Endorsements

"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?

PNRAG 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

Rubbish!

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!

Wrongmove

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"

Wrongmove

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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Fracking with the facts in a post-truth world

fake newsFracking is a process that is struggling to gain a foothold in the UK. As the companies involved scrabble to get permission to drill across vast swathes of the countryside, they are also fighting a battle to win the hearts and minds of the population, because they know that without a social licence to operate, their costs will end up being too high for them to make a profit.

So how do they go about addressing the necessary debate? Do they engage with the public? Do they inform them? Not at all! The discourse that they prefer is one in which power trumps argument and volume trumps logic. It is not important to them that what they say is true. What matters to them is that people should believe it to be true. This is the essence of early 21st century communication from Donald J Trump downwards, if downwards is the appropriate word to use there.

Hence we have a variety of facades pumping out propaganda at a furious rate. When one gets exposed and becomes a liability (as did the North West Energy Task Force last year) it is simply replaced with a shiny new version, supported by the same PR company working for the same fracking company – This is how the front group Lancashire For Shale was born, supported by Westbourne Communications and Cuadrilla. They then put up a web page full of public relations material and have no shame in calling it “The Facts”. Clearly a “fact”, these days, is whatever you want it to be. Facts used to be considered to be an objective representation of reality. Now it seems we all have our own facts, and the most robust “facts” are simply the ones that they want us to hear. We are living in a dystopia where the Strawberry Fields fantasy “Living is easy with eyes closed” and “nothing is real” seem to be the creed.

Working side-by-side with these quasi-official front groups we have a clutch of astroturfing groups who claim to represent local residents, but who are, in fact, made up almost exclusively of business people with a vested financial interest in the industry going ahead. Typically these groups have a social media following of around three hundred followers shared between them and they serve to echo and amplify the messages put out by the more “respectable” organisations. Meanwhile the fracking companies are able to maintain an unimpeachable distance from any questionable statements being made on their behalf.

To take a case in point, today we saw a local industry front group given space in our local press to pump the output of UKOOG, the fracking industry operating group. The material was claimed, with no basis in fact, to disprove the fact that the countryside would be industrialised by fracking. Amusingly the report itself didn’t even try to say that, but that didn’t matter – the “truth” that they wanted us to take in was dutifully put out there by a press who appear to question nothing and gratefully reprint every press release they receive from the industry and its cohorts. The public lap it up and then quote it on local Facebook groups. Job done!

In the same vein, a claim was made last week that demonstrations against fracking at one site on a local A-road might be costing the local economy half a million pounds a day. The claim was totally risible, ascribing, as it did, the entire cost of motorway delays across the whole of the UK to one A-road in the Fylde, but again the truth didn’t matter. A compliant local press swallowed the lie and dutifully regurgitated it for the local population to marvel at. We will see it repeated now for months.

The examples of this phenomenon are too numerous to list, but some of my favourites are from Cuadrilla’s own chief executive. In 2013 he was trying to persuade us that fracking was good for Lancashire business and on Radio 4 he told listeners that:

the actual spend on any development itself would run into several hundred billions, most of which, we would hope would be spent in Lancashire“.

Nobody noticed or cared that a moment before he had said, “Well the total market value … it’s about £140 billion worth of gas“. The same gentleman is continually claiming that his fracking pads will be the size of a rugby pitch (1 hectare) when the only pad he has permission for will cover nearly 3 hectares with another 3 or 4 hectares for associated monitoring stations. The press simply report the lie and “Bingo!” it’s suddenly become a fact in the minds of local readers. We can tell them they have published a lie but they simply ignore that new information, because it isn’t convenient.

Should you try to engage with their “Community Information Line” (staffed of course by a Public Relations company) with an awkward question they will find a reason to withdraw, but the company will continue with their baseless claims of being an active stakeholder in the community. The truth doesn’t matter. The surface is everything. The post-truth carapace hides the hollow interior, which reeks of arrogance, indifference and self-interest. Say whatever you want. Say it loud. Say it clear. As long as you drown out the opposition’s words you’ll have nothing to fear.

Before I became interested in investigating the claims made by the fracking industry I was blissfully unaware of the extent to which lobby groups use the power they have to drown out the truth with a barrage of misleading and often untrue statements. I was also unaware of how complicit the national and local press (with a few occasional honourable exceptions) are in helping them to establish their narratives. You have to leave the gentle uplands of the familiar mainstream media before you start to find boutique sites like Drill or Drop, where you can find unembellished information curated by enthusiasts who are on a mission to inform rather than to convince. Even there though, anonymous individuals dominate the comments pages, desperately retailing the industry’s factoids to anyone who will fall for them. The filaments of the lies spread inexorably like a honey fungus across the substrate of the debate, strangling the possibility of the truth flourishing.

What is abundantly clear here is that, when the truth becomes a casualty, any possibility of a sensible or balanced dialogue becomes impossible. Those with the power understand this but they don’t care, because a reported factoid trumps the truth every time and serves their purposes as well if not better. They can, after all, mould a media factoid even if they can’t change the objective truth.

We are continually being enjoined to speak truth to power, and many of us do our best to do so. Sadly as long as those with power don’t need to care about the truth we are outgunned man-to-man. It’s a good thing that we can make up for this, at least to an extent, by having far superior numbers. We have armies of people who monitor the output of the echo chambers and expose their lies on social media.

The truth will out – we just have to keep pushing harder to get it seen. Surely, if I can write a whole article on post-truth Britain without once mentioning Brexit, then anything must be possible?


This article was originally published on Scisco Media

How things have changed!

Let’s take a step back in time shall we.

Imagine you are back in 2012 in a packed hall in St Annes listening to a panel debate between the regulators, Cuadrilla, Friends of the Earth and local engineer Mike Hill. Somebody suggests that fracking in the Fylde will require maybe as many as 80 wells to be drilled (that’s wells not well pads by the way). Mark Menzies MP (Fylde, Con) is asked his opinion and states that he would not be  able to support a development of that size.

Now let’s skip forward a bit to July 2015 where we have Kevin Hollinrake MP (Thirsk and Malton, Con) stating categorically that he insists on a 6 mile separation between fracking wells.

As we move forward yet again to yesterday’s meeting of the APPG on shale gas regulation and planning, it hardly seems credible that we now hear these two MPs calling for a limit of 8-10 pads in a 100km2 block.

Mr Menzies even went as far as to say:

“You need to have conversations with government. If you are confident that with new technology you can extract enough gas without going all over the place. This is about reassuring people. If we do not get something like this, you guys are stuffed. ”

But what does 8-10 pads in a 100km2 block actually mean? Well Cuadrilla’s licence area is 1200km2 in round numbers, so this would mean a limit of 120 well pads. And Mr Menzies thinks we’d find that reassuring? Really?

Regular readers of this site will recall that we have already addressed the question of te potential impact of 4000 wells on just 100 well pads  (http://www.refracktion.com/index.php/so-what-would-100-40-well-pads-look-like-numerically/)

Some of you may even remember the outrage from the industry and its supporters when this map was produced showing just 100 (not 120 pads)

PEDL165

So why, we have to ask ourselves, are these two MPs seeming to suggest that 10 well pads per 100 km2 is an acceptable limit? Mr Menzies said he couldn’t support 80 wells in his area – that would be just 2 well pads, not 120. Mr Hollinrake was emphatic about the need for a 6 mile separation between wells, but now he seems happy to accept just 2 miles.

It is quite inconceivable that an industry which claims t be able to drill 5 mile laterals could want (or manage) spacing between wells of less than 2 miles, so all we are seeing here is a political dance.

2 MPs appear to be doing something, but when you analyse what they are in fact proposing it has no substance whatsoever. (How surprised are we at that?). It would appear that they are in fact proposing a “limit” which their friends in the fracking industry would find in no way challenging. The industry will no doubt acquiesce after some pantomime grumbling and our two politicians will bask in the glory of having “achieved” something, whilst the industry will tell us how reasonable they have been.

Just remember, however, what Cuadrilla told the Advertising Standards Authority whilst wriggling out of an accusation that their claim that

“Some critics have suggested that the area would be blighted by densely packed, unattractive developments in the future, if we moved to production stage. This would not be the case”

was misleading. The ASA reported that Cuadrilla claimed:

If it were to proceed it could entail in the order of 10 to 20 development pads across the 1200 km2 area of the licence, with each pad approximately the size of a football pitch. They argued that the size and amount of wells would be considerably less than some sites in the US, which were often cited by opponents to hydraulic fracturing operations. They maintained that field development in the UK did not mean populating the countryside with new drilling locations; horizontal wells could radiate from the same well bore like the tines of a fork and in several directions, which could be repeated at different levels. One pad could manage 24-36 horizontal wells using present day technology.

CRL said judging what would be “densely packed” was a matter of opinion and a subjective issue. They had used the term density to mean the number of sites per unit of area. They said, as the licensed operator, they were responsible for proposing the development, which they did not intend to be densely packed. They said the level of attractiveness was not capable of objective substantiation.

So Cuadrilla claim only to need 20 pads in 1200 km2 or 10 pads every 600 km2. Having to agree to a maximum density of 10 pads every 100 km2 would hardly be a challenge then would it? – Unless the ASA and the public were being misled there of course?

Finally Mr Menzies apparently also said there had been “enormous advances” in legislation and regulation of shale gas over the past six years. We would love him to explain to us exactly where those have occurred. I have written to him today

Dear Mark

I have now read the report of the APPG meeting on https://drillordrop.com/2016/09/07/fracking-companies-urged-to-limit-number-of-well-sites-to-reassure-residents/

I am non-plussed that, being on public record as stating that you could not support a development of 80 wells (not pads, wells) you are now proposing a maximum density which would allow 120 pads with up to 4000 (FOUR THOUSAND) wells in PEDL 165. Can you please explain how this can possibly be in the best interests of your constituents?

I also note that you referred to “enormous advances” in legislation and regulation of shale gas over the past six years. Would you be kind enough to clarify exactly what “enormous advances” you were referring to there?

Kind regards

and will publish any reply I get.

For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Today’s sermon from the Church of St Michael Insanum will be based on a text from Galatians 6:7

“For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

On Wednesday this week, Dr Ania Szolucha of the University of Bergen launched her peer-reviewed research paper on “The Social Futures of Resource Extraction and Energy.” There was a full house of invited guests and those attending listened to presentations from distinguished speakers included Professor Anthony Ingraffea from Cornell University, USA and Professor Debra Davidson from the University of Alberta, Canada, both of whom spoke  via a live video link.

Professor of Global Energy, Michael Bradshaw, from the University of Warwick, spoke informatively on the energy trilemma that the UK faces and the limitations on shale gas development that might be imposed by the 5th Carbon budget. The event was chaired by Marc Hudson of the University of Manchester.

Audience interest was generally high (we’ll go into this a bit more deeply in a moment) with the chair having to restrict questioners to two sentences each in order to keep the event on schedule.

The conclusions reached by Dr Szolucha’s research are no doubt uncomfortable for the proponents of fracking as they add yet another layer to the research which questions the impact of fracking on local communities. In spite of this we were shocked to read the press release issued by the industry front group “Backing Fracking” the next morning.

In their press release they tried to suggest that two supporters of fracking teamed up and mounted a valiant defence of the industry at an anti-fracking event “ organised by Friends of the Earth and local anti-fracking groups.” which was “low-key and poorly attended with only 40 people in the room”

We know that Stephen Tindale was there, as he sat alone in front of me and did ask a question before falling asleep and then leaving 30 minutes early.

John Baldwin claims to have been there “to argue that extracting shale gas in Lancashire is better than continuing to import so much gas from abroad. “.  Strangely he certainly didn’t say anything when given the opportunity if he was indeed there. Hardly a proud and brave defence of the industry.

The event was in fact organised by Dr Szolucha herself without involvement from any NGO or local group of any kind, so the allegation that is was an anti-fracking event, organised by FoE ,that Backing Fracking had somehow infiltrated is quite  ridiculous.

The suggestion that its was badly attended and low-key is a classic Backing Frackingism – I think their working principle is “Tell a lie and somebody will believe it“. In fact the event was invitation only, was fully subscribed and was attended by a capacity audience of at least 65. This can be validated with the Harris Museum where the event took place.

So there we had it – an independent academic has her launch event trashed by an industry front group who hope to water down its impact by casting unfounded allegations at and about her.

I imagine that they thought the local press, wary of prejudicing potential advertising revenue, would have dutifully published this pap and they would have received whatever thanks, in whatever form they normally get it, from the industry for having defused a potentially embarrassing situation.

Sadly for them Mr Tindale fell asleep and left 30 minutes early, a fact which they were presumably not aware of. When questioned about this  on Twitter his rather graceless (and frankly incredible, given that he had been heard snoring) response was as follows:

tindale

Sadly also, Backing Fracking had gone too far by lying about several , easily verifiable, things as outlined above.

As a result, instead of simply rehashing the Backing Fracking press release, the Blackpool Gazette , who clearly have more  integrity that Backing Fracking thought, ran this piece.

backing fracking szolucha

What promised to be a simple PR exercise in defusing an inconvenient report has now blown up in their faces.

And finally, we hope that Stephen woke from his slumbers suitably refreshed. It’s a pity that he didn’t stay for the end of the presentation and the wine reception afterwards as I would have liked to engage him in conversation about Carbon Capture and Storage. Still at least he is starting to keep better company – after all as Proverbs 13:20 tells us:

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

We need to talk about Kevin

kevinYesterday Kevin Hollinrake resigned from the vice-chairmanship of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas claiming he had not previously been aware of any potential conflicts of interests in the way the group was funded.

If I were an MP I think I might be aware of that there is a web site which monitors such things and I might consult it.

Once I had consulted it I might perhaps think more than twice about whether the funding listed since August 2014 might cause any potential issues if those that elected me were to question it. The list of  supporters of this particular APPG is quite impressive and includes Centrica, Cuadrilla, Essar Oil, Ground Gas Solutions, Igas Energy PLC, Ineos, Ove Arup & Partners, Ove Arup International, Peel Environmental, Schlumberger Oilfield, Shale Gas World and UKOOG.

I might then look at the value of the secretarial services provided and ask myself why this particular group needed such a massive amount of secretarial support  (valued at £81,001 to £82,500 – that’s an awful lot of photocopying!) compared to all but a very few of the other several hundred APPGs.

appg H&K
A quick scan of the register suggests that the next highest is about £50,000 and that is highly atypical, with most APPG’s receiving either zero or benefits in kind in the range of £1501-£3,000. Noticing, therefore,  that this amount is extraordinarily high compared to any other APPG I might ask who provided it.

Learning that the services were provided by H & K strategies I might, even if I were innocent enough never to have heard of them, have looked them up.

At that point I might wonder how my vice-chairmanship of this group might look if I were to claim at the same time to be trying to maintain an objective and transparent position on the subject of fracking.

It seems from Mr Hollinrake’s comments reported on the Drill or Drop website that it did not occur to him to ponder any of this until it was brought to his attention by some of his constituents, and that he sent a “letter of resignation from the APPG … shortly after being made aware of the funding issue” which suggests that it suddenly became rather obvious to him that his role was prejudicing his claims to objectivity and transparency. If I have that wrong I will be happy to correct it.

I think if I suddenly discovered all this thanks to the diligence of some of my local electorate I might well, like Kevin,  resign from the vice chairmanship. I’m not sure, though, that I would remain a member of the group. It is not clear from the statements on his own website whether or not he has in fact done so. I am sure all will become clear shortly though.

{edit – a list of MP members of this group received from H&K on 20th January 2016 did NOT include Kevin Hollinrake’s name, so it seems he has fully resigned from this APPG}

This is the list of members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas provided on January 20th by H&K Strategies

Name Party Position
Nigel Mills MP Conservative Chair
Jim Fitzpatrick MP Labour Vice Chair
David Nuttall MP Conservative Vice Chair
Angela Smith MP Labour Member
Corri Wilson MP SNP Member
Chris Pincher MP Conservative Member
John Pugh MP Lib Dem Member
Steve Baker MP Conservative Member
Albert Owen MP Labour Member
John Spellar MP Labour Member
Graham Jones MP Labour Member
Jeremy Lefroy MP Conservative Member
Mark Menzies MP Conservative Member
David Mowat MP Conservative Member
Lord Greaves Lib Dem Member
Peter Lilley MP Conservative Member
Andrew Bridgen MP Conservative Member
Lord Crickhowell Conservative Member
Steve Brine MP Conservative Member

Interestingly our own MP here in the Fylde , Mark Menzies, was in 2013 also a Vice Chair of this very same committee. he resigned when his vice-chairmanship was questioned but remains a member of the APPG as at 20th January 2016. I cannot find any record explaining his decision to step down.

Why do they need to lie to us?

We were struck recently by a page on the IGas PLC website which makes 2 highly misleading and exaggerated claims in the space of a couple of paragraphs.

It  is interesting that the shale gas companies do not seem to observe the same standard of honesty to which they seem to believe opponents of fracking should be held.

The claims are:

The quantity of water required to frack an onshore shale gas well is broadly the same amount used to irrigate the typical British golf course each month. There are over 7,500 golf courses across the UK. This is also equivalent to the amount of water needed to run a 1,000MW coal-fired power plant for just 12 hours.

and

There have also been more than one million wells drilled around the world, and in no case has there been a single proven instance of water pollution

They can be found on this page

igasclaims

The claim that the amount of water required for fracking can be equated to the usage of a golf course was earlier made on page 20 of the Royal Society’s report “Shale Gas Extraction in the UK: a Review of hydraulic fracturing” where the authors write:

“Overall water use is important. Estimates indicate that the amount needed to operate a hydraulically fractured shale gas well for a decade may be equivalent to the amount needed to water a golf course for a month; the amount needed to run a 1,000 MW coal-fired power plant for 12 hours;”

You will notice, of course, that the Royal Society do not state which country the golf course might be in.

If you trace the provenance of the quote you will see The Royal Society report refers to page 50 of a report by Simon Moore from 2012 where the same claim is made.

In this report Simon Moore references a document from the fracking industry where this claim seems to have originally been made.

http://www.chk.com/Media/Educational-Library/Fact-Sheets/Corporate/Water_Use_Fact_Sheet.pdf

This document is no longer available at that URL but we do have a screen shot taken from it, which clearly shows the reference in question.

water

The same document is still available here . The fact that this is the source of the quote is indisputable given the additional reference both on the IGas page and in the quote in question to the 1,000 MW coal fired powerstation.

5 million gallons is approximately 19,000 cubic metres. If a golf course were to use 19,000 cubic metres in one month it would use 228,000 cubic metres in a year. That is simple maths.

To suggest that “the typical British Golf Course” uses this amount in a year is a ludicrous misrepresentation of reality.

The facts are that according to the Environment Agency the average (dare I say “typical”) English golf course is licenced to abstract in the order of 11,000 cubic metres a year. The actual volumes abstracted are considerably lower (average 5,848 cubic metres)

Page 15 of this document explains this:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/290952/scho0107blwp-e-e.pdf

This report also tells us that “Environment Agency data suggest that three quarters of all water for golf course irrigation is abstracted” so we can deduce that if the typical (average) abstraction volume was about 6,000 cubic metres then actual water usage would average about 8,000 m3 per annum. This is some way short (only 3.5%) of the 228,000 m3 suggested here by the claim being made by IGas.

IGas may try to claim that they don’t mention a specific figure for usage but they should not be allowed to get out of jail that way. They cannot have the golf course and the powerstation without the accompanying quantity in the Chesapeake paper being included as well.

It is broadly accepted that water usage per well (19,000 m3) referenced in the Chesapeake document is a reasonable estimate

“Average range in water requirements between 8000 and 19,000 m”

http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/608/art%253A10.1007%252Fs00267-015-0454-8.pdf

“with each well requiring 10,000 to 25,000 m3 of water for hydraulic fracturing”

http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/509451/1/UK%20Frac%20Sand%20Resources.pdf

For their claim that the water used for fracking is the same a month’s usage at “the typical English Golf Club” to stand up then they would have to be claiming to be able to complete a High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing operation to frack a well with just 666 m3 of water.

For your reference, Cuadrilla’s frack at Preese Hall in 2011 used about 8,400 cubic metres for the fracking operation with a further 900 cubic metres for drilling. A total of 9,300 cubic metres or 14 times what IGas’s claim here would suggest.

http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/protecting-our-environment/water/water-sourcing/

The fact that these figures and examples simply don’t apply to the UK is bad enough, but , as can be seen below they have compounded the fault by adding the extra “information” about the golf courses in question being British, and the number of golf courses in Britain, in an attempt to make fracking water usage look artificially inconsequential.

“The quantity of water required to frack an onshore shale gas well is broadly the same amount used to irrigate the typical British golf course each month. There are over 7,500 golf courses across the UK. This is also equivalent to the amount of water needed to run a 1,000MW coal-fired power plant for just 12 hours.”

The statement that There are over 7,500 golf courses across the UK is quite inexplicable. Golf Club Management state on http://www.golfclubmanagement.net/2012/02/uk-and-ireland-lost-42000-members-in-2011/ that

“Golf clubs in the UK and Ireland suffered a net loss of 42,700 members in 2011, according to a new survey.

The drop of 3.1 per cent from 2010 brings the number of club members in the British Isles down to 1,326,700, spread among 2,989 golf courses (a drop from over 3,000 in 2010).”

Although the number of clubs may vary a little year on year, the claim that there are over 7,500 golf courses across the UK is clearly deliberately misleading.

So in summary, it is clear that IGas have taken figures from the US which bear little or no relationship to the reality in the UK and then tried to claim they are relevant to the UK, adding exaggerated and incorrect detail, in a way which is totally incapable of substantiation.

Further down on the same page IGas make the claim that

“There have also been more than one million wells drilled around the world, and in no case has there been a single proven instance of water pollution.”

Whilst the extent of water pollution is open to question its existence is certainly not.

In June 2015 the US EPA published its draft report “Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources” in which it unequivocally stated:

“Of the potential mechanisms identified in this report, we found specific instances where one or more mechanisms led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells.”

Later on in the executive summary we can read:

Impacts to drinking water resources from subsurface liquid and gas movement may occur if casing or cement are inadequately designed or constructed, or fail. There are several examples of these occurrences in hydraulically fractured wells that have or may have resulted in impacts to drinking water resources. In one example, an inner string of casing burst during hydraulic fracturing, which resulted in a release of fluids on the land surface and possibly into the aquifer near Killdeer, North Dakota. The EPA found that, based on the data analysis performed for the study, the only potential source consistent with conditions observed in two impacted monitoring wells was the blowout that occurred during hydraulic fracturing (U.S. EPA, 2015j). In other examples, inadequately cemented casing has contributed to impacts to drinking water resources. In Bainbridge, Ohio, inadequately cemented casing in a hydraulically fractured well contributed to the buildup of natural gas and high pressures along the outside of a production well. This ultimately resulted in movement of natural gas into local drinking water aquifers (Bair et al., 2010; ODNR, 2008). In the Mamm Creek gas field in Colorado, inadequate cement placement in a production well allowed methane and benzene to migrate along the production well and through natural faults and fractures to drinking water resources (Science Based Solutions LLC, 2014; Crescent, 2011; COGCC, 2004). These cases illustrate how construction issues, sustained casing pressure, and the presence of natural faults and fractures can work together to create pathways for fluids to migrate toward drinking water resources.

The fact that fracking wells have polluted water is no longer a matter of conjecture or open to question in any way. It is an established fact, which has been, albeit reluctantly, accepted by the fracking industry, who now hang their hopes on the finding that such events may not be “systemic”. Even this is being questioned now by EPA scientists.

Accordingly the claim made here by IGas that “There have also been more than one million wells drilled around the world, and in no case has there been a single proven instance of water pollution.” is totally misleading.

Why are they allowed to get away with making statements like this?

Given that the Advertising Standards Authority are now on record as stating that they can not regulate statements  which are not “marketing communications as defined by the Code” or are on web pages which do not  “allow consumers to buy any service or product from the website”, can these companies really get away with saying just any old thing, secure in the knowledge that there is nobody to stop them?

Anyway – IGas get our first Pants on Fire award of 2016.

Pants on Fire

It probably wont be the last one.

NWETF delete page showing questionable support

STOP PRESS: And it’s back – but minus three “supporters” who are presumably not supporters and with one added.

The current version is therefore rather misleading as it now suggests that the list provided to LCC did not have these three names on it when rather clearly it did and had the extra one when it did not.

Naughty little tinkers aren’t they? Did they think nobody would notice ? 🙂


 

Following on from Frack Free Lancashire’s press release concerning allegations that the North West Energy Task Force claimed support for fracking from people who actually oppose it, it seems that NWETF no longer feel it appropriate to show the page with their self-congratulatory Presss Release on it, which was at http://www.nwenergy.org.uk/lancashire_business_leaders_to_local_council_give_shale_a_chance

notfoundFortunately, the wonders of Google Caching mean that we can bring you the content of their press release exactly as it was just in case you were wondering what all the fuss was about.


Lancashire business leaders to local council: “Give shale a chance.

A group of local business leaders in an open letter today (8th January 2015) have urged Lancashire County Council to grant permission for the development of two exploratory wells in Lancashire.

More than 100 business leaders from across the North West region argue that natural gas from shale will create thousands of jobs and improve local wages through access to a £33 billion supply chain that will be generated by the industry.

The business leaders add that “tangible benefits are already felt with the Government announcement for a new £10 million national energy college based at Blackpool – allowing for the training of the next generation of highly-skilled workers in our region.”

The letter comes as a recent Johnston Press poll highlighted a clear majority of 57% in Lancashire want to see shale gas development in the Fylde Coast a chance.

Notable signatories of the letter include Claire Smith, President of Stay Blackpool, Babs Murhpy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Chambers of Commerce, and John Kersey, Lancashire branch Chairman of the Institute of Directors.

Lancashire County Council will be determining the planning applications on two proposed shale gas exploration sites at the end of January, one at Little Plumpton and the second at Roseacre Wood. The Environment Agency has announced it is minded to grant the necessary permits required for both sites.

With the Council due to vote on the future of natural gas from shale in the region by the end of the month, local business leaders are set to host a rally for supporters tonight in Blackpool.

Claire Smith, President of Stay Blackpool, which represents over 200 B&Bs and hoteliers in the Blackpool Bay area, said:-

“The exploration and potential for development of natural gas from shale presents a once in a generation opportunity to harness the benefits that a new supply of gas could create for jobs in the Lancashire region. I believe that natural gas from our region’s shale can be the next chapter in the North West’s proud 250 year old industrial story and we must all get behind the Bowland Basin to make this a reality.”

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chambers of Commerce, said:-

“Natural gas from Lancashire shale represents an opportunity to boost skilled employment and stimulate our local economy – providing a sound basis for long-term economic growth in the North West.

“In light of what this could mean for jobs, local investment and taxes, I urge all businesses in the region to get behind the development of natural gas from shale.”

ENDS

1) Notes to the editors:-

For further information or comment please contact Maurice Cousins on info@nwenergy.org.uk

This letter was co-ordinated by the North West Energy Task Force, a coalition of over 500 businesses, economists, academics and local communities. The Task Force is supported by both Centrica Energy and Cuadrilla Resources.

Johnston Press poll (20th October 2014): http://www.lep.co.uk/news/business/business/was-decision-over-lancashire-s-fracking-plans-right-1-6904912

2) The letter signed by 119 businesses published in the Blackpool Gazette:-

“Independent economic evidence shows that natural gas from shale will create thousands of jobs and improve local wages through access to a new £33 billion supply chain.

Tangible benefits are already being felt with the Government announcement for a new £10 million national energy college based in Blackpool – allowing for the training of the next generation of highly-skilled workers in our region.

A recent Johnston Press poll highlighted a clear majority of 57% in Lancashire want to see shale gas development in the Fylde Coast.

We therefore call on Lancashire County Council to grant permission for the development of two exploratory wells in Lancashire. It is time to give shale a chance.”

3) The signatories:-

1) John Beswick Marriott Drilling Group
2) Jeff Bibby English Lounge
3) Andrew Yule Sprint Employment Services
4) Peter Worthington Builders Suppliers Ltd
5) Charlie Woodcock Morrisy House
6) Paul Wood Brian Royd Mills
7) Jim Wood Turner EPS Limited
8) Andy Wood Roughwood Consultancy
9) Philip Wilson Tutis Concepts
10) Simon Whittaker Sagar Insurances
11) Peter Webbon James Walker
12) David Webb Langtrys
13) Les Webb Kenyon Transport Warehousing Distribution
14) Jane Watson JC Altham and Sons (Lancaster) Ltd
15) Peter J Walton Waltons Coach hire
16) Chris Wade TNP
17) Stuart Thompson Thompson Motor Group
18) Steve Thompsett Capita
19) Norman Tenray Obas UK
20) Roy Taylor Taylor Durrant
21) Simon Talbot Ground Gas Solutions
22) Chris Snow D Morgan PLC
23) J William Smith Glen Garth Guest House
24) Mark Smith Number One South Beach Hotel
25) Claire Smith Stay Blackpool
26) Jon Slater Slater Safety Supplies
27) Sue Shalloe Preston Antiques Centre
28) Paul Sergeant Nutexa Frictions Ltd
29) Marcus Saul Aggreko UK Ltd
30) Greig Sandiford MBW Ltd
31) Barrie Russell Protec Fire Detection PLC
32) James Rudd NSG Environmental Lid
33) Kalpana Robinson The Address
34) Benjamin Riley Thermal Hire Ltd
35) Coral Rigby Fylde Home Search
36) Wayne Richardson Richardson Traction Ltd
37) Tony Raynor Abbey Telecom
38) Susan Rashid Supply Chain Consultants Ltd
39) Steve Pye 3e Partnership
40) Lee Petts Remsol Waste
41) Helen Pendlebury Scossa
42) Gordon Owen North West Aerospace Alliance
43) Brian Morris Data TV
44) Babs Murphy North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
45) Janette Mitchell Gweryd Lakes Fishing
46) Peter Merrick A.M. SEAFOODS LTD
47) Tony Mekwinski Tyres Ltd
48) Frank McLaughlin NWETF
49) Neil McArthur Oyster Eco Build
50) Andrew Lyons Simplitech
51) Graham Love Janet Dixon Town Planners Ltd
52) Gary Lovatt FSB Federation of Small Businesses
53) Sybaris Lomax- Dwent The Berkeley
54) Stuart Livesey Delta Imperial Credit
55) Peter Liptrot Tannahill Reay
56) Paul Linderman Paul Linderman Lettings
57) Brian Knaggs BSK Landscapes
58) Steven Kirkpatrick Kirk Signs
59) John Kersey NWETF
60) Ian Kenyon ANDREW INDUSTRIES LTD
61) Barbara Keighley Supply Chain Consultants Ltd
62) Adam Kaley Aegis Services Limited
63) David Judge Cormar Carpets
64) Susan Howarth The Roebuck Inn
65) Steven Horsfall Summerfield Residential Home
66) Anita Hickey Claybank Motor Co
67) Paul Hennessey ATG UV Technology
68) Day Hazlewood Hoben International Ltd
69) Mary Harrison Ash Lodge
70) Brian Harper Mini Sport Ltd/Motorsport Advanced Developments.
71) Steve Griffin Sussex Hotel
72) Michael Grewcock Burbage Holiday Group
73) Stuart Gregory Grime Busters
74) Rob Green NWETF
75) Michael Greaves Primrose Bank
76) Ronnie Grant Apex Tubulars Ltd
77) Ian Godfrey ProVu Communications
78) Peter Glover JDS TRUCKS LTD
79) Damien Gibbs Butson Blofield
88) Jim Gerraty Garstang Truck Bodies Ltd
81) David Gaster David Andrew’s
82) Vicki Gale The Wilton Hotel
83) Callum Flynn Charles Maxwell
84) Allan Ferguson LEAROYD PACKAGING (HOLDINGS) LTD
85) stephen Fazakerley The Arthington
86) David Evans Clifton Marsh Power
87) Chris Evans
88) Mark Errington City Distribution Ltd
89) Gary East O’Connell East
90) Michael Dowling The Fern Royd
91) Bill Dixon- Phillip Circular Mailing Services
92) Mark Diggory Dale Farm Day Centre
93) Christine Daly Sheron Guest House
94) Alan Cumpsty Verdo Hotel
95) Dugald Craig D H STAINLESS LTD
96) Stuart Cornthwaite CORNTHWAITE HOLDINGS LTD
97) Melissa Conlon Preston College
98) Benjamin Clements EMERSON & RENWICK LTD
99) Nick Campbell NWETF
100) Judith Campbell Beauchief Hotel
101) John Burdett Leyland Rubber Components
102) Sanda Bulgin Bona Vista Hotel
103) Geoff Bulgin Bona Vista Hotel
104) Philip Brown The Holmsdale Hotel
105) Ida Brown The Holmsdale Hotel
106) Roy Braidwood Roy Braidwood & Sons Transport Ltd
107) Steve Bradshaw Teese Ltd
108) Jeff Bradley Moor Hall Farm
109) Gary Bond Barn Owl Produce
110) Kaz Bhai Shipping and Trading Co
111) David Berry C & W BERRY LTD
112) Nigel Beevers Assist Management Consultants Ltd
113) Christopher Baybutt GREENBANK GROUP HOLDINGS LTD
114) Thomas Battelle The Berwick
115) Gul Baloch Kcut Limited
116) Glen Andrews G Andrews & Co Ltd
117) P Wrench APG Precision Engineering & Fabrication Ltd
118) Ms Wragg Wragg Business

Misleading claims from IGas on fracking water usage

Glancing at IGas’s website we were struck by the interesting claim

The quantity of water required to frack an onshore shale gas well is broadly the same amount used to irrigate the typical British golf course each month. There are over 7,500 golf courses across the UK. This is also equivalent to the amount of water needed to run a 1,000MW coal-fired power plant for just 12 hours.

igas

We addressed the commonly made, but misleading, claim that fracking uses the same amount of water as a golf course in our post http://www.refracktion.com/index.php/youd-think-you-could-trust-the-royal-society/ back in 2013. It seems the Royal Society had blithely published this “factoid” citing the report “Gas Works? Shale gas and its policy implications” by Simon Moore 2012 as its source for this information. However, it turns out that Moore’s report relied on a PR document from Chesapeake Energy in America entitled ‘Water Use in Deep Shale Gas Exploration’;

where we can read

Chesapeake

Chesapeake

As this is an industry PR sheet there is no evidence provided to back up this statement and there is no source provided but lets run with it.

Given the reference to the 12 hours usage in a coal-fired power station it becomes clear that IGas are referencing the same claims as are made here by Chesapeake, but they have subtly changed them – the reference in the Chesapeake document would be to a golf course in the USA where the different climate means water usage would be hugely higher. [In the USA , according to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, “A typical golf course requires 100,000 to 1,000,000 gallons (378.5 m3 to 3,785 m3) of water per week in summer to maintain healthy vegetation”. This amount, which is peak usage would suggest a maximum requirement of 197,000 m3 in a year if it were multiplied by 52.]

However, IGas specifically claim here that “The quantity of water required to frack an onshore shale gas well is broadly the same amount used to irrigate the typical British golf course each month”. They also add a little twist by pointing out “There are over 7,500 golf courses across the UK.” The fact that they have added this spurious detail means they can’t even claim it’s just a careless repetition like the Royal Society’s mistake. The claim that “There are over 7,500 golf courses across the UK” is quite simply untrue. According to Golf Club Management

“Golf clubs in the UK and Ireland suffered a net loss of 42,700 members in 2011, according to a new survey.

The drop of 3.1 per cent from 2010 brings the number of club members in the British Isles down to 1,326,700, spread among 2,989 golf courses (a drop from over 3,000 in 2010).”

IGas would appear to be doubling the real number in order to attempt to minimise the perceived impact of fracking on water supplies. Why they should misrepresent such an easily verified number is beyond us.

Using 5 million gallons or 19,000 m3 every month, as IGas seem to be suggesting here (we assume they are using the same volume per frack as the original Chesapeake quote that the rest of the “information” is lifted from, but are happy to correct this if we are being unfair) , would suggest that “the typical British golf course ” would require in the order of 228,000 m3 of water each year, when even the thirstiest “typical golf course” in the USA only seems to require 86% of that. Is IGas’s claim credible? Read on 🙂

FACT: According to the Environment Agency the average annual licenced volume for water abstraction for golf courses in England is about 11,000 m3 . This licenced amount is an upper limit and therefore is higher than the actual abstraction which is closer to 6,000 m3. This report also tells us that “Environment Agency data suggest that three quarters of all water for golf course irrigation is abstracted” so we can deduce that if the typical  actual (average) abstraction volume was about 6,000 m3 then actual water usage would average about 8,000 m3 per annum. (The data used was collated in 2003, a particularly dry year, so it cannot be seen not to be representative).

The average monthly usage of “the typical British golf course” is therefore in fact about 660 m3 and not the 19,000 m3 that IGas appear to be claiming on their web site.

So IGas are exaggerating with this claim by a factor of about 30. Now is that misleading the public? We think it is.

Chair of DEFRA Panel confirms accuracy of Rural Impacts study?

A recent article in the Solicitors’ Journal entitled “Fracking: What you need to consider” discusses issues which need to be considered by conveyancing solicitors in areas where fracking may take place.

[The article can only be accessed in full by registered users but you can sign up for a free 14 day trial to see it in its entirety.]

Within the article there is an interview with Andrew Wiseman, a specialist in UK and EU environmental law and the chair of the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs’ contaminated land expert panel.

Mr Wiseman is clearly concerned about the impacts of fracking. Amongst his observations we read that:

“it will be incredibly noisy where the drilling takes place at the well pads, creating localised noise pollution” (Our emphasis)

“You will have a huge number of lorries going on and off the site, not just in the construction and exploration phase but also while the fracking is taking place” (Our emphasis again)

and that

“two-thirds of [estate agents in a recent survey] felt house prices would be negatively impacted by localised fracking, with the majority estimating that values could decrease by as much as 10 per cent.”

He goes on to say that whilst there is no current obligation for conveyancing solicitors to provide information on potential fracking developments to customers there may be an expectation and potential negligence claims if they do not.

Yes – this wise man is the chair of the DEFRA land expert panel, and he does seem to be confirming the accuracy of that previously redacted Rural Impacts Report doesn’t he?

So what did the government NOT want you know about the impacts of fracking?

The Report on The Shale Gas Rural Economy impacts was published in heavily redacted form, generating a storm of protest in March 2014. Over a year later, and coincidentally just after the LCC decisions on Cuadrilla’s two development site applications, on July 1st 2015, the full report was finally published.

So what did they not want us to know?

Well the first thing is the structure of the unredacted report as the table of contents was redacted

Contents

Executive Summary

Section1: Key findings from literature review

Section 2: Areas likely to be effected by Shale Gas licensing

Section 3: Impacts on rural communities from Shale Gas drilling

3.1 Economic Impacts
3.2 Social Impacts
3.3 Environmental Impacts

Section 4: Conclusion

Section 5: Recommendations

Annex: Literature review sources

In the Executive Summary we lost

The analysis in this report has examined the economic, social and environmental impacts associated with shale gas exploration following a rapid literature review.

It seems they didn’t want us to know it was a bit of a hasty affair

Whereas in the UK property rights reside with the state and landowners receive no compensation or reward

So they did not want to highlight the differences between the USA and the UK in terms of people benefiting from Shale development

Overall there will be positive and negative impacts on different groups within rural communities that need to be considered

It seems they only really wanted to present the positives whilst hiding the negatives behind the multiple redactions.

The main high level findings from the report are summarised in the tables below which consider the economic, social and environmental impacts specifically for rural communities rather than the wider economy.

These tables were all redacted too

ECONOMIC IMPACTS
Jobs Services Energy Tourism
Likely to be positive but uncertain impact as higher skilled jobs may be awarded to workers from outside local area. Although some supply chain businesses may recruit locally boosting rural employment Positive if council rebates and company contributions are invested in local services and infrastructure. This could be a major benefit for rural communities using these services. Positive outlook for energy security which will benefit rural communities following increased domestic production rather than relying on foreign imports of gas and vulnerability to political or exchange rate uncertainty. Broadly neutral. Losses from tourists avoiding area due to shale gas operations may be off-set by increased hospitality to new workers

We assume that this redaction was because the admission of losses to tourism would be seen as very damaging to the frackers who continually claim that fracking would have a positive impact. Astroturf groups like the North West Energy Task force continually claim that fracking will be good for hoteliers – here we can see that DEFRA can see the reality

SOCIAL IMPACTS
Housing impacts Housing impacts Services
Negative but localised. Additional volume of lorries and vehicles using local rural roads, but depends on location as some may be situated near national highways. Negative but localised. House prices in close proximity to the drilling operations are likely to fall. However, rents may increase due to additional demand from site workers and supply chain. Broadly neutral. Depends if new workers at shale gas operations and supply chains create additional demand on schools, doctors and other local rural services that cannot be met by existing services.

This is one of the bombshells – when profractivists like the Reverend Roberts try to mislead people by claiming that any house price reduction is due to negative publicity resulting from anti-shale protests they are clearly confusing the symptom with the disease, and now we  can see that local impacts are admitted to include stress on road networks and services and reductions in house prices. It is clear why they would want to hide those admissions.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
Water resources  Noise  Air Quality  Landscape 
Low impact if properly regulated but risks need to be managed effectively on site. Localised impact on rural communities living within close proximity of shale gas fracking operations Low impact If properly regulated but risks need to be managed effectively Low impact that is site specific, although will have localised impact on businesses reliant on tranquil environment

Again we can see here admissions of impacts that will be toxic to any attempts to buy a social licence to operate from the fracking industry.

Finally in the executive summary we see they removed

Further work could be undertaken to examine the numbers of communities (residents and businesses) that are likely to be affected from shale gas exploration. However, due to uncertainties on specific license locations at present time we have not undertaken any new research at this stage.

Presumably they don’t want to admit that they don’t really have  a lot of evidence to base the Governments cheerleading for shale on.

Moving on to their consideration of the DECC Environmental Impact Assessment for Shale Gas Exploration and Drilling we see that they redacted two sections

Climate Change Domestic shale gas production could help to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions associated with imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in particular; however, if LNG or other fossil fuel displaced from the UK is used elsewhere, that could lead to an increase in global GHG emissions.
Waste Water Depending on where wastewater is treated, the additional volume could place a burden on existing wastewater treatment infrastructure capacity, and require further or new investment. However, if on-site treatment and recycling could occur, wastewater volumes could be reduced.

So we can see that the government tacitly admit that shale gas extraction in the UK is unlikely to lead to any reduction in global CO2 emissions and that they do foresee issues with dealing with the wastewater and are clearly considering allowing re-injection of the flowback fluid.  However, it seems they would have preferred us not to know that.

Under  “Likely significant effects for Local Communities” they tried to hide

Other local effects It is estimated that there will be approximately 14 to 51 vehicle movements to a site each day during exploration and site preparation over a 32 to 145 week period. This could have an adverse impact on traffic congestion, noise or air quality depending on existing roads, traffic and air quality. It could have a more sustained and locally significant effect on communities adjacent to the development sites, or adjacent to the routes to the sites, during exploration and site preparation.
Water use The potential impacts are on water resource availability, aquatic habitats and ecosystems and water quality. Water would typically be sourced from a mains water supply which would need agreement from the relevant water company, or could be abstracted from groundwater or surface water which would need an abstraction licence; in either case, any addition to demand would only be granted where assessed by the regulator as sustainable. Demand could however be substantially reduced if it could be met from recycling and reuse of flow back water.

Clearly they are concerned about the public’s sensitivity to issues of traffic, air and noise pollution from fracking, and again they would seem to prefer that we were not aware of their consideration of the re-use of flow back water.

And now we come to an odd one. Why would they redact a part of the table looking at the IoD report which deals with environmental benefits?

Environmental benefits According to the Committee on Climate Change, if production is well regulated, shale gas can have lower emissions than imported LNG. A recent report for the European Commission also reached the same conclusion. To the extent that UK shale gas supports the production of chemicals and other goods in the UK rather than overseas, emissions will be lower, as UK industry is more energy efficient than in most countries. 

Answers on a post card please!

There is now a large unredacted section until we get to Section 2: Areas likely to be effected (sic) by Shale Gas licensing where we lose

Although licences have been awarded it is unclear which are operational in relation to shale gas exploration and so we have been unable to obtain details of which specific rural locations will be affected at the present time.

It seems again they don’t wish to display the level of what they don’t know here.

However it is in Section 3: Impacts on rural communities from Shale Gas drilling that we see the bulk of the redactions including this bombshell:

What is less clear is how sustainable the shale gas investments will be in the future and whether rural communities have the right mix of skills to take advantage of the new jobs and wider benefits on offer. Evidence from the USA suggests this is not necessarily the case, with a high proportion of expenditures associated with drilling being made outside of the local rural economy. The majority of local jobs created are therefore likely to be indirect (supply side) jobs that support the sector rather than directly related to the extraction process. These are likely to be small, on a per well basis, and of lower value than the more highly skilled jobs created within the energy industry.

There will also be sectors that gain from the expansion of drilling activity but others that may lose business due to increased congestion or perceptions about the region. These behavioural responses may reduce the number of visitors and tourists to the rural area, with an associated reduction in spend in the local tourism economy. It is recognised that this loss may partially be offset by the rise in new workers and other suppliers entering the area particularly if they rent accommodation or book hotels and use restaurants/hospitality in the area that benefits local rural community business.

The longer term economic impacts to rural communities is uncertain and will largely depend upon how revenue raised during the shale gas boom is reinvested within the local economy to create sustainable jobs for the future that do not rely on the shale gas sector.

So here it is admitted that few locals will in fact benefit from well paid jobs which will probably go to experts from outside the area. It sounds as though “These are likely to be small, on a per well basis, and of lower value than the more highly skilled jobs created within the energy industry” is a tacit admission that what we are talking about are a few security guards on each site. It is also admitted that tourism will suffer if shale gas goes into production mode.

Further on we lost another admission that they don’t know what they don’t know

Further work will therefore be needed to monitor and assess the net economic impact of shale gas on rural communities, particularly if as expected this sector expands significantly over the next few years. The table below provides a summary of the key economic variables with an indication of the expected significance of impact.

along with the tables which sum up the conclusions which re-iterate the facts that jobs for locals will be very limited and tourism will be negatively impacted.

Table 1: Summary of economic impact of shale gas on rural communities

Jobs Services Energy Tourism
Likely to be positive but uncertain impact as higher skilled jobs may be awarded to workers from outside local area. Although some supply chain businesses may recruit locally boosting rural employment Positive if council rebates and company contributions are invested in local services and infrastructure. This could be a major benefit for rural communities using these services. Positive outlook for energy security which will benefit rural communities following increased domestic production rather than relying on foreign imports of gas and vulnerability to political or exchange rate uncertainty Broadly neutral.Losses from tourists avoiding area due to shale gas operations may be off-set by increased hospitality to new workers

The analysis 3.2 Social Impacts loses a large section dealing with road congestion – a factor which played a great part in the determination of the Roseacre Wood application. This makes it very clear that impacts will be over a wide area (at least 5 miles) around each site, with as many as 36,735 vehicle movements per site

  1. a) Increased congestion on roads and noise

The nature of the drilling work will involve trucks and other heavy vehicles hauling equipment and transporting staff to and from the operation. This is expected to have a higher impact on those communities living within a 5 mile radius of the site, although road congestion may spread wider but will depend on infrastructure and maintenance levels. These externalities can be managed to a certain extent by the operator being considerate of residents and planning efficient transport usage to minimise disruption.

Results from the literature review shows that the total vehicle movements per well pad are broadly similar. The SEA report breaks down vehicle movements for low and high activity scenarios. 4950-17,600 vehicle movements are assumed for the low activity and 10290-36735 vehicle movements for the high activity. The Ricardo AEA report does not break vehicle figures down according to scenarios. It quotes figures from the USA of 7,000 to 11,000 vehicle movements for a single ten well pad. This figure would be reduced substantially if water and flowback fluid could be transferred by pipeline. The Ricardo AEA report is consistent with the Institute of Directors estimate of 870 truck movements per well.

Calculations on the number of vehicle movements per day differ. The SEA report assumes 16- 51 vehicle movements per day during the production development phase, which covers well construction and hydraulic fracturing. The Ricardo AEA report does not give a daily average figure. It suggests there could be 5000 truck movements for the drilling phase for a ten well pad. The temporal distribution of these activities would be uneven so it suggests the total number of trips during the heaviest period could be as high as 250 per day.

Perhaps the most toxic reaction is this one within the section on  Impact on housing demand and property prices

As operations expand and new workers arrive into rural locations there may be a modest increase in demand for accommodation that could raise rents and cause affordability issues for rural residents seeking accommodation. For example, the Cuadrilla research quotes a figure of 83 FTE jobs being created on average for each drilled well in the UK, of which a % may seek accommodation in rural areas. On the other hand, those residents owning property close to the drilling site may suffer from lower resale prices due to the negative perception being located near the facility and potential risks. However, these effects will depend on a range of wider factors that influence rents and house prices such as planning policy, growth and investment from wider sectors, schools, flooding and insurance etc. Evidence from the US experience is listed below.

This section makes it clear that there is a double whammy with those in rented accommodation being squeezed out by the temporary influx of fracking workers, whilst owner occupiers will suffer a blight on their homes. Then there is a second bombshell with the quantification of the blight and the admission that insurance cover will probably be affected.

Overall the evidence on impact on property prices in the literature is quite thin and the results are not conclusive. There could potentially be a range of 0 to 7% reductions in property values within 1 mile of an extraction site to reflect the impacts, where the high range reflects the top end of the Boxall et al (2005) estimate for the price fall.

Properties located within a 1 – 5 mile radius of the fracking operation may also incur an additional cost of insurance to cover losses in case of explosion on the site. Such an event would clearly have social impacts, although the probability is expected to be low if the regulator and company manage these risks effectively.

In fact there are about 146,000 households in Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde who could be affected here. About 75% are owner occupied. 7 % of the owner occupied housing stock at an average price of £150k is about £1.1 billion.

Talking of the stress on local services the report mentions the hypothetical gains to the community but the doubts expresses as to their adequacy was hidden from us

However, it is unclear whether this level of investment will be sufficient to meet the additional demand if new schools or hospitals are needed to ensure service provision for existing rural communities is maintained. The table below provides a summary of the main social impacts on rural communities that are expected from the expansion of shale gas activities

Unsurprisingly perhaps this table was also suppressed as it shows many of the same  conclusions as were redacted above

Table 2: Summary of social impact of shale gas on rural communities

Congestion Housing impacts Services
Negative but localised.Additional volume of lorries and vehicles using local rural roads, but depends on location as some may be situated near national highways. Negative but localised.House prices in close proximity to the drilling operations are likely to fall. However, rents may increase due to additional demand from site workers and supply chain Broadly neutral.Depends if new workers at shale gas operations and supply chains create additional demand on schools, doctors and other local rural services that cannot be met by existing services.

And now we come to another massive set of redactions covering up the conclusions on Environmental Impacts. The first area redacted is the section dealing with water. Here there is an admission that toxic chemicals are routinely used in fracking and that flowback fluids mobilise toxic and radioactive materials. It is admitted that there is a risk that even if contaminated surface water does not directly impact drinking water supplies, it can affect human health indirectly through consumption of contaminated wildlife, livestock, or agricultural products and that leakage of waste fluids from the drilling and fracking processes has resulted in environmental damage

  1. a) Water

Impacts on water quality and quantity are the most highly publicised environmental effects associated with shale gas fracking, with potential human health consequences for local rural communities. Hydraulic fracking increases the amount of fresh water used by each shale gas well by as much as 100 times the quantity used in conventional drilling. The IOD estimate that water use for shale gas could reach 5.4 million m3 a year, around 0.05% of the total. This would equate to 27,000 four people households using 200 m3 of water per year. It is also a similar amount of water that is currently being used on existing mining/quarrying operations which is estimated by WRAP4 at 7 million m3 a year.

In the US the chemicals that are added to the water have raised public health concerns related to surface water and groundwater quality. Although chemical additives used in fracturing fluids typically make up less than 2 percent by weight of the total fluid they do include biocides, surfactants, viscosity modifiers, and emulsifiers which vary in toxicity.

A proportion of the fluids used in drilling returns to the surface; these “flowback” or “produced” fluids may contain hydraulic fracturing chemicals, as well as heavy metals, salts, and naturally occurring radioactive material from below ground. This water must be treated, recycled, or disposed of safely otherwise surface water may be contaminated by leaking on-site storage ponds, surface runoff, spills, or flood events. There is a risk that even if contaminated surface water does not directly impact drinking water supplies, it can affect human health indirectly through consumption of contaminated wildlife, livestock, or agricultural products.

Experience from the US indicates that leakage of waste fluids from the drilling and fracking processes has resulted in environmental damage. Although it is unlikely that contamination will occur via the artificially created fractures in the rock, leaks can potentially occur through faulty well construction or from surface spillage of drilling and fracking related fluids (IEA, 2012; The Royal Society, 2012). Royal Society5 research shows that the majority of incidents of contamination in the US occurred under historically weaker environmental standards than are currently adhered to and that the UK regulatory environment is likely to be more robust. For instance, waste fluids will need to be stored in sealed steel tanks rather than open ponds, which reduce the risk of leakage.

The Environmental Impact Assessment commissioned by DECC identified that the additional volume of waste water could place a significant burden on existing treatment infrastructure capacity, and require further or new investment. Overall the potential impacts on water resource availability, aquatic habitats and ecosystems and water quality is uncertain. Water would typically be sourced from a mains water supply which would need agreement from the relevant water company, or could be abstracted from groundwater or surface water which would need an abstraction licence; in either case, any addition to demand would only be granted where assessed by the regulator as sustainable. Demand could however be substantially reduced if it could be met from recycling and reuse of flow back water.

Again here we see a clear indication that it is likely that flow back water will be reused giving the lie to the oft-repeated claim that no toxic material will be injected.

Now we see that the assessments of Noise and Light impacts were also considered to sensitive for us to be allowed to see them – possibly because a clear link to health impacts is admitted. Strangely this section also includes the admission that fracking does cause seismic activity.

  1. b) Noise and Light

Noise and light have also been cited in the US as environmental and health concerns for residents and animals living near drilling operations. Excessive and/or continuous noise, such as that typically experienced near drilling sites, has documented health impacts. According to community reports near these sites, some residents may experience deafening noise; light pollution that affects sleeping patterns. Noxious odours from venting gases can also impact on air quality for local residents.

NYSDEC (2011) reports that noise impacts can be felt close to distance to the extraction site. There is also the potential for hydraulic fracturing to cause earthquakes and seismic activity. According to de Pater and Baisch (2011) and Green et al. (2012), hydraulic fracturing can cause noticeable seismic activity. Also, pressure in disposal wells can build up over time, inducing seismicity (The Royal Society, 2012). These risks would need to be properly regulated and managed to minimise the impacts.

Now we get onto landscape and we can see that DEFRA wanted to hide the conclusion that fracking will indeed industrialise a previously rural area and that this will have clear negative impacts on local industries and amenity value

  1. c) Landscape

Environmental impacts on the landscape are another consideration. Shale gas development may transform a previously pristine and quiet natural region, bringing increased industrialization. As a result rural community businesses that rely on clean air, land, water, and/or a tranquil environment may suffer losses from this change such as agriculture, tourism, organic farming, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.

The map in the diagram below illustrates the potential impact of the Bowland shale gas exploration area which cuts across a number of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the entire Peak District National Park. However, the size of the extraction pads will be small relative to the potential area. Various sources give estimates of the land area taken up by an extraction pad, which may include multiple wells. The IEA (2012) estimate a typical size of one hectare, while Tyndall Centre (2011) estimates a size of between 0.4 and 2 hectares. The largest estimate is from Cooley and Donnelly (2012) at 3 hectares. MacKay and Stone (2013) estimate the potential size of a pad in the UK, at 0.7 hectares. The SEA report assumes each well pad will cover 2 to 3 hectares. The Ricardo AEA report gives a range of areas, based on US experience from 2 to 3.6 hectares.

The SEA report suggests the total area covered by well pads will be between 60-90 hectares (low scenario) and 240-360 hectares (high scenario). It assumes 6-12 wells per pad (low scenario) and 12-24 wells per pad (high scenario). The Ricardo-AEA scenarios produce a total land take of 200 hectares (low growth), 1080 hectares (medium growth) and 4400 hectares (high ‘US style’ growth). These figures are based on land requirements for well pad development, drilling hydraulic fracturing and completion stages only. During the operational phase the landtake would be lower. Overall the results suggest that the landscape impacts will be relatively low in comparison to other extractive industries such as quarrying.

 The redacted section on waste is quite anodyne given the problems they actually face in disposing of radioactive fracking fluid, but it could hardly be left in on its own

  1. d) Waste

A typical fracking site will produce waste liquids from both drilling the well and the fracking process itself (IEA, 2012). Treatment of some waste fluids may produce solids that would typically be disposed of via landfill (The Royal Society, 2012). Any products sent to landfill would attract the landfill tax and, as such, the impact will be incorporated into the calculation of operational costs already. No other evidence was identified to support any suggestion that this impact could be significant.

The redactions on air quality contain an admission that VOCs can be deleterious to health.

  1. e) Air Quality

Some studies have found evidence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as benzene, near shale gas extraction sites in the US, particularly during uncontrolled flowback of fracking fluid (McKenzie et. al., 2012; Colborn et. al., 2011). VOCs contribute to ozone and smog formation and can result in adverse health effects. However, the literature is limited and uncontrolled flowback and open storage of fracking fluids on site would not materialise in the UK due to the regulatory regime in place (The Royal Society, 2012).The combustion of natural gas produces a number of air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ammonia (NH3). However, levels of pollutants released from shale gas production are relatively low, and when valued represent a negligible cost.

Obviously the summary table dealing with the points above was redacted too

Table 3: Summary of environmental impact of shale gas on rural communities

Water resources  Noise  Air Quality  Landscape 
Low impact if properly regulated but risks need to be managed effectively on site. Localised impact on rural communities living within close proximity of shale gas fracking operations Low impact If properly regulated but risks need to be managed effectively Low impact that is site specific, although will have localised impact on businesses reliant on tranquil environment

Within Section 4 – Conclusions we lost

Overall the impacts are likely to be mixed with short-term positive economic gains from employment and energy that need to be balanced against the costs that may affect certain groups, such as businesses involved in tourism, local house price impacts and increased congestion.

It is not hard to see why that paragraph disappeared is it?

A paragraph on localising any benefits got the blue pencil

This report has not considered whether existing regulations for these activities will be sufficient to cover the expansion of shale gas and limit the impacts for rural communities. These issues are expected to be covered in the other regulatory reviews that have been commissioned.

However, there may be some important lessons to be learnt from experiences of these other extraction sectors. For example, a report from the quarrying industry6 suggested that a way of further localising the positive economic benefits is to foster the development of the vertical and horizontal economic linkages between the proposed quarry and the existing community. This can be facilitated, for example, by encouraging prospective quarry operators to adopt a policy of favouring the procurement of materials, equipment and services from local suppliers and distributors or giving better rates to local buyers. In addition, the economic and social development of a local area affected by quarrying activities has sometimes been enhanced through seed funding donated by the operator, which is administered by the local authority, but made available to the community for projects.

HMT also introduced an aggregates levy7 in 2002 that was aimed at reducing the environmental externality costs associated with quarrying aggregate material. Part of the revenue was used to reduce National Insurance contributions to promote employment and some was used in a Sustainability Fund for local projects.

Next we lose a paragraph touching on the transience of the industry and the boom and bust it may bring with it.

Although many rural communities may therefore gain in the short-term from the expansion of shale gas activity it is also important to consider the longer-term effect as companies exit the market. This will have implications for the potential benefits, costs, job creation and longer term economic development prospects for rural communities where shale gas drilling is taking place.

and finally we lose ALL of the recommendations. All of these are to an extent hostages to fortune so we are not surprised that these were suppressed. However it will now be very hard for government to back away from these as at least minimum requirements

Section 5: Recommendations

Some specific recommendations from the Royal Society report that are relevant in the context of protecting rural communities from the impact of shale gas expansion include:

  1. An Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) should be mandatory for all shale gas operations. Risks should be assessed across the entire lifecycle of shale gas extraction, including risks associated with the disposal of wastes and abandonment of wells. Seismic risks should also feature as part of the ERA.
  1. Water requirements can be managed through integrated operational practices, such as recycling and reusing wastewaters where possible. Options for disposing of wastes should be planned from the outset.

iii. Shale gas extraction in the UK is presently at a very small scale, involving only exploratory activities. Uncertainties can be addressed through robust monitoring systems. There is greater uncertainty about the scale of production activities should a future shale gas industry develop nationwide. Attention must be paid to the way in which risks scale up. Co- ordination of the numerous bodies with regulatory responsibilities for shale gas extraction must be maintained. Regulatory capacity may need to be increased.

  1. Risk assessments should be submitted to the regulators for scrutiny and then enforced through monitoring activities and inspections. It is mandatory for operators to report well failures, as well as other accidents and incidents to the UK’s regulators. Mechanisms should be put in place so that reports can also be shared between operators to promote best practices across the industry.

Other recommendations could also include:

  1. Ensuring that adequate provision of local infrastructure and maintenance are included within the plans for expanding shale gas drilling operations. This would ensure that roads are protected from the impact of heavy vehicles and water infrastructure has the capacity to deal with increased demand.
  1. Encouraging operators to offer employment and training opportunities to residents living in rural communities both direct and indirect via supply chain contracts so that they benefit from the increase in economic activity.

vii. Planning for the longer-term when operations are scaled back and site mediation to ensure that tourism and other local business activities have opportunities to benefit.

viii. Routine monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of shale gas drilling to ensure that negative externalities (noise, congestion, air quality etc) are kept within acceptable limits.

It is also clear from these recommendations that there are HUGE uncertainties about how shale gas could or should develop in the UK.

Overall it sees that these redactions were not strictly necessary as the whole report is basically a cuttings job pulling together other reports. What is perhaps damning though is the fact that even the limited conclusions reached here were considered so toxic that they took the foolish risk of suppressing them using redaction. This arrogance has returned to haunt them now with a vengeance . Geoffrey Lean writing in the Telegraph this week said

While the industry continues to show such complacency over fast-vanishing public support – and such contempt for local people – it will go on losing, and badly.

We need to add the government to that statement as well.

For Friends of The Earth’s reading of the redactions visit their blog where Tony Bosworth has written his thoughts

Another hilarious lesson in why you should pick your advocates carefully

Fracking crash

Fracking crash

Well the pro-frackers are treating us to a succession of “car-crash” interviews of late aren’t they?

Last week it was The Rambling Reverend scaremongering about imminent blackouts if we don’t get fracking underway (ignoring the slight logical problem that an industry which wouldn’t in any circumstances be able to contribute in any major way for the best part of a decade is unlikely to be of much help today)

This week we were treated to yet another feast of confabulation from a certain “Ken Wilkinson from Bristol” on Any Answers on Radio 4 on Saturday 31st January, when he called in to treat presenter Anita Anand, and the world at large, to his thoughts on fracking.

Now Ken has 12 years industry experience, and is a retired physics teacher so his views ought to be worth hearing. Sadly though we know from his postings under various different identities in newspaper comments pages – sometimes multiple identities in commenting on the same articles – that he is a rather dogmatic pro-fracker who will not admit the possibility that the industry he worked for can do any wrong, and who damns anybody who disagrees with him as stupid and deliberately misleading. We don’t mean this in a nasty way, but he does seem to us to be more concerned with demonstrating his intellect than he does with getting to, or telling the truth.

Are we being unfair? Let’s listen: You can hear the interview here

And here’s a transcript with our commentary.

AA: Should permission be given throughout the British Isles for testing fracking.. for shale gas.. what are your thoughts on this? Ken Wilkinson calling from Bristol, hello .. Hello Ken!

KW: Hello, yes , yes can you hear me

AA: Yes I can hear you loud and clear. You’re a retired drilling engineer, is that right?

KW: That’s right yes and teacher yes, physics teacher yup.

AA: OK so tell me what when somebody says fracking what do you think and feel?

KW: Well I’m just really concerned about the misinformation that’s going round and it was alluded to by one of the panel members, and there’s just so much nonsense talked and I could go through some of the key points if you wish…

[This is a favourite theme of Mr W – he accuses anyone who doesn’t agree with him of misinforming the public. I’m so glad my physics teacher wasn’t like that]

AA: very briefly if you will

[We wondered if she had spoken to him before?]

KW: Right OK.  “It’s a massive new technology”, but in fact what people don’t understand is that when you drill a well you drill it horizontally, you divide it up into 30 separate sections and you perform 30 separate um hydraulic stimulations, and it’s no more risky than normal eh fracking. It’s just not an issue and fracking’s been going on for decades.

[Ken isn’t very specific here is he? We presume by “normal fracking” he means the sort of fracking which was done at Elswick. Regular readers may remember that Cuadrilla were censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for making that particular comparison, and that Toni Harvey from the DECC was unequivocal about the fact that trying to draw comparisons between “normal fracking” and the high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) that is planned in Lancashire would be totally misleading as they were much smaller and not into shale.

From enquiries to the operators, we believe that at least 200 did have hydraulic fracturing treatments of some kind, but we would emphasise that these non-shale fracs are not comparable, in the volumes of fluid employed, to Cuadrilla’s operations at Preese Hall in 2011 – the non-shale fracs are much smaller.

In fact Elswick used just over 160 cubic metres of fluid compared to a modern HVHF well requiring some 20,000 cubic metres. Perhaps you can work out why such a comparison might be rather misleading?]

KW:   There’s a massive database of fantastic um safe performance over er in the er US er the wells don’t leak. A few did at the start. There’s been some disastrous places where there have been problems but, on the whole it’s absolutely fine if it’s properly regulated.

[Now we’re not sure that that needs too much comment – There have indeed been some disastrous places where there have been problems. Ken’s point seems to be that although he admits there have been disasters it’s OK as long as you weren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being from Bristol perhaps he feels a little more secure (for the moment) that we do up here in the “Desolate North”? ]

AA: Give us two more er myths as you see them

KW: [Talking over her] Er fantastic

AA: Just two more briefly

KW: Er OK – the chemicals that are permitted over here are non hazardous and er that really says it all. All the scare stories you hear from the States are all about stuff called BTEX which is benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. They’re not permitted in the UK under EU law.

AA: Hmmm

KW: So you know you can’t be poisoned by chemicals that aren’t there

[Hmmm indeed. Another of Ken’s favourite themes. He knows that Cuadrilla have admitted on their web site that they will use hydrochloric acid. To say that hydrochloric acid is non-hazardous is ludicrous. He says this (I think) because he knows that in use it will be diluted to a small concentration (< 0.5% probably) . At that concentration of course it will do you no harm. What he chooses to ignore is that the acid has to be brought onto the fracking site by road and will normally be transported in concentrations of between 30% and 35%. To say that HCl at that concentration is not hazardous is extremely misleading. We have told him this several times and yet, for some reason he perpetuates this myth that the chemicals that are permitted over here are non hazardous. We really do struggle to understand why he deliberately misleads about something which is so obviously not true. Oops – and I nearly forgot – Cuadrilla were censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for making exactly this claim, so it’s not just me who agrees with this point.

He is, of course, right that BTEX chemicals are not currently permitted (in the UK)  to be mixed into the fracking fluid injected down the borehole. We think he knows though that the issue which causes concern is the fact that the fracking fluid mobilises BTEX chemicals whilst it is underground and both the returned fluid and the fluid that remains in the well shaft (hopefully) are much more contaminated than the original input fluid.

As we can read on the frackwire website

A more common entry point for BTEX into the fracking process is underground. Crude oil and natural gas are naturally occurring mixtures of various types of hydrocarbons—and BTEX compounds are often among these. When oil and natural gas are released from impermeable rock, so are BTEX organics. BTEX is more often a contaminant of produced water than an additive in fracking fluid.

We feel that Ken is being more than a little disingenuous here. What do you think? Of course maybe he just doesn’t know enough about the subject? Obviously “you can’t be poisoned by chemicals that aren’t there”, but as they are there Ken, your point seems to be null and void.

As to They’re not permitted in the UK under EU law – we don’t think that EU law can actually stop the existence of the BTEX chemicals in the ground, but we could be wrong as the EU is, of course very powerful)]

AA: OK one more?

KW: Well leaks – Did I say well leaks?

AA: [sounding a bit impatient] You said well leaks. You said they don’t really happen. They happened at the beginning. Give me one more.

KW: Er right yes er penetration of the er formation by er fluids coming up into aquifers. Never ever happened. There’s no documented evidence of it ever happening.

[Emily Gosden writing in the Daily Telegraph reported last September that:

In a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists analysed the origins of the gas in contaminated water by shale wells in Pennsylvania and Texas, two of the biggest drilling regions in the US.They found that the fracturing of the rocks was not to blame for the leaks. Instead, botched construction of the wells led to gas or oil escaping through cracks in metal casing or through faulty cement seals.

So clearly there is evidence of aquifer contamination. The industry loves to proclaim that act of hydraulic fracturing does not cause aquifer contamination, talking into their sleeves afterwards as they admit it’s caused by their bad work on the well casing instead. This is a bit like saying that lighting a cigarette does not give you cancer. Anyway – who to trust here – retired physics teacher Ken Wilkinson or the National Academy of Science in the USA. That’s a toughy]

AA: Stay on the line because Stuart Wilkie’s called in form Kings Lynn. Stuart are you hearing Ken? Ken is saying that those people who are saying fracking is dangerous – they are actually peddling misinformation. Are you still on the line?

KW: Absolutely yes!


AA: Stuart tell Ken why you don’t agree.

SW: I have a brother who lives in California near to Fresno. I spoke to him two nights ago and he’s been advised not to drink his water because of a poisoned aquifer.

KW: Er I know about the case. Er I think it’s probably the same case. First of all that’s nothing to do with fracking its to do with disposal of water which is not permitted in the UK. They have to treat the water or reinject it into the same formation. So that is not er anything to do with fracking. I believe the case .. it was ..

[Ken is actually right that the contamination in Fresno was caused by the illegal dumping of a huge volume of fracking waste water.

Almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater have been illegally dumped into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation, according to state documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity. The wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking fluids and other pollutants.

We are not sure how he then draws the conclusion that “that is not er anything to do with fracking” as clearly it is. To be charitable I think he may have been trying to make the point that injection or reinjection is not currently permitted in the UK – or is it? The Royal Society report in 2012 was ambivalent on this topic saying simply that “The use of disposal wells is not regarded as good practice by the environmental regulators or DECC.” and The Independent reported in August 2014 that:

Third Energy, backed by banking giant Barclays, is set to begin working Ebberston Moor in the North York Moors after winning permission to get rid of a vast amount of potentially radioactive waste water – that will come up with the gas – by pumping it back into the ground.

At any rate it would appear that we do have valid and reasonable grounds for concern here unless it is The Royal Society and The Independent who are spreading what Ken likes to call “misinformation”.]

KW: There’s been several cases of dumping water in rivers, there’s been prosecutions, there’s been a lot of bad practice in the states – it’s so badly regulated at times

[Indeed Ken – for once we can only agree with you – presumably all this is documented in that “massive database of fantastic um safe performance over er in the er US”?]

AA: OK well let’s get back to Stuart, so Ken says it wouldn’t happen here

SW: Well the fact er that it’s American companies over here that’d be doing the same work. We’ve had the same issue with waste management companies over here as well. We.. if we’re using American technology and using American firms that have got poor regulation, they should not be working over here in the UK.

[We think that’s probably a fair point, although technically Cuadrilla are a British company, with backers in the Cayman Islands and Australia as well as our own Centrica.]

AA: OK .. [Goes on to ask Stuart another question and says thank you to KW]

So it seems Ken got a little carried away – we are sure he doesn’t really set out to lie deliberately, and we know it’s difficult getting your points across in 2 minutes on the radio. We do think though that his comments are more than a little misleading and wonder whether he shouldn’t maybe make some notes before calling up next time so that what he says makes a little more sense and sticks to the facts.

Anyway – we have decided to honour Ken with this week’s “Pants on Fire” award, if only for the comment that “the chemicals that are permitted over here are non hazardous and er that really says it all

Pants on FirePOST SCRIPT:

Poor old Ken obviously feels hard done to by his public. He posted on Facebook in January 2016
moan
We are, of course at a total loss to explain why that might be, although we do get the distinct impression that he doesn’t like having his misleading statements questioned. It’s probably a vanity thing…

offensive troll

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