Fracking has started in Lancashire. And the government wants to drastically rewrite planning rules that would make it easier for fracking companies to start drilling in search of climate-wrecking fossil fuels across the country.
A huge body of scientific evidence together with almost daily occurrence of extreme global weather informs us that climate change is happening right now. We do not need further fossil fuel extraction for the profit for a few.
Local people and councils will be side-lined. The summer’s heatwaves, droughts and wildfires are the alarm bells of the climate emergency but the government and the fracking industry have failed to listen.
Please sign the Friends of the Earth petition to tell the government it can’t get away with trampling on local democracy and our climate. Urge the government to ensure local councils retain their right to make planning decisions on fracking, and to not allow fracking companies to drill without planning permission.
Saturday 20 October at Preston New Road, Blackpool FY4 5RN
A National Climate Crisis demonstration and rally is being organised by Frack Free Lancashire this Saturday nearby Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire.
With injunctions, changes to permitted development rules, draconian prison sentences, plans to weaken the rules on earthquakes fracking causes – and now the extremely worrying IPCC Report on the need to end ALL fossil fuel usage immediately – there is MUCH to protest about.
The UK has experienced the first frack in 7 years at the same time that the IPCC has issued dire warnings about the impact of continuing to burn new sources of fossil fuels. Now is the time to remind the frackers that this is a zombie industry and that we will resist it at every turn.
Now is the time for all of us to show them that we will step up our fight and ensure that every community under threat is ready to stand up and fight. We won’t be bullied and this event is to show the whole country that we will resist the fracking companies wherever they go.
Come to Maple Farm next to Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road to hear from speakers from all over the country and let us all make a stand against this unwanted and toxic industry.
Let’s tell the frackers that we have said no and that we will continue to say no.
* No to fracking at Preston New Road
* No to fracking at Roseacre Wood
* No to prison sentences for protectors
* No to permitted development and NSIP
* No to climate change
* No to fracking anywhere and everywhere
All anti fracking groups come together and stand together.
No means No.
In addition to speakers from political parties and trade unions, there will be statements from Kate Raworth & George Monbiot – and also music and food.
Monday 15th October 2018 marks the day when fracking returned to the UK for the first time since 2011. Amid protests and blockades, the oil and gas exploration company Cuadrilla, commenced fracking at the test drill site at Preston New Road near to Blackpool.
“The company will first frack the deeper of the two wells drilled at Preston New Road (PNR). The well is at about 2,300m below the surface and the horizontal section runs for about 800m. Cuadrilla will frack 45 stages of the first well, one each day, starting with the one furthest from the pad. Stages are each 15-50m long and each will use up to 765m3 (765,000 litres) of hydraulic fracturing fluid and up to 75 tonnes (75,000 kg) of sand proppant.” (Drill or Drop).
The planning application from Aurora Energy Resources to commence drilling at Great Altcar is expected anytime soon bringing fears of further industrialisation of the countryside, pollution risks, increased traffic, seismic events and extraction of unnecessary fossil fuel.
The scandal of the return of fracking to the UK is that the government as been allowed to force it through in spite of democratic local opposition and at any cost. In addition, the commencement of shale gas extraction comes just days after the Independent Panel on Climate Change reported the urgency to curtail global warming and that fossil fuel use must be cut dramatically. to limit temperature rises to 1.5C.
UK Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Clare Perry’s reply to a recent query by Bill Esterson MP has been thoroughly refuted by Refracktion.
MP for Sefton Central, Bill Esterson wrote to the Minister of State raising concerns about the safety of shale gas extraction on behalf of his constituents. The letter of reply from Clare Perry contained the usual government platitudes and misleading statements (click letter to view the full reply).
Her assertions that “…there are strong protections in place to ensure the planning concerns of affected local communities are addressed…” directly contradicts her struggle to justify the government’s attempts to remove precisely the protections she refers to.
The letter also contains the “shale gas myth-buster”, which she attached in the hope that Bill Esterson and the constituents of Sefton Central would find it useful. The organisation Refracktion assert that this is an appallingly badly researched, badly written piece of misleading propaganda.
Click here for full details of Refracktion’s debunking of the “shale gas myth-buster”
The government’s recent report on UK gas and electricity sources and uses for 2017 reveal some interesting comparisons (Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 2018).
Frack Free Formby has studied a number of maps showing geological features and protection areas around Aurora’s proposed fracking site at Great Altcar. These maps have now been converted to the same scale and combined, in order to demonstrate some of the constraints governing the direction of lateral drilling from the well pad.
The end result (above) shows the major fault lines running close to the proposed well pad and potential subsurface works, the nearby groundwater protection area and monitoring points, the flood defence area around the site, and the boreholes drilled in and around the old Formby oilfield.
It clearly demonstrates the problems and constraints of drilling lateral wells deep underground in the location chosen by Aurora, and in other parts of PEDL 164.
Please click on the above map or here to see how the different layers of the maps were combined.
Following Lancashire County Council’s scoping opinion (issued 22nd March) on Aurora’s plans for fracking at Great Altcar, we have contacted some consultees to determine whether the views they expressed were adequately reflected in the response. Frack Free Formby and The Moss Alliance believe some issues have been glossed over. The full Scoping Opinion can be read by clicking on the image below.
The Scoping exercise identifies issues for consideration in the impending Environmental Impact Assessment. So far we feel that the following were not adequately stressed in LCC’s Scoping Opinion, and do not therefore form part of the instruction to Aurora of issues they need to cover as part of their planning application.
Aurora’s scoping request claimed that it will only take 40 days of daytime working to surface the dirt track that is Sutton’s Lane and construct the well pad (phase 1 works). It has been pointed out that this is grossly optimistic, inferring night time (or longer) working will be required to meet the timetable. LCC has not picked up the point.
Sefton MBC specifically asked that Aurora should be instructed to provide an assessment of the impact of additional heavy traffic on the junctions on the Formby by pass. It was also pointed out to LCC that the B5195 provides the direct route to Ormskirk hospital and children’s A&E from Formby, and that there is a risk of delays to emergency vehicles. LCC does not seem to have stressed either of these issues in its response and scoping opinion.
Aurora’s scoping request made no mention of the 50+ disused oils and gas wells which lie within its footprint map of drilling intentions. It was pointed out to LCC that these provide potential pathways and conduits for the migration of fugitive Fracking fluid to fault lines and the surface. This prospect is not specifically covered in LCC’s response.
Other issues (e.g. ecology impact) are likely to be identified as inadequately dealt with once we get responses from consultees to our inquiries.
We have established who owns the land on which Aurora intends to build its well pad along Sutton’s Lane in Great Altcar, which was purchased in 2005 from the Leverhulme Estate along with a number of other large parcels of land to the east and west of the Formby bypass. We will now validate all the landholders and tenant farmers who will be affected by Aurora’s immediate drilling plans, and will be contacting them in due course.
Frack Free Formby and The Moss Alliance will be employing expert advice to help frame objections to the planning application, and we are commencing on a fundraising campaign to raise the necessary finance.