Frack Free Lancashire gets it wrong -again? with our apology

3rd June 2015

Oh, deary me! Another fractivist leaflet bites the dust.

 Isn’t it funny that though fractivists say their research (i.e google and guesswork) is so good, they keep pulling their publications rather than let a complaint to the ASA take its course. It happened to Frack Free Somerset and then RAFF https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/complaint-to-asa-against-raff-residents-action-on-fracking-fylde-for-gross-errors/ in early January this year. And now Frack Free Alliance, a mysterious groups seeming tied to Frack Free Lancs apron strings. Rather than pressing ahead and answering Ken’s gentle criticisms they have decided to withdraw the leaflet , which is simply an admission of guilt.

It is amazing how groups like this carry on peddling their false ideas.

Still, another on the scrap heap and I wonder who is next!!

 

frackfreeall

And here’s the ruling from the ASA

https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/Advanced-Search.aspx?Start=03/06/2015&End=03/06/2015&Advertiser=frack%20free%20alliance#2

The relation of Frack Free Alliance and Frack Free Lancashire is most odd, but here is the only web refrence to FFA on FFL’s websites, which was removed as soon as the ASA position was published!!

FFLfarmers

 

 

FarmersLeaflet-300x264

Stop press 16 May 2015; Errors in our complaint.

Grovel, grovel, abject apologies

Yes, we hold our hands up as we made an error!!

We made an error saying that the leaflet was distributed by Frack Free Lancs, whereas it was Frack free Alliance. Frack Free Lancs  used to have the website Stopfyldefracking which is the same as RAFF  but this changed a month or so ago). Apologies for that but in view of the fact that RAFF have continued to distribute this inaccurate leaflet (Shale Gas; the Facts), and do not accept that they have been shown up as scaremongerers means our regrets are very limited. We apologise just like a kid who’s pinched his sister’s biscuit.

However we are mystified by Frack Free Lancashire referring to Frack Free Alliance and also as why Frack-Off was referred to. Frack-Off has no reference to this in their website or Facebook page. Here it is FFL’s website http://frackfreelancashire.org.uk/cms/

FFLfarmers

 

FFA contacts

 

Surpirsingly Frack Free Alliance cannot be found on Google, facebook or twitter.  From its apparent total absence on social media, it would appear that FFA is a fictitious group, invented to be immune from scrutiny, or, possibly, it is a mutant caused by the fracking at Preese Hall and has not yet been able to get onto social media. It seems to be the only fractivist organisation which has zero social media presence.

So far we have only found this leaflet on one website and it is , guess what;

http://frackfreelancashire.org.uk/files/Farmers_Fracking_Flyer_15.01.15.pdf

What a surprise!

As the supposed FFA has produced this article, perhaps we should find out who PAID the Farmers Guardian to include the leaflets. Maybe  the Farmers Guardian would like to know as well.

Meanwhile, everyone can search for the mysterious Frack Free Alliance.

I hope this enough of a grovel.

***************************************************************************************

Earlier this year the Farmers Guardian included a leaflet PAID FOR by Frack Free Lancashire, and is thus open to scrutiny by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). FFL has the same website http://stopfyldefracking.org.uk/ as RAFF Residents Against Fracking; Fylde as this poster demonstrates

012

Here is the complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority concerning a leaflet distributed in the ‘Farmers Guardian’ in early 2015 by Frack Free Lancashire.

I have not gone into great detail in these complaints, as we will see what comes of the preliminary judgement. (May 5th 2015)

Frack Free Lancashire is an umbrella group that includes many smaller anti frack groups, including Resident Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF) that I have complained about before. https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/complaint-to-asa-against-raff-residents-action-on-fracking-fylde-for-gross-errors/

RAFF withdrew their advertising at the end of December 2014, and were instructed not to present any of their claims again.   https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/raff-a-lancashire-anti-fracking-group-has-been-forced-to-withdraw-flawed-leaflet/ In spite of that, many of the points that we complained about then have reappeared. I would appreciate that the ASA take this complaint through to council for adjudication. This is the third such complaint I have made, and these groups avoid publicity after misleading the public, by simply withdrawing.

The origin of a lot of this disinformation is from Friends of the Earth, and Greenpeace. In view of the national importance being attached to this by government it seems to be a matter of importance that this complaint be taken to the ASA council. I requested strongly late in 2014 that this happen with the recent RAFF complaint but the promises of RAFF not to repeat these claims were accepted by the ASA. It seems that this trust was misplaced, as they have repeated these claims by proxy.

 

Complaint 1.  There are several statements that refer incorrectly to pollution potential.

    1. Water contamination This may be from gas, from the toxic chemicals used in fracking.
  • Contact with fracking fluids can lead to death of livestock, spontaneous abortion or infertility.
  • If drilling waste water or fracking chemicals contact your soil, it will become contaminated and infertile, no longer fit for farming.
  • If people knew that your produce was grown or reared in a contaminated area, would they still buy it?

 

There are no toxic chemicals permitted in fracture fluids. Only ‘non-hazardous’ chemicals are permitted for hydraulic fracturing fluids in the UK by the Environment Agency (EA). The nature (though not the concentration) of these chemicals must be made available to the public.

The European wide Groundwater Directive  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32006L0118  is European legislation that states. In order to protect the environment as a whole, and human health in particular, detrimental concentrations of harmful pollutants in groundwater must be avoided, prevented or reduced.

The Environment Agency regulations (EA) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2010/9780111491423/contents state we must take all necessary measures to:

  • prevent the input of any hazardous substance to groundwater and
  • limit the input of non-hazardous pollutants to groundwater so as to ensure that such inputs do not cause pollution of groundwater http://www.ukoog.org.uk/knowledge-base/regulation/what-is-the-process [114]

The pollutants the Environment Agency are concerned with for groundwater are:

  • Hazardous substances, which are substances or groups of substances that are toxic, persistent and liable to bioaccumulate, and other substances or groups of substances that give rise to an equivalent level of concern.
  • Any non-hazardous pollutants, which is ‘any pollutant other than a hazardous substance

Substances on List I of the binding Groundwater Directive (80/68/EEC) are taken to be hazardous substances http://www.ukoog.org.uk/knowledge-base/regulation/what-is-the-process

The Environment Agency list of chemicals does not contain all of those that may be proposed in hydraulic fracturing. The regulations above indicate that authorisation would be decided on a case by case basis, using the above protocols.

 

Complaint 2    ‘If drilling waste water or fracking chemicals contact your soil, it will become contaminated and infertile, no longer fit for farming.’

All waste water and drill cuttings disposal is covered by licence from the Environment Agency. They need a licence and an approved procedure to remove, retreat, or reuse the water. It will not be dumped on land. This can be seen on this link. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277211/Water.pdf

 

Complaint 3  50 % of wells leak within 15 years and all wells leak eventually. Boreholes are particularly at risk.

This is a common misconception.This is based on a paper from Schlumberger,  http://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/en/pdf/Publications/MudCement2003.pdf in 2003. In this, the problem of ‘sustained casing pressure’ is tackled, and the company helpfully provides a solution. Wells have a number of barriers to leaking gas, and a single leak is not good, but it does not necessarily mean a leak of fluids to the environment. It is also fixable by ‘squeezing’ cement. The technique is described here  http://petrowiki.spe.org/Remedial_cementing . Leaks in the USA that have been heavily publicized have all been repaired. Further details are available on this link  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing_in_the_United_Kingdom#Well_leak_concerns . There are currently no wells leaking in the UK  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/268623/13_1664.pdf , with over 2000 land wells, and 6500 offshore wells. There were some historical problems but these have been fixed.  This paper  http://www.spe.org/atce/2013/pages/schedule/tech_program/documents/spe166142-page1.pdf indicates ‘true well integrity failure rates are two to three orders of magnitude lower than single barrier failure rates’

There is no data to support the idea that ‘all wells leak eventually’.

 

Complaint 4   Health risks to you, your family, your staff and your livestock Studies from around the world show that the process is extremely detrimental to health….some are carcinogenic and others can affect endocrine, immune and nervous systems. Contact with fracking fluids can lead to death of livestock, spontaneous abortion or infertility.

There is no reliable peer reviewed data to support these health effects. See complaint 1. Doubtless many studies will be quoted, but so many of these have been discounted by State Medical officers (McKenzie 2014), or not published (Elaine Hill 2013). In fact the health outcomes in many US states have improved as clean burning gas has replaced polluting coal. The regulatory regime in the UK is much stricter than the US. As such, the source of potential pollution pathways has been examined, by competent bodies such as the RAE, HSE, HPE, CIWEM, EA, DECC and regulations developed accordingly, to avoid some of the potential issues from the US. As such, even if there were documented health issues from the USA, they would not apply in the UK due to different fluid handling regulations, administered by the Health and Safety Executive, (HSE) and the EA. The use of open pits to handle fluid and flowback is not permitted  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277211/Water.pdf for example (see page 4 of the link).

 

Complaint 5   Toxic gases are emitted from the well during flaring and through well leakage…

Air, noise and light pollution. During operations, drills and compressor stations operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with flood-lighting required at night. Emissions from drilling pads, HGV traffic, compressors and other related equipment can give rise to “gas field haze” with high levels of ozone. This can result in weaker, stunted plants, inferior crop quality and decreased yields.

The overall air impact of the process, as described on this Environmental Impact Assessment. http://cuadrillaresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/PNR_ES_Vol3_Non-Tech-Summary.pdf (Page 23, this is the non technical summary. The whole document can be seen here) http://cuadrillaresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/PNR_ERA.pdf

This assessment also assessed the potential quantities of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM), specifically radon that could be emitted during flaring. None of the predicted emissions exceed these minimum safe limits. So, it is concluded that the Project will not result in a significant effect on air quality

The use of the word ‘toxic’ means to cause harm to living things. This is not applicable here.

Any ‘gas field haze’ (whatever that is) would not be permitted, as it would only occur in poorly regulated US areas, with emissions that are not permitted in the UK, and a concentrated well spacing that would not be permitted under local planning laws.

In terms of well leakage, it is required that the gas only be vented for safety reasons, as can be seen here. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277219/Air.pdf (Pages 2 to 4.)

With regard to light and noise pollution, this is covered by planning regulations, and is mentioned on pages 30 and 31. The planning permissions for Cuadrilla in Lancashire were turned down on excess noise problems, for instance.

 

Complaint 6   Fracking requires huge volumes of water. If water is extracted locally, your water source may be diminished.

This is covered by an agreement with Water UK. See page 6 of this https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277211/Water.pdf   In fact water usage is quite tiny, and MUCH smaller than industry, or farming. To frack one well, in the North West, it would need 1% of the daily leak rate http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17622837 from United Utilities, for example. It is not necessary for a well to be fracked during water shortage times, and the water can be stored, anyway.

 

Complaint 7   Industrialisation of your land. Each development requires a 2.5 acre drilling pad with up to 12 gas wells. Pipes and inter-connecting roadways will be needed together with a compressor and a toxic waste water tank. Your land will be industrialised.

This statement disregards the distance between well pads, and as such is misleading. It is anticipated that with 2.5km of horizontal drilling, one of these pads would be needed every 5km in a square pattern.

 

Complaint 8   No assurances have been given by the Government that landowners will be protected from losses or claims for damages if issues arise.

This is incorrect, as a fund was included in the recently passed Infrastructure Bill to cover for this eventuality. It was included in all of the preliminary readings of the bill and FFL should have been aware of that.

 

Ken Wilkinson and Rev Michael Roberts

The leaflet from Frack Free Fylde – without the illustrations.

FARMERS

LOCK YOUR GATES!

8 Compelling Reasons

to reject hydraulic fracturing (fracking), underground coal gasification (UCG) and coal bed methane (CBM) extraction on your land

1 Water contamination This may be from gas, from the toxic chemicals used in fracking, or from natural substances present in shale rock – heavy metals, radioactive substances and toxic compounds.These may be brought to the surface with waste water or through well leakage. 50 % of wells leak within 15 years and all wells leak eventually. Boreholes are particularly at risk.

2 Health risks to you, your family, your staff and your livestock Studies from around the world show that the process is extremely detrimental to health. Toxic gases are emitted from the well during flaring and through well leakage, some are carcinogenic and others can affect endocrine, immune and nervous systems. Contact with fracking fluids can lead to death of livestock, spontaneous abortion or infertility.

3 Soil contamination If drilling waste water or fracking chemicals contact your soil, it will become contaminated and infertile, no longer fit for farming.

4 Your ground water supply may diminish Fracking requires huge volumes of water. If water is extracted locally, your water source may be diminished.

5 Industrialisation of your land Each development requires a 2.5 acre drilling pad with up to 12 gas wells. Pipes and inter-connecting roadways will be needed together with a compressor and a toxic waste water tank. Your land will be industrialised.

6 Short-term gain, long-term liability Landowners can expect a one-off payment for the lease of their land for a period of up to 30 years. This payment is unlikely to compensate for the loss in productivity of the land, the reduction in the value of the property or the long-term liability for abandoned wells. No assurances have been given by the Government that landowners will be protected from losses or claims for damages if issues arise.

7 Air, noise and light pollution During operations, drills and compressor stations operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with flood-lighting required at night. Emissions from drilling pads, HGV traffic, compressors and other related equipment can give rise to “gas field haze” with high levels of ozone. This can result in weaker, stunted plants, inferior crop quality and decreased yields.

8 The market for your produce may be affected If people knew that your produce was grown or reared in a contaminated area, would they still buy it?

DON’T NEGOTIATE

DON’T SIGN ANYTHING BEFORE SEEKING

EXPERT LEGAL ADVICE

REJECT SEISMIC TESTING AND EXPLORATORY DRILLING – IT IS A PRECURSOR TO FRACKING NEAR YOU

Visit frack-off.org.uk to find out more.

Email info@frackfreealliance.co.uk or call 07467 123956 for further details.ALLIANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Frack Free Lancashire gets it wrong -again? with our apology

  1. Bob

    Nice work countering the emotional arguments of the “anti-” campaigners – keep it up (although with the same degree of scepticism and rationality applied to both sides of the argument)!

    Like

    Reply
  2. Pingback: An incomplete history of complaints about Anti-fracking groups to the Advertising Standards Authority | Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

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