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Latest Digest Week Ending 19th October 2014


The trespass consultation response
- this chart omits another 36,000 against the plan to change the law.

UK news highlights

The main stories

The proposed new fracking law will raise its head this week, as a parliamentary committee consider the amendments to the infrastructure bill which will allow frackers to drill under landowners' property without permission. Not only that, but frackers will be able to create toxic and radioactive waste dumps under farmland, homes, schools or hospitals.

What the government proposes can be read here.

Readers will be aware that the recent DECC consultation on the proposales showed 99% of responses AGAINST. The government will carry on anyway, a sad reflection on the state of democracy under this coalition.

And was there any mention in the consultation document of the fact that the government bill if passed would allow toxic waste dumps under the countryside? No!The consultation was a total con in more ways than one. It was a sham.

For further information, Counterbalance is an excellent source of considered views and information on fracking in the Fylde. Comments on the infrastructure bill process can be found here.

Other news

Ineos bought an 80% stake in PEDL162 from Reach.

What has so far gone unnoticed by the mainstream media is that almost all the PEDL licences granted in 2008, which had a "first phase" life of six years, have been extended by the government in a completely unpublicised move this year.

Under the original terms, if frackers had not drilled they should have lost their licences. If they had drilled, they should have surrendered 50% or more of their licence area. A very few licence holders have done that. The remainder held on to their 100% PEDL, and had their first term extended by two years.

Under requests for information DECC has given slightly different reasons for extending the licences in specific cases. This includes saying through "no fault" of the licensee they were prevented from carrying out their first term obligations. In other words DECC are saying this was because of the effective moratorium on fracking from mid 2011 to December 2012.

This argument can NOT hold up when in many cases license-holders claimed and are still claiming they do not intend to frack. DECC's argument is particularly pathetic in Cuadrilla's case. Its actions in PEDL165 were the direct casue of the moratorium. Hardly a "no fault" situation.

In other cases DECC has claimed other circumstances prevented the licence holder from carrying out the agreed work schedule.

The truth appears to be that someone from on high told DECC to extend ALL licences for two years. Under the counter and with no parliamentary approval.

This is no less than a scandal.The government has allowed operators like Cuadrilla to extend its licence period and retain its full licence area in the certain knowledge that Cuadrilla has a pathetic track record. In our opinion they are not a fit operator. The government has let Reach sell off its 2008 investment for a no-doubt fat profit without ever lifted a finger to try drilling.

This issue deserves far greater coverage.

Disappointment came for anti-fracking protesters when West Sussex County Council voted down a proposal supported by a large petition, to make Sussex frack free. The reason it failed to get support was the fear that such a stance would prejudice consideration of planning applications, and weaken chance of success on appeal of refusals. To be fair, this is a valid point to an extent. But only for a council with no determination, no courage and no determination, and for a basic pro-fracking bias. Any council can pass a declaration of intent if it so wishes. That does not prevent them from refusing (or passing) any application for planning permission on its own merits. The whole argument against expressing intent is specious.

Under the heading "UK fracking faces bust amid Opec oil price war" The Telegraph finally got round to recognising the fact that the big oil companies have no interest in helping the UK's "energy security". They are only interested in the money, and won't play ball with Cameron's crazy fracking plans unless the price is right.

Elsewhere

Another report in from Texas on how fracking is pushing up road casualties.


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

Fracking in the Lords

The fracking ‘monster’ is unleashed

Ineos buys second Scottish shale licence

UK to allow fracking companies to use 'any substance' under homes

In Texas, Traffic Deaths Climb Amid Fracking Boom

Fracking: the explosive truth

West Sussex council votes to ‘stay neutral’ over fracking

UK fracking faces bust amid Opec oil price war

  Links to other
anti-fracking sites