"probably the most prolific anti frack website in the UK"
- Ken Wilkinson - prominent pro-fracking activist and industry supporter (Yes we know , he doesn't know what "prolific" means does he)

Private Eye

Defend Localism!

Take the advice of Greg Clark, ex-Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government

Greg Clark

"Those who are prepared to organise to be more effective and more efficient should be able to reap substantially the rewards of that boldness ...

Take power now. Don’t let yourself, any longer, be ruled by someone else"

How many wells?

Click the image from more information on Cuadrilla's plans for PEDL 165

Fracking Employment

From the Financial Times 16 October 2013

AMEC forecast just 15,900 to 24,300 nationwide - direct & indirect

Jobs would typically be short term, at between four and nine years

Only 17% of jobs so far have gone to local people


Looking for misinformation, scaremongering, lies or stupidity?

It's all on this website (but only on this one post ) featuring the Reverend Mike Roberts.

(Oops - there's more! )

Here though is our favourite Reverend Roberts quote of all time - published in the Lancashire Evening Post on 5th August 2015

"If you dare oppose fracking you will get nastiness and harassment whether on social media, or face-to-face"

Yes you!

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr Seuss

We are not for sale!

England is not for sale!


Join the ever growing number of households who have signed up to the Wrongmove campaign!

Tell Cuadrilla and the Government that your house is "Not for Shale"


Be a flea

"Many fleas make big dog move"
Japanese Proverb quoted by Jessica Ernst

No to Fracking

Love Lytham Say No to Fracking

Make sense?

The Precautionary Principle

When an activity or occurrence raises threats of serious or irreversible harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

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Public Opinion

17 pads in Lancashire? Really?

Our friends over at Backing Fracking have been in PR overdrive again. This time they are trying to do some maths but they haven’t really thought it through. Desperate to show that fracking might create some jobs, but having very little to base it on, they have had to rely on the IoD report.

This has forced them to do some pretty bizarre data allocation including this gem.

In Lancashire, where Cuadrilla, Osprey Oil and Gas, Warwick Energy, Aurora Energy Resources and Hutton Energy have licence blocks, we might see 18 sites developed consisting of 720 horizontal wells.

So they are trying to tell us that in all of the Lancashire PEDLs (pictured below) the industry only plan a total of 17 well pads.

Apart from the fact Cuadrilla is on record as saying they plan between 80-100 well pads for Cuadrilla’s PEDL alone (which makes a bit of a mockery of Backing Fracking’s “maths” here) if there really were to be only 17 well pads in Lancashire then, using the IoD figures which Backing Fracking’s article clearly endorses, they would only be able to extract 2.3 TCF of gas from the whole of Lancashire.

This is a little strange given that Cuadrilla have claimed there is between 200 and 300 tcf of gas in place n PEDL 165 alone and that they can extract 10% of it. And the idea that it would be worth fracking Lancashire for 30 years to get about 8 months annual UK gas demand shows how ridiculous the fracking PR machine really is.

No why would they want us to believe that there might be only a fraction of the number of pads that the industry would really need? The 20 TCF Cuadrilla say they can get out of just one licence area – PEDL 165 – would require 160 x 40 well pads at the IoD’s 3.2 bcf EUR. And they expect us to believe that thee would be just 17 pads in all 8 PEDL areas in Lancashire? Really?

Is it stupidity or are they trying to hide the real impacts?

How big would your mess of pottage have to be?

Cuadrilla proudly announced today that local residents, when surveyed, had indicated that they wanted the “community benefit” promised by Cuadrilla to go to their own pockets and not to other local causes. Maybe it’s hard to blame them – if you lose 7% (government estimate from the 2014 Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts report ) of the value of a property worth £150,000, and most of those within 1km are worth rather more than that,  that’s £10,500 so you can probably be forgiven for thinking that any paltry amounts coming from Cuadrilla should go to you and not the local Scouts’ hut. If you live in a Park Home at Carr Bridge worth say £60,000 you would lose £4,200 at that 7% rate.

So how much are they giving out? Well, this payment is for the second well, so there is already £100,000 to be give to local community projects by the Community Foundation for Lancashire – a body which is in fact based in Merseyside  and at least until recently had Cuadrilla’s good friend Babs Murphy as it’s board member for “Philanthropy Development”. This time they are going to pay the cash directly to the households so:

29 households within 1km of the site will each get £2070

259 households between 1km and 1.5km of the site will each get £150

No doubt we will now see Cuadrilla bragging about what a wonderful windfall this is and using it to try to persuade others that fracking brings meaningful rewards for communities, but it is worth pausing for a second to consider the population density involved here. Assuming these households follow the national average there will be 2.14 people on average in each one.

The area covered by the 1km limit is 3.14 km2 and the area covered by the outer 1-1.5 km ring is 3.9 km2

This leads us to conclude that the population density within 1km of the site is about 20/km2 and in the 1km-1.5km area about 141/km2 (the difference is probably largely due to it including the Carr Bridge site).

These are both considerably lower than the average population density of Lancashire which is 483/km2.

If the “benefit” were divided in areas with average population densities then we would have seen 709 households in the 1km area and 886 in the 1-1.5km area.

If Cuadrilla were to divide the “benefit” to an area with average population density in the proportions they plan to here, with 60% going to the area closer than 1 km and 40% to the area between 1 and 1.5 km then:

709 households within 1km of the site would each get just £85 – if they were thinking of splashing out that would buy nearly 200 B&H, 4 bottles of Bombay Sapphire or a couple of Ryanair flights with no baggage to somewhere miles from any fracking.

886 households between 1km and 1.5km of the site would each get a princely £45 – enough for standard anytime return tickets for two people to Manchester from Kirkham.

Meanwhile if these households lived in houses with the average value for Lancashire  (£161,166 according to Rightmove) and if each were to lose the DECC report’s 7% they would each lose over £11,000 on their houses, with a total loss of property value within a 1.5km radius of almost £18 million.

Don’t be fooled by the shiny £ signs.  Using the government’s own figures they’d have to provide the “benefit” from 180 wells off this one pad before they made up for just the loss in house value forecast by the Rural Impacts report.

So if you are tempted to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage make sure it’s big enough to fill the hole that will be left by this industry. Of course local residents are not selling their birthright voluntarily are they? Their council said “no”. It is the government forcing this industry onto our area and then expecting us to be grateful when the real beneficiaries sweep a few crumbs off the table for “lucky” local residents/receptors to scrat about for on the floor.



Support for Fracking Continues to Slide Towards Single Figures

BEIS Wave 23 shows  almost 3 times as many now oppose fracking as support it.

  • Support for fracking at lowest point since the survey began.
  • Only 13% now support fracking.
  • 36% now oppose it.
  • Strong support down to 1%

Today saw the release of the latest quarterly BEIS Public Attitudes survey. This is wave 23. Questions about fracking have been asked since wave 8 in December 2013.

The results will be shocking for the fracking industry who have seen a 27%:21% lead public opinion in 2013 reverse itself into a devastating 13%:36% deficit in just 4 years

Equally devastating must the slide in those claiming to strongly support fracking from 6% in 2013 to a dismal 1% today.

The data set is available here .

There can be no clearer illustration than this  that fracking has no social licence in this country.  This polling is clear evidence that the people of this country do not want this invasive industry and are reacting very negatively to its expensive but unconvincing PR, and the attempts of companies like Ineos to curb our right to protest.

These results come on the back of mainstream media questioning of industry tactics and impacts as we have seen for example on The Wright Stuff and even in the Daily Mail.

The tide of public opinion is now streaming against fracking in spite of the efforts of their PR teams to demonise protesters.

There is only one way for the UK fracking industry to go now and that is down and out.


Emergency measures

Cuadrilla recently submitted an application to vary their planning permission at Preston New Road.


As part of this they submitted a Supporting Statement

This supporting statement was approved by no less than the Chief Executive of Cuadrilla as can be seen here:

In this supporting statement they made the following highly inflammatory claim

Emergency Calls

During the month of July 2017, there was a number of occasions where ambulances responding to emergency calls were unable to get to their destination using the fastest possible route due to incidents outside of the Preston New Road site. On such occasions, the ambulance returned to the M55 and used Junction 3 to arrive at their destination.

As nobody in Frack Free Lancashire was aware of these alleged incidents, a Freedom of Information request was made to the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Within Cuadrilla Resources Ltd’s recent application (dated 13 October 2017) to adjust planning permission at their Preston New Road site in Lancashire, they have made the following statement:

“During the month of July 2017, there was a number of occasions where ambulances responding to emergency calls were unable to get to their destination using the fastest possible route due to incidents outside of the Preston New Road site. On such occasions, the ambulance returned to the M55 and used Junction 3 to arrive at their destination.”

Please could you confirm whether this statement is in fact true or not, and provide any correspondence, via email or other records, that would support this claim.

Please also provide any correspondence between yourselves and Cuadrilla Resources Ltd, that may have occurred surrounding this claim

The reply was fairly instant

Further to your enquiry below, I have made contact with the local area manager, Head of Service for Lancashire and our legal department and they are all unaware of any formal submission of this information. I also confirm that we are unable to provided statistics in relation to ambulance delays experienced whilst en-route to incidents, as our reporting system does not capture this level of information.

I hope this information is of assistance.

We would like to know what evidence Cuadrilla have for suggesting that ambulances were hindered, given that even those who manage the service appear unaware of any such issues.

We have written as shown below to the Cuadrilla Information Line and will post any response that we get here.

Dear Sir / Madam

In your recent application to vary planning permission at Preston New Road you made a claim that:

“During the month of July 2017, there was a number of occasions where ambulances responding to emergency calls were unable to get to their destination using the fastest possible route due to incidents outside of the Preston New Road site. On such occasions, the ambulance returned to the M55 and used Junction 3 to arrive at their destination.”

However, according to an FoI response, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust appear to be unaware of any request from yourselves for information relating to this and therefore logically cannot have provided any to you. They also state that their reporting systems does not capture sufficient detail to provide statistics in relation to ambulance delays experienced whilst en-route to incidents.

Accordingly, I would like to ask what evidence you have for you claim above and what is its source.

I look forward to your response

Those of you with sharp eyes may already have had a hollow laugh at the description on of one of the consultees listed on the application details.

Water water everywhere ….

In an effort to clarify the issue of where the water we drink comes from I put in an EIR request to United Utilities.

It took them some time to come up with a response but here is a summary.

If you live in the Fylde then your water comes from a variety of sources:

*Franklaw WTW
*Hodder WTW
*Haweswater Aquaduct
*Watchgate WTW

If you live in the FY8 area then your water is sourced as follows

So we can see two things here. A large proportion of the water (34%) does in fact come from boreholes, but they are all east of the Woodsfold fault.

The question of whether contamination of the Sherwood aquifer west of the fault could result in issues in the same aquifer east of the fault is still an open one. As Professor David Smythe suggests

There are many connections and pathways for contaminated ‘flowback’ fluid (directly from the fracking process), or for ‘produced’ water (from gas production) to reach the Sherwood aquifer east of the Woodsfold Fault.”

Equally a large part of Cuadrilla’s PEDL 165 is located east of the fault, so whilst any contamination of the aquifer east of the fault from Preston New Road might take some time, contamination of the aquifer from other sites could be much more immediate.

The image below shows a rough visualisation of PEDL 165 and the approximate location of the Woodsfold fault, superimposed onto the Environment Agency’s  map of water abstraction points within it.

What is very clear here though is that when the Fracking PR machine tries to claim that we don’t get water from boreholes that could be affected by fracking in PEDL 165, and it all comes from the Lakes, they are lying to us.

Finally, United Utilities claim not to be aware of the presence of a shallow fresh water aquifer at PNR, although the BGS clearly state that it does exist. We find this surprising but perhaps if it is only used for “private drinking water supply, farms and golf course irrigation” then there is no necessary reason why it should be of any interest to United Utilities.

This does not of course mean that it is not valuable or somehow not worth protecting!

We hope that this clarifies some of the questions regarding the sources of our public and private potable and no-potable water.

Could imported LNG really be cheaper than UK produced shale?

We were struck by a graphic produced by the Frackers’ PR machine last week so we decided to do some analysis of the relative costs ourselves. The results are quite interesting.

The moral of today’s story is “Don’t be taken in by simplistic and illogical memes.”

Here in one graphic is all you need to know about how far the industry PR machine will go to pull the wool over the eyes of the public, and how uncritical they must assume people are.

Their “logic” here seems to suggest that it is only transport costs which dictate the price the consumer pays,. However even UKOOG admit that extraction costs in the UK could be 3 times higher than in the US, and this clearly has a major impact on any commercial comparison.

Published estimates of UK extraction costs for shale gas have varied between 46p and 102 p a therm.

The US Henry Hub spot price for Natural Gas today is $2.88 mmbtu or about $0.29 a therm.
How much does transportation as LNG add to the cost of US produced shale gas?

Well according to a 2016 article on the financial web site, Seeking Alpha, if we add pipeline costs for 300 miles at $0.32 mmbtu, liquefaction at $1.15 mmbtu and shipping from the US Gulf Coast to Europe at $1.20 mmbtu we get an additional cost of $2.67 mmbtu which is about $0.27 a therm.

Adding regasification costs at $0.35 mmbtu brings the cost to $3.02 mmbtu or $0.30 a therm.

Add this to the $0.29 a therm Henry Hub price and we have a total of $0.59 a therm. At today’s exchange rate ($1 US = £0.76) that suggests cost of around 45p a therm which is below the lowest published estimate of UK extraction costs for shale gas that we have been able to locate.

So shipping LNG from the US looks as though it might well be cheaper than even the lowest forecast cost of UK shale gas extraction.

You might be surprised to read that even Francis Egan of Cuadrilla agrees with us here. He told the House of Lords economic affairs select committee: “We’re probably competing in shale gas with imported LNG [liquified natural gas]. And so if you look at US gas prices at about $3 a unit, add $1 or so to liquefy, another $1 or so to transport, another $1 or so to translate it back into a gas, you’re talking about $6 landed in the UK, ish. Which is what we have to compete with.” $6 per MMBTU landed is about 44p a therm at today’s rates

Given all that, it really is hard to imagine why the astroturfers claim to believe in their graphic that fracking in the UK will mean lower retail prices for millions. After all, even Cuadrilla admit it won’t.

Just in case you might be tempted to think they aren’t totally mendacious in the commentary next to the graphic they claim the European market doesn’t function as a unit because, they say, we already pay less than our European neighbours for gas.

However, they fail to mention (or maybe they just don’t understand) that the data only “supports” that claim because “The relative price increase across the rest of the EU is mainly due to the depreciation of the Pound against the Euro by 10 per cent on the same period last year” and the government figures are presented in £.

You couldn’t make it up (unless you work in PR for the fracking industry perhaps?)

Please Police Me!




For some time now those supporting fracking have tried to turn the narrative away from the issues surrounding fracking and to present this battle as protesters versus police. Really nothing could be further from the truth.

As anyone who has been down to Preston New Road will know the vast majority of those they meet are decent, hard working or retired people, who continue to pay the council tax to enable the provision of policing services in the county. Some of us, however have become concerned about issues which have surfaced with the policing of the protest.

The most obvious one is the over-policing which has been evident throughout and this has some serious implications for the people of Lancashire as we continue to be asked to pay for an unsustainable policing operation which is, in effect, providing a free service for Cuadrilla.

Lancashire Police’s own public statements suggest that the cost of the policing operation, whilst being a considerable drain on the county’s finances, is still in manageable territory – just.

The cumulative total of £2.2 million is described as “Costs attributed to the policing operation for fracking“, but it is only on closer examination that we notice that it also states “The table below shows the additional costs related to policing the fracking operation. This includes overtime, unsocial hours payments, equipment, subsistence etc. These costs do not include the cost of those officers that are assigned to policing the site on a day-to-day basis.” [Our emphasis].

So what has the real cost of policing this operation been? To work this out we need to look at the cost to Lancashire Constabulary for the provision of Mutual Aid from other forces, which began on 10th July and will finish on 29th September, and also look at at the Full Economic Costs for Lancashire’s own policing operation . Fortunately information on these costs is readily available

Mutual Aid Data

Full Economic Costing

The information is for different years and from specific forces but it is recent enough and generally applicable enough to allow us to make a reasonable stab at the total costs incurred.

Cost of Mutual Aid Policing

Mutual aid policing is provided in PSUs – Police Support Units which comprise

  • 1 Inspector
  • 3 Sergeants
  • 18 Constables
  • 3 Constable Drivers

Throughout the Mutual Aid period it has been normal to see at least 6 vans from other forces at any one time so for this exercise we are going to assume that 2 PSU units (50 officers) have been deployed on average throughout the Mutual Aid period. This would be half of the daily presence of 100 officers reported in several reputable media outlets.

[The Times reported in April  “More than 100 officers a day are being sent to Cuadrilla’s site on Preston New Road near Blackpool to ensure that lorries delivering materials can pass protesters.” and in May the Blackpool Gazette reported  “The officer in charge of policing anti-fracking protests in Fylde has defended the number of police deployed. Lancashire Police has up to 100 officers deployed at the drilling site in Preston New Road every day, prompting criticism from some quarters of the resources being given over to the operation. Supt Richard Robertshaw admits the numbers required are a drain on resources.“]

When  paying for mutual aid the amount paid by Lancashire Constabulary is not the Full Economic Cost of each officer – instead they pay only for the basic pay, unsociable hours, other allowances and national insurance. The force providing Mutual Aid has to swallow up the rest (or rather their council tax payers and the national tax payers do, which is another reason why it is legitimate to regard this as not just a local but a national issue).

Taking the employable cost hourly rates for each grade and applying these to the number of days worked we can calculate that the daily cost of a single PSU unit would be £7,031, so 2 PSU units (50 officers) would cost just over £14,000 a day.

Over the 81 days of the Mutual Aid period this might have cost Lancashire Police £1,139,077 assuming our assumptions about the number of officers deployed and the police’s own data are correct.

Cost of Lancashire Constabulary’s Policing

When looking at the cost of Lancashire’s own officers we need to use a Full Economic Costing which takes into account not only the salaries and overheads uses in the calculation of Mutual Aid rates but also elements, which are not included in the Mutual Aid cost calculations like:

  • Competence
  • Bonus Payment
  • Subsistence
  • Rent / Housing Allowances
  • Healthcare Scheme

along with direct overheads in the form of

  • Overtime Premium
  • Uniforms
  • Insurance
  • Transport
  • Training
  • Call Handling
  • Communications
  • Infrastructure

and also indirect overheads allocated from the provision of other central services.

The impact of including these is to bring the cost of a Police Constable from a nominal £32.78 an hour under Mutual Aid to a more realistic £59.64 an hour under a Full Economic Cost model.

This means that by the end of this week (Friday 29th September 2017), on the reasonable assumption that 100 officers have been deployed each day, apart from during Mutual Aid when it would have been 50,  the cost to Lancashire Constabulary for their own officers since January 6th will have been be somewhere in the region of £10 million.

This would suggest that the total cumulative costs so far of facilitating Cuadrilla’s operation to Lancashire Constabulary are in the order of £11.2 million.

This compares with a total 2017/18 budget requirement for Lancashire Constabulary of £261,647,000 or about 4% of the annual total after just 9 months. This would suggest over 5% after a year.

If you would like to look at the data behind our calculations it can be found in this spreadsheet

And now we need to take a step back and remember – this is just one pad. If this industry ever takes root here we can expect at least 100 pads to be developed. At any one time we can probably expect 10 pads to be being developed, and as we have seen when this industry invades places where there is a strong community, like in a village, resistance increases, so it would be unreasonable for the police to expect not to have to deal with a similar level of protest at each and every site that is developed here in Lancashire.

So, my questions to Chief Inspector Keith Ogle and Police Commissioner Clive Grunshaw are as follows:

  • Are the Police ready to spend something in the region of 50% of their current budget over the next 20 years on facilitating Cuadrilla’s operations?
  • Do the Police feel that they can adequately perform the rest of their necessary functions in our society whilst so many resources are being directed towards policing Cuadrilla’s fracking operations?
  • What plans have the Police put in place to get finance from central Government for this massive drain on their resources which might allow them continue to perform the job that we all need them to do?

These are questions that our senior police officers really have to be asking themselves. Given the costs that would seem to have been incurred already we need the answers to them sooner rather than later.

The answer my friend …

New research by You Gov commissioned by climate change group 10:10 shows that on shore wind is vastly more popular than either of the government’s two pet projects (Small modular nuclear reactors or fracking)

Support for fracking is particularly low.

A very clear majority (61%) really don’t want a fracking site within 5 miles of their home while just 21% would be happy to have one.

Compare that to onshore wind, which the government keeps telling us nobody wants and which we must apparently feel free to oppose on a local level and the situation is reversed – 65% happy and 24% unhappy. If it’s community owned then it’s 69% happy and just 17% unhappy.

It is time that the government dropped it’s absurd opposition to renewable energy sources and bowed to the inevitable – who know it might even help their electoral prospects, and that’s something they seem to need all the help they can get with just now.

You can read more about the polling and access the data underlying it using this link.

And in the naked light I saw …

A week or so ago I met local music teacher Andy Severyn for a beer and out of the blue came an idea for a song about fracking.

A couple of days later Andy and I (but mostly Andy) had put together some great replacement lyrics for Don McLean’s haunting song “Starry Starry Night” and we put them together with some of the images that have most affected us over the last few months.

The result seemed quite good so we published it on Facebook and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response. In a few days it has been viewed by 10,000 people – maybe more. It has also been shared 450 times at the time of writing.

We’ve now added it to Vimeo for easier sharing.

Sorry Sorry Site from No Fracking on Vimeo.

10,000 people maybe more – hmm – that give us an idea for a follow up. Stay tuned!

In the meantime here is the image we’ve used as the main picture for the video – complete with fracking well


In George Orwell’s 1984, the main protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, or “Minitrue”, as an editor.

He is responsible for historical revisionism; he rewrites records and alters photographs to conform to the state’s ever-changing version of history itself.

In 2017 he might have got a job editing the new Backing Fracking website.

If he did we could probably expect output like this:

Terms like “fracture growth” and “fracture propagation” are used to describe the extent of the network of cracks that are created. The maximum vertical reach has been calculated as 350 metres from a horizontal well, but it’s important to understand that these cracks are random, won’t all form in a vertical plane, and are very narrow indeed – they are certainly not going to be “fissures.”

Fracking for shale gas in the UK will take place at very significant depths – typically more than 2,000 metres. Groundwater aquifers are encountered at about 180 metres below the surface and so you can see that even if fractures can “grow” upwards 350 metres, there will be 1,650 metres of separation between the two (that’s 5 times the height of the Shard in London, Britain’s tallest building) and virtually no chance of any connectivity occurring.

Like all good lies this content contains some truth, but it is subtly bent out of shape. This when we read “The maximum vertical reach has been calculated as 350 metres from a horizontal well” we should not take that as fact. In reality a study by the ReFine group at the University of Durham actually concluded that:

“Mathematical analysis of the datasets indicates that the likelihood of a natural hydraulic fracture extending vertically more than 350 metres is about 33 per cent. For hydraulic fractures stimulated by shale gas fracking, the likelihood of them extending more than 350 m is less than 1 per cent.”

That is not the same thing as a calculated maximum at all. Given the many thousand fracturing stages which will take place just within Cuadrilla’s licence area we can expect several hundred to exceed this height.

They are correct that Cuadrilla’s fracture plan suggests that fracking will take place at depths greater than 2,000 metres, but whoever put this together obviously doesn’t know much about the local geology. The suggestion that “Groundwater aquifers are encountered at about 180 metres below the surface and so you can see that even if fractures can “grow” upwards 350 metres, there will be 1,650 metres of separation between the two” seems to be based on the assumption that the Sherwood aquifer has no depth of its own, even if you ignore the obvious issue with forgetting about their initial 180 metres, as they do there.

In fact as the BGS tell us:

The shallow aquifer is up to 40 m thick and is designated by the Environment Agency as a Secondary B aquifer. It is used for private drinking water supply, farms and golf course irrigation. In the area of the proposed shale–gas sites, this aquifer is underlain by a thick layer (up to 350 m) of a low–permeability mudstone, the Mercia Mudstone. Water moves slowly through this mudstone and it is not classed as an aquifer. Below this is the Sherwood Sandstone, which reaches a thickness of up to 750 m. The Sherwood Sandstone is classed by the Environment Agency as a Principal aquifer.”

So in fact the Sherwood Aquifer is not 180 metres below the surface but about 400 metres below it. The sandstone making up the Sherwood  Aquifer is up to 750 metres thick, giving a depth of its lowest level at about 1150 metres not the 180 metres being suggested by our astro-turfing pals in their story above.

Assuming a fracture height of 350 metres that would, of course, still give a tolerance of 500 metres for fracking at 2000 metres. If the 350 metres quoted really were a maximum rather than just a probability this would be fine wouldn’t it? However, as the Refine paper tells us:

The maximum reported height of an upward propagating hydraulic fracture from several thousand fracturing operations in the Marcellus, Barnett, Woodford, Eagle Ford and Niobrara shale (USA) is ∼588 m

How much can we depend on this data?

Well Refine also state that:

Mathematical methods for estimating hydraulic fracturing height are simplistic (Fisher and Warpinski, 2011) and it is generally accepted that we cannot yet accurately predict fracture propagation behaviour in detail

So things wouldn’t seem to be quite so clear cut as our Backing Fracking chums would like to make out, as in fact the separation distance between the end of a fracture and the aquifer at Preston New Road might be nearer 250 metres than the 1650 metres claimed by them, and nobody is really sure if the 588 metres really is the maximum fracture height we should expect.

250 metres clearance for a fracture at 2000 metres, with an observed maximum fracture height (so far) of 588 metres, might still be a reasonable margin of course (if those mathematical prediction methods do turn out to be more reliable than ReFine suggest) , but this is rather less than 1 times the height of the Shard in London and about 7 times less than Backing Fracking’s “reassuring” maths is trying to tell us. Oops!

This begs the question why Backing Fracking are being so misleading. Is it incompetence or is it a wilful intention to exaggerate and misinform?

[And according to their own page , shouldn’t they be called “Backing Frac’ing” as they tell us the word “fracking” is “really known in the industry” as “frac’ing”. 😂]

PS – do we detect a little irascibility with Aunty in their closing “Fracking certainly isn’t the controversial technique that the BBC and others would like you to think it is.”?  And we still think it is by the way.

PPS – it seems they follow everything we write here as shortly after I published this they put this sniffy Tweet on Twitter

(The inset is my reply LOL – 2 years ago they hadn’t banned me but when I didn’t post for a while they were telling each other they had. Then I argued a point with them and got banned properly. Oddly my life was not much diminished.)

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Who's fault?

"What you have to be able to do when you decide you want to hydraulic fracture is make sure there are no faults in the area. That's really very very important"

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Fracking the UK

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Frack Free Lancashire
Preston New Road Action Group
Preston New Road Action Group

Roseacre Awareness Group
Roseacre Awareness Group


Defend Lytham
Defend Lytham

RAFF Group
RAFF Group

REAF Group

Ribble Estuary Against Fracking

Fracking Free Ireland
Fracking Free Ireland

Fracking Digest
Fracking Digest – a summary of the week’s news

Frack Free Balcombe
Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association

Frack Free Sussex
Frack Free Sussex

Frack Free York
Frack Free York

Halsall Against Fracking
Halsall Against Fracking

If you would like your group to be added please contact us

Other Groups


January 2018
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