Week Ending 18th August 2013
Cuadrilla roll out high fencing with coiled barbed wire. In my opinion this is in breach of their planning permission and enforcement action should be taken immediately to remove this.
The week at Balcombe.
Balcombe entered another week of protest with campaigners' spirits high. Balcombe Parish Council issued web statements that show it is increasingly bewildered by events. Cuadrilla told the BBC and BPC that they were "unlikely" to go ahead to full production at Balcombe. Frankly if they think they can back away from Sussex and regard Lancashire as easy pickings they are making a severe misjudgement.
BPC reported that further details would be given by MP Maude, who will no doubt try and take credit for any backtracking by Cuadrilla.
On Wednesday at Crawley Magistrates Court defendants pleaded not guilty to charges and were released on unconditional bail pending a further October court appearance..
On Friday the Sussex Argus reported that Cuadrilla had stopped drilling because of fear over the expected influx of new protestors to strengthen the Balcombe Community Protection Camp.
The Mail and the Telegraph could hardly contain their fury as they described anger at Cuadrilla stopping work because of the protest. Rent-a-quote Tory MP for Rochester and Strood (so what's it got to do with him?) Mark Reckless said the Sussex police weren't up to the mark, and that "we" had certainly lost this battle.
The two papers became increasingly manic as the week went on and they cowered in fear of the weekend arrival of perhaps 1000 reinforcements for the second camp.
Dame Vivienne Westwood added her presence to the protest. Russell Brand tweeted support. Billy Bragg came out on FB with a statement commending the achievements of the Balcombe Community Protection Camp.
Other UK news
David Cameron is looking increasingly desperate as his efforts to push fracking mount. In the meantime Business Green provided 5 damning arguments against fracking. The Independent highlighted the fact that the industry itself is simply not geared up to fracking the UK.
In Belfast Cameron's fracking policy came under fire from Environment Minister Mark H Durkan. In Wales 2,000 people were reported as joing the Llanelli anti-fracking group. Cuadrilla - despite their openness transparency etc etc - chickened out of a twitter debate.
Tim Yeo's position looks very uncomfortable as he says Britain's communities should be "compelled" to accept fracking, whilst at the same time he implies there is currently inadequate regulation.
After the old news story (see June reports) about Blackburn CofE being anti-fracking, the Telegraph "revealed" that the CofE was investigating asserting its mineral rights on its land. The Telegraph naturally used this to discredit the Blackburn story and the CofE and suggested that the CofE was out to make money from fracking its land. It might not have occurred to the Telegraph that the CofE might be wanting to preserve its land from the frackers.
The bishop for Brighton and Hove spoke out about fracking, mainly concentrating on our greed in pursuing consumption at the expense of future generations. The Bishop of Chichester issued a similar message.
The CofE story grew as the Telegraph continued its attack by claiming the Church attacked anti-frackers for scaremongering. In the same article Labour MP Ian Austin showed his lack of grasp of the situration by saying it was outrageous that Cuadrilla had been forced to halt drilling by protest. Meanwhile the Mirror focussed on the Church spokesman saying the countryside shouldn't be opened up to cowboy fracking firms.
The RSPB said that regulation was inadequate for fracking - it was "simply not robust enough to ensure that our water, our landscapes and our wildlife are safe".
On Sunday a letter urging the government to put the brakes on fracking was issued by a number of NGOs including the RSPB, WWF, Greenpeace and Wildlife Trusts.
The Independent produced an article giving the details on what we knew already - the way the shale gas lobby nobbled the government.
A Telegraph report showed solar energy may be the next big energy game-changer.
Any opinions here not quotes from the
week's news reports are my own. Alan Tootill
News As It Came In
hyperlinks to original stories
Fracking: David Cameron urges whole of UK to accept controversial dash for shale gas
The top five reasons why drilling for shale gas is fracking stupid
Government fears fracking 'backfire' over lack of staff and rigs
BPC: We're unpaid voluteers, we're not to blame
BPC Chair: We don't want No Dash For Gas here
BBC: Cuadrilla "unlikely" to go for full production at Balcombe.
2000 join Llanelli protest group
Belfast: Environment Minister challenges Cameron's plan
Sussex Argus: Secret emails reveal the risk to water in Sussex from fracking was known by officials
Cardiff teacher denies causing disruption at fracking protest in England
Solar power to trump shale
Balcombe drilling halts ahead of fracking protest
Mirror: Fracking runs "high risk" of polluting countryside, Government report warns
Shale gas could frack up our manufacturing
Bell Pottinger a possible target for anti-fracking action
Law breaking fracking protesters 'heroic' like the suffragettes, says leader
Yeo says communities should be forced to accept fracking despite no current regulation.
Brighton and Hove’s bishop speaks out about fracking
Church seeks rights just days after clergy condemn fracking as risk to 'God's creation'
Fracking debate should be "more challenging"
Green Party's Natalie Bennett sends clear message on fracking
BBC reports on water fears
Telegraph: Fracking protesters like MMR scaremongers, says Church of England
Mirror: Church of England warns against profiteering "cowboys" digging up countryside
Mail: Police cave in to mob rule over fracking
Outrage as energy firm forced to halt drilling for safety reasons as an extra 1,000 hardcore activists descend on site
RSPB objects to UK fracking proposals
The RSPB policy statement
More Telegraph hopeful dirt-digging: Anti-fracking firebrand and his brother the senior barrister
Telegraph optimism: Share tips: how to invest in shale gas and fracking
Mail: 50-year-old fracking site that makes a mockery of the Balcombe zealots
Telegraph: There’s no place for mob rule at Balcombe
Put the brakes on fracking - influential NGOs issue joint call
Argos police interview
Thousands stage protest march against fracking
How lobbying works – and why this Bill won’t change a fracking thing