Week Ending 27th October 2013

UK news highlights

Urgent Breaking News

Wednesday - "Trucks have started moving on to the site at Barton Moss! They are preparing to start work as soon as their permit is given the go ahead by the Environment Agency which could be any day."

Other News

That word "robust" cropped up again on Monday when it was reported that a raft of EU regulations were being drawn up to handle unconventional gas and oil in Europe. No doubt this will be robustly opposed by the UK government. I am tempted to say thank goodness we are part of Europe! New European Commission rules are scheduled for December 2013 or January 2014, according to Euractiv.

Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish environment and climate change minister,appeared to issue a statement discouraging frackers.

In Wales the anti-fracking movement is growing and lobbying Welsh parliamentarians.

Although I personally have never voted anything but Green, I must admit that if a party came along promoting English independence, with England committed to its own place within the EU I would be very tempted.

Details emerged of the deal between the UK government and French and Chinese interests in building new Hinkley Point nuclear reactors - of untried design. The deal was said to guarantee a price of double existing energy levels, and the cost will be born by households. One might be forgiven for asking the question - is this the same government that promotes shale gas as bringing prices down? Is this the same government that tells us we should reduce our energy dependence on foreign - especially iffy - foreign countries.

Greenpeace predicted that few of the promised 25,000 jobs would go to UK people. Sound a familiar story? And the government had backtracked on a promise to commission no new nuclear reactors until the problem of nuclear waste disposal had been resolved.

Energy minister Pickles turned down (despite a positive recommendation from his planning inspectors) a Suffolk solar panel project.

Dart Energy has sold an interest in its UK shale gas operation to GDF Suez for a reported $39 (£24) million. The press release included the plan to drill a first four shale gas exploration wells in The north of England and Wales over the next three years, and drill ten CBM wells.

The government advisors Committee on Climate Change (not to be confused with the parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee) calculated that climate change reduction policies would cost a fraction of any household bill rises.

In East Kent opponents of fracking were heartened by all four parish councils in the area involved in three Coastal Oil & Gas Ltd planning applications voicing their recommendation of refusal. This follows the news that Coastal have been required to provide more information,on the basis that the Environment Agency expressed concerns that Coastal had failed to provide the information they had requested to assure the EA about safety of groundwater.

In Sussex Lewes MP Norman Baker claimed to have won an assurance from the chairman of the EA that local water sources would be protected from fracking, and East Sussex would remain oil exploration-free for the foreseeable future. Some MPs are incredibly naif, aren't they.

Economic policy bankrupt George Osborne reaffirmed his passion for getting fracking and damn the environmental consequences.

The National Trust lost some members when it announced it was prepared to consider fracking on its land.

If West Sussex County Council thought their problems with protector camps were over, they will have to think again. A camp at Wisborough Green is up and running.

Elsewhere

Bad new for the world as it was reported that investment in climate change reduction fell globally last year. Meanwhile a Catholic European bishop sponsored seminar concluded that evidence for man-made climate change is irrefutable, and the UN climate change secretary Christiana Figueres suggested a link with the devastating Australian bush fires. This was ridiculed by tghe Australian government. From Sweden a new report from medical researchers blamed climate change for increased summer mortality.

A new report from Stanford said that shale gas would do nothing for climate change, but make a modest contribution to the US economy.

Frankly I find it incredible that there are still climate change deniers, climate sceptics and conspiracy theorists pushing the idea that climate change scientists are all producing fake science to promote a conspiracy agenda. Even more amazing, perhaps, that in the UK the conspiracy theorists have infiltrated the anti-fracking movement, where they can only harm the movement's credibility.

Another US state - Michigan - is turning to regulation as the answer to try and quell the anti-fracking revolution. Whilst, of course, saying that there have been no problems. The new regulations will focus on water contamination aspects of the process.



Any opinions here not quotes from the week's news reports are my own.
Alan Tootill

News As It Came In with links to original stories

Monday

Shale gas firms to be brought under Ďrobustí new EU law

Scotland to block fracking on environmental grounds

Anti Fracking Protesters Gather in Swansea's Union Street to Win Support.

Fracking supporters and opponents prepare to make their case to Welsh politicians

The UKís new nuclear reactors: too expensive and not needed

UK nuclear power enters new age with Hinkley deal - with householders footing the bill

Eric Pickles overturns plannerís recommendation for solar farm approval

Tuesday

Home, Fracked Home: Lost Hair and Dead Cows

Dart Energy strikes UK shale partnership with GDF Suez

Committee on Climate Change wades into energy bill row

Seminar sponsored by European bishops says man-made climate change is 'irrefutable'

Global Climate Change Finance Fell 1% in 2012, Study Says

The shale-gas boom wonít do much for climate change. But it will make us a bit richer.

Debunking the U.N. Climate-Change Conspiracy

Crane mania hits Salford

Wednesday

Backing for fracking: George Osborne would "love" shale gas drilling to start in Britain

'Fracking could damage Dover drinking water' says EA

Hot-button issue; safe waste?; environmentalists wary of recycler's plans to clean contaminants from fracking debris

New 'fracking' rules proposed

Thursday

Trust has 'open mind' on fracking

Bushfires: Coalition deploys straw man against burning issue of climate change

Increase in the number of deaths in Stockholm attributed to climate change

Friday

Nuns argue fracking is a habit we can't afford

Fracking row could damage National Trust

PM Cameron says shale gas rules must be simplified

Saturday

Wisborough Green and Kirdford proposed drill site

Sunday

Shale energy 'could supply UKís gas needs for four years and save jobsí

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