Defend Lytham on NOS Nieuwsuur

This week Defend Lytham were delighted to host Arjen van der Horst, the UK correspondent for NOS, the Dutch national TV station. He contacted us after hearing about our public meeting and we were able to take him on a tour of the local area and introduce him to local people for interview.

A lot of the very interesting material he filmed inevitably didn’t make it into the final 7 minute film that went out on Friday night. Various interviews with local residents remain on the cutting room floor, as does the visit they made at Cuadrilla’s invitation to Elswick to see a “representative” well, but we think that the end result is very interesting.

Here is what the trailer for the segment said

The absolutely enormous reserves of shale gas beneath Great Britain are twice as large as has been thought until now. That is good news for the industry but, as in the USA and in the Netherlands, opposition in Great Britain is on the rise. Or are we on the verge of a new gas and oil bonanza in Western Europe?

New reserves

The reserves of shale gas beneath Great Britain are twice as large as has been thought until now, states a study by the British Geological Survey conducted on behalf of the British government. That is good news for British industry, which is facing the depletion of gas and oil reserves in the North Sea.

Above all, that is good news for Cuadrilla, the only company engaged in trial drilling in Great Britain. Cuadrilla hopes to start fracking operations in the Netherlands and it has already obtained permits for two exploratory drilling operations. But the company’s operations in England are certainly controversial.

Peace and calm shattered

Lytham is an idyllic village in Lancashire, a coastal area in the north-west of England. On the outskirts of the village, there is a large agricultural and nature area, where the peace and calm was shattered when the Cuadrilla rigs arrived. According to the company, sites like this can supply the United Kingdom with gas for decades to come.

Ecological impact.

But the local inhabitants in Lytham are more concerned about their safety than about high energy bills. In 2011, trial drilling by Cuadrilla resulted in two earthquakes. Experts in the gas industry believe that the implications are far-reaching.

To recover shale gas, Cuadrilla have to pump millions of litres of water into the ground under high pressure and cattle farmers like Andy Pemberton are very concerned about the possible impact on groundwater. Particularly in marshy Lancashire.

We think that local farmer Andy Pemberton’s obviously heartfelt comments sum up the situation really well.

We couldn’t help being struck though by the comments made by Mr Egan on camera

“The ground water issue is really about the well construction , how well.. , well integrity as it’s called, well construction. There have been over 2,000 wells built onshore in the UK and a well drilled for conventional oil and gas is no different than a well drilled for shale oil and gas. It’s the same techniques that you use. Now of those 2000 wells I don’t think there is a single case of water contamination in the UK. If it’s done properly in a properly regulated environment we can do this in the UK and I’m sure it can be done in Holland. We have the experience from the North Sea and the Dutch sector of the North Sea to do it.”

Did he really say “a well drilled for conventional oil and gas is no different from a well drilled for shale”? He did didn’t he?

Is he really suggesting that the 2,000 conventional wells he refers to are a valid comparison with multi-lateral horizontal High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing when it comes to the possibility of water contamination? He is isn’t he?


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