Week Ending 25th 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 sweet side of the police in Balcombe. Not.
The week at Balcombe.
Monday's promised first day of action showed activists besieging Cuadrilla's Lichfield offices, Bell Pottinger's London officers, as well as maintaining presence at Balcombe. Police at Balcombe reacted more in fear than reasonable response by employing kettling tactics.
Caroline Lucas MP was among about 30 arrested at Balcombe. The arrestees included a 15 year old girl. Police action drew more complaints of unnecessary force by unnumbered and unidentifiable officers.
On Day 2 of action police started evicting people from the second camp.
As the No Dash For Gas protest event came towards its end, Greenpeace announced it would launch a new campaign, following the success of the Balcombe protests.
The Mail continued its disgraceful efforts to tarnish antifrackers through personal attacks, and the Telegraph after its panic attack over the last week tried to brush off Balcombe as annoying but effective. The Tory bloggers, not having anything sensible to say pro-fracking, attacked the police for failure and letting the side down.
The police scaled down its operation in the hope that the protest was cooling. But - meanwhile from other parts of the country more groups were preparing banners and organising weekends at Balcombe.
The Mid Sussex Labour Party circulated a leaflet in Balcombe supporting the protest and expressing concerns about fracking. A pity their national party does not come out as anti-fracking.
A big concern emerged this week. West Sussex County Council admitted that following police pressure and warnings about possible "direct action" at Balcombe, they gave - verbally and with no documentation or details from Cuadrilla - permission for the company to erect a high security fence topped with razorwire. This is NOT what Cuadrilla had planning permission for. The police extered undue influence on the Council because they themselves had lost the battle against the protestors, and wanted razorwire to protect Cuadrilla rather than a thin (or thick - I'd go with the thick - blue line.
This is an unwarranted intrusion by the police into planning matters. It was also remiss of WSCC, who broke, it seems, their commitment they gave earlier to seek wider views from council members and local parish council, before giving their agreement to permission changes. This undermines democracy and the planning process.
A 29 year-old woman arrested in Birmingham was charged with causing 4 (FOUR) pounds worth of damage (along with 5 other protestors - 67PENCE EACH) at the offices of Bell Pottinger, and spent 26 (TWENTY SIX!) hours in custody before being released on bail.
A Balcombe resident described his discoloured water and police failure to act on what he described as an attempt by a mobile-wielding truck driver to run down his son.
Press reports said the policing costs at Balcombe could rise to nearly £4 million. (Hmm apropos of nothing much that would cover the community benefit 40 exploratory shale wells. I hazard a guess that when fracking exploration and protest starts in earnest £4 million will seem a drop in the ocean.
Other UK news
The "news" story of the week that kept running was the myth that fracking has been used in the UK for 50 years. This is totally misleading pro-fracking propaganda - anyone who has looked at fracking realises that the type of fracking for shale gas and the number of wells needed to drain unconventional gas reservoirs makes the process and the risks involved totally different from what has happened in the UK before.
Blackpool experienced two earthquakes with epicentres a short way off the coast, which will reopn, no doubt, debate about fracking and seismology. Such quakes only happen 2 or 3 times a year, supposedly. After another one in May the UK has had its share for the year, thank you BGS.
From Wales came the news that Eden Energy's attempt to sell off its South Wales licences to Shale Energy PLC, which planned to list on the London Stock Exchange. Cowboy Coastal Oil and Gas director Gerwyn Williams remained "confident" he'd still make a packet somehow.
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
Energy firm's fury at fracking protests
Green MP Caroline Lucas arrested as police clear protesters from drilling site entrance
Fracking operations triggered 100 quakes in a year
What is behind this fracking mania? Unbridled machismo
More Booker bonkers: Caving in to the anti-fracking fanatics is a craven surrender to mob rule
UCG: Is fracking all we have to worry about?
Caroline Lucas explains protest aims after fracking arrest in Balcombe - video
Fracking in the UK: FOIís show Lord Browne intervened to try and water down environmental regulations for Cuadrilla
Christians arrested at anti-fracking protest: Fracking will not help fuel poverty.
Local Portsmouth press shows how it is promulgating the lies about fracking's benefits, courtesy of Cameron and UKIP.
David Cameron has become fracking's biggest cheerleader: The Green Economy is fracked
Cheshire in the frackers' sights
Mail reporters have lost the plot. All they can do is make personal attacks on those opposed to fracking. Jamie Kelsey-Fry in their bad books today.
Police reduce fracking operation
Fracking confusion: How UK has been 'fracked' for decades
Fracking faces a little local difficulty
Labour comes out swinging on fracking in Balcombe
Labour comes out swinging on fracking in Balcombe
Cuadrilla Resumes Balcome Shale Drilling
Fracking fear in the Midlands.
MP Crispin Blunt says it's fine to frack Surrey
RTCC: UK fracking fight highlights need for carbon pricing strategy
Church Times: Fracking dispute lands Church in hot water
FT letter: Methane leaks make shale gas as doubtful as coal
Greens warn of protest in Yorks if frackers come to town
Greenpeace to launch local anti-fracking campaign in Lancashire
Balcombe resident complaints video
Independent: The great debate
Guardian: The anger over fracking is real: but the truth is, we can't manage without gas
RT: "Dolphins live in an acoustic world Ė a world dominated by sound... What you do in one place might be affecting dolphins hundreds of miles away"
Eden Energy deal falls through