Yes, that is true. Lancashire County Council have received 25,000 letters objecting to the proposed gas exploration at Roseacre and Westby in the Fylde Area.
Now that is an impressive number of letters and surely the council must reject Cuadrilla’s planning applications?
But what did the letters say? Most are pro-formas listing objections downloaded from RAFF (Residents acaction against Fracking,Fylde)’s website or from a print-off. For example, at the Garstang Show on Saturday 2nd August 2014, those visiting the Anti-fracking stall were given this letter and asked to sign. My informant was given a copy by XXXXXXX from RAFF and asked to sign without reading it. My informant preferred to take it home and consider it before signing and XXXXXX was not well pleased :(.
So poor LCC are going to have to read 25,000 letters and read, mark and inwardly digest all of them. As for the 25,000 letters the false science these were based on is the same that we complained to the ASA about in Shale Gas;the Facts, and that RAFF was unable to defend.
Out of all the objections , over 18000 were template letters templates & 11500 from outside Lancs, and apparently some from New Zealand, so presumably they are worried about a drill going right through the earth 🙂 . As I know some were asked to sign without understanding what was written these are valueless.
And from the Planning Officer’s Report p70
Representations The development has generated a significant number of representations the majority of which object to the proposal although there are a smaller number offering support for the proposal. The reasons for objecting and supporting the proposal are summarised in Appendix 2.
Up to the end of May 2015 a total of 18022 representations objecting to the proposal had been received, with 1062 duplicate letters from the same individuals. Most of these were in the form of generic template letters. 3013 of the objections were from within Fylde and this is 4.87% of the adult population (3.99% of the total population of Fylde) and 219 were from within a 2km radius of the site. 6862 of the representations were received from outside Lancashire. Many of the representations object to the principle of exploring for and placing future reliance on the use of hydrocarbons as a means of providing an energy resource and that investment and consequent employment opportunities would be better directed into renewable and more sustainable energy resources. There is further objection to the proposed methodology for the exploration of shale gas and the unacceptable impacts associated with such along with the localised impacts of the proposed development itself on the area, environment and communities.
A number of petitions have been received objecting to fracking in principle as well as the specific proposals the subject of this application and application LCC/2014/0101 at Roseacre Wood:
Friends of the Earth 7548
Friends of the Earth 23624 (Not 75,000 as reported on the front page to the petition) Defend Lytham 924
Weeton St Michaels C of E Primary School 241
Roseacre, Wharles and Treales 192
217 representations in support have been received, mainly from economic bodies (e.g. Chambers of Commerce) that refer to the economic benefits that shale gas could bring.
Any further representations received following the finalisation of this report will be reported to the Committee at the meeting.
Some of the objections maintain that planning permission should not be granted in view of the alleged poor track record of the applicant when carrying out operations at other sites within its control however, this is not a material consideration.
The issues raised in representations have been addressed relative to the ‘topic’ areas that they have been summarised into and which are many. There is an assumption that the number of representations received assist in demonstrating the level of opposition and consequently the proposal should be refused. However, it is the issues raised rather than the number of representations received (this view has been supported in recent case law – see below) and it is considered that these have properly been addressed a part of the assessment of the application.
On another front one local cllr has received more pro-fracking letters than antis, and usually replied to those against Dear Madam, Thankyou for your pro-forma letter!
In view of the deliberate disinformation presented in these letters, it is questionable whether these should be taken seriously.
For myself I have received letters from 90yr olds saying they like what I say, and almost all I meet are in favour or not bothered. Probably the level of disinterest is greater than support for fracking. Those against are usually tentatively so, or worried about NIMBY concerns which is fair enough. Or the antis are just scared of me 🙂 🙂 🙂
Rather than read 25,000 they only need to read the pro-forma;
First, a copy handed out on 2/8/14
And secondly downloaded from the website (that for Westby is essentially the same but altered for a different locality):
Lancashire County Council,
Transport and Environment,
Development Management Group,
County Hall, PO Box 100,
Preston, PR1 0LD
Dear Sir or Madam,
PLANNING APPLICATION NO. LCC/2014/0101
“CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF A SITE FOR DRILLING UP TO FOUR EXPLORATION WELLS, HYDRAULIC FRACTURING OF THE WELLS, TESTING FOR HYDROCARBONS AND OTHER USES ANCILLARY TO THE EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES INCLUDING THE CONSTRUCTION OF A PIPELINE AND A CONNECTION TO THE GAS GRID NETWORK TO LAND WEST, NORTH AND EAST OF ROSEACRE WOOD, ROSEACRE ROAD AND INSKIP ROAD, WHARLES”
I am writing to object to the above planning application by Cuadrilla Elswick Ltd. There is growing evidence that shale gas extraction poses serious risks to human health and the environment, as a result, many countries and towns around the world have banned this practice. For this reason, the precautionary principle should be applied in order to protect Lancashire residents from the unavoidable impacts of shale gas development. I wish to object on the following grounds:
– Well integrity – This is a chronic industry problem that they are unable to solve, all wells fail with age resulting in a toxic legacy for current and future generations. They remain unmonitored in the ground forever.
– Ecology – Unavoidable negative impacts to the environment, Lancashire wildlife including protected species and their natural habitats and rural character. The site is close to Medlar Meadows and Medlar Ditch BHS Sites, Wyre Estuary SSSI, Morecambe Bay RAMSAR and Ribble Estuary SSSI RAMSAR site, an internationally important site for wildlife, including wintering wildfowl. Roseacre is the home to protected species such as bats, brown hare, barn owls and great crested newts.
– Lack of regulation and enforcement – Cuadrilla have demonstrated numerous breaches of their planning permissions in Lancashire and Balcombe evidencing a dangerous gap in regulatory enforcement.
– Air pollution & Greenhouse Gases – Unavoidable due to flaring, methane emissions, particulate matter, ozone & traffic.
– Water pollution – Contamination of nearby Thistleton Brook could result in pollution of local water sources used by local farmers for their livestock.
– Unsuitable geology – Professor David Smythe stated that Lancashire is unsuitable for fracking due to it’s faulted geology. Subsequently, there is a risk to communities from induced seismic activity.
– Seismicity – The traffic light system is a warning system and cannot prevent seismic activity once it has been induced.
– Health impacts – Evidence from the USA suggests vast negative health impacts, inc. neurological, dermatological and respiratory illness. A Cornell university study evidenced low birth weights in infants in communities close to gas drilling, whilst the Bamberger Oswald study discovered stillbirths and birth defects in animals due to air emissions from flaring, traffic and chemical exposure. The cumulative health effects have not been adequately studied.
– Noise – An unavoidable negative impact for local residents. There is very little noise pollution at present. Cuadrilla exceeded noise levels set in planning permission at Balcombe.
– Light pollution – An unavoidable impact that would significantly affect local residents as little light pollution at present.
– Visual impact – The development would impact the rural character of the local area. The site is situated between two hamlets which are part of a single community effectively dividing a community in half.
– Traffic – The narrow country lanes are totally unsuitable for HGV’s especially on Dagger Road and Roseacre Road where HGV’s would not be able pass safely and would endanger other road users.
– Cyclists/horse riders/walkers – the route is used by hundreds of cyclists, riders and walkers. Use of this route by HGV’s would present a serious risk of injury to cyclists, riders and other road users and also loss of social amenity.
– Waste disposal – There are inadequate measures in place to treat and dispose of the vast quantities of waste water nor is there sufficient capacity for such huge volumes of hazardous waste at treatment facilities.
– Unsustainable water usage – Public drinking water must be preserved at all costs. Such vast amounts should not be utilized for gas drilling, especially given the water shortages in recent years.
– Depreciation of property value – An unavoidable impact due to a substantial nearby industrial development.
– Liability for damage – There is no assurance that Cuadrilla will accept liability for damage. Local authorities and communities will be left to bear the cost of any damage caused by the proposed development.
The proposal conflicts with Fylde local plan policies designed to protect the countryside, valuable habitats, agricultural land, water resources, groundwater and air quality, and the Lancashire minerals plan policy to protect water, air, soil and biodiversity from harm. LCC should acknowledge the short and long-term impacts that intensive shale gas development would have on Lancashire communities and the rural character of Lancashire. By granting this application LCC would be setting a precedent for intensive gas drilling in rural Lancashire for many years to come. This industrial development would have significant negative impacts on the environment, the quality of life of communities as well as the leisure, tourism and food production industries. On these grounds I strongly urge Lancashire County Council to reject the application.
PRINT NAME: ADDRESS:
SIGNED: POST CODE :
Now this is a fearsome list of objections and surely the committee will bounce the application?
There are 17 objections and on the surface they seem irrefutable. However, those familiar with fracking and the activities of anti-frackers will identify them as classic anti-frack memes and factoids. This time of argument forms the basis of all anti-frack groups and appeared in a beautifully produced leaflet from RAFF entitled Shale Gas; the facts. As a result of the impending Advertising Standards Authority ruling this month it was withdrawn for revision http://stopfyldefracking.org.uk/ , however I cannot understand why RAFF were delighted, except for damage limitation.
(I hope she does not wear y-fronts 🙂 )
To go through all 17 points would be tedious as it has all been done before by groups who know their stuff; whether the EA, DECC, BGS and the work of those like James Verdon http://frackland.blogspot.co.uk/ or Peter Styles
The trouble is that to comment on it I suffer from the effects of the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics;
That means to those who don’t like sums it takes at least 10 times as long to refute it, which is a gross underestimate, as except for simply correctly saying “bullshit”, each point needs explanation and the many references to explain why they are wrong. A bullshit comment like these 17 points always seems plausible if one has no knowledge of the subject. Just ask a geologist to explain this rock (from near Dunsop Bridge) in a sentence;
I will not attempt to, except to say the dark rocks are Bowland Shales (gas-rich) and the reddish is Hind Sandstone. Though I suppose a Creationist would say that they were laid down in the Flood!!
I will let all my readers spend some delightful hours considering each point and make their own minds up.
So I wonder what the committee will make of these 25,000 objections. I presume they will carefully weigh up the 17 points against the professional depositions they will have received.