Monthly Archives: September 2019

Cuadrilla Declares No More Fracking In Lancashire/UK This Year

Drill Or Drop? reports there will be no more UK fracking in 2019 as Cuadrilla runs out of time after the recent record-breaking tremor. Cuadrilla has confirmed no more fracking will take place at its shale gas site in Lancashire before a planning deadline at the end of November.

Hydraulic fracturing equipment will be taken off the site, the company said in a statement today. Opponents of Cuadrilla’s operations have welcomed the news. The company’s statement confirms there will be no more fracking in the UK this year.

UK’s largest fracking-induced tremor

Fracking was suspended at the UK’s only active shale gas site at Preston New Road site on August bank holiday (26 August 2019) after a record-breaking tremor. Cuadrilla carried out just seven main fracks in August, causing more than 130 tremors, the most recent two days ago. The tremors included the UK’s largest fracking-induced seismic event, measuring 2.9ML.

A total of 12 tremors measured more than 0.5ML. This is the threshold in Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracturing plan which required the company to pause fracking and check well integrity.

The British Geological Survey said it received about 3,000 reports about the 2.9ML tremor. Around 100 people are reported to have complained to Cuadrilla about damage to their homes. Cuadrilla said today it was continuing to help the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) with a series of studies following the 2.9ML tremor “A timeframe has not been agreed with the OGA for this work to be completed and further hydraulic fracturing will not take place at Preston New Road before current planning permission for fracturing expires at the end of November.”

If the company wanted to frack again at Preston New Road it must submit a new planning application to Lancashire County Council. The council has said the application would be considered by its planning committee and would require a public consultation. No application has yet been published by the council and a decision is unlikely to be made in less than three months.

The only other company with permission to frack in the UK, Third Energy, has said it is focusing on conventional gas.

According to Cuadrilla’s daily logs for August, the company fracked just seven of the expected 45 stages of the well, known as PNR-2. Despite this, Cuadrilla said today it would now test the flow of shale gas. Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said “Our second horizontal shale well was partially fractured in August and I am pleased that we are moving to flow test it in the next few weeks”.

Puzzled By Plastic Waste?

The OWLs have simplified recycling

From 1 October, West Lancashire residents will be able to easily recycle more plastic waste following changes made by Lancashire County Council.

Along with plastic bottles, which are already collected, residents will be able to put clean plastic pots, tubs and trays in their blue recycling bins at home. The move has been warmly welcomed by Our West Lancashire councillors.

From Cllr Gordon Johnson “The wider range of plastics to be collected include yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, and meat, fruit and vegetable trays of any shape or colour, along with their lids. It is easy to see whether something is recyclable by checking the number stamped onto it.

Anything with a number 1, 2 or 5 within the recycling triangle should go into your recycling bin. The colour and shape of the container doesn’t matter, the main thing is to check that it can be recycled, and give it a rinse. If the plastic still has food waste on it, or is covered in plastic film, it can cause a problem as it goes through the council’s recycling system and could end up not be recycled at all”.

From Our West Lancashire Group Chairman, Adrian Owens “We’ve long taken a close interest in trying to boost recycling rates and some councils’ have collected this wider range of plastics for a number of years, so it’s pleasing that in Lancashire we can now do the same. Some manufacturers still need to do more though. One leading yoghurt manufacturer is still using polystyrene for their pots when polystyrene cannot be recycled economically”.

Our West Lancashire have produced a guide on what can be recycled and what goes in which household bin. This can be obtained at http://www.ourwestlancashire.com/information

Is The Benn Bill An Act Of Surrender, Or An Act Of Abject Capitulation?

Could be both, you think, one and the same?


The Foreign Secretary suggests that Boris Johnson will be able to defy the ‘Surrender Act’ stipulating that he must ask for a delay to Brexit if he can’t secure a deal. Describing it as an Act ‘which requires us basically to roll over to the most punitive conditions that Brussels could inflict on us’, he says ‘It is a shoddy bit of legislation. The way it was put together was pretty ramshackle. It didn’t have the scrutiny that you have with a Government Bill’.

Johnson also refuses to recant his use of the “surrender act”, insisting “I won’t be bullied off use of that term. It seems to me a perfectly humdrum political metaphor.” In comments likely to cause further consternation among MPs, he adds “Actually, when you read the text of the Benn Act, the ‘abject capitulation act’ might be just as good a term for it, because it would attempt to force the prime minister of the UK to write a letter requesting to stay in the EU, and it would…allow the EU to decide how long we would stay on in the EU. If that isn’t an attempt of the wholesale destruction of a country’s negotiating position, I don’t know what is”.

But the odious interfering EU halfwit Michel Barnier has told the British government that he “fears Boris Johnson’s polarising behaviour has effectively blown any chance of finding a majority for a Brexit deal in the Commons. In private discussions with the Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, the EU’s chief negotiator said that developments in Westminster had damaged the already slim hope of winning MPs over”. As you see quite clearly, it’s not a case of delivering the wishes of 17.4million leavers, just a case of “winning MPs over”. Democracy, EU empire building version!

Still on the subject of odious halfwits, I see John Major

is still mouthing off as he “Feared Boris Johnson’s Government would try to bypass legislation requiring a Brexit extension by using an order of the Privy Council. In a speech critical of the Government, the former prime minister said the move, which could be accomplished without the Queen’s consent, would be a “piece of political chicanery that no one would forgive or forget”. He said “My fear is that the Government will seek to bypass Statute Law by passing an Order of Council to suspend the Act until after 31 October,” adding that such a move would be “in flagrant defiance” of Parliament and “utterly disrespectful” to the Supreme Court”.

Perhaps I missed a new ruling by the 11 Supremes, that of “they shall be respected regardless of their collective stupidity”. It’s democracy that should reign supreme. As has been stated “The British electorate’s decision to leave the European Union is the pivot around which contemporary politics revolves”. The political fundamentals against which the Miller-Cherry case fell to be decided are as follows: (1) a majority of those voting in the EU referendum voted to leave; (2) a parliament was subsequently elected in which 85 per cent of MPs won their seats on the promise to respect the referendum result; and (3) in the event most of those MPs reneged on that promise and obstructed the country’s departure from the EU both with a deal (31 March) and now without one (31 October)”.

“The justices of the Supreme Court are well-to-do. They have the same class interest in continued EU membership as do Britain’s upper-middle class generally. But they have additional compelling reasons to frustrate Brexit, above and beyond their membership of the privileged social class. European integration has meant “plain and simple judicial empowerment”. And “By taking a decision which hampers Britain’s departure they acted as judges in their own cause”. QED!

The Government Will Obey The Law AND Leave The EU On 31st October

As the new Junior Brexit Minister James Duddridge MP

got up to the Despatch Box in the Commons to answer an Urgent Question yesterday morning, he kept repeating a form of words: that the Government would obey the law but that the UK would leave the EU on 31st October. This seemed to drive the Opposition mad, who demanded to know how this was possible.

For The Spectator Alexander Pelling-Bruce suggests that, ironically, the Supreme Court might have the answer. In paragraph 55 of the judgment against prorogation, it says that it is to be “remember[ed] always that the actual task of governing is for the executive and not for Parliament or the courts”. Pelling-Bruce points out that the ‘Surrender Act’ contradicts this principle as it dictates precisely how the Government must conduct negotiations with a foreign body. Well spotted sir!

With yet more irony, John Major has also made a helpful suggestion of how to avoid the offending Act. In a speech last night he said he feared the Government would try to use the Privy Council, which he reckons could be done without the Queen’s consent. He even made his idea more attractive to No. 10 by suggesting such a move would be “in flagrant defiance” of Parliament and “utterly disrespectful” to the Supreme Court. However, Mark Elliott, Professor of Public Law at Cambridge University told Radio 4 that this approach would be unlikely, as there is no legal foundation to use the prerogative to overturn statute. He did, however, say that an existing piece of legislation could possibly be used.

Meanwhile, as the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay is due to meet Michael Barnier this afternoon, EU officials and diplomats have said they had been left “in despair” by Mr Johnson’s approach to Parliament, revealing that the EU officials watch Parliament TV “even late at night”.

This month, the European Central Bank has substantially cut its forecast for growth in the Eurozone, also lowering the inflation forecast next year. Freddie Wild, an Equity Analyst at an investment bank, warns Britain to be careful with its relationship with the EU. He says that with so much navel-gazing it’s easy to miss the fact that the EU’s economy is in decline which is being perpetuated by its political structure.

Chris Bullivant has written a fascinating piece trying to get into the minds of Remainer protesters. He suggests that the generation of voters who have grown up with identity politics are suspicious of first-past-the-post, or what they might call ‘binary’ politics, and see the referendum result as ‘populism’ which wipes out the rights of the minority. Hence the need to protest ‘outside of the electoral cycle’.

You can now watch the full Labour Leave conference fringe chaired by John Mills, with speeches from Brendan Chilton, Paul Embrey, Austin Mitchell and Graham Stringer MP.

https://www.labourleave.org.uk/

Boris Johnson says MPs should not be ‘bullied’ into curtailing their language about Brexit…Boris Johnson says MPs will not be “bullied” into curtailing their language as he refused to stop using the term “surrender act”. Speaking to the 1922 executive committee the prime minister told Conservative MPs that they should not be bullied into ceasing the use of the term surrender act. He remained firm that the bill is an act of surrender. It comes after John Bercow said the culture in the Commons on Wednesday was “toxic” as he added it was “worse than any I have known in my 22 years in the House”. The Speaker made his comments following last night’s debate, which resulted in the Labour Party being accused of “double standards” by Tory MPs over criticism of Boris Johnson’s language in the Commons. 

The Brexit Countdown has begun, 34d 5h 27m 14s and when the clock reaches zero, the UK will have officially left the European Union!

No Concern For Conservation?

Readers may know of the West Lancashire Conservation Areas Advisory Panel, a Borough Council constituted body? 

It completes and publishes Annual Reports. It covers all 28 Conservation Areas in West Lancashire, and is supported and serviced by the WLBC Planning Department, particularly Mr Ian Bond the Borough Conservation Officer.

We have learned that “Unfortunately due to changes in staffing structures and priorities within the Planning Division a decision has been made to stop providing support to the CAAP. As a result yesterday’s meeting [September 12th] was the last one which will be supported by the Council. At the meeting there was a general discussion regarding continuing as an independent group, separate of the Local Authority. This would be free to comment on planning proposals in the same way other amenity groups do”.

This is bad news for every West Lancashire Conservation Area because every one of them is now under threat of fracking. In particular the proposed Aurora well pad is at Great Altcar. Initially for 2 wells, which may be doubled, the potential is for reaching under half of the properties in Formby and for more pads right across the Moss. The local geology suggests that there are numerous fault lines and nearby disused oil boreholes.

“Due to changes in staffing structures and priorities within the Planning Division” indicates there has been no thought whatsoever to the potential for fracking disaster. What authority will an independent group separate of the authority have? What about emergency services? Heavy vehicles with toxic loads mixing with ambulances travelling between Ormskirk and Southport Hospitals? Who is concerned that local agricultural produce may prove impossible to sell if it is thought to be contaminated by fracking activity?

The West Lancashire Conservation Areas Advisory Panel was set up in 1975. The Panel advises the Council on planning applications in Conservation Areas, and in respect of Listed Buildings. The Panel generally meets once a month, in the week immediately following the meeting of the West Lancashire Borough Council’s Planning Committee. This is to enable the Panel’s comments to be incorporated into a future Agenda for the Planning Committee. The Council’s Heritage & Environment Manager acts as Secretary, prepares the Agenda, presents the applications and takes the Minutes.

The official Annual 2016 minutes of the Panel included “There is a standing open invitation to all Councillors on the Planning Committee, and also to all Planning Officers, to observe the Panel at work. No councillors or Planning Officers attended during 2016 – this is regretted”. It’s shocking, actually!

Could there be a worse time to lessen the involvement of WLBC in its obligations to residents and council tax payers? The Moss Alliance is asking for funds to help them with expert Planning Consultants for reports on fracking objections etc. Some Parish Councils listed, Formby, Little Altcar, Great Altcar, Downholland, Lydiate, and Halsall, have been generous. We see no mention of the Aughton Parish Council with its vast cash resources. Perhaps it has donated? If not here is how its bean counters can do so, Sort Code 01 06 45, Account No 45755825.

Shale Dirt Equals No Clean Air And Water, By Order Of Cuadrilla?

Shale Exploration Will Put Lancashire At The Heart Of The Uk’s Hydrogen Economy – Said Cuadrilla’s Francis Egan. “The largest gas field in Western Europe” is coming to your back yard! 

On 2nd July, 2019 he said “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

“I have been frequently reminded of this quote, attributed to the great American humourist Mark Twain, as I have watched, listened to and read many reports and commentary pieces on the UK’s recent decision on becoming net-zero by 2050. It’s well documented that this ground breaking and world-leading legislation follows recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change report, published in May.

[It will bring us health problems, water contaminated, radioactive waste water, thousands of HGVs on our roads, noise pollution, air pollution, earthquakes, destruction of wild life, destruction of our pristine natural agricultural environment, won’t it Mr Egan?]

“A defining moment of leadership and ambition and one that naturally signals the end of all UK fossil fuels by 2050, if not well beforehand. Indeed, by 2050 all of our energy will, by law, be supplied by renewable sources. Of course there will be costs and a certain amount of inconvenience incurred in the switch, but in the grand scheme of things this is not only affordable but, more importantly, absolutely essential if we are to address the climate emergency.

“Sound familiar? That’s because this narrative is by and large how media reports and commentators have interpreted events. The only problem, as Mark Twain so succinctly put it, is that “it just ain’t so”. Like much compelling fiction the narrative is largely grounded in fact. We are indeed committing, in law, to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We will undoubtedly as a consequence substantially, and hopefully swiftly, expand the amount of energy supplied from renewable sources. We can, we are confident, manage both the cost and the complexity associated with this major change. So far so good.

“What the Climate Change Committee report does not say, nor the legislation require, is the end of fossil fuel usage in the UK before, at, or indeed after 2050. In fact the detailed analysis set out in the report makes clear that if we are to maximise our chances of meeting the net zero greenhouse gas emissions target, we will, in 2050, still be using approximately 70 per cent of the natural gas that we are using in the UK today.

“How can that be so? Everyone knows that natural gas, whilst significantly less polluting than coal or oil, is still a fossil fuel. Surely that means that we can’t and won’t go on using it? The Committee on Climate Change recommends that in fact we can and we will continue using gas, BUT only if, by 2050, we use it exclusively (i) in conjunction with carbon capture and storage for electricity and (ii) as a feedstock for the manufacture of hydrogen which will replace the gas almost all of use in heating our homes and offices.

“Natural gas is recognised by the experts to be an important part of the solution without which there is no credible pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050.

“This is not however a “get out of jail free” card for UK gas explorers or producers. Cuadrilla for one recognises that we need to be a part of the solution and not as some may perceive us as part of the problem. We recognise that carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production are critical if the UK is to meet its net-zero emissions target. To that end we are engaging with a number of existing initiatives so that that UK shale gas rather than imported gas can and will be a vital source of emission free UK energy by 2050.

“We don’t pretend that we have all of the answers but we are becoming fully engaged in conversations around the hydrogen economy and new technology that will get us there. In addition, from “our home in Lancashire” where the industrial revolution famously began it’s clear there is an opportunity to deliver a hydrogen revolution which puts the region at the heart of the nation’s net zero ambitions.

[Our home in Lancashire? West Lancashire? From Formby, Aughton, Halsall, Burscough, right up to Hesketh Bank, Croston, Banks, and all points in between, north to south, east to west, and beyond the Ribble?] 

“We’re in touch with key groups to develop the hydrogen economy including the North West Hydrogen Alliance, infrastructure engineering specialists and academic institutions. We’re engaging with energy policy groups, Local Councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships to support development of policy and industrial and energy strategy that is consistent with net-zero whilst maximising economic benefit, particularly for Lancashire.

“We’re looking carefully at the option of using shale gas for hydrogen production as we progress development economic and commercial assessments for our exploration site in Preston New Road. We’ll be prioritising Lancashire projects including powering local hydrogen buses or trains in the region. And, in a bid to take thinking further and faster, we’ll be working with others to find productive uses for CO2, with the potential to re-use it as a fracking fluid, as well as assessing options for utilising depleted shale reservoirs for CO2 storage.

“The potential for Cuadrilla’s product, rich, natural shale gas, to be at the heart of these developments is hugely exciting for the company.

“The North of England can become both a major gas producer and a major hydrogen hub. Talent and business will be attracted to the area which will provide the wind, nuclear power, shale gas, and hydrogen energy underpinning economic growth for the country as a whole. The economy will be boosted, jobs created, business attracted, carbon reduced. If anyone tells you we will reach net zero any other way remember “It just ain’t so”.

Talent attracted? What attraction is air and water pollution, traffic, earthquakes, loss of farming, poor property values, to talent? Do tell us, Mr Egan?

Where Did The Supreme Court Action Funding Come From?

In February 2018 Jessica Elgot of the Guardian

 

Wrote “A key pro-EU campaign to reverse the Brexit vote has been given more than £400,000 of funding by American billionaire George Soros’s foundation, the Guardian can disclose. The business magnate

who is the founder of the Open Society Foundation (OSF), made more than £1bn betting against the pound on Black Wednesday, which forced the British government to pull it from the European exchange rate mechanism.

“The Best for Britain campaign, which advocates remaining in the EU, rather than fighting for a soft Brexit, has received the six-figure sum from OSF since the June 2017 election, sources have told the Guardian. The campaign is chaired by Lord Malloch-Brown, a former UK government minister and deputy UN secretary general.

It was co-founded by Gina Miller

“who took the UK government to court over the triggering of the Article 50 process to leave the European Union. Malloch-Brown said the campaign group had followed all rules and regulations governing financial contribution. “We, like millions of people, believe that Britain should lead, not leave, Europe,” he said. “We work with campaigners, businesses, unions, politicians and community groups to make sure everyone has a strong campaigning voice,” he said.

“George Soros’s foundations have, along with a number of other major donors, also made significant contributions to our work. Indeed, through his foundations he has contributed £400,000. But our small donors have collectively contributed more and the commitments of the other major donors also exceed this amount. So he is an important and valued donor but his funding is one among many sources”.

“Best for Britain said it had collected more than £413,000 in small donations from sympathetic members of the public. [And have now paid another £40,000 to Miller]

“We are proud of the campaign we have embarked on” Malloch-Brown said. “We think the British people deserve a final say on the Brexit deal and believe the country has been led down a dangerous false turn.

“This is a democratic and patriotic effort to recover our future and we welcome support for our efforts from many quarters. We believe we speak for a democratic majority in a country now facing up to the consequences of a Brexit negotiation that has been captured by a handful of hardliners”.

Define democratic majority?  What’s that?