Tag Archives: lancashire

UK SHALE WILL PREVAIL; Hopes for fracking in the UK

I have always found Nick Grealy’s stuff on fracking good. He thinks independently, is a leftie and writes good English.  See twitter @ReImagineGas  If he disagrees with, he says so!!

Those who follow fracking closely will know his stuff but here it is for those who don’t

This comes from his blog  http://www.reimaginegas.com/?p=3771#more-3771

DSCF2898Cuadrilla

 

FROM ZERO TO HERO: UK SHALE WILL PREVAIL

2016 has shown that predicting anything, anywhere on politics is for the brave. I’ll be brave and assume that by next Thursday, October 6, the interminable planning permission saga in Lancashire will draw to an almost close. I say almost because Friends of the Earth in a suicidal attempt to squander members’ money better served defending the countryside, bees and the rights of refugees, will drag Cuadrilla or the council or the government into court, just as they have with Third Energy in Yorkshire. But with Third already having an accelerated hearing in late November on their application any delay promises to be minimal.

So that someone thinks they have a victory, Cuadrilla may only get permission for one well pad. But one will work. One is enough.

Politically, it’s impossible to conceive of Theresa May’s government agreeing with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour (and the Greens) over such an important issue. The government might as well send the message that Britain is closed for any type of business, an especially implausible signal in the Brexit world. To imagine this happening the week of the Conservative Party Congress is more inconceivable still. Some fear all bets are off in the Brexit /Trump universe of Post Facts, but as someone who likes facts over emotion, I’ll stick my neck out and say the net result will be we have to wait for the rocks to finally speak via drilling sometime in 2017. The Bowland Shale has been the silent spectator all along, and any geologist could admit that it could possibly send out mixed or even negative messages. But at least we can have a debate based on facts, not opinions, and finally, after at least five years of delay, move on.

A lot has advanced in the six years since Cuadrilla revealed their estimate of 200 TCF resources for their section of the Bowland back in 2010. Sadly, the UK debate hasn’t been one of them. Yet. But the time is coming.  Back in 2010, people saw shale as a flash in the pan. It was of course the biggest bang to hit energy markets since the light bulb. Yet the UK debate still uses outdated economics, 2010 flow rates and 2010 energy policy concerns. Shale is still “controversial”. Meanwhile in the US, the unconventional is the new normal, 70% or higher of 2016 production.

As the shale debate in the UK has barely moved, the one in the US has moved incredibly fast. Compare the UK Bowland Shale and the Ohio Utica. The Utica Shale didn’t even exist outside of a gleam in the eye of geologists in 2010. First drilling started in 2012, yet this month, it’s producing at a rate of 37 billion cubic meters per year, a shade under the 40 BCMY produced in the UK North Sea. That could have been us. But the naysayers and handwringers produced absolutely nothing.

The Ohio Utica is never mentioned by UK opponents who talk about the Pennsylvania Marcellus as if it’s a living hell of afflicted communities. That’s in part because they are stuck in 2010, the year the Gasland movie came out which exaggerated some 2008/09 impacts in the state. Yet Ohio proves, like the UK could, how, if given the chance, natural gas extraction can be low impact, high production and zero damage. The unintentionally hilarious “List of the Harmed” barely mentions Ohio for example. Even an anti-fracking report this year from Environment Ohio omits their home state even as it recycles the List of the Harmed horror stories and places them everywhere else. It’s strange to talk about fracking threatening the Grand Canyon, while missing it entirely in their own backyard. Perhaps nothing is actually happening after all?

Just as will happen in the UK, Ohio is easily missed because there isn’t that much to actually see. The Baker Hughes Rig Count shows the number of rigs per state on a weekly basis. It’s rarely been over 18 in Ohio in the last few years and was only 13 last week, further proving the most recent increases in drilling productivity possible today. If we extrapolated Utica to UK numbers, we’d be talking of a handful of rigs. Using BCMY divided by 13, we see that each rig in Ohio, which is drilling a well every couple of weeks in various locations, or increasingly from one pad, can produce 2.85 BCM a year. Thus only 5 rigs could theoretically produce 14BCM a year, or enough to remove all 2015 UK LNG imports. UK drill rigs may well be relatively static and won’t wander too much from one pad for 18 months at a time, drilling a new well every other week. Whatever the numbers are, they are a far cry from anyone’s definition of industrialization of the country – or city – side.

But what if there were another threat to the landscape? What if there were 14 new facilities that had several truck deliveries per day – for ever? That would be Waitrose. What if there were 80 new facilities opening in 2016, in bigger stores and even more trucks and traffic. For that, Aldi is the one for you.

A few weeks ago at an All Party Parliamentary Committee on Shale Gas meeting, the leading anti in Ryedale was visibly shocked when his pet fear was exposed as, excuse the pun, groundless:

John Blaymires, Chief Operating Officer of IGas, said:

“We understand the need to do this [estimate site numbers]. It is one of our biggest issues.”

He said some of figures being talked about for the number of sites were “ludicrous” but he described the figures mentioned at the meeting as “not unreasonable”. He added:

“There are limited places to which one can go. We cannot pepper the countryside and nor would we wish to.”

Francis Egan of Cuadrilla has often said how in a few years people’s first question will be: “Is that it? Is this what all the fuss was about?”. Remove protestors and nothing will be visible. It would be a good plan to ask planning to set up a protestor camp. Oops. That rational plan may slow things down. But then a protestor camp is likely to be as welcome to Roseacre as an alternative music venue, even if they are often the same thing.

Only the strong, and the long, survive in UK shale. Whatever hurts us makes us stronger. There are four reasons why shale gas will move from zero to hero, but much depends on finding some gas and and, moreimportantly,  not losing sight of the four strategic reasons why UK shale will prosper.

  1.  UK gas consumption  isn’t going anywhere. The UK is faced with falling gas demand for various organic reasons around insulation, efficiency and competing renewables but not as fast enough as collapsing UK North Sea supply. London for example uses 9 BCM a year of gas, almost all for heat and hot water.
  2. The entry costs are far lower than international equivalents. One can also get huge blocks by US standards all at once, leading to further efficiencies. The UK lends itself for political reasons to minimize surface expenses.
  3. Midstream is not a problem. The international oil and gas industry has been in far more hostile – or inaccessible- areas devoid even of roads. Any costs around UK planning delays or public opinion are outweighed by the ease of delivering any discoveries to market. The UK onshore is the  least stranded energy asset on earth. And once planning creaks along, any  sovereign risk premium is the lowest going.
  4. The killer reason is price. Get through 2 and 3, and prices are phenomenal by US standards. UK gas prices will be set by US LNG imports (or the threat of them) giving US Henry Hub and a permanent basis reflecting transport costs. UK gas prices are also volatile in the winter, with a current winter 2016 strip of $5.3 MMBTU, 80% higher than US Henry Hub. That basis will exist for years. In parts of Pennsylvania gas prices are below $1, and yet the industry still grows even as new mid stream pipelines are unavailable at any price. Expenses may be higher than in the US, but not 80% higher.

Add these together, and UK shale, will be worth the wait. Better, and great days, are coming.

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2 THOUGHTS ON “FROM ZERO TO HERO: UK SHALE WILL PREVAIL”

  1. I see you woke up feeling positive this morning, Nick. That’s good news as I know that you’ve been in the fight for a long, long time.

    Note that Cuadrilla doesn’t plan to start drilling until spring of 2017, so even a legal challenge won’t impact timing for the firm.

    I’m not familiar with UK law, but I wonder whether the anti groups who challenge on legal grounds will be held to pay for any foregone revenue that results from a delay? Maybe you know the answer to that question? Thanks

    1. I agree that Cuadrilla shouldn’t be slowed down much further.It takes time to mobilise everyone, this isn’t the Permian where you can find a rig in Yellow Pages. The FoE are really in the last chance saloon on this. The Scottish branch is talking about shale damage claims from the Gasland era for example.

      If I owned a gas company, which I don’t – yet- I’d play hardball and sue Friends of the Earth Limited for restraint of trade. I know that has crossed the minds of people. It also explains why FoE deliberately leaked the ASA investigation so it would then be abandoned. Running a campaign on bad information is bad karma for a non-profit. But the fund raiser was FoE Limited a commercial company. They have more than reputation to lose. But their PR cut and paste reporters are a very strong force, very similar (and often the same people) who support the Corbyn wing of Labour. Ultimately as close to actual power as he is though. FoE doesn’t own the green brand and most of the ones I know in London think they’re an embarrassment but don’t want to stand up to bullying. It’s also hard to stand up to bullies when as soon as they are challenged they run. That’s actually why, damages or not, most in the industry are dying to have a fact based day in the court of law, not public opinion.

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Friends of the Earth claims against #fracking are unsubstantiated, says advertising watchdog – Lancashire For Shale

Interesting article in the Times. Much is right in the article!! But who leaked the judgement on FoE? Neither Ken nor I did and have told the ASA. Dearest Refracktion wonders whether it could be a mole within the ASA.

 

Anyway read and enjoy. We shall see what happens

 

The front page of national newspaper, The Times, today reports that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rebuked green group Friends of the Earth in a draft ruling about an anti-fracking leaflet.   According to the report, the ASA says Friends of the Earth (FoE) failed to substantiate claims that fracking could cause cancer, contaminate …

Source: Friends of the Earth claims against #fracking are unsubstantiated, says advertising watchdog – Lancashire For Shale

What would you do Ma’am? Nanas plead with her Majesty on fracking

 

Image result for queen elizabeth ii

What would you do Ma’am?

The nanas headed by Tina Rothery have written to the queen asking here to intervene over the dangers of fracking. Clearly the nanas are very worried about the health threat of fracking as this photo shows. I have to say I am mystified why so many anti-frackers smoke which is terrible for your health.

Frackingsmoking

Dear Editors,

Please find below, an open letter to Her Majesty, The Queen, as the latest press release from Lancashire Nanas and residents against fracking, from Lancashire. The letter has also been sent by post to Buckingham Palace. This press release is part one of a two-part action that will culminate in a peaceful presence at Buckingham Palace on 27th September 2016.

PRESS RELEASE                         19th September 2016

Your Royal Highness,

An important note before you read on: I am writing this as a fellow grandmother and would ask that you consider my question from your obligation to defend your young and with your heart, rather than your crown.

We are a group of UK citizens who feel increasingly shut out of the decision that is soon to be made on shale gas extraction in Lancashire. It is a basic tenet of democracy that power should remain as close as possible to the people and not be concentrated in the hands of a few.

We have seen democracy in action in Lancashire, where the people said ‘No’ to fracking and both their borough and county councils agreed with them, and in their turn said ‘No’ to Cuadrilla’s planning applications to frack two sites in rural Fylde, Lancashire [1].

Cuadrilla appealed and a public inquiry was held earlier this year at which we – the residents – spent three weeks giving evidence. The planning inspector’s report has subsequently been submitted to Sajid Javid MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who will make a decision at the beginning of October.

The decision to refuse planning permission for fracking in Lancashire was local democracy in action. However, the government’s support for shale means that the power has been passed from Lancashire’s elected representatives to the hands of a few, who are interested in aiding the interests of big business, rather than the interests and health of the residents of Lancashire [2].

This is not democracy.

During the last five years we have spent a considerable amount of time, energy and money pursuing every democratic opening available to us. We have:

We have exhausted every democratic channel. We are desperate.

They seem to follow a different kind of democracy ………………

What would you do, Ma’am? [I suggest asking Prince Phillip what to do]

Yours sincerely,

Nanas & Residents

ENDS

For immediate release.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Fracking plans rejected: Lancashire council throws out Cuadrilla proposal
  1. Minister says he will have final say on Lancashire fracking plans

Fracturing democracy? State, fracking and local democracy in Lancashire

 

DSCF9208

At a meeting with anti-fracking lectures in Preston last night – 30th August 2016, Anna Szolucha gave a lecture on the impact of the fracking saga on the communities of the Fylde.

R Hayhurst gave a summary about it and comments from various people.

https://drillordrop.com/2016/08/31/lancashire-fracking-prospect-causes-stress-suspicion-and-fractured-communities-new-research/

Some couldn’t find an electronic copy but here is a copy of a another paper of hers on Fylde fracking taken from the Univ of Bergen website. The actual paper given was far longer but this gives a flavour of her arguments. The paper given at Preston is entitled “The Human Dimension of Shale Gas Developments in Lancashire”

Rather than intersperse my own comment I give the paper “neat” without comment. I may add I have a draft of a paper on the history of gas exploration on the Fylde dealing with same issues but with different conclusions.

It is up to you, dear reader, to make your own mind up 🙂

https://uib.academia.edu/AnnaSzolucha

Fracturing democracy? State, fracking and local democracy in Lancashire

* Anna Szolucha**

After an unusually hot spring, another heatwave hits Lancashire and all of Britain in late June. As scattered clouds are lazily rolling over the magnificent red-brick structure of county hall in Preston, a large group of protesters with sunburnt necks and shoulders are clustering round near the Pitt Street entrance, trying to escape the sizzling heat in the semi-shade of a line of young chestnut trees. To the accompaniment of a gigantic, blue barrell-turned-drum, the colourful gathering breaks into a chant: “Frack free Lancashire, frack free planet!”

On the 25th and 29th June 2015, Lancashire County Councillors decided to refuse permission for two fracking applications by Cuadrilla: in Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road, Little Plumpton. This follows a long campaign and a lot of arduous work by numerous local residents’ groups, environmental organisations as well as campaigns such as Frack Free Lancashire, among others. Outside the county chamber, the announcement of the votes is greeted by loud cheering that is soon eclipsed by tears of joy and friendly hugs. The outcome is an unprecedented victory for the local residents and their self-organising as well as the local democratic process that involves parish, borough and county councils. It also comes as a definite blow to the national government’s stated interest in “going all out for shale” in the UK. Given this controversial priority, I look at how democracy has fared in the country since it declared that around 60% of its land would be available for fracking companies to licence.

In late June 2015, the Development Control Committee at Lancashire County Council, who determined the decisions, were under a lot of pressure because the legal advice provided to the Councillors seemed to leave them no choice but to approve the application for Preston New Road (PNR) lest the Council and the people of Lancashire foot the bill when Cuadrilla appeal the decision. Ultimately, an alternative legal opinion was sought and provided to the Councillors and, after a unanimous vote to refuse permission to frack at Roseacre Wood a few days earlier, the Councillors felt there were also sufficient grounds to reject the PNR application.

The results of the votes clearly diverge from the recurrently short-sighted policy-making and technocratic narratives that characterise much of the global and national discussion about the future of resource extraction and energy production. The Council did not cave in to financial pressures and the discourse that portrays fracking as a matter of an overriding national interest.

The process, however, has also made something else plain clear; it confirmed that the agenda of resource extraction, energy production and their impact on climate change cannot be surrendered entirely to political representatives and industry. What is missing in their approach is a true and sustained commitment to an open dialogue about the systemic issues surrounding the future of energy as well as the future of democracy.

The worrying trend is that even at the level of the county council – where the planning process comes into contact with local representative democracy1 – the grounds for refusing permission for fracking are thoroughly disappointing from a democratic point of view. The permission to frack in * Another version of this text was published on OpenDemocracy.net on 28th July 2015 [link to the article]. ** The article is based on a research project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 657039. 1 PNR was refused on the grounds of noise and visual impact. The application for fracking in Roseacre Wood was rejected because of the potentially severe impact of the planned development on the road networks. The permissions were refused not because of the adverse impact of fracking on human health or climate change or the fact that there were thousands of objection letters and many more petition signatures that were submitted in relation to the two applications.2 It is obvious that the focus of the planning system should be on the considerations about what constitutes an acceptable use of land so I do not argue that the Development Control Committee should have a responsibility to take into account all kinds of possible objections to fracking. I do argue, however, that outside of the Committee, there is insufficient room for citizens to exercise their democratic right to make decisions about what sort of development they would like to have in their locality and which energy sources offer best chances for ensuring a better common future. What happened in Lancashire is not an exception but a symptom of an increasingly problematic relation between state, fracking and democracy, understood not solely as a rule of periodically elected representatives but as an ability of people to govern themselves and make direct decisions about their communities. The positive outcome in Lancashire is undoubtedly a result of the local residents’ perseverance in mastering the welter of legal regulations and precedents which they skilfully utilised to make and defend their case. They also raised a host of other relevant topics that should be a matter for democratic debate such as issues of climate justice and the influence of corporate interests on politics. None of these concerns, however, could be brought to bear on the Committee’s decisions. In effect, fracking in Lancashire (and the UK) may be and has been framed and viewed as a problem of and for planning systems. Rarely is it debated as something that has real consequences for people, communities and democracy. Meanwhile, fracking has been at least temporarily banned in states such as France, Germany, Bulgaria or the New York State where some democratic discussion about it has taken place. In the UK, on the other hand, many see the fracking objective to be the driving force behind the rewriting of some of the most important laws. Below I am listing a few examples of the scope of controversial pressures and recent changes to the legislation. I am paying particular attention to those of its provisions that appear to be designed in ways that help evade different forms of popular democratic contestation and reinforce persistent inequalities between various stakeholders.

 Localism Act, 2011. The Localism Act was supposed to devolve some powers from the central government levels to local representative bodies. It introduced a new requirement for developers to consult local communities in the pre-planning stage – before they submit their applications. As part of their engagement with the community, Cuadrilla has also established a special community liaison group in Roseacre where representatives of the company, their consulting engineers and local residents have met fairly regularly. Necessarily however, the meetings did not offer room for debating whether or not the development should take place but were overwhelmed by discussions about technical parameters, measurements and designs, where experts’ role was to reassure the residents about the safety of the development or advise on the appropriate mitigation measures. Quite paradoxically given its name, the Localism Act has also given government ministers responsibility for making decisions about nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs). When a development gains the status of the NSIP, it can move ahead even without local consent. The government has already added the highly controversial nuclear waste storage facilities to the list of NSIPs so it is clear why many are afraid that fracking might 2 become the next NSIP. There is also another, less apparent, side to the status of an NSIP. International experience with strategic oil pipelines, for example, shows that all projects that are declared to be in the national interest of a state tend to be heavily policed and their “defence” against real or perceived threats becomes securitised. A very early foretaste of what this might entail could be seen even during the protests in front of County Hall in Preston. In addition to the usual police presence, the colourful and peaceful gathering of local residents was policed with the help of Metropolitan police, at least three vans of the operational support unit and a private security company with multistage security checks inside the County Hall.

 Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act, 2014.

The Act has been dubbed the “gagging law” as it places substantial burdens on the ability of NGOs, charities and other organisations to campaign on issues of legitimate concern during an election period. In contrast, there is no parallel restriction that would apply to lobbyists representing vested corporate interests. Cuadrilla’s consultant lobbyist – Hannover Communications International Ltd.3 which boasts about its unconventional oil and gas portfolio to span from Shell and Valero to Cuadrilla and Tamboran Resources – is, therefore, let off the hook to lobby whenever it sees fit.

 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, 2014.

The Act introduced new dispersal powers where a police inspector may issue an authorisation to disperse for a period of up to 48 hours with an immediate effect, replacing an earlier requirement to consult with a local council to designate a dispersal zone in advance. This may have a potential impact on the policing of protest in the UK.

 George Osborne’s letter dated 24 September 2014 (revealed January 2015).

The Chancellor sent a letter to his cabinet colleagues (Committee on Economic Affairs) urging them to fast-track fracking, making the rapid progress on the issue their personal priority as well as responding to some requests from Cuadrilla. The letter also shows government’s commitment to full exploration and plans to centralise regulation by moving to a single national regulator once production is under way.

 Infrastructure Act, 2015. T

he Act introduces a political definition of fracking as a process that involves more than 1,000 cubic meters of fluid per stage or more than 10,000 cubic meters of fluid in total. These quantities are less than what was used in the fracked well at Preese Hall, Lancashire and less than what has been used in some wells in the United States. If the law had been enacted before the operation at Preese Hall4 began, legally speaking, it would not constitute fracking. The Act also changes trespass laws for underground drilling access. It grants drilling companies automatic access rights to use deep-level land (below 300m) in any way for the purposes of exploiting petroleum, including passing through, putting in and keeping any substance in deep-level land. Since fracking uses horizontal drilling, this means that companies can drill under anybody’s land without their permission or compensation. The Department of Energy and Climate Change played down objections to the proposal raised during the consultation stage as mainly campaign texts and moved ahead despite popular opposition. Finally, the Act forces the government to assume the economic objective of drilling corporations as its own national objective since the law obligates all future governments to maximise the economic recovery of UK petroleum (and hence, oil and gas extraction). This is at odds with the UK’s climate change legislation as well as its international commitments to become a low carbon economy. 3  Environment Agency opens a Standard Rules Consultation, March 2015. New standard rules, generic risk assessment and waste management plan are proposed for onshore oil and gas activities at exploratory wells. The stated aims of the proposal are to generate a positive financial impact on business as well as saving time and money.  Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs report on fracking, July 2015. After a Freedom-of-Information request, an un-redacted version of the report on the impact of fracking on rural economy is revealed. The covering note added to the report states that it is a draft literature review for internal use only and that it is based on assumptions that are not supported by appropriate evidence. The full report, however, demonstrates that the previous, heavily redacted, version left out significant chunks about potentially negative impacts of fracking – in the name of not letting early thinking close down discussion. The above list looks rather pessimistic when it comes to the prospects of ensuring that debate about fracking is a level playing field for everybody. More democratic debate and decision-making, however, is crucial if we care about the human dimensions of fracking that are currently being obscured in planning jargon and discourses. If democracy (not only locally and nationally but also internationally) is about putting the interest in real effects on vulnerable populations on the front burner, then we need to talk openly about the consequences that the dash for unconventional gas has had and is likely to have on democracy. A gradual taking away of citizens’ rights in times of intensified popular mobilisation is not a new phenomenon; it is well-known to students and researchers of social movements. The pace of this process in the UK, however, has been staggering. Legislation that rules much of the fracking activity has been passed over a period of just two years and many potential challenges associated with anti-fracking campaigning, protest, trespass litigation etc. have been removed, bolstering industry confidence in the eventual success of their ventures. As a result, the persistent gap between citizens’ rights on the one hand and industry and state resources on the other, has widened even further.

Moreover, the local resident groups in Lancashire have been boxed in by the planning system and national narratives that have redefined what constitutes a reasonable concern and a relevant objection to fracking. With no room for a robust democratic debate about fracking, the planning procedure carefully selects which objections are valid and which are not. Citizens’ attempts to gain an authoritative voice on the social impact of fracking run up against a wall of technical regulations and undue pressures from politicians. To be sure, this is not an exclusively British problem. Global climate change is also seen as a technology or economic problem that can be solved by geoengineering and appropriate trade systems. Climate change is not necessarily automatically seen as an environmental or social justice issue and its human side is largely secondary. As the protesters in Lancashire chanted, however, frack free Lancashire does not mean much without a frack free planet. This does raise important moral and democratic questions about vulnerability, inequality and best models of democracy. The potential consequences of fracking go beyond road destruction, noise pollution and change in landscape; they extend beyond Lancashire. The impacts of climate change tend to be distributed unequally across different regions and different parts of the population. And it is the protesters that are bringing all of these aspects of fracking to the forefront by challenging embedded assumptions and asking tough questions about responsibility and the necessary scales for 4 meaningful action.

 

What lessons can be drawn from the anti-fracking struggle in Lancashire? It is clear that with great courage and perseverance, it is still possible to challenge the system and win even when one is playing by its rules. It is important to be able to do that because it ultimately achieves what it is supposed to achieve – at least for the time being. As the above overview of the recent legislation shows, however, rules can be changed quite quickly, after scant democratic debate and with little regard for public opposition. Are there then any vulnerabilities of this system that local groups could use to their advantage when they are striving to live with clean water, air and land not as luxurious commodities but as part of a healthy and equal planet? They can definitely set up their own democratically-run renewable energy initiatives. In addition to providing clean energy, this would also insert the issues of democracy and responsibility for climate change into the national and local discourses as well as producing positive global effects. Instead of letting fracking and state policies fracture it, local communities can play a vital role in repowering democracy in and beyond the UK. 5

footnotes

1 Before the applications at Roseacre and PNR, Cuadrilla applied for planning permissions at seven other locations in Lancashire. Five of them (decided between 2009 and 2011) never went to a relevant committee. Instead they were decided by a delegated chief officer.
2 Although not evident in the formal process, they did make the case of local groups opposed to fracking stronger
3 The company works also for such clients as: Goldman Sachs, Allianz, Microsoft, Sky plc as well as several pharmaceutical concerns.
4 In 2011, Cuadrilla’s activities at Preese Hall triggered two tremors and put a temporary halt to fracking in the UK.

Are Friends of the Earth losing their grip?

Are Friends of the Earth losing their grip? I certainly hope so after see what they did in Lancs and Yorks . Over the last few years they have cajoled too many in these counties to oppose fracking, yet they cannot get there facts right.

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/dont-let-fracking-destroy-all-of-this/ 

fracking sandDSCF9208

Here is Nick Grealy giving a good summary of their activities and why they may well be losing

ww.reimaginegas.com/?p=3674#more-3674

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH SIDLE TO THE EXIT IN UK SHALE “CONTROVERSY”

Are Friends of the Earth leaving the field of the shale battle in the UK?  There are recent pointers that they are at least sidling towards the exit.  Ironically, for an organisation whose followers often see oil and gas money as the root of all evil,  it comes down to money.

In North Yorkshire, FoE and Frack Free Ryedale, are considering a legal appeal of the council’s planning decision, and are in the early stages of the process.  If it moves to the next stage, then it starts getting expensive, since under the UK legal system each party is liable for the legal costs of the other side if they were unsuccessful.

Given that appeal leans heavily on the argument that onshore natural gas is bad for climate change, a point broadly dismissed by the Committee on Climate Change itself,  the case is looking shaky.  Speaking for several in the industry however, we would happily welcome it. Bring it on – lets settle this in court where it belongs and not in the local press.  Then we can move on. Given that the multiple, if sometimes interminable, reviews of regulation are finally drawing to a close and the new government has other quixotic issues to waste years of time on, we will finally see a put up or shut up  day of reckoning – for both sides- sooner rather than later. This winter we may well see some actual results.  Based on the combination of 2017 technology and 300 million year old rocks,  the results may promise to be even more interesting than they could have been five years ago.  To those of us who have managed to survive, it may well be worth the wait.  Or perhaps not.  Even a failure of UK shale would settle things and allow an educated discussion of other UK energy options. Shale has been the elephant in the room that blocks all other energy projects too. The question has to be settled sooner or later, one way or the other, for everyone’s benefit.

FoE can commit their own lawyers’s time and risk their money on helping this cause.  But just as in shale exploration, investment from partners often depends on a complex web.  One thing that may be putting FoE off is that the donations from Frack Free Ryedale ‘s side are underwhelming with £618 out of £10K raised as of August 3.  Why should they run all the risk.  People have mouths – but sometimes you have to show them your money and FF Ryedale and their allies are neither putting up or shutting up. Insiders at FoE have told me that the Brexit referendum also counts in the calculations.  FoE, in line with most greens, and most of the onshore industry too, see Brexit as the real issue.  But as the insider from FoE notes, their allies in North Yorkshire and Lancashire voted two to one, not for the Earth, or Europe, but for selfishness and nimbyism. This highlights the essential clash of cultures in the shale battle between climate campaigners with progressive values and nimbys who are obsessively conservative. If the nimby side can only come up with £600, why should FoE bother?

But if it goes to court, even £10K will be peanuts.  So will FoE invest?  They have an in-house legal team so their costs are initially already low, but they run the risk of significant impact if they lose.

Insiders say they could run some commercial  risk for their arm Friends of  the Earth Limited, a company set up to avoid FoE’s charity arm ban on political campaigns. A complaint, long overdue in my opinion, against an egregiously alarming fund raising pamphlet by FoE Limited and inserted in the Sunday Times,

Foeadvert

made by both Cuadrilla and private citizens is currently being decided by the Advertising Standards Authority.

If the complaint were upheld, FoE Limited run a risk of then being sued for damages based on restraint of trade or other principles. Cuadrilla would be unlikely to do so , but many other license holders and their potential suppliers could. At the very least, FoE can be expected to tone down some of the more fanciful allegations in their fracking scare machine.

It’s three years this month since we saw peak fracking frenzy in the press during the Balcombe protests.  Since then, nothing has happened either way.  The OGA ran an exploration round in the meantime that was  underwhelming in it’s results, and the press have moved on.  Anything other than the local press seems thoroughly bored with yesterday’s news. Meanwhile it’s clear that the shale revolution is advancing beyond anyone’s wildest expectations in the US, and starting to reach critical mass in China. At the same time, damage just isn’t showing up in modern shale and any point of having a debate based on the outdated Gasland movie is looking as meaningless as talking about solar and wind based on 2010 costs.

It’s time to move on and explore and see if the resource is actually there or not.  Then we can have a fact based discussion on the next moves. FoE have plenty of other good work to do. Fracking has been a money spinner for them, but the green brand is a valuable (as smart shale explorers are discovering) and attractive one and they can survive well enough without the fracking distraction.

 

 

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2 THOUGHTS ON “FRIENDS OF THE EARTH SIDLE TO THE EXIT IN UK SHALE “CONTROVERSY””

  1. Appreciate the article, Nick. Had much the same reaction to the news that these groups would legally oppose the 3rd Energy decision. I hope that challenge does go forward. From what I understand, if FoE seeks an injunction to prohibit the fracking from proceeding, it could lose a lot more because it would then be subject to paying for lost operational time in addition to legal fees. Let me know if you have any thoughts? Thx

  2. Interesting story from the UK. In the US, it appears that civil unrest in Venezuela, Iraq, and Nigeria can be found everywhere but in America’s oil import statistics! Today’s EIA report has high imports from all three states and Saudi Arabia and it appears that the ultimate law of OPEC is no member concedes any loss of the American market and will fight it at any cost.

    Also, I see that New York state has decided to include nuclear power as no-carbon power which will allow at least some reactors to continue running in the state. The justification offered was if they were shut, the power would be replaced by natural gas.

    I actually applaud this decision because it shows that the regulators (finally) understand that there are many competing values at stake, (no nukes!) (no carbon!) (save the earth!) and to choose one is to exclude the other. Making decisions on this basis is the sign of mature intellects making balanced decisions.

    If they continue this way eventually they will understand that allowing shale drilling in New York will lead to economic prosperity!

bowland brewery subjected to hate campaign for supporting hen harriers

Are the comments an admission of guilt that Hen Harriers are being exterminated in the Bowland Fells

I haven’t seen Harriers in the Bowland Fells for nearly 10 years and want to know why. The fewer raptors I see in the fells convinces me that something is going on

 

https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/bowland-brewery-subjected-to-hate-campaign-for-supporting-hen-harriers/#comments 

bowland brewery subjected to hate campaign for supporting hen harriers

Bowland brewery HHEarlier this year, the Bowland Brewery in Lancashire committed to donate a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of its Hen Harrier beer to the RSPB’s hen harrier conservation projects (see press statement here).

James Warburton, owner of Bowland Brewery said: “The hen harrier is a living symbol of Bowland Brewery’s intimate connection with the landscape where we produce our beers.

The very real prospect that this beautiful bird of prey may disappear from the skies above the Forest of Bowland is unthinkable. That’s why we are committing to donate a significant sum of money each year to safeguard the future of one of Bowland’s most iconic residents.

As the harriers return to the Bowland Fells to nest this spring, we hope to see nature-lovers visiting the area to marvel at their amazing skydance and celebrate with a pint of the beer these rare and precious birds inspired.

By buying Hen Harrier by the pint or in bottles, locals and visitors alike will be making a positive contribution to hen harrier conservation in Bowland – and ultimately helping the population to grow.”

bowland breweryRecently, this photograph of Chris Packham and Mark Avery enjoying a pint of Bowland Brewery’s Hen Harrier beer, was posted on the Bowland Brewery’s social media platforms (twitter and facebook). As a result, some individuals from the grouse-shooting industry have launched a hate campaign aimed directly at the Bowland Brewery.

Bowland Brewery’s facebook page was targeted with a torrent of fake reviews, resulting in a drop in their overall review rating. Comments posted on facebook by the grouse-shooting trolls included:

“Get this off tomorrow or we will hound you”.

“They drink with the devil. Destroy the business!”

“Side with Packham and the knife comes out”

“They thought going with Packham was good. Now they must feel the pain”

“Shut them down. Anti shooting”.

“You can run but not hide. Hammer em!”

“Shut down the business. Shut down, boycott, whatever. Get Bowland Brewery outed”.

“Get hold of the boss and tell him to mend his ways. Otherwise we will crush em”.

Nice guys, eh? Wonder how many of them making threats have a shotgun/firearms certificate? There are some known gamekeepers involved in this hate campaign, including the Head Gamekeeper of Millden Estate in the Angus Glens, Bert Burnett from the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (who wrote “Well done everyone”) and some of the comments have been ‘liked’ by the official facebook page of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation.

All slightly ironic from an industry that has recently accused Chris Packham of ‘celebrity bullying’ (see here) just because he’s politely asking Marks and Spencer to be transparent about their claims that their red grouse are produced ethically and sustainably (see here).

It’s also ironic that this hate campaign against the brewery comes from an industry that purports to be interested in protecting rural jobs. The Bowland Brewery is a small business, employing local people, in a rural community.

If you want to show your support for the Bowland Brewery and their ethical and charitable support of hen harrier conservation, please consider buying their beer. It’s available in various local outlets (see here) and can also be bought online (see here).

If you want to support the campaign to ban driven grouse shooting, because it’s the only way hen harriers will be allowed to thrive in the English uplands, then please join 65,000 others and sign THIS PETITION.

16 Responses to “Bowland Brewery subjected to hate campaign for supporting hen harriers”

  1. 1peter hatton

    July 27, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    could do with a pint after reading all that I’m spitting feathers!

    • 2Andrea Goddard

      July 27, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Me too Peter. I’ve just left a 5* review/comment. It seems that Andy Richardson has been stirring again and has initiated the hate-filled posts against the brewery.

      • 3Les Wallace

        July 27, 2016 at 4:09 pm

        Andy Richardson – oh well there’s a surprise. Not so long ago a wildlife rescue centre in Wales posted a picture of a juvenile cucloo that had come in misidentifying it as a kestrel. He had a field day mocking them for that, people who donate time, effort and money helping injured wildlife being ridiculed for a not so bad and probably temporary mistake. One of Richardson’s charming buddies added the lovely comment F***wits (they didn’t use asterisks mind). Richardson wasn’t quite so hard himself though when he posted one of his narcisstic videos in which he berated the RSPB for its supposed mismanagement of Mar Lodge Estate. A very serious criticism indeed considering Mar Lodge is owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland. We know who the real bile brigade are.

  2. July 27, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    To the grouse shooting industry – keep giving us the nails and we will happily hammer them in to your coffin.

  3. 5Marco McGinty

    July 27, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Aye, nice people right enough.

    They’re not content with carrying out widespread persecution, trying to get people sacked, or just blatantly lying on the whole, they’re now resorting to acts bordering on terrorism.

    Hopefully the Bowland Brewery have informed the police, and swift action will be taken against those trying to bully and intimidate.

  4. 6Secret Squirrel

    July 27, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I do hope they have all use dtheir real names, as it makes it so much easier for the Police to identify them. I do hope that Bowland Brewery report each of them

  5. 7Marco McGinty

    July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Forgot to mention that I was reading some nonsense recently on the shooting pages, and apparently there are people going around Scotland reintroducing Goshawks and Pine Martens just for the sake of it.

    A lot of these shooting types really are dim-witted in the extreme!

  6. 8Caro McAdam

    July 27, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Just bought a case online. Looking forward to it!

  7. 9Peter Shearer

    July 27, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I will support these and we all need to do the same to help those that make the right decisions. Perhaps at some time we should compile a list of the good and the bad-so that we can at least make an informed choice.The ethical consumer website might help us.

  8. 10Tim Dixon

    July 27, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Just bought 12 bottles of Hen Harrier. Suggest everyone else does the same.

  9. July 27, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Like Caro, I have just bought a case online and suggest others do likewise. I’ve also posted this story on FB & asked others to follow my example. In addition, I have emailed a message of support to Bowland Brewery. Anyone know who I can email in the CA?

  10. 12Jeff S

    July 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    And the shooting folk behind this hate campaign refer to normal, rational people like us as the “bile brigade”…

    I’m teetotal but will buy some anyway.

  11. 14Carole

    July 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Bile; hate; aggression. Maybe these poor people can’t help it? If they are eating lead contaminated game, perhaps they have been affected?

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/07/violent-crime-lead-poisoning-british-export

    The evidence does seem to be stacking up. Thank goodness lead has been banned in paint & petrol. I also believe it affects fertility. Several of my male ancestral relatives, who were housepainters in Victorian days when paint was lead based, although married never had any children. Their brother, my ancestor, who was a miner, had a large family.

    Anyway, lets all support Bowland Brewery and hope the extra publicity, far from being damaging, results in improved sales of Hen Harrier beer. My husband likes it anyway!

  12. 15Mr Greer Hart, senior

    July 27, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    For the first time in human history, there has arisen a part of humanity, represented world wide and across many cultures, that shows a deep and committed concern to save the other life forms with which humanity shares the Earth, from cruelty and death from many forms of abuse. Arraigned against that force of compassion, there are many who act harmfully towards animals, and the whole natural world. Shooting game birds on a large scale, poaching and trophy shooting endangered species, using animals in circuses and in certain badly designed and managed zoos, unmonitored slaughterhouses and factory farms, illegal pet trade, blood sports and bullfighting, laboratory experiments, and many more forms of ill-treating other creatures, have brought into existence many organisations to campaign against animal cruelty and the conservation of wild species, along with the protection of essential habitats. Surely some approach by the management of all our charities working to save from pain and from extinction, whereby, in some matter of deep concern, there could be a coming together to get those members who may have an interest in forming a common concern. That common concern would create good Samaratin attitude to epiphanise all, and henceforth, all welfarists and conservationists would coalesce and make the Government see that one area of gross and impertinent criminality requires immediate attention. That corrupting and nullifying of the law by powerful interests, who mock and threaten when some celebrity like Chris Packham or a company such as the Bowland Brewery, make a humane appeal to save our Birds of Prey, and to donate the resources to campaign more effectively. When a man like Donald Trump can become a landowner, as that man once did in Scotland’s Cairngorm area, and use it as a shooting estate, then Scotland does need a more revitalised attitude from its Governments; one that recognises, despite the blusterings that shooting estates contribute so much to our economy, that not just anyone should own or manage integral parts of our natural landscape, and do as they please. The future for any country in this world, is now painfully apparent, is to ban all excessive hunting and to eliminate poaching of wildlife. If not, then we will have created an extinction as bad as any asteroid strike would create.

    Donald Trump and his ilk have made the USA a horror story for its wildlife, with many species under severe threat, such as the Grizzly, the Wolf, Mountain Lion, Wolverine, from an obsessive hunting lobby that wants all opposition to their killing deer. Our shooting estates are their counterparts here, with pogroms of Mountain Hares and Birds of Prey. Trump was eventually persuaded to sell up through the efforts of Olympic runner and rambler, Chris Brasher, and his former estate is now part of the Cairngorm National Park. Scotland has an opportunity to become the first country in the world to eradicate industrial scale slaughter of game birds, and to effectively reduce in size, if not eliminate, if nonconformity to the law is experienced, the centuries old grip of excessive hunting has had. Our politicians have been woefully lacking, in the main, in seeing the need for the teaching of humane education and respect for life, in our schools and further education. If the Government can attain targets to cover the land and seascapes with wind farms to make Scotland free of fossil fuel use, then surely it can use similar fervour to challenge and overcome the “industry” that appals all humane thinking people, the cruel suppression of our wildlife. Those who support the various political parties should pressure their respective representatives on this subject, as should those of religious persuasion to help save the creatures of God’s wonderful creation. How can all our wonderful conservation charities ask other countries to save their willdlife when we have such an anomaly here in Scotland and the rest of the UK, of our law enforcement not being able to effectively deal with protected species? How can anyone derive pleasure from the mass killing of birds and other animals, without conscience? It exhibits a contempt of Life. The Bushman can hunt to survive, but the trophy hunter kills for perverse pleasure and ego enhancement.

  13. July 27, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Fantastic conservation – ignore the trolls they are the dinosaurs. Keep up the good work – will happily buy your product.

Lessons from the Peleton

 

I nicked this from Bishop Lee Rayfield of Bristol diocese who draws a Christian message from road cycling. Some useful thoughts, but I’d never be a road cyclist and regard an average of 10 mph as good

027

Top of Jeffrey Hill, near Longridge, which has a section of 1 in 5 or 20%, which I cycle up each year along with other hills

Lessons from the Peloton

Bishop LeeIn this lighter summertime piece, Bishop Lee looks at the sport of road cycling to draw some parallels with what is expected of Christian disciples.

Those who know me well appreciate that two things are very close to my heart – road cycling and the Lord Jesus Christ. With the Tour de France still fresh in our minds and the Tour of Britain coming soon this seems a good moment to ask “What do professional road cyclists and Christian disciples have in common?” Here are a few thoughts with some Bible references for further reflection and exploration:

Teamwork – although some still believe that the 198 cyclists who line up for the Tour de France are all out to win the competition for themselves they are mistaken. It is all about the team working with and for one another. Being a follower of Jesus is not about a solo performance but working with others in the Church, the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Gifting – the team contains cyclists who can maintain high speed on rolling terrain (rouleurs), sprinters who can ride for one hundred miles or more yet still finish the last 200m at over 40 mph, and climbers who can fly up steep hills or one mountain gradient after another. Every person’s gift is valued and honed for the good of the whole team (1 Corinthians 12: 12-31).

Serving – some cyclists spend their whole career as domestiques. They have no aspiration of winning; their role is to ensure that others – especially the lead rider – are protected, provided for, and given every opportunity to win either a stage or the overall race (Mark 10: 41-45).

One Leader – in any race, but particularly in a stage race such as the Tour de France, one person is the nominated leader in the overall competition. When there are two potential leaders, or occasionally even three, it usually spells trouble! For followers of Jesus it must never be about us but about Christ (1 Corinthians 3: 1-11).

Suffering – a word you will hear a lot among amateur road cyclists as well as professionals. Getting better as a cyclist does not abrogate suffering, rather it means learning how to bear it for longer. Road cyclists have to dig deep and learn to keep going when their body is telling them to stop, to give up (John 19: 23-27).

Sacrifice – on long mountain stages, the pace will get faster and faster as one member of the team after another rides on the front to provide cover for their leader and bear the brunt of the wind resistance. Team members sacrifice themselves by giving everything they have before dropping back totally spent and plummeting down the ranking (John 21: 18-19).

Courage – mountain descents and bunch sprints require tremendous nerve. Crashes during the madcap sprint are all too common, often ending in broken bones and smashed faces. Following the cyclists down mountains at speeds of up to 70 mph has caused journalists in their cars to be in tears because they have been so frightened. (Esther 7: 3-4).

Cheating – sadly professional road cycling, and even some amateur competitions, have been tainted by doping. From the very beginning of the sport there have been those who have taken drugs and other substances to improve their own chances. In the Lance Armstrong era doping was not only endemic but part of a culture of fear and corruption. (1 John 1: 5-2: 2).

Joy and Thanksgiving – at the end of each stage, and far more so at the conclusion of the entire race, the joy on the faces of the whole team and the gratitude that the winner expresses to his teammates is wonderful. In a competition such as the Tour de France the winnings are shared by the whole team (Romans 12: 9-21).

In penning this I want to conclude with two thoughts. First, men’s road racing is more familiar than women’s because of events such as the Tour de France, but each dimension above applies as much to women road cyclists as it does to men. (I chose Esther as an example of courage as a reminder of this). Unlike professional cycling, discipleship requires us to work in close partnership across gender, not in separate compartments.

Second, one of the reasons I find road cycling a powerful illustration for discipleship is because it says something I believe men need to hear about the nature of following Jesus Christ, namely that it is demanding, tough and deeply rewarding. My sense is that men need more help in recognizing these dimensions of the Christian life. Perhaps hanging a racing bike inside or outside the church might promote an interesting engagement around this by men and women?

+Lee
August 2016