not so green. Their views are not so beautiful. Their lives are not so precious. That’s what they say.

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Government’s “spectacular U-turn” on fracking regulations

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 09.48.23The government has been accused of a spectacular U-turn on protection for the UK’s finest landscapes from the effects of fracking. A committee of MPs had expected to debate a ban on fracking from the surface of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. But the Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, told the committee the regulations dealt only with what happened below ground.

Please click here to continue reading the original article on drillordrop.com

The report the UK government didn’t want you to see: the social impacts of fracking

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The UK government Dpartment for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it redacted huge swathes of a Defra report because the information as not rigorous enough – even though it was written by an economic advisor in the department’s Rural Communities Policy Unit, exchanges between Defra and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reveal.

The emails obtained through FOI request, show that Defra was worried that green groups would use information it considered inaccurate to strike a blow against the government’s amendments to the Infrastructure Bill, which was changed to allow fracking under people’s homes following a consultation in Summer 2014.

The unredacted report, finally published in full in July this year – showed the impacts of fracking on houses and jobs in local communities, as well as health impacts from water, noise light and air pollution.

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No conditions proposed on 59 drilling licences near top wildlife sites | Drill or Drop

the government don't care about wildlife, they just want to get on with fracking

The government proposes to issue 59 oil and gas licences in areas close to the UK’s most important wildlife sites with no conditions on the activities of operators.

The licences make up just under half the blocks that will be released following a public consultation currently underway.

Most are in Yorkshire, the East Midlands and Lancashire. Many are within a few kilometres of ecologically-sensitive areas, such as the Wash, Humber Estuary, Flamborough Head, North York Moors, Gibraltar Point and the River Derwent.

Another 73 licences (55% of the total), which either contain important wildlife sites or are within 1km, will be issued with conditions. This could prohibit exploration, development or production at or the near surface in part of the block.

The details are included in consultation documents published earlier this month by the Oil and Gas Authority, an agency of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The consultation runs until the end of September.

Together, the 132 licences make up a second tranche of blocks to be issued under the 14th Oil and Gas Licensing Round. They underwent an assessment because they were within 10km of wildlife sites protected by the Habitat Regulations.

These sites include:

  • Special Protection Areas, designated to protect Europe’s rare and vulnerable birds, such as Liverpool Bay
  • Special Areas of Conservation, designated to protect Europe’s rarest habitats and species, such the River Wye
  • Ramsar Sites, designated to protect internationally-important wetlands, such as the Severn Estuary

The assessment under the Habitat Regulations looked only at the impact on the habitats and species of the sites.

The first tranche of licences, comprising 27 blocks, were not included in the consultation because oil and gas developments were not regarded as having any likely significant impact on the wildlife sites.

Granting a licence gives an operator exclusive right to search or drill for oil and gas. But it does not give permission to drill. If permission were granted under planning and environmental permit regulations other conditions would be likely.

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”De Facto Ban on Fracking in Wales” – and what it could really mean… | Bridgend’s Green Leftie

 

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  • The UK Government will no longer issue licences for gas extraction in Wales, at the request of the Welsh Government.
  • This appears too give Welsh Government the power over granting such licences, if it sees fit.
  • It also would appear to give them the power to impose a moratorium or ban if it so decided.

Notice the big “ifs” in these statements.

Despite what you might read in some papers (e.g. The Daily Post) this news does not represent a ‘de facto fracking ban’ at all.

In fact this news only goes to underline the fact that until these powers are transferred, the supposed moratorium on fracking in Wales simply does not exist – despite the misreporting of the vote in February, tabled by Plaid Cymru, to agree to the principle of a moratorium. Labour’s Planning Minister, Carl Sargent, was shamelessly spinning these events in claiming the powers to impose a moratorium, called out by Gareth Clubb from Friends of the Earth Cymru…

First Minister Carwyn Jones has never said more than he would ‘consider a moratorium’ if he ever had the powers to impose one. Well, the Welsh Labour government no longer has the option of sitting on the fence and using its default “It’s all Westminster’s fault” position. We should be able to expect an unambiguous statement of policy and intent regarding fracking and dirty fossil fuel technologies, from all the Parties aspiring to have a say in government in Wales after next year’s Assembly elections.

Please click the following link to continue to the original source of this article, a blog post from Bridgend’s Green Leftie.

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