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Housing in the Fylde

Are you concerned by the proliferation on new housing developments?

Do you wonder why Fylde Council are allowing them to happen?

Counterbalance has an article which every concerned resident in the Fylde should read. It concerns our old friend Cllr Trevor Fiddler and his interpretation of council decisions.

These decisions have a direct impact on whether YOU get a new housing estate on YOUR doorstep so that the council can maximise its income from Central Government. Yes, we find that hard to stomach too,

It can be found here – http://www.counterbalance.org.uk/latest/2faced.htm

As ever we are extremely grateful to Counterbalance for their vigilance and attention to detail.

An Open Letter to David Cameron From A Concerned Local Resident

The open letter below is from concerned local resident Kate Styles and is published with her permission.

“Dear David Cameron

I would like to talk to you about fracking. I know that you think it is ” the right thing to do” ( see, having listened to what you say, .. you do say this a lot. Oh, I get it, it’s a catchphrase.), but I, and many, many people here in Britain disagree.

I know you probably think you know all you need to know about fracking – all those advisers and industry representatives, and lobbyists and DECC, and Defra, and the Environment Agency and UKOOG. But, and I don’t mean this disrespectfully, I think you are like most of us. We know a little about a lot of things and a lot about a little.

Now, this may surprise you, but I and many, many others who live in this beautiful land have spent hours, days, weeks and months researching fracking.Some, but not me, have spent years. From building the well pad, transporting the equipment, the rig, the compressors , the water and the pipelines to understanding the drilling process, the fracking process ( yes, we do understand that actually fracturing the shale is just a part of the process), flow testing, and full scale production.

We have read about the Marcellus shale, the Utica shale, the Fayetteville shale, the Eagleford shale and the Bakken shale. We have learned about the Halliburton loophole, the EPA, the API and IPAA.

We have seen evidence of water contamination from fracking in Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. We have read the EPA draft report whose conclusions have been challenged at peer review stage by its own scientists. We have the latest analysis of more than 1,000 chemicals in fluids used in and created by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Yale School of Public Health researchers found that many of the substances in fracking wastewater have been linked to reproductive and developmental health problems, and the majority had undetermined toxicity due to insufficient information.

We have read myriad reports regarding adverse public health impacts on those who live within 5 miles of a fracking site. High risk pregnancies, low birth weight babies, increases in respiratory complaints and chest and heart conditions. We have watched infra red cameras recording toxic gases released through venting and flaring gas and learnt about VOC’s. These volatile organic compounds are nasty – Health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

We have read of livestock suffering from unidentifiable illnesses, and high incidences of stillbirth in cattle and horses. We hear of nosebleeds, rashes, nausea and headaches in children . All of this near fracking operations. Could it be the VOC’s? You know, when you keep seeing the same symptoms, and the only common denominator is fracking…well. My mother used to say if it looks like a pig and it oinks like a pig, then it probably is a pig. Sorry, in retrospect that was probably not the best analogy to use, but you get my drift

And despite this and the earthquakes ( so many earthquakes – more than 30 in Oklahoma yesterday, and 900 in 2015, in a state that historically had one or two per year) that are linked to fracking, it is just business as usual. Despite all the regulators, there doesn’t appear to be changes… No fines, no STOP, no one does anything except talk, and talk is cheap. .In a way, the fact that nothing is done, nothing changes , is as shocking as all the events I have mentioned. To feel so powerless, so impotent against an industry that just keeps rolling along would fill me with despair.

We hear that fracking is seen as a bridge to renewables, that it is cleaner than coal, yet we read of rogue methane emissions far more damaging than Co2. Satellite observations of huge oil and gas basins in East Texas and North Dakota confirm staggering 9 and 10 percent leakage rates of heat-trapping methane.Natural gas as an energy source for electricity production is less of a contributor to global warming than coal only if less than 3.2 percent of methane escapes during production. Recent measurements estimate that between 2.3 percent and 17.3 percent of gas escapes.

We hear you and your ministers keep talking about “gold standards ” of regulations, yet there are NO fracking specific regulations and there are massive cuts to the very agencies that you tell us will uphold these first class operations. Do you actually know what regulations you refer to Mr Cameron, or is this just a handy soundbite? I will be frank, I sometimes get the feeling you think if you say it often enough we will just take your word for it. Mind the Gaps is a research piece into this very subject that I would suggest is a good place to start.

The PHE Report ( superseded by about 350 new peer reviewed studies on fracking and its impacts) gave me a bit of pause for thought.. Anyway, PHE seemed to say that that direct application of the North American research to the UK situation is impossible because of the wide differences between the two countries. Now, studies I have read regarding negative air impacts found NMHCs ( non-methane hydrocarbons ) that surface with the raw natural gas. The USEPA estimates that on average the mass composition of unprocessed natural gas is 78.3% methane, 17.8% NMHCs, – there are other things but I don’t want to get too technical.A literature search of the health effects of the NMHCs revealed that many had multiple health effects, including 30 that affect the endocrine system, which is susceptible to chemical impacts at very low concentrations, far less than government safety standards. You see, the thing that confounded me about what PHE stated is that we are talking about gas here. Do we have different gas in the UK?

Anyway Dave. You don’t mind me calling you Dave? I seem to recall you saying “Call me Dave ,” We heard you proudly proclaim to be the ” greenest Government” and yet you have cut subsidies for renewables and under your stewardship Britain has fallen from 8th to 11th place in the REIAI, causing the authors to comment that a plethora of policy related announcements …has sentenced the UK’s renewables sector to death by a thousand cuts. OUCH

We listened to you telling us that we would have more power…that local councils would have more power and more responsibility…that localism was absolutely essential to our economic, social and political future. Then, double whammy. Gas storage which had been turned down by the Government previously was suddenly approved after 12 years of being denied planning, AND we were told that decisions about fracking in our local area were going to be decided by Central Government. That the decision of our County Council ( and by definition the people of Lancashire) to not allow fracking was to be taken out of our local hands.

I have heard that law abiding citizens like me, who having read and researched and watched and listened and come to the conclusion that fracking poses unacceptable risks to our air and water and public health are labelled as domestic extremists. People like me, a hard working British mother of two hard working children, and my opposition to fracking is somehow a threat to security? I must have misheard that one.

And then there was Paris. A true consensus on the need to keep global warming below 2 degrees. A recognition that we need to end our reliance on fossil fuels. We breathed a sigh of relief because IF we are serious about climate change, we have to keep our fossil fuels in the ground. Therefore, fracking and the rogue methane leaks ( you may remember I mentioned these earlier and if taken into account make fracked gas no cleaner than coal) make it incompatible with our climate change commitments. How do you square that one Mr Cameron? Is it a case of saying one thing and doing another, or is it that you haven’t taken the methane into account?

The floods. Terrible scenes of what used to be once in a Century events but that have been occurring much more regularly. Three times in the past 5 years. That’s Global warming for you!

I do think we should spend more on flood defences, but don’t let me get off topic. The floods. Yorkshire and Lancashire were particularly badly hit, and this may come as a surprise to you, but 20% of fracking licences are situated on flood plains. Flooding is terrible, but can you imagine consequences of flooding AND toxic wastewater ( there is also NORM in there- naturally occurring radioactive material.It comes up from underground with the 60% of the millions of gallons of fresh water used to frack a well that returns to the surface. Strangely, no one seems to know what happens to the 40% of water that stays underground, not even the fracking companies. One of life’s mysteries!).

Not to put too fine a point on it, I am REALLY opposed to fracking. All the things I have mentioned are not the legacy I wish to leave for my children and grandchildren…. jumping the gun a bit here, no grandchildren yet, but I am sure I will get some eventually. I cannot in all conscience justify fracking to anyone, for any reason. And, those of us who are opposed just want a healthy life for those we love. Fresh air, clean water and a future. A future not threatened by fracking or Climate Change and its consequences..

We live with uncertainty. With the threat of fracking in our communities.With the very real risks of fracking pollution. With constant changes to the law that appear to be attempts to hasten the process of fracking and impose it upon those who don’t want it regardless of £100,00 community bribes – ok, community incentives then. Bribes,well, that is just how I see it. We don’t oppose fracking because we are intransigent.. and believe me, we all have so many other things we could be spending time on rather than this protracted battle. We just believe that having seen the evidence, fracking is not the right thing to do.

So, Mr Cameron, here we are. I have said what I think and If I had one wish, it would be this. Go and find out for yourself about fracking. Not from the Treasury who may be swayed by the thought of tax revenues. Not from the industry who may be swayed by the thought of profit. Not from anyone who has anything to gain. Just research it and hear the stories of ordinary hard working families who have been impacted by this industry. Read of those who would like to move but cannot as their homes have no value…. of families who have no rest due to noise and light pollution 24 hours a day. Listen to people who have to rely on bottled water deliveries, not just for drinking, but for bathing and showering. See the misery and stolen years that I have seen and look at the scars on the landscape that will be there forever . Imagine these impacts on the hardworking British public and this industrialised landscape transported to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and Lancashire’s verdant fields and …

Then Mr Cameron, tell me the dash for gas is the right thing to do.”

Mr Menzies Replies

Today we received a response to our open letter to Mr Menzies.

It begs the question as to whether he actually read the letter we sent him which clearly laid out the shortcomings of the Statutory Instrument proposed by the Government, which shortcomings had to be admitted to, by the Minister under questioning from members of her very own party.

We reproduce his letter and the enclosure from Andrea Leadsom for reference here:

Of particular note is Mr Menzies’ implicit admission that the absence of a moratorium does not allow us to get a “robust regulatory framework” in place, and his readiness to accept the platitudes expressed by Ms Leadsom, in spite of having been provided with a clear analysis of how, in the proposed regulation, there are no restrictions on drilling in SPZ 1, 2 or 3, which would create pathways for possible contamination. Under the regulations as originally proposed, companies would be allowed to drill through any aquifer in any SPZ. There are also no restrictions on surface activity in any SPZs.

We think our MP should adopt a more analytical and critical approach to what he is told by his colleagues if he wishes to maintain the respect and support of the local electorate. It certainly isn’t appropriate that he should unchallengingly accept whatever he is told by his colleagues and then repeat the slurs in his column in the local paper.

 

menzies1

menzies2

This is what he enclosed from Ms Leadsom – interestingly what he refers to above as “very important points” are seen as “nothing more than scare stories” by his senior, but badly ill-informed, colleague. He subsequently repeated that “scare stories” insult in his column in the Lytham St Annes Express.

leadsom1leadsom2
Ms Leadsom either simply does not understand the points that were made to her Department on Tuesday 27th October during the committee meeting, or she is deliberately misleading her colleague, as she totally ignores the reality that the SI as proposed was a U-turn on what was promised by her government in January, and that she had been forced into a further “spectacular” U-turn as a result :

drillordropu

The fact that firstly Ms Leadsom appears so unaware of the reality, and secondly Mr Menzies seems so ready to be persuaded by her protestations that “there is no substance” to the “allegations”, when it was clear, even to other Conservative MPs like Michael Fabricant, that there was plenty of substance, is a cause of some concern to those of us who look to our elected MP to represent Fylde in Westminster and not Westminster in the Fylde.

He also enclosed a further letter from Ms Leadsom.
leadsom3

As you can read , it is full of the standard platitudes that we would expect, having listened to her struggling now on more that one occasion. The penultimate paragraph is interesting though as it demonstrates that Ms Leadsom is indeed aware that the SI was deficient in exactly the way that was alleged , and in a way which shows that the government had reneged on its clear undertaking in January that it would ban fracking from National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), World Heritage Sites and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

When the SI regulations were published, they did not include SSSIs in the ban on fracking and they permitted drilling under National Parks and AONBs at a depth of more than 1,200m. Ms Leadsom in an embarrassing U-turn now has to introduce further statutory legislation to remedy the deficiencies and to keep the promises her government made.

Exactly as was pointed out to Mr Menzies by Defend Lytham in our Open Letter before the committee meeting.

If there is any misinformation and scaremongering going on it is pretty apparent from which direction it is coming isn’t it?

Defend Lytham Urges Mark Menzies to vote against the Statutory Instrument legislation

Defend Lytham has today sent the following open letter to Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde.


Dear Mr Menzies

You have consistently argued that fracking can go ahead, provided there are robust regulations in place.

Those robust regulations must surely start with a commitment to ban fracking from areas that have already been officially designated by law as having high intrinsic value, either because they provide us with drinking water, are important wildlife reserves, and have important landscape value for wildlife, the general public and the local economy.

We are therefore writing to you, on behalf of the members of Defend Lytham and the wider community, regarding secondary legislation on fracking that is to be discussed, and then voted on, in Parliament this week.

Specifically, we would be grateful if you could answer the following questions before the Committee hearing takes place tomorrow.

  1. Will you attend the Delegated Legislation Committee hearing on Tuesday and speak against these flawed proposals?
  1. Will you shout ‘No’! to force a division when a motion to approve the Statutory Instrument is announced in the House of Commons?
  1. Will you vote against the Statutory Instrument legislation when it returns to the Commons for a full vote?
  1. Will you ask for new regulations to be brought forward to ban fracking both in and under SSSIs, National Parks and AONBs and all groundwater SPZs, including a ban on surface works within these protected areas, and a ban on drilling horizontally under these areas from wells situated just outside their borders?

We have prepared the following short briefing on the background, wording and implications of the Statutory Instrument that is to be debated on Tuesday for your information. We would be grateful if you could take the time to read it before letting us know the answers to the above questions.


 

Background Briefing

In January this year, the Government accepted an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill (now Act) that would have banned fracking in all groundwater source protection zones (SPZs), which are the areas that are designated to protect the aquifers that provide our drinking water.

Further to this, during the House of Commons debate on the Infrastructure Bill on 26th January, the then Energy Secretary Amber Rudd also made the following commitment on the floor of the House of Commons: “We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special scientific interest and areas of outstanding natural beauty.” Please see the relevant page in Hansard for the above quote.

These specific commitments were not, however, included in the text of the Infrastructure Act when it was passed, despite promises to do so on the floor of the House.

Section 50, Point 4A of the Infrastructure Act includes the following text:

(5) The associated hydraulic fracturing will not take place within protected groundwater source areas

(6) The associated hydraulic fracturing will not take place within other protected areas

However, what would constitute a ‘protected groundwater source area’ and ‘other protected areas’ as related to this particular piece of legislation was postponed until after the General Election by the following sections (Section 50, Point 4B) in the Infrastructure Bill, which states:

(4) The Secretary of State must, by regulations made by statutory instrument, specify—

     (a) the descriptions of areas which are “protected groundwater source areas”, and

   (b) the descriptions of areas which are “other protected areas”,

(6) The Secretary of State must lay a draft of the first such regulations before each House of Parliament on or before 31 July 2015.

On 16th July, just two days before the summer recess, Amber Rudd announced the content of the aforementioned Statutory Instrument (or SI), which, as you know, is a method of introducing secondary legislation on Bills that have already been passed). However, the content of this Statutory Instrument broke promises that had been made by the Government to the British public earlier in the year. Amber Rudd’s broken promises were widely reported in the press, as you can see in these articles in The Guardian.

Protected Groundwater Source Areas

As set out by the Environment Agency, Groundwater Source Protection Zones 1, 2 and 3 are areas around aquifers used for drinking water. The water protected by these areas provides a third of our drinking water.

The type of SPZ is defined by the travel time it would take for water to filter from the SPZ area to the aquifer:

  • SPZ 1 is defined as the total areas in which water would get back to the drinking water source within 50 days, and has a minimum radius of 50 metres.
  • SPZ 2 is where this would take just over a year – 400 days, and has a minimum radius of 250 metres
  • SPZ 3 designates the full catchment area where water would travel back to the drinking water source.

The amendment, as accepted by the Government in January, prohibited fracking in any and all SPZs without exception. However, the text of the SI to define which SPZs are protected is as follows:

Definition of ‘protected groundwater source areas’

2.–(1) This regulation defines ‘protected groundwater source areas” for the purposes of Section 4A of the (Infrastructure) Act.

(2) A ‘protected groundwater source area” is any land at a depth of 1200 metres beneath a relevant surface area.

(3) For the purpose of Paragraph 2, “relevant surface area” means any land at the surface that is –

(a)   within 50 metres of a point at the surface at which water is abstracted from underground strata and is used to supply water for domestic or food production purposes, or

(b)   within or above a zone defined by a 50-day travel time for groundwater to reach a groundwater abstraction point that is used to supply water for domestic or food production purposes.

The regulations as described above in the SI therefore only relate to SPZ1s – which are defined by a 50-day travel time and within 50 metres, as in 3a and b above – where fracking would be permitted below 1,200m (which is only 200m more than the depth allowed in any piece of unprotected land).

However, there are no restrictions on drilling in SPZ 1, 2 or 3, which would create pathways for possible contamination. Under these regulations companies would be allowed to drill through any aquifer in any SPZ. There are also no restrictions on surface activity in any SPZs. This means there are risks of surface and groundwater contamination: if there is a surface spill this could contaminate the surface water and groundwater.

All SPZs (1,2, and 3) feed aquifers used for drinking water and should be protected from the high risks of fracking.

Other Protected Areas

As mentioned above, Amber Rudd had promised the British public during the debate in the House in January that: “We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special scientific interest and areas of outstanding natural beauty.”

However, the relevant text defining ‘other protected areas’ in the Statutory Instrument is as follows:

Definition of ‘other protected areas’.

3. – (1) This regulation defines “other protected areas” for the purpose of section 4A of the (Infrastructure) Act.

(2) “Other protected areas are areas of land at a depth of less than 1,200 metres beneath –

a)     a National Park;

b)     The Broads;

c)     an area of outstanding natural beauty: or

d)     a World Heritage site

There are a number of points to make about the above definition of ‘other protected areas’ as defined in the Statutory Instrument.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)

Firstly, it is clear that SSSIs are not included as ‘protected areas’ under the terms of the Statutory Instrument, which means that fracking would be allowed in any SSSI below a depth of 1,000m (the minimum depth of any fracking operation, as defined elsewhere in the Infrastructure Act).

Therefore in SSSIs, which are the most ecologically sensitive of these sites, fracking companies would also be permitted to drill from the surface and frack below 1000m.

On this point, the RSPB said on 16th July that “The government has reneged on its commitment to rule out fracking in some of our most important wildlife sites. Despite promising in January to exclude fracking from SSSIs, today’s announcement ignores any such commitment, leaving some of the UK’s most valuable wildlife sites exposed to risk from future fracking.”

The omission of SSSIs from this legislation has also been strongly criticised by Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB has pointed out that nearly 300 SSSI have been included in the 14th Round of PEDL licences, and has again called for fracking in these areas to be banned.

National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs)

While the text in the Statutory Instrument appears to ban fracking in National Parks and AONBs, it is very important to note that the Statutory Instrument specifically defines these areas as areas of land at a depth of less than 1,200 metres from the surface.

This means, in effect, that the National Park stops at a depth of 1,200 metres and becomes ‘Crown land’, thus available for potential fracking.

At this point it is important to note that the definition of ‘hydraulic fracturing’ in the context of the Infrastructure Act is very limited, and refers only to the actual process of fracturing rock underground, not the whole process of drilling and production. This is specified in Section 4A, Point 1 of the Infrastructure Act, where ‘hydraulic fracturing’ is defined as ‘fracturing of shale or strata encased in shale’ – ie the underground fracturing of shale rock only – not the surface works that would inevitably accompany such hydraulic fracturing.

It is therefore significant that there is nothing contained in the Statutory Instrument or the Infrastructure Act itself to limit any surface works, such as establishing of well-sites or drilling of wells, including within the boundaries of National Parks and AONBs. So, given that the National Park or AONB only extends 1,200m below the surface, the scenario of a fracking company drilling through the park to fracture the rock underneath would not be prohibited under this legislation.

This means that there is nothing within the Infrastructure Act to prevent fracking companies from being allowed to drill from the surface in National Parks and AONBs, as long as they frack below 1,200m (which they would have to anyway, as the Bowland Shale is about 2-3,000m below the surface).

Fracking companies would also be allowed to set up their drilling rigs around the edges of these areas and drill horizontally underneath them.

The Delegated Legislation Committee meeting and subsequent vote

This Statutory Instrument legislation is to be debated at a Delegated Legislation Committee on Tuesday, October 27th, at 2.30 pm – Committee Room 9. The committee is made up of 18 MPs, only one of whom has the threat of fracking in his or her own constituency.

Any MP is allowed to attend the DL Committee meeting and speak in favour or against the legislation, although only those on the committee can vote.

After the DL Committee has met, the SI needs to be formally approved by the Commons. This means that on the next day, or soon after that, a motion for its approval will appear as one of the final items of business on the daily Agenda (or Order Paper).

If enough MPs shout ‘No!’ when this motion to approve SI is announced, it will force a division and there will need to be a full vote in the house (although sadly not a debate). This vote will not be on the same day, but would normally be deferred until the next Wednesday (4th November).

Four questions that your constituents would like answered

Having read our briefing, we would be grateful if you could answer the following questions and either email your responses or post them on your website before the Committee hearing on Tuesday.

1 Will you attend the Delegated Legislation Committee hearing on Tuesday and speak against these flawed proposals?

2 Will you shout ‘No’! to force a division when a motion to approve the Statutory Instrument is announced in the House of Commons?

3 Will you vote against the Statutory Instrument legislation when it returns to the Commons for a full vote?

4 Will you ask for new regulations to be brought forward to ban fracking both in and under SSSIs, National Parks and AONBs and all groundwater SPZs, including a ban on surface works within these protected areas, and a ban on drilling horizontally under these areas from wells situated just outside their borders?

You have been clear that if shale gas extraction is to go ahead it can only do so with robust regulation and strict environmental controls in place.. We ask you to demonstrate a visible commitment to this position by voting against this secondary legislation and asking the government to draft comprehensive legislation to ban fracking in and under legally protected areas.

Thank you for taking the time to read our letter, and we look forward to hearing your response as a matter of urgency.

Kind regards

The Defend Lytham Committee

The Ethical and Moral Considerations of Fracking

The Right Reverend Graham Cray made a very moving and thoughtful address at the meeting in Pickering, Yorkshire on 29th July. The text of the his address is shown below and is reproduced with permission:

The Ethical and Moral Considerations of Fracking

Personal introduction:

I am a retired but still active bishop in the Church of England. Formerly a vicar in York for 14 years. Later I was Bishop of Maidstone in the Diocese of Canterbury, then working nationally for the Archbishop’s in partnership with five other Christian denominations. I am speaking this evening in my own capacity, not on behalf of the Church of England or the Diocese of York.

At its meeting in York earlier this month the General Synod of the Church of England debated and overwhelmingly supported a motion on climate change, in advance of the forthcoming Paris summit.[i] It also endorsed a new policy on climate change and investment which has already seen the Church Commissioners disinvest in £12 million pounds worth of shares in 13 oil and mining companies. And there is more to come.[ii]

Now a declaration of interest:

I live in Main St Kirby Misperton. My wife and I have had a house in the village for 18 years, and moved there permanently 15 months ago. So if anyone has a right to be a NIMBE its me! (The Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said recently she quite enjoyed seeing wind farms but wouldn’t want one near her home. Even David Cameron would be a NIMBE if they wanted to frack as near to his house as they do to mine!)

But I’m not a NIMBE. I’m a NIABY (Don’t look for it in a dictionary – I made it up) Not In Anyone’s Back Yard. I believe fracking raises moral issues, and is a threat to human flourishing. Tonight I want to explain why.

I spoke recently on the phone to the Energy Editor of the Daily Telegraph. She had contacted us because we are local residents opposed to fracking. She heard my reasons and then said ‘Do you mean you think this is a moral issue?’ It didn’t seem to have occurred to her before.

Faith Communities

So let me give you my reasons. You do not have to be a believer in God to share these, and most of my comments will not be exclusively religious, but I am a Christian leader and faith communities bring an important perspective.

Christians share with the adherents of most faiths that we are answerable to the Creator, for the way we treat creation: That the planet is a gift, not a possession just to use as we wish.

This is the conviction of a wide range of denominations and religions, and is important because, to quote Pope Francis, ‘The majority of people living on our planet profess to be believers.’ It is fascinating that the first non Western Pope for centuries has chosen climate change as the topic of his first encyclical.[iii]

In it the Pope says ‘The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.’ He appealed for a rapid reduction in the use of fossil fuels. His stance was endorsed by the Dalai Lama at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.

In June the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Ecumenical Patriarch (senior bishop of all the Orthodox Churches in the world, and a leading campaigner for environmental responsibility) published a joint article in support of a new report by the Lancet and University College London, which highlights ‘the inalienable and undeniable link between climate change and human health.’[iv]

This month leaders of different denominations and world faiths in the UK signed the ‘Lambeth Declaration 2015 on Climate Change’[v]

‘As leaders of the faith communities we recognise the urgent need for action on climate change.

From the perspective of our different faiths we see the earth as a beautiful gift. We are all called to care for the earth and have a responsibility to live creatively and sustainably in a world of finite resources.

Climate change is already disproportionately affecting the poorest in the world. The demands of justice as well as of creation require the nations of the world urgently to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2oC, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun.

We have a responsibility to act now, for ourselves, our neighbours and for future generations.

The scale of change needed to make the transition to a low carbon economy is considerable and the task urgent. We need to apply the best of our intellectual, economic and political resources. Spirituality is a powerful agent of change. Faith has a crucial role to play in resourcing both individual and collective change.

My views on the morality of fracking are set within the overarching issue of climate change, and our responsibility to our neighbours and for future generations.

To quote John Weaver of the John Ray Initiative: ‘fracking is simply distracting energy firms and governments from investing in renewable sources of energy, and encouraging continued reliance on fossil fuels.’ …. ‘the real issue is the impact of our continued consumption of fossil fuels on climate change, and a much more significant question is whether investment in fracking will be at the expense of investment in renewables?’[vi]

Lord Sachs, the former Chief Rabbi says ‘The great faiths teach a different kind of wisdom: reverence in the face of creation, responsibility to future generations, and restraint in the knowledge that not everything we can do, should we do.”[vii]

In particular, the fact that we can extract shale gas, is no moral reason that we should.

If we want to avoid taking unacceptable risks with the planet we need to leave most of that fuel in the ground – either forever or at least until there’s an affordable and scalable way to stop the gases building up in the atmosphere.

For people of faith there is an inseparable link between love of God and love of neighbour. Faith in God is only authentic when it results in love for people. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment he replied with two. ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’ (Lk 10:27)St John wrote ‘Those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.’ (1Jn 4:20)

Morality is about the consequences of our actions, or our failure to act, and especially the consequences for others. It might not be necessary if we were individual islands, but we are not

I’m a child of the 60s, and I used to have the long hair to prove it. The 60’s had two mottos. ‘Do your own thing’ and ‘All you need is love’ But . ‘Do your own thing’ eventually destroyed ‘All you need is love’ In 1970 I sat in a field in the Isle of Wight for three days to hear Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, The Who and many other bands. I find it slightly ironic that 1970 is also the key date for the start of the marked increase in carbon emissions. I hope not triggered by the 600,000 of us who crossed the Island to get to the festival!

Moral choices are rarely black and white, they are judgements about the effects of our actions. Jesus teaching about ‘doing to others as you want them to do to you’, and ‘loving your neighbour’ has abiding relevance.

So my question is how does fracking effect others? What are its moral consequences?

When Jesus quoted the text ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ he was asked ‘Who is my neighbour’ He then told the story of aid to a person in need, across racial and religious boundaries. We call it the parable of the Good Samaritan.

So who is my neighbour when it comes to fracking? Whom do I have a moral responsibility to help?

My first answer is – The poor of the earth

‘As Climate change continues, it is the poorest in our world who will suffer the most.’ (Sir John Houghton)[viii]

The Lambeth Declaration stated ‘Climate change is already disproportionately affecting the poorest in the world.’

If you support an Aid Agency: Oxfam, Christian Aid, Cafod, Tear Fund, Muslim Aid, Islamic Aid and so on, you will find them all campaigning about climate change. Because they are dealing with its consequences in the poorest parts of the world now, and they try to address the causes in the West as well as the consequences in the South.

Many of the poorest countries in the world are already experiencing the impact of increased carbon emissions, and it will get worse because of the delay, the inertia, in the system

I was a bishop in the Diocese of Canterbury, and we were twinned with the Anglican Church in Madagascar; with Bishop Gilbert, Bishop Todd. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. The impacts of climate change in Madagascar directly threaten the survival of the island nation’s unique biodiversity, and the welfare of its people.

Earlier this year my wife and I visited South Sudan, a country devastated by decades of war, to support the development and other work of a new friend, Bishop Moses. But rainfalls have decreased in South Sudan by 10-20 % and temperatures have increased by more than 1 ºC (It got to 42 when we were there.) since the middle of the 1970s. The new nation’s Ministry of Environment has established a climate change unit but it is not operating due to lack of financial and human resources.

My colleague the Bishop of Salisbury recently led a delegation to Tanzania recently, in preparation for the General Synod debate; because Tanzania is one of the African nations most vulnerable to climate change.

Jackie and I remember meeting Bishop Michael, leader of the little Anglican Church in Bangla Desh, the nation most vulnerable to climate change in the world, where rises in sea level are devastating in a land already subject to serious flooding.

These are not distant lands to us, they are the homes of friends and colleagues. To give to aid agencies which are working to ameliorate the consequences of our carbon emissions, while approving the sourcing of a new fossil fuel, shale gas, is a moral contradiction.

We, in the developed nations, have a moral responsibility for the effects of our energy policy on other nations.

Climate change is also an ‘intensifier’ of other problems and conflicts in these nations. It makes them harder to solve. (You have all heard of Darfur, where climate change aggravated an already bitter conflict.) We have a problem with migrants, with refugees at the moment. It will seem trivial if we fail to reduce carbon emissions and more land becomes desert or perpetual flood. Prepare for the arrival of the climate refugees.

For the sake of the poor of the earth – we need to keep shale gas in the ground

My next neighbour is The next generation

‘Gases emitted now will cause atmospheric changes up to 50 years hence.’ (Michael Northcott)[ix]

Climate Change effects the poor of the earth now. 50 years on it will effect everywhere..

‘Intergenerational solidarity’ involves choices about what sort of world we pass on to our children.

‘The year 2050 – when the impacts of climate change will be strongly felt – may seem like the distant future for politicians, but it’s our children’s future and they have a right to have it protected.’ So say Save the Children

‘If present humans are making the earth uninhabitable for future generations and species, and for some presently existing peoples, by their lack of prudence in burning excessive amounts of fossil fuels, then they have a clear and urgent moral duty to moderate such activities,’ Professor Michael Northcott[x]

To give to Save the Children or Children in Need while supporting fracking is a moral contradiction.

For our children and grandchildren’s sake we need to ‘keep shale gas in the ground’

My next neighbour is The planet itself

Our home, where we are part of a ‘community of creatures’.

In our recent history we have treated the earth a though it was the local take away open 24 hours a day. Have as much fast food as you like! But it is our own home, which we are degrading by our way of life. To change the metaphor, we are in danger of cutting off the branch on which we are sitting.

According to a recent analysis of 131 research reports,[xi] one in six of the planet’s species will be lost forever to extinction if world leaders fail to take action on climate change – a tragedy with serious ramifications for people as well as ecosystems.

The study suggests that the risk of extinction accelerates with every degree increase in global temperature, But even if governments do manage to hold global warming to 2C, one in 20 species (5.2%) still face extinction.

Flamingo Land is in our village. Its partnership with the University of York Environment Department, the Udzungwa Forest Project[xii], is an integrated conservation, research and education project based in Tanzania, one of the country’s most threatened by climate change. How ironic that Ryedale could be simultaneously a source of increased carbon emissions, and the home of a program for conservation aimed at reducing the damage they cause!

For the sake of the planet, and its biodiversity, we need to keep shale gas in the ground.

My next neighbour is Rydale, our immediate home

My first concern is wellbeing.

To frack here is contrary to the long term wellbeing of this district and county.

This conviction has been arrived at cumulatively. I took time to make my mind up.

But then I read the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report from last January[xiii]. Compiled by a cross party group of MPs including Caroline Spelman, who was Secretary of State for Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

The report lists question after question where there are unsatisfactory or unproven answers.

Groundwater quality, the quantity of water required, waste water and its safe disposal, air emissions, methane (20 times as damaging as CO2 as greenhouse gas), health as we have heard tonight, habitat and biodiversity, seismic activity as in Lancashire, noise and disruption, and inadequate and fragmented monitoring regimes.

We need much better answers if we are to believe that fracking is safe and good.

My second concern is about Scale

At the Westminster Hall debate on shale gas, initiated by our MP Kevin Hollinrake, one of the contributions was by Alan Whitehead MP, also an author of the Environmental Audit report. ‘The estimates are’ he said ‘that, in order to divert, let us say, 10% of our gas supply from conventional gas into shale gas we would need to drill somewhere between 10,000 and 18,000 wells, and they would have to be re-drilled over a period. Of course, those wells would not be evenly distributed throughout the country. Wells would be concentrated in the two areas of the UK where there are reasonable shale plays. Those shale plays are geologically faulted and difficult to get at; nevertheless, they are the main areas: Bowland shale in the north-east of England and across the weald in the south.

We are looking at 10,000 to 18,000 wells concentrated in two parts of the country.’[xiv]

John Dewar’s evidence to the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee indicated Third Energy’s plans for 19 sites each with between 10 and 50 wells.[xv]

So how many wells here? how many lorries? How much water? How much waste water? How much capacity to process it? Etc

We are in danger of undermining the long term prosperity of this area – tourism, food, agriculture – for dubious short term energy gains.

It is absolutely crazy to do so at this time – After The Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire have drawn the attention of the world to this beautiful place. It is not just the National Park and Areas of Outstanding Beauty. It includes all that you can see from them, and what you are doing under them. Let alone the wellbeing of local communities.

So for the sake of Rydale we need to keep shale gas in the ground.

And then of course there’s Kirby Misperton and KM8

As we say ‘It all begins with one well’

So for the sake of Kirby Misperton, and all the other local villages, we need to keep shale gas in the ground.

 

Fracking is not for the Common Good’

It has no ‘social licence’ and if it is imposed, then democracy will be further undermined.

Such is the seriousness of carbon emissions that there would need to be a strong moral case in favour of developing a shale gas industry in the UK, rather than establishing a moral case against.

The only possible moral reason to allow fracking, assuming it were safe, would be as a brief interim solution until renewables can replace fossil fuels. ‘To keep the lights on’ as they say.

But that is unlikely to be the case. What energy company is going to invest for just a few years and then stop although most of the gas remains.? To quote the Environmental Audit Committee again –

‘Any large scale extraction of shale gas in the UK is likely to be at least 10–15 years

away. By that time, it is likely that unabated coal-fired power generation will have been phased out

to meet EU emissions directives, so fracking will not substitute for (more carbon intensive) coal. Continually tightening carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act will have significantly curtailed our scope for fossil fuel energy, and as a consequence only a very small fraction of the possible shale gas deposits will be burnable.’

Or we breach our international climate change commitments.

‘A moratorium on the extraction of unconventional gas through fracking is needed to avoid the UK’s carbon budgets being breached in the 2020s and beyond, and the international credibility of the UK in tackling climate change being critically weakened.’[xvi]

Most troubling have been our new Government’s commitment to ‘deliver shale’, while cutting subsidies on renewables. Especially concerning is the axing of plans to make new homes carbon neutral from 2016. It does look as though the policy is for shale gas to substantially replace renewables – or that will be the result id not the intent. Either way that is disastrous for the planet.

The British Academy is one of 24 national institutions (including the Royal Society) which have written a joint letter to the government, ahead of the Paris summit, urging immediate action on climate change. Its president Lord Nicholas Stern, said “The UK led the world with both the modern scientific revolution and the industrial revolution, and must lead again now on the creation of a safer, cleaner and more prosperous world,”

In other words, we have a moral responsibility to act on this.

But these institutions go on to say that ‘While the threats posed by climate change are far-reaching, the ways in which we tackle them can be a source of great opportunity. There exists vast potential for innovation, for example in low-carbon technologies. Capturing this potential quickly and effectively will drive economic progress. There are also significant additional benefits available from climate mitigation and adaptation actions, including food, energy and water security, air quality, health improvements, and safeguarding the services that ecosystems provide.’[xvii]

In other words there is a better way.

Fracking is being promoted as part of the delusion that climate change is not really as serious as the science indicates. Or that it can be solved without significant changes in our way of life. The problem is not that the science is wrong, but that it is inconvenient! That is a moral issue.

Climate change is an issue which effects us all morally in a way few others have –

‘The predicted extent of climate change is a novel moral problem. … Most people in British Empire did not own slaves, even though an important proportion of the wealth of the Empire was built on the profits from slave labour plantations. But every individual who has driven a car, or flown in an aeroplane, lived in an energy hungry modern house, bought clothes or computers made 10,000 miles away, or bought shares in a large corporation, is fractionally involved in global warming.’ Michael Northcott[xviii]

There is great generosity in the UK – we give when there is an overseas crisis, but at the moment we also fail to recognise that we are contributed to the greatest crisis of our age.

Some energy companies speak of ‘Sacrifice zones’ to describe the areas most impacted by their activities. But climate change requires a different form of sacrifice of us all – we need to keep less lights on.

There are two forms of immorality – doing what is wrong, and doing nothing about what you know to be wrong.

The greatest moral threat, to which fracking contributes, is being blind to the possibility of a genuinely better life. If we use shale gas and other fossil fuels to try to sustain our current way of life, all we do is degrade it – carbon emissions have no mercy. But we have the God given ingenuity and creativity, as the British Academy suggests, to create a better, more sustainable way of life more in tune with the limits our planetary home impose on us.

I oppose fracking for the sake of my neighbours, and in favour of a better way of life.

 

[i] ‘That this Synod, believing that God’s creation is holy, that we are called to protect the earth now and for the future, and that climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest, and welcoming the convergence of ecumenical partners and faith communities in demanding that the nations of the world urgently seek to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 20C, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun:

  1. (a)  urge all governments at the COP 21 meeting in Paris to agree long term pathways to a low carbon future, supported by meaningful short to medium term national emissions pledges from all major carbon emitting nations;
  2. (b)  endorse the World Bank’s call for the ending of fossil fuel subsidies and the redirection of those resources into renewable energy options;
  3. (c)  request the Environment Working Group to develop Shrinking the Footprint to enable the whole Church to address the issue of climate change, and to develop and promote new ‘ecotheological resources’, as proposed by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network in February 2015;
  4. (d)  request the Ministry Division to hear the call of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network bishops for programmes of ministerial formation and in-service training to include components on eco-justice and ecotheology; and
  5. (e)  encourage parishes and dioceses to encourage prayer and fasting for climate justice on the first day of each month.

 

[ii]‘That this Synod, accepting that the threat posed by climate change to the environment and human wellbeing requires urgent action to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and recognising that achieving this effectively without creating damaging and unintended economic consequences requires political subtlety, flexibility and a focus on achievable change:

    1. (a)  affirm the policy on climate change and fossil fuel investment developed following the Southwark DSM passed by the Synod in February 2014, recommended by the EIAG, and adopted by the National Investing Bodies (‘the NIBs’);
    2. (b)  welcome the disinvestment by the NIBs from companies focused on the extraction of oil sands and thermal coal;
    3. (c)  urge the NIBs to engage robustly with companies and policy makers on the need to act to support the transition to a low carbon economy and, where necessary, to use the threat of disinvestment from companies as a key lever for change; and
    4. (d)  request the EIAG and the NIBs to report to the Synod within three years with an assessment of the impact of the policy adopted, including the efficacy of engagement and the progress made on portfolio decarbonisation.’

 

[iii]ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ – ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME w2.vatican.va

[iv]Archbishop and Ecumenical Patriarch make joint call for action on climate change Friday 19th June 2015 archbishopofcanterbury.org

[v]Lambeth Declaration 2015 on Climate Change 16 June 2015 churchofengland.org

[vi] Revd. Dr. John Weaver Chair of the John Ray Initiative: connecting environment, science and Christianity

Former President of the Baptist Union 2008-9

[vii]Jonathan Sachs ‘The Dignity of Difference’ P172

[viii]Sir John Houghton chaired the Science Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the its third and fourth reports

[ix]The Revd. Professor Michael Northcott is the Professor of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh and a leading authority on the ethics of climate change.

[x] Michael Northcott ‘The Moral Climate’ DLT 2007 P22

[xi]One in six of world’s species faces extinction due to climate change study. theguardian.com 30th April 2015

[xii]Udzungwa Forest ProjectSee flamingoland.co.uk

 

[xiii] House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee: ‘The Environmental Risks of Fracking’ free PDF available from publications.parliament.uk

[xiv]Full text of the debate available at publications.parliament.uk Daily Hansard Westminster Hall 13th June 2015

[xv]Up to 50 fracking wells for Yorkshire sites. The Yorkshire Post 10th March 2015 yorkshirepost.co.uk

[xvi] House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee: ‘The Environmental Risks of Fracking’ free PDF available from publications.parliament.uk

[xvii]Act on climate change now, top British institutions tell governments. The Guardian 21st July 2015 theguardian.com

[xviii] The Moral Climate P55

[1] ‘That this Synod, believing that God’s creation is holy, that we are called to protect the earth now and for the future, and that climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest, and welcoming the convergence of ecumenical partners and faith communities in demanding that the nations of the world urgently seek to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 20C, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun:

  1. (a)  urge all governments at the COP 21 meeting in Paris to agree long term pathways to a low carbon future, supported by meaningful short to medium term national emissions pledges from all major carbon emitting nations;
  2. (b)  endorse the World Bank’s call for the ending of fossil fuel subsidies and the redirection of those resources into renewable energy options;
  3. (c)  request the Environment Working Group to develop Shrinking the Footprint to enable the whole Church to address the issue of climate change, and to develop and promote new ‘ecotheological resources’, as proposed by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network in February 2015;
  4. (d)  request the Ministry Division to hear the call of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network bishops for programmes of ministerial formation and in-service training to include components on eco-justice and ecotheology; and
  5. (e)  encourage parishes and dioceses to encourage prayer and fasting for climate justice on the first day of each month.

 

[1]‘That this Synod, accepting that the threat posed by climate change to the environment and human wellbeing requires urgent action to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and recognising that achieving this effectively without creating damaging and unintended economic consequences requires political subtlety, flexibility and a focus on achievable change:

    1. (a)  affirm the policy on climate change and fossil fuel investment developed following the Southwark DSM passed by the Synod in February 2014, recommended by the EIAG, and adopted by the National Investing Bodies (‘the NIBs’);
    2. (b)  welcome the disinvestment by the NIBs from companies focused on the extraction of oil sands and thermal coal;
    3. (c)  urge the NIBs to engage robustly with companies and policy makers on the need to act to support the transition to a low carbon economy and, where necessary, to use the threat of disinvestment from companies as a key lever for change; and
    4. (d)  request the EIAG and the NIBs to report to the Synod within three years with an assessment of the impact of the policy adopted, including the efficacy of engagement and the progress made on portfolio decarbonisation.’

 

[1]ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ – ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME w2.vatican.va

[1]Archbishop and Ecumenical Patriarch make joint call for action on climate change Friday 19th June 2015 archbishopofcanterbury.org

[1]Lambeth Declaration 2015 on Climate Change 16 June 2015 churchofengland.org

[1] Revd. Dr. John Weaver Chair of the John Ray Initiative: connecting environment, science and Christianity

Former President of the Baptist Union 2008-9

[1]Jonathan Sachs ‘The Dignity of Difference’ P172

[1]Sir John Houghton chaired the Science Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the its third and fourth reports

[1]The Revd. Professor Michael Northcott is the Professor of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh and a leading authority on the ethics of climate change.

[1] Michael Northcott ‘The Moral Climate’ DLT 2007 P22

[1]One in six of world’s species faces extinction due to climate change study. theguardian.com 30th April 2015

[1]Udzungwa Forest ProjectSee flamingoland.co.uk

 

[1] House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee: ‘The Environmental Risks of Fracking’ free PDF available from publications.parliament.uk

[1]Full text of the debate available at publications.parliament.uk Daily Hansard Westminster Hall 13th June 2015

[1]Up to 50 fracking wells for Yorkshire sites. The Yorkshire Post 10th March 2015 yorkshirepost.co.uk

[1] House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee: ‘The Environmental Risks of Fracking’ free PDF available from publications.parliament.uk

[1]Act on climate change now, top British institutions tell governments. The Guardian 21st July 2015 theguardian.com

[1] The Moral Climate P55

Cuadrilla apply for deferral of crucial LCC DCC meeting

Defend Lytham are not surprised to hear that Cuadrilla have requested a deferral in the determination of their planning applications. No doubt they are uncomfortable about LCC councillors deciding the fate of their exploration wells in a week where the former Conservative Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman has called for a moratorium on shale gas exploration, citing concerns over climate impact, and when the fracking related proposals in the Government’s hugely unpopular Infrastructure Bill will be coming under intense scrutiny.

It is hard to understand how, having failed to satisfy the planning officers in the first instance they now expect to be allowed back for a second bite of the cherry, and we note that whilst they claim to be able to reduce the noise from their activities to a level no greater than 37dB, they appear to have had problems in Balcombe (1) keeping to the 42 Db limit imposed by the council there, and had to stop work whilst this was investigated.

We also have some serious concerns over the other impact issues with which the Planning Officers declared themselves satisfied, and we would like to raise a question as to whether some of the assumptions made in the Report are in fact acceptable under the National Planning Policy Framework.

Any deferral of this meeting will be hugely inconvenient to a large number of people, including the Councillors on the Development Control Committee and those who have arranged to speak to the various issues at the meeting. Unless Cuadrilla can come up with an altogether more convincing explanation we can see no reason why the meeting should not go ahead as originally planned

LCC planners recommend refusal for Cuadrilla Permits

Today planning officers at Lancashire County Council published their long awaited recommendations on Cuadrilla’s applications to extract shale gas at their proposed sites at Roseacre and Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

The planners cited unacceptable noise and traffic impacts as the reasons for their recommendations

Edward Cook from Defend Lytham commented: “We are delighted that the council’s officers have seen sense and recommended these developments for refusal, although we are more than a little surprised that the other serious concerns expressed by the more than 27,000 people who wrote in to object, appear to have been dismissed.

These concerns are around impacts on air quality, archaeology and cultural heritage, greenhouse gas emissions, community and socio economics, ecology, hydrogeology and ground gas, induced seismicity and subsidence, land use, landscape and visual amenity, lighting, resources and waste, water resources ad public health.

Defend Lytham welcome this decision and trust that political pressure from central government will not be brought to bear on LCC councillors to vote against the recommendations of their own officers next week”

Cuadrilla, Permits and the EA

Today the Environment Agency finally granted Cuadrilla their environmental permit which was need to allow them to extract shale gas at their proposed site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

The Environment Agency had made it clear last November that they were minded to grant Cuadrilla the environmental permits needed to carry out their operations so this news comes as no surprise.

In the Environment Agency’s Press Release we read that:

Steve Molyneux, Environment Manager for Lancashire, said:
“After completing a rigorous assessment of Cuadrilla’s application and the public consultation responses, we are confident the permits issued will ensure people and the environment are protected. The right controls are in place to manage waste and the flaring of gas safely, and protect local water resources. We value the feedback received during the public consultation and will continue to work with the local community. Should Cuadrilla begin exploration, we will ensure the permit conditions are enforced.”

We have serious concerns about Mr Molyneux’s ability to ensure that the lengthy permit conditions are in fact enforced. The EA’s ability to do so is highly questionable given the recent decimation of staff as a result of the 15% budget cuts at the environment agency in 2013.

As a result it is likely that we will have to rely on Cuadrilla complying with these regulations voluntarily – effectively marking their own homework – at a time when the financial pressure on the shale gas companies is increasing with every downward lurch of the price of oil.

Defend Lytham are worried that financial pressure may lead to corners being cut (as happened in the Gulf of Mexico disaster).

Cuadrilla’s previous track record on complying with regulations at Banks near Southport and in Balcombe does not inspire much confidence.

Mike Hill to speak at IET seminar

Defend Lytham are pleased to announce that Mike Hill, Chartered Engineer from St. Annes and BREF EU Commission Member MTWR (incl. shale gas) will be one of the speakers at a Seminar held by the Institution of Engineering and Technology on Tuesday May 20th 2014.

The main speakers are:-

Professor Paul Younger, for the RS/RAEng Working Group on Fracking
John Blaymires, CEO IGas
Andrew Dobbie, OUGO
Michael Hill, Chartered Engineer
Prof Sharon Clarke , Manchester Business School

The RS/RAE produced a report in June 2012 “ A Review of Hydraulic Fracturing “ which made 10 recommendations, but as only one of these has actually been implemented by the government, the debate should prove lively and informative.

With the recent announcement of 8 shale gas wells to be hydraulically fractured in the Fylde, this topic will be of interest to all watching the development of this new industry.

The meeting will be held at: – Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington between 12:25 and 17:30

Defend Lytham Respond to Fracking Survey

Defend Lytham read with interest the findings of the new “Britain Thinks Survey” from Cuadrilla. Two things stand out from it.

Firstly the huge discrepancy between these reported survey results and national polls by YouGov, executed at about the same time, which show clearly that local people are very wary of fracking their local area. YouGov suggest that 46% oppose fracking their own area whilst only 25% support it.

Secondly the supposed benefits that most local people identify are jobs and cheaper energy.

It is ironic that these survey results were issued the day after job estimates for the entire UK industry were slashed by more than two thirds in a study by AMEC for the DECC(2). Direct and indirect job estimates for the entire UK industry, based on a report from the Institute of Directors in June (74,000), were slashed by more than two thirds in a study by AMEC for the DECC (15,900- 24,300). The AMEC study also shows that any employment is likely to last only 4-9 years and that so far local people have only been given 17% of any jobs.

We already know that Cuadrilla have admitted that fracking won’t bring cheaper energy.

What these survey results show is the a lot of local people are going to be very disappointed if shale gas extraction is allowed in the Fylde, because research shows that the benefits they expect are extremely unlikely to materialise.

Frack Free Lancashire

Frack Free Lancashire

Fracking In the UK

Fracking The UK

If you want to learn about fracking this book comes highly recommended!

"Untrustworthy, unbalanced and potentially brain washing." - Amazon Review - Yes the industry hates this book that much :-)