We thank those who have come from outside the village to help defend our countryside, our air and water quality, and our right to a peaceful existence on tanker-free country roads.

Press release from No Fracking in Balcombe Society, Friday July 26th, 2013, 5pm

Balcombe residents protest against fracking in the village

Balcombe residents protest against fracking in the village

14 people have been arrested this afternoon at oil and gas driller Cuadrilla’s site half a mile south of the village of Balcombe in Sussex. Police used force to arrest the protesters under trades union picketing laws. Those arrested were peacefully sitting in front of the gate to the site in order to prevent the drill rig and other equipment entering. They were amongst scores of protesters from Balcombe and surrounding towns and villages.

NoFiBS is deeply disappointed in the police role in facilitating the drilling for Cuadrilla when they have an obligation to facilitate protest. NoFiBS intend to continue to protest legally and peacefully on the verges by the site gate. Cuadrilla’s vehicles have since begun to enter the site, to chants of ‘Ouze Valley OUR valley’ and ‘Go home Cuadrilla’.

Cuadrilla may not now be on schedule to begin drilling as planned tomorrow, Saturday. They make much of their quibble that they will not frack at this exploratory stage. For PR purposes and to facilitate permits, Cuadrilla will take the water pressure to just below rock-fracturing level. The exploratory stage has its own nuisances and dangers, and is a precurser of actual oil production, which will certainly involve fracking. So Cuadrilla, please stop telling us to ‘calm down dears because we are not going to frack just now’.

We call upon the government to change its policy on on-shore oil and gas exploration. This is not just a Balcombe issue – licences for the underbelly of two-thirds of the UK have been sold by the government to oil and gas companies. Citizens across the UK should wake up and take note that oil rigs and frack sites are coming to a field near them.

This week, Cuadrilla were given the government go-ahead to drill in Balcombe only three working days after the public consultation had ended. The Environment agency had received nearly 900 submissions from the public in Balcombe and beyond, many arriving close to their deadline. It is hard to believe that the Environment Agency properly considered the public’s views. What confidence can we have that government agencies will be willing or able regulate and police this industry, and protect our wellbeing and quality of life?

We thank those who have come from outside the village to help defend our countryside, our air and water quality, and our right to a peaceful existence on tanker-free country roads. We stand united with friends similarly besieged elsewhere in the country, especially in the North West, on that other front line of the fracking war. We in Balcombe feel bullied. Bullied by the oil and gas industry. Bullied by our government. We stand strong in the fight against this dangerous and misguided government policy.

Contact: nofibs@btinternet.com

736 Responses to

  1. Letter to President Obama from 1 000 US medical personnel from right across the USA, urging him to put an end to fracking.

    Click to access compiled_hp_letters_to_president_obama.2.20.14.pdf

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Shame this site appears to have gone dead. For all its bias it did accommodate differing views. Now all we have is FFBRA scratching each others backs.
      But there is good news; Ffbra’s submission to WSCC is so full of condescension & convoluted arguments that we can be confident the council will bin it as just another activist nuisance.
      At least everyone is using argument and not riot to promote their causes.
      Happy Easter all, when it comes.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      A snippit from Friday’s Times to cheer you all up; ” A small town in the rolling prairies of North Dakota has overtaken the likes of New York& Los Angeles as the most expensive place to live in America-thanks to the fracking revolution in the new wild west.”
      Perhaps NoFibs should switch to scare stories about house prices rocketing in Balcombe.
      Now there is to be no fracking to cause earthquakes we need something new to worry about.

  2. rn82497 says:

    For the first 20 years after release into the atmosphere – for the same mass – Methane is 72 time more damaging than C02 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas. Methane release from Fracking are only one of the sources, Cows and Methane Hydrates (as Oceans and Tundra) warm are also a big problem.

    Also regarding US and CO2. They simply exported their CO2 population. The coal is still being dug up – but exported.

    We really are (on average) an incredibly shorted sighted / self-interest species :-/

    • Don’t forget the wildebeeste – the wildebeest population of the Serengeti is now 6 times what it was twenty years ago.

      The Germans might not be importing US coal had their Greens not shut down their nuclear generating capacity. And since usage doesn’t soar, US coal is in turn being used in place of more expensive other coal.

  3. The US figures may show reduced CO2, but that is negated, greenhouse-gas-wise, by all that escaped methane. Yes, more work does need to be done, on methane escaping from wells, from the surrounding countryside via fractures and faults, from valves etc, pipelines, during transport and preparation for use.

    So they are not going to frack in Balcombe? Cuadrilla are a just a prospecting company. Their objective is to prove that there are economically viable amounts of oil under Balcombe, and then sell on to an extraction company. Cuadrilla can gather enough information about Balcombe’s oil from the ‘core samples’ they have already taken, and by ‘acid-etching’ at this next flow-testing stage. The extraction company that succeeds them will need to frack, because the oil-bearing rocks beneath Balcombe are ‘unconventional’ – oil will not flow in sufficient quantity without fracking. In any case we object to their presence in our village, to their drilling, to their flow testing, whether they frack at this stage or not.

    Both conventional and unconventional oil wells spell unacceptable dangers to health, environment and climate.

    Balcombe village has been mislead by Cuadrilla before. In December 2012 they wrote to us to say that they would not be drilling at all in Balcombe, they were too busy in Lancashire. In May 2013 suddenly we got a letter to say they were coming in June to drill.

    Every new oil and gas planning application nowadays avoids the ‘f’ word. Claiming ‘no fracking’ aims to sooth local opinion, make permits easier to get, and make all this a ‘non-story’ for the press. It’s a general industry ruse. Here and elsewhere, oil and gas exploration companies will need to frack these ‘unconventional’ rocks – and licences will soon cover two thirds of the British Isles.

    It was no news to us in Balcombe that Cuadrilla drilled into a shallow layer of micrite. We knew this back in May. Micrite is a loose-textured rock, principally calcium carbonate, made up of ancient sea creatures and/or solidified limey mud. Natural fractures were to be expected. We were told in May that Cuadrilla would use a 15% solution of hydrochloric acid (plus other chemicals) to dissolve pathways into this micrite layer – acid dissolves lime. Cuadrilla reduced the proposed hydrochloric acid strength to just under 10 per cent on discovering that the Environment agency considered anything over 10% to be toxic. They planned, they said, to top it up with citric and acetic acids (plus, of course, other chemical additives). They would take the test pressure up to just below rock fracturing point, so that technically they would not be fracking.

    We asked the DECC, the EA, the Health & Safety Executive and West Sussex County Council for a definition of fracking. The differenence was surprising. Some in the industry would call what Cuadrilla are propoing an ‘acid frack’.

    According to David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow, Balcombe’s geology is deeply faulted, and unsuited to drilling of any kind for hydrocarbons, let alone to fracking. Faults, as well as the well itself, can act as conduits for liquid or gaseous pollutants.

    Cuadrilla’s horizontal well will have intersected with the Paddockhurst Park Fault, says Professor Smythe, and possibly with other faults as well. The micrite layer, only 33 metres thick, will have slipped 30 or 40 metres lower along these faults . It will have been ‘all-but impossible to keep the drill string within the 33 m thick micrite layer, due to insufficient geological information.’ The horizontal well will therefore have entered shale, and Cuadrilla will have information not just on the micrite, but also on the shale layer above. Is the proposal to investigate oil in micrite ‘a cover-story for investigating the shales?’ he asks. http://www.davidsmythe.org/fracking/cuadrilla%20sussex%20critique%20V1.pdf

    • There is nothing ‘unconventional’ about micrite.

      David Smythe is a bit past it. On the basis of his several pronouncement, I;m not sure I’d trust him to order me a pint. You’re scraping the barrel there.

      15% acid in contact with micrite doesn’t stay acid for very long at all. There are good reasons, such as buffering & chelation, for using vinegar & lemon juice, not just trying to kid the EA.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Kathryn,With regard to your statement;”Balcombe village has been mislead by Cuadrilla before. In December 2012 they wrote to us to say that they would not be drilling at all in Balcombe, they were too busy in Lancashire. In May 2013 suddenly we got a letter to say they were coming in June to drill.”
      Presumably the letter in December caused much rejoycing among the NoFibbers. “Victory” ” Make sure they stick to it” etc. BUT the posts in December 2112 do not even mention it. The debate rages on as if nothing had changed.Does this letter actually exist? If so could you favour me with a copy please? Thanks. Will consult those qualified on your several technical posts.

  4. Richard says:

    Somerset under water. Cornwall cut off by rail – and the Government are still not happy?! We need to produce yet more Climate Change via Methane / CO2 via Fracking.

    The North West has some of the strongest tidal systems global. Yet this Government would rather pollute Lancashire than do the right thing. FYI – Tidal is 7x24X365X(for as long a the moon is in orbit).

    • Rodney Jago says:

      The latest Severn Estury tidal scheme requires subsidy to the extent of 3.6 TIMES present prices. Do you really think our economy could stand that sort of energy price hike.?

      • Richard says:

        I wonder if our economy, our society, our ecosystem can withstand the damaged caused by the short term – quick fix – fast buck – policies you advocate.

        • \for every idiot who claims tides are 2/365, there are just two words: Spring & Neap.

          Spring tides, like Neaps, are on a 14 day cycle. Springs are higher energy, Neaps much lower.

          Oh yes, & turbines corrode awfully in the marine environment.

          • Richard says:

            Lets see.

            Maintaining a clean renewable energy resource. This generating plenty of local engineering jobs in the Lancashire area, and in some quite high tech areas of engineering.

            Or a Frack, pollute and run policy.

            Which do you think is preferable to the people of Lancashire?

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Article in The Times yesterday by Hugo Rifkind, passionately supporting action on reducing emissions & a fan (his pun not mine) of wind farms and tidal generation. He also writes “ Green opposition to shale & nuclear strikes me as bizarre when both offer dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions”
            Common sense creeping into the Green camp. NoFibs will end up with only house prices to worry about.

          • Mr Rifkind should do some research on the likely greenhouse effect of fracking. Taking into account the methane that ecapes all the way along the process from well to kitchen cooker, shale gas is worse than coal. (And in any case is unlikely to REPLACE coal.)

            Peer-reviewed scientific papers published recently in the USA provide powerful evidence of
            extremely high levels of methane emissions in the air around gas sites. Principal amongst them is
            a study from the University of Harvard in collaboration with four other top academic bodies and
            a federal agency, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Further studies
            from Austin, Texas, Colorado and Cornell University put losses to the atmosphere from venting
            and leaks at up to 8% of all the shale gas they get out of the rocks.

            Levels this high would undermine any claims that shale gas could result in lower greenhouse gas
            emissions if gas were to replace coal. (There is no guarantee than gas will be used instead of
            rather than as well as coal.) Burning methane produces less CO2 than coal, but methane escaping unburnt to the atmosphere is 86 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20 year time scale, and about 35 times more potent even over 100 years, according to latest figures from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

            Such evidence threatens the main justification for shale gas development, namely that it is a
            useful ‘transitional’ fuel that can quickly lower greenhouse gas emissions in the short to medium
            term, while investment takes place to build up low carbon generation from renewables. The
            growing US evidence on fugitive methane emissions was completely ignored in a recent paper
            on shale gas and the greenhouse effect, co-authored by the DECC chief scientific advisor.

            In additon, the time-scale is all wrong. By the time shale gas wd come on tap in any quantity in the mid to late 20s or even 30s, we are committed to being well on our way out of fossil fuels.

            And what does Mr Rifkind propose to do with all that nasty waste, whether from nuclear power stations or from fracking, radioactive both!

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Interesting that the scare stories have moved from “earthquakes” to methane!
            The exact tonnage may be disputed but I have not seen it questioned that USA HAS reduced emissions on account of fracking. Even the learned people on your link cannot seem to agree. Quote
            “Using more reasonable leakage rates and bases of comparison, shale gas has a GHG footprint that is half and perhaps a third that of coal.”
            Another set back for NOFibs is that there will not be fracking in Balcombe anyway, just drilling for oil.
            You say we are “Committed” to being well on our way out of fossil fuels in 20/30 years time. I won’t be around to check but very much doubt if oil will be entirely redundant by then.
            Moreover we might as well be “committed” to travelling only in silent non-polluting aircraft. Both very desirable and & if economically viable renewable energy HAS been developed in 20-30 years time the shale drillers will be out of business. Meanwhile we should welcome their investment in what may be a temporary energy source AND a source of funding into viable renewables (and those silent aircraft)

          • Rodney, this is an old article but may interest you, re earthquakes and subsidence owing to natural gas extraction


            And they haven’t even fracked in Groningen (NE Holland). Last week Henk Kamp, Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, wrote to the Dutch President re the need to reduce gas extraction at Groningen. He attached the results of a study into earthquakes and subsidence as a result of gas extraction at Groningen, Europe’s biggest natural gas field: serious earthquakes, cracked houses, danger to dykes, serious compensation figures for local residents.

            it’s not that we are no longer worried by earthquakes. It’s just that earthquakes are a certain way down our list of sound reasons not to frack. I’ll answer the rest of your comment in a moment. Meanwhile am going to forward on your email the Dutch letter and study. Do share it with your friends. You could ask Malcome to tack it on to the end of a green leaflet! I loved your choice of colour!

          • I often wonder why, if they haven’t fracced in Groningen, there are service companies with frac spreads in the Netherlands. But no matter – maybe the claim is to avoid a Vanessa-visit, complete with burn-the-police-cars flag. After all, the Germans used to claim they hadn’t fracced, whereas they invented this “modern” high volume fraccing.

            But Groningen has been producing gas at a very high rate for about half a century {all those nice greenhouse tomatoes}, perhaps at too high a rate. That is why there is local subsidence.

          • Kathryn, Given all the doom-laden ‘statistics’ about ‘fugitive’ methane, it is worth pointing out that they are all estimates, usually by people funded by the Park Foundation.

            There has been only one actual measurement at well-heads survey, the recent UT one, which found gas losses of 0.017%. So much for alarmist & inaccurate estimates!

            The atmospheric one you quote, the only other non-estimate, does not distinguish between wells {never mind shale gas wells}, refineries, coal mines – a major source of methane, see Australia, ruminants & distribution networks. Boston, for instance has a very leaky old gas network – but that has nothing to do with shale gas well emissions.

  5. Oh what a lovely article by former Energy Minister Chris Huhne in today’s Guardian:

    Huhne: ‘To sum up, shale may not happen. If it does, it will be slow. Even if it is eventually massive, prices will not drop. British industry, far from re-shoring, will be squeezed by the strong pound. Could the prime minister please hire a respectable economic adviser with a memory?’


  6. Vanessa Vine rattling Peter Lilley on Channel 4 yesterday, from Barton Moss (pity she wasn’t in the studio): http://www.channel4.com/news/fracking-barton-moss-peter-lilley-vanessa-vine-manchester

  7. Fracking firms ‘should pay £6bn a year tax to compensate for climate change’
    Cambridge University study says shale gas companies should pay for harm they will cause to environment


    ‘Chris Hope, a parliamentary adviser and reader in policy modelling at the Judge Business School in Cambridge.
    “Shale gas will contribute to climate change in two ways, from carbon dioxide emissions when the gas is burned, and from the fugitive emissions of underground methane that leak into the atmosphere when the gas is extracted,” he says.
    “Under the Institute of Directors’ central production estimate and with a central methane leakage rate of 2%, the tax revenues for the UK will be about £6bn per year in current prices by the time shale really gets going in the latter half of the 2020s.” ‘ (…)

    ‘The social impact of methane has been less well studied, Hope says, but the best estimate for this much more powerful greenhouse gas is a little over $1,200 a tonne.
    Hope, a specialist adviser to an inquiry by the House of Lords select committee on economic affairs into aspects of the economics of climate change, says the advantage of a tax of this nature is that companies engaged in future fracking would know from the start what extra cost they would be expected to bear.’

  8. ‘Shadow energy minister, Tom Greatrex, said shale gas could have a role to play in improving our energy security, but added: “I would expect government to engage with key stakeholders, including businesses, but to do so in order to provide …responsible leadership, not pliant cheerleading. It is increasingly concerning that Tory ministers seek to exaggerate the potential benefits of shale and dismiss genuine and legitimate concerns. The public would expect government to be challenging shale companies on their interaction with communities, not agreeing press lines with them.” ’


    See more
    Emails reveal UK helping shale gas industry manage fracking opposition

  9. A little cautionary tale about poorly treated flowback and produced water, something I missed back in October, a new, peer-reviewed study from Duke University.

    ‘Oct. 2, 2013 — Elevated levels of radioactivity, salts and metals have been found in river water and sediments at a site where treated water from oil and gas operations is discharged into a western Pennsylvania creek.
    ‘ “Radium levels were about 200 times greater in sediment samples collected where the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility discharges its treated wastewater into Blacklick Creek than in sediment samples collected just upstream of the plant,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
    The new Duke study examined the quality of shale gas wastewater from (…)

    ‘”The treatment removes a substantial portion of the radioactivity, but it does not remove many of the other salts, including bromide,” Vengosh said. “When the high-bromide effluents are discharged to the stream, it increases the concentrations of bromide above the original background levels. This is significant because bromide increases the risks for formation of highly toxic disinfection byproducts in drinking water treatment facilities that are located downstream.”
    “The radioactivity levels we found in sediments near the outflow are above management regulations in the U.S. and would only be accepted at a licensed radioactive disposal facility,” said Robert B. Jackson, professor of environmental science at Duke.’ (…)

    ‘…the amount of radioactivity that has accumulated in the river sediments still exceeds thresholds for safe disposal of radioactive materials,” Vengosh said.”Years of disposal of oil and gas wastewater with high radioactivity has created potential environmental risks for thousands of years to come.” ‘

    etc, much more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131002092621.htm

    The Duke team published their findings on Oct 2 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology.

    The Environment Agency will say that the UK will regulate, but poor them, they are losing so many staff… And it seems to me that flowback treatment remains a dilemma worldwide. We don’t want deep re injection of flowback liquid here. Think of all the earthquakes that would cause!

  10. The Telegraph gets it right! Fracking-related diseases – birth defects, hormonal disturbances, infertility, cancer… And do read down to the second half – about research into fugitive methane from fracking – in Teddington! You could also google research on fugitive methane at Harvard et al, Colorado, and in Texas. Currently, fugitive methane – gas escaping via all kinds of fracking-related routes incuding valves and equipment – makes methane a ridiculously filthy fuel. Methane is 86 timesworse a greenhouse gas than coal, over a 20 yr period.


  11. The first big player is to announce its entry into the British fracking game on Monday:

    ‘London (AFP) – Total, the French oil giant, is to become the first major firm to explore for shale gas in Britain, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, despite a ban on exploration in France.

    ‘The firm will on Monday announce a deal under which it will join an exploration licence in Lincolnshire, central England, currently operated by US company Ecorp, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

    ‘Singapore-based Dart Energy and UK-listed Igas and Edgdon resources are also partners in the project, the Financial Times said.’

  12. Naja Michael, was meinst Du davon? Zahlen ab 2013!


    9. Januar 2014 19:14
    Fehlkalkulation der Energieunternehmen Fracking lohnt sich nicht

    Die Euphorie ist verflogen: Für Energiefirmen und Investoren hat sich Fracking bislang nicht ausgezahlt. Die Kosten sind hoch, die Preise niedrig und noch dazu sind die Schiefergasreserven wohl kleiner als bislang angenommen.

    English summary: The energy companies miscalculated in the USA – fracking isn’t worth the effort, it doesn’t pay. The euphoria is over. Fracking has not paid out for the energy companies and investors. The costs are too high, prices low, and what’s more, reserves of shale gas are smaller than predicted.

    Investment in shale gas halved in the US in 2013 compared with 2012 (figures from consultants IHS Herold). Oil and gas companies and their investors spent more money on land, equipment and exploration than they earned from sales of gas and oil. Less capital outlay means fewer wells drilled and lower production – and that could spell the end of the era of low energy prices. The bubble will burst. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if it burst this year,’ says Werner Zittel, chief executive of independent analysts the Ludwig-Bölkow Foundation. Notably, European and Asian investors have pulled out in recent months. Analysts are now saying that the whole market has completely changed.

    Critical experts such as Zittle are of the opinion that shale gas reserves have been overvalued. Shell had to write off $2 billion a couple of months ago in its N American holdings. BP, Encana and the BG Group have likrwise had to downvalue their shale gas business in the last couple of years. The same goes for many smaller firms.

    Meanwhile, the EU Commission downgraded its estimates of European shale gas reserves from 15.8 billion cubic metres of extractable gas to only 13.3 billion. And it’s clear that here in Europe shale gas will be much more expensive to tap than in America.

  13. Open letter from prof of geology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale

    ‘Just because the fracking technology has been invented and can increase the production of oil and gas that provides jobs and profits for a while does NOT justify its use if it puts the health, well-being and survival of the human species and our accumulated civilization at risk. (Humans also invented nuclear bombs but must not use them for similar reasons!)

    ‘We should not be playing games with fracking rules. More stringent rules and nickel and dime fines for environmental damages are part of that game. We should not even be considering a moratorium. Fracking technology very simply should not be used.’ etc


    • He is a retired, not practicing, not even ’emeritus’, professor.

      He is a professor of Geography, not Geology.

      His ignorance of the earth is shown by his statement “remaining toxic fluids, oil and gas rise randomly to the surface for miles around the bore hole”. With over 2 million wells fracced to date, if this happened even once in a million times, it would have already been seen to have occurred.

      More alarmist tosh.

  14. Interesting report from Texas on the dangers of oil and gas wells for public health:

    Click to access FULL-RecklessEndangerment-sm.pdf

  15. Brian Monk, Queensland, Australia
    2nd January 2014:

    “Those of you who have followed my posts will know the impact this industry has had on my grandchildren.

    For a few weeks I have intermittently complained on FB about a stink, a creosote type smell, that burns your eyes, gives you a headache, burns your nose, makes it hard to breathe, in fact a little while ago I said it scared me enough to contemplate fleeing in the middle of the night.

    So back to this week, 3 days ago my littlest granddaughter walked out to the deck saying “my nose just started bleeding” with blood running down her face and dripping on her shirt and shorts all the way down to her feet and a trail behind her. You add that to our youngest grandson banging his head on his pillow saying”my head hurts”, he is a beautiful strong little boy who will pick himself up after tripping and dust himself off saying “I’m all right”. Then add that to 2.30 this morning when Cathy calls me to come over because our second youngest grandson is having a Grand Mal seizure. Pretty big coincidence hey.

    So this morning I’m here to tell you how helpless and hopeless I feel today, how the tears stream down my face as I type, how the surge of anger and frustration makes my body shake. So, I don’t want sympathy, I don’t want help, I’m not looking for solutions, this is not the reason for the post.

    I want to warn you, this is life in a gas field, look to the USA to see your future if we don’t stop this. We are one individual family, we are part of a group of families in a developing gas field, as this develops we will become one of hundreds and then thousands. Don’t help me, we are a proud and independent family, this is our problem, no one else’s. But please help the rest of Australia, please, no one should have to endure this in our Nation.”

    • Very sad. But it is probably wise to point out yet again that there is no production of shale gas in Queensland, Australia.

      And that the UK does not experience the rampant exploitation of resources that Australia does.

      • Methane is methane with all its associated VOCs and NOx and so on whether extracted from coal or shale beds. Britain is under threat not only from exploitation of shale gas but also of coal bed methane/coal seam gas and underground (or at least undersea) coal gasification. If you think we are not going to oppose the whole undesirable trio, Michael, you must think we have learnt nothing over the past years. We are very much united with friends in East Kent, Nottingham , Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Scotland, Wales, all those coal mining areas of old. And yes indeed, doch, rampant exploitation is exactly what we are being threatened with by our government and its industry cronies.

        • No Kathryn, methane is indeed methane, but natural gas is a differing mixture of gases depending on its origins. If you want to discuss associated ethane, propane, VOCs, NOx or sulphides, then you must take cognisance of the source. If you wish to consider possible pollution, then you really must consider the source, as wells & mining are not really the same industry & do not historically have the same standards. Coal exploitation is definitely mining, shale gas is definitely oil & gas.

          There are significant differences between coal bed gas & shale gas & the methods of recovery. Underground coal gasification is yet again an order of magnitude different.

          You might want to consider whether a ragtag & bobtail alliance of misaligned & often eccentric interests is the best way of trying to find sensible middle ground. Or do you just wish to consume the benefits of what is produced elsewhere, which is not very moral.

          • Nobody said the contaminants were the same. There seems to be a remarkable similarity between health impacts reported around coal bed methane and shale gas sites – respiratory, endocrine, neurological, dermatological…! YOU are the excentric ones, not us. We are indeed rag and bobtail, all kinds of ordinary citizens increasingly united. We want a ban, a world-wide ban. And no, Michael, we do not want to consume extreme fossil fuels produced elsewhere. Do please explain to me why this would be less than moral?

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Kathryn, few of us WANT to depend on fossil fuels produced here or, least of all, elsewhere but for the foreseeable future you will & we all will.
            Clean, indigenous and economically viable energy is greatly to be desired. So are silent, non-polluting VTOL airliners, but we ain’t there yet.
            A few small communities may be genuinely self-sufficient & God bless them. We need poets & dreamers as well as engineers & entrepreneurs but an economy of 70 million cannot live on poets & dreamers alone.
            It is morally bankrupt to pose as “holier than thow”, living by candle light & log fires but running to the NHS & the benefits office funded by the real ( fossil fuel powered) economy. This seemed to be the stance of many (not all) of our delightful summer visitors. As morally bankrupt as the NIMBY’S who put (unfounded) fears for their house prices before their country.
            As a nation we are still spending more than we earn, &, heaven knows, we need better services not diversion of resources to subsidise renewable follies. Too many, especially the young, are un-or underemployed. They will not be helped by a motley crew of anarchists bleating for subsidies & blocking every attempt to get our economy back on it’s feet.
            Ask yourself how many would subscribe to the “community solar project” if it were not a chance to scrounge subsidies? Probably about as many as would eschew fossil power when the sun doesn’t shine!
            Please just face it , if if the selfish NIMBY’s succeed in Balcombe they will continue to rely on oil & gas from elsewhere for at least another generation. Call that the moral highground?
            Happy New Year!

          • There are no so blind as those who will not see. There are no energy sources that can fully replace fossil fuels, not even nuclear – & the current world population could not survive without current energy usage levels, levels that the intermittents called renewables cannot hope to meet. It is immoral to pretend that the intermittents are not polluting, just because they pollute elsewhere, or that you are not using fossil fuels to maintain present lifestyles.

            ‘Remarkable similarities’ are as capable of similar explanation as using the same word {“fracking”} to describe different things. I should imagine the dissolved chemicals in the water de-watered from coal are different from those in the associate water produced from shale – but it suits some to identify any that are poisons & to claim they come similarly from all sources.

  16. This won’t be the first time we’ve heard whispers of impending doom for the natural gas fracking industry, but since this one is coming from Bloomberg it’s probably worth a listen, so here’s the deal. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that the boom in gas field purchasing from 2009 to 2012 has turned into a whopper of a bust, leaving oil and gas companies with a belly load of depressed assets and “disappointing” wells to go with falling gas prices.
    Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/20/the-fracking-chickens-are-coming-home-to-roost/#je8z8hjQxUB4dA7m.99

    • Richard says:

      from the article –

      “As for individual property owners, some of them have gotten themselves into a triple whammy. They’re being shorted on royalties, their property values are being affected by increased evidence of the harmful impacts of fracking, and now comes word that the insurance industry is casting the stinkeye on properties that host drilling operations.
      Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/20/the-fracking-chickens-are-coming-home-to-roost/#OwilqGfD1v6GzFQ6.99

      I was expecting this. Surprised to see it so soon though. If this really is the case the US economy is going to have big problems.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      “down to $26 billion ” ! If only UK could have a “bust” like that!

    • I do hope you won’t mind my pointing out, on today’s date, that to use 2012 statistics to forecast “impending doom” for shale gas, is ‘so last year’.

      Here is something more up-to-date: “Seneca says improvements in the last year alone saved about $525,000 per well in Tract 100. Its break-even point for these wells is $2.20 per 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas. The market price is nearly $4, so these are very profitable wells.”

      This is from the story “Marcellus Shale drilling becomes more efficient” at http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/9504712-113/gas-wells-drilling-seneca

      Might I wish all of you, from the presiding spirit Kathryn McWhirter to the redoubtable Rodney Jago, a happy & prosperous New Year. Perhaps we’ll meet up at a [safe] well-site somewhere.

      • ‘On Dec. 4, a crew under Dewberry’s direction dug into the mountaintop of a state forest near here (…) When it’s done, the towering rig will crawl 20 feet and begin drilling another well. Seneca plans to complete nine wells in an assembly-line fashion on this site, which is the size of five football fields.’

        The scale of the industrialisation of the countryside thanks to shale gas is horrific, Michael.

        ‘ “For natural gas, EIA has no doubt at all that production can continue to grow all the way out to 2040,” Sieminski said. The new fossil-fuel boom relies upon advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing…’

        Michael, the timescale simply doesn’t work. By the 40s, even by the mid 20s, we are supposed to be well on our way OUT of fossil fuels.

        And a happy new 2014 to you… If we have to wait to meet at a safe well, I’m afraid it isn’t going to happen!

        • Rodney Jago says:

          Let’s start 2014 with a bit of realism.
          Unless some quite unforeseen breakthrough unlocks competitively priced renewables we will NOT be free of dependence on fossil fuels by 2020/40.
          Huge long-term contracts have already been signed for imported oil & gas. Do we make the Americans, Norwegians & Middle Easterners even richer by buying their gas or try to use our own resources to the benefit of our economy & energy security?
          One of the best bits of news at the end of last year was the start of US co-operation with China to develop fracking. If that takes off it really could make a significant dent in world emissions. The downside is that countries that insist on hopelessly uneconomic renewables will simply decline into bucolic poverty.
          Regarding our dear Balcombe . All the fuss is about one well which we cannot see , & if we are honest, can hardly hear even when being drilled. As I understand it the next development stage should last only a few weeks after which it will probably be closed off. If the site has more potential than expected we would end up with a nodding donkey & a couple of oil tankers a week.
          Any new well sites would require complete new planning consents and may or may not be acceptable. On the Recreation Ground , no; in woods a couple of miles away, maybe. But we cannot possibly judge the merits of hypothetical sites.
          Let’s be clear, the outlook for the foreseeable future is reliance on expensive imported energy unless we are willing to exploit our own.

  17. Pennsylvania Supreme Court declares portions of shale-drilling law unconstitutional

    ‘ “By any responsible account,” Chief Justice Castille wrote, “the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction.”
    ‘The decision sent shock waves through the shale gas industry, which had sought legislation guaranteeing uniform statewide land use rules, and the Corbett administration and legislators who had championed passage of the oil and gas law changes.’

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/2013/12/19/Pennsylvania-Supreme-Court-declares-portions-of-shale-drilling-law-unconstitutional/stories/201312190254#ixzz2o9rUzIPZ

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Happy Christmas & a Peaceful New Year to all readers & contributors.
      Thanks ,web-site, for accommodating ,contrary views.

  18. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/11/taxpayers-fracking-pollution-companies

    ‘Rob Cunningham, head of water policy at the RSPB, said: “The prime minister promised one of the most stringent regulatory regimes for fracking in the world but his government appears more interested in tax cuts than managing risk. It really doesn’t matter if you are pro or anti fracking, this proposal would simply ensure that when things do go wrong shareholders, not taxpayers bear the cost for cleanup if companies go bust or cease trading. If government’s response boils down to concerns over cost of insurance it sheds an interesting light on just how safe they really think the technology is.”

  19. Here is an interesting & heartening recent environmental posting:

    “… climate scientists Richard and Elizabeth A. Muller have produced a report for the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), claiming that environmentalists are making a “tragic mistake” in not supporting the [hydraulic fracturing] technique.

    The report claims that many of the fears held over fracking are either unsubstantiated or can be controlled with proper legislation.

    Additionally, the report states that fracking can in fact “reduce greenhouse gas emissions” and “reduce a deadly pollution known as PM2.5”.

    Particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres, named PM2.5, is associated with adverse health effects and is estimated to take the lives of 3.2 million people a year worldwide.”


    The actual report can also easily be found online.

    Hmm – “the lives of 3.2 million people a year worldwide” – a figure well worth reducing, I should say. Truly a tragic mistake to be resolutely against trying.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Article in today’s Times and a supportive leader. Message is that unless UK gets on with shale gas a serious number of British jobs & investment may migrate to the U.S.A.
      Cannot we in Balcombe put up with a mere few months of minor inconvenience (apart from protestors) to avoid the miseries of yet more unemployment?
      Also a relevant letter on the outlook for energy supplies from a Cambridge Professor of Technology.

  20. Michael, I need a tutorial. Something that came up in the Lords yesterday, but as usual with technical quesitons, no Lord leapt up to query it.

    Is there any way to repair cement damage or inadequate or deteriorated cementing? For example the ovalisation at the base of Preese Hall? I wd imagine the only solution for that particular problem is to seal off the base of the well. But in general there must be no means of access and repair? I wd love to understand in engineering terms how a repair can be done. I mean, the cement is crumbly or whatever on the outside of the well, between casing and formation. How do you get through the casings and re-cement? Sounds impossible? How would you access the damaged or badly-cemented section from the outside?

    • The TUC and 100 organisations back the independent committee on climate change with its call for a 4th carbon reduction budget leading to 2027, while the Chancellor is making the insurance industry nervous with a head in the sand attitude to climate risks.

    • Kathryn, Way back in the beginning of this, one January, I explained about squeeze cementing to repair wells. I guess you were unreceptive to good news.

      Yes, poor cement can be, & almost always is, repaired. Remember that the steel casing gives radial sealing, the cement gives a longitudinal seal. One hundred feet of cement is usually considered a seal. When a fault is found in the cement outside a casing, by leaking, testing or more usually by logging, a hole is perforated in the casing, often at the lowest point of the bad section. An injectivity test is then run to establish that cement can be pumped through the hole & into the void space. If it cannot be, perhaps another distant perforation would be made – the object is to establish a path through which a cement slurry could be squeezed. This pathway is then squeezed full of cement & the sealing deficiency corrected. A set of squeeze packers is part of the tools kept at well sites. The ‘old reliable standby’ tool was called an RTTS, for retrievable test, treat & squeeze. Newer or non-retrieveable squeeze tools & bridge packers are also available. ‘Special tools services’ are a respected sub-contracting speciality.

      Note that the ovalization at Preese Hall did not cause a loss of integrity – about half of the ovalization was of the already perforated casing, the rest did not suffer a radial leak. If the well perforations were squeezed after – the annulus would have been re-sealed.

  21. From Helz Cuppleditch, Frack Free Arun:

    ‘This is what happens when there’s a strict regulatory regime. QUOTE (abstracts): …Chevron said that “Significant changes to the fiscal, legislative and regulatory climate in Lithuania have substantially impacted the operational and commercial basis of the investment decision.”….. the government has introduced strict laws to ensure that shale oil and gas extraction does not adversely impact the environment.

    ‘Gold Standard Regulatory Regime in the UK?? I think not.’


    • Bit of a misdirection on your part. It is reported that “25 pieces of legislation of shale gas extraction are still undecided”, including probable taxes & the reliability of any lease awards. No company can risk exploration & development expenditure when they cannot rely on gaining future benefits.

      As to HSE issues, in my experience Chevron do indeed meet gold-palted standards. Balcombe should be so lucky Chevron were interested in them.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Startling headline in today’s Times “Fracking gets the green light”. Startling because here we have politicians putting our long-term energy security, our prosperity, our economy & our balance of payments (yawn yawn go the Greens) before the chase for populist votes. Let us hope they have the guts to push it through.

  22. Richard says:

    just as a number of us have argued. Thanks for posting.

    Remember the “it’s only the same as a golf course” spin? I think ‘they’ selected the water consumption numbers for a golf course situated in Kuwait 😉

  23. So did Michael Fallon make up the story about the water industry giving its blessing to fracking? Did get its facts in a twist?

    This is what The Telegraph is saying today:


    ‘In a blow for shale gas explorers and government alike, Water UK, which represents all major water suppliers, has published a series of concerns about fracking and warned that failure to address them could “stop the industry in its tracks”.

    ‘It suggests aquifers could be contaminated by fracking, by leaks from wells, or by poor handling of chemicals or waste water on the surface.

    ‘It also warns that “the fracking process requires huge amounts of water, which will inevitably put a strain on supplies in areas around extraction sites”.

    ‘It adds: “The power of the drilling and fracturing process even risks damaging existing water pipes, which could lead to leaks and shortages to people’s homes and businesses.”

    (…) The water industry has commissioned its own report on the potential impact which shows the volumes needed presented a “real concern”.

    This especially applies in the south east which is believed to have significant shale potential but is prone to water shortages.

  24. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03jcgq2/North_West_Tonight_26_11_2013/

    News of drilling at Barton Moss and excellent commentary by Friends of the Earth

  25. When the authorities fail to listen, sometimes all than remains is direct action.


    “We are so angry about the way our country is being run. 2013 must be the year that Romania wakes up, that citizens begin to have a say in what is happening to our country. Things like fracking have to stop, we cannot accept the destruction of our future.” (…) ‘A man more accustomed to milking cows than fighting multinationals, he is nonetheless standing up to the gas companies and people are following his lead in growing numbers. (…) ‘And in the latest public showdown, communities deeply fearful of the damage that they believe fracking may cause havechased a rig operated by Chevron away from a test site. (…) claims that half a dozen laws are being breached by Prospectiuni in their gas exploration, including ones that restrict testing being carried out too close to homes, and others related to permits and trespass. (…) Elderly ladies in headscarves and traditional dress are rubbing shoulders with pierced activists and men in balaclavas. It is an interesting social mix. The crowd marches to the road to tear out more seismic wires in full view of the policemen, who stand watching. Residents who had been too scared to talk the day before now stand outside their houses, cheering and clapping on the protesters in delight.’

    • “It has been over an hour since the group started trashing equipment owned by the gas exploration company Prospectiuni S.A., playing an edgy game of cat and mouse”.

      So destroying equipment isn’t breaking the law, its playing ‘cat & mouse’?

      When Romanians come to Britain to seek work, will you still be so proud of stopping them developing sources of employment in their own country?

      A seismic survey is not hydraulic fracturing.

      • Ah, you are back. A seismic survey is clearly in itself very disruptive and destructive: we shall oppose it, if ever we get to 3D point here in Balcombe. Yes, there comes a point where direct action becomes a necessity. Michael, you have worked in Europe. Would you deny the same rights of movement to Romanian citizens of the EU? Yes, coal is very bad too, but we are talking methane emissions around frack sites. Do stick to the subject in hand. And that was the second report this week about discharge of frack fluid into the sea. The Preece Hall frack fluid was discharged into the Manchester Ship Canal, after minimal treatment (with EA dispensation, we hear)! The world over, no government, no evironmental agency, no oil and gas company currently has a valid policy for cleaning up returned frackwater and restoring it to the water cycle in pristine state. And how much remains below ground?How much water is the oil and gas industry putting for ever beyond reach? In Balcombe, three proposed chemicals were rejected by the Environment Agency. Cuadrilla knew only their brand name. Neither Cuadrilla nor the EA could work out what they were. So they got banned. (Source: EA) You really should come to Balcombe for re-education.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Transylvania is indeed a very beautiful area. It is also very big & very rural. I do not know the full story but doubt if a few properly sited drill sites would spoil it and could benefit a poor population.
      It may well be that the Romanian authorities do not work to our regulatory standards and if sub-standard and/or land has been illegally occupied, or the owners have inadequate legal advice they deserve help.
      The usual agitator groups will be totally counter-productive. Perhaps the EU could do something useful for once. Our dear Green MEP might turn his energies from encouraging mob rule in Balcombe to some real work through diplomacy in the EU?
      Whatever the facts in Romania it is hardly relevant to Balcombe where land owners surely have very able legal support!
      On an entirely different note I have received pages from The Sunday Times Magazine about Genocide in Brazil accompanied by an anonymous typed note which seems to equate some slight inconvenience to the well fed burgers of Balcombe with genocide. If the person responsible reads this I can only say “calm down, dear (or old chap)”. The comparison is so unbelievably parochial, crass, and insulting to past & present victims of genocide as to mark a new low in the debate.
      If the anonymous deliverer wishes to write I will reply. If he or she wants to talk I don’t bite , (nor do I block roads, squat on public or private land, drain millions from the Public Purse policing my “peaceful protests” or put green dye in streams. Nor do I cower behind anonymity. If you read this perhaps you will have the guts to talk it over.

    • Where did the methane come from? “released by leaky oil and gas operations and livestock”

      How come there is no mention of the open-cast mining of coal, in these “south-central United States”?

      I mean, doesn’t coal have so much methane, that they drill for it in Australia?

  26. Oh what a contrast with OUR Dear Lord of the Manor: ‘FULL PAGE IN THE SUNDAY TIMES…Quote (abstract): Over recent weeks he (Viscount Cowdray) has registered the verges next to the narrow access to the Celtique Energie’s proposed drilling site as under the ownership of his estate. He will refuse any request to widen the access, and does not believe lorries will be able to drive in without crossing the verges.’

    • Rodney Jago says:

      As in the days of the Corn Laws and railway construction the super-rich put themselves before the population in general. But perhaps the Noble Viscount has more cunning and is preparing against protestors!
      A bit of good news ; C.P.R.E have modified their stance on Shale drilling.

  27. ‘About half of the oil platforms in federal waters in the Santa Barbara Channel discharge all or a portion of their wastewater directly to the ocean. This produced wastewater contains all of the chemicals injected originally into the fracked wells, with the addition of toxins gathered from the subsurface environment.’


    • ‘About half of the oil platforms in federal waters in the Santa Barbara Channel discharge all or a portion of their wastewater directly to the ocean. This produced wastewater contains all of the chemicals injected originally into the fracked wells, with the addition of toxins gathered from the subsurface environment.’

      Bit of a false syllogism here:

      • If a portion of wastewater is being discharged to the sea, wouldn’t you think it might be the cleaner portion:
      • How was the jump made to assuming that what was being discharged was produced wastewater from fracced wells?
      • How could returned frac fluid contain “all of the chemicals injected originally”, when the purposes of those chemicals are to react, or to plate out, or ….?
      • What toxins are “gathered from the subsurface environment”?

      Alarmist nonsense, as so often on this site.

  28. Good summary of European position: http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/uncertain-future-for-fracking/78788.aspx EU proposals on fracking due by the end of the year: ‘…there is still disagreement within the Commission about how thorough the new legislative framework should be. The environment department, which is in charge of the subject, has concerns about water, air and climate effects, while the energy and industry departments are concerned that red tape could stifle shale-gas exploration.’

  29. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/the-ragtag-group-of-aussie-activists-fighting-gas-industry-37462

    ‘BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — One year ago, I flew over West Texas in a small prop plane observing a landscape pockmarked with caliche drill pads and freshly plodded access roads. This July, I did the same thing halfway around the world and the view was remarkably similar. From the window of a chartered flight from Brisbane, Queensland, midway up Australia’s east coast, to a small town 160 miles inland, I saw large exposed pools of water used for extracting gas, sprawling industrial sites, a coal mine, and other signs of the rapid onset of fossil fuel development in a region known for its remoteness, pristine agricultural land, and natural beauty.’ etc

  30. Once upon a time, way back in May 2011, when the good burghers of Britain were all innocent of the dangers or even the existence of fracking, the Energy and Climate Change Committee wrote a report on shale gas. And they knew, and the Government knew, that fracking for shale gas could pollute our water.

    Sitting comfortably, Dave and Nick? ‘During the fracturing process, some of the hydraulic fracturing fluid may flow through the artificially created fractures to other areas within the shale gas formation, in a phenomenon known as “fluid leakoff”. Fluid leakoff during hydraulic fracturing “can exceed 70 percent of the injected volume if not controlled properly”, which could result in fluid migrating into drinking water aquifers. In comparison, coal-bed methane formations are mostly shallow, so where hydraulic fracturing is used there is a risk that it could be happening in—or very near to—shallow drinking water supplies.’

    Shall we all drink happily ever after?


  31. Letter to the Independent , November 18th:

    You quote the Director of Public Health England’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards that produced the fracking report (1 November), saying: “The currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to emissions associated with the shale gas extraction process are low if operations are properly run and regulated.” The minister responsible for fracking in England states: “The UK has the most robust regulatory regime in the world for shale gas and companies will only be granted permission to frack for shale if their operations are safe.” Low risk is of course not the same as safe.

    There are major questions too about how a government committed to a deregulatory and reduced regulatory agenda, along with chopping budgets – and the resulting major job losses in agencies that have oversight of environmental pollution – will be capable of guaranteeing that fracking companies operate safely.

    Also extraordinary is the minister’s unsubstantiated statement that the UK has the most robust regulatory regime for fracking. In other countries the exact chemicals used in fracking have been covered by commercial confidentiality and are not disclosed fully. So how can their risks be fully assessed and cleared for UK use?

    The draft review itself does not provide information indicating it is a systematic review and provides minimal information about its method, rigour and results. Public health practitioners look for high-quality systematic reviews before accepting any conclusion about a lack of public health risk.

    The review also notes many gaps and specifically excludes consideration of occupational health and safety and climate change. This is a very odd way of assessing public health threats and could for example lead to the impression that climate change does not impact on public health: something strongly refuted by those working in the field.

    All in all, the report raises as many questions as it attempts to answer and most certainly does not show that fracking is safe, as the UK Government tries to assert.

    Professor Andrew Watterson

    Director of the Centre for Public Health and Population Health Research

    University of Stirling

    • One would think that Professor Watterson would know better than to write: “extraordinary is the minister’s unsubstantiated statement that the UK has the most robust regulatory regime for fracking. In other countries the exact chemicals used in fracking have been covered by commercial confidentiality and are not disclosed fully. So how can their risks be fully assessed and cleared for UK use?”

      If he knows much about the subject, he would know that all the “exact chemicals” used in UK wells are all pre-approved {“fully assessed and cleared”} & are then listed on the CEFAS website maintained by DEFRA.

      As has been pointed out on this site before now …

  32. Two articles about frack fluid from off-shore drilling being dumped directly into the ocean:



    ‘In the offshore context, fracking fluid is either discharged into the ocean or transported for onshore underground injection. When disposed of at sea, these chemicals enter the marine ecosystem. The Coastal Commission acknowledges that approximately half of the platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel discharge all or a portion of their wastewater directly to the ocean. This produced wastewater contains all of the chemicals injected originally into the fracked wells, with the addition of toxins gathered from the subsurface environment. These discharges of toxic chemicals directly contravene the requirements of the Coastal Act, which charges the Coastal Commission with the “protection against the spillage of . . . hazardous substances.”’

  33. National Geographic – water used for fracked wells can be even more excessive than we knew… because it’s needed in large quantities to keep the oil flowing: ‘Without water, salt buildup forms and restricts the flow of oil.’ This article relates specifically to North Dakota. But fracking flowback is always laced with brine. God only knows (and Cuadrilla of course, who have their cores) how briny our Balcombe well would be. But then, Balcombe will be just one of thousands of British wells, if our oil-smeared Government gets its way.


    ‘It’s well known that water has been key to the shale oil and gas rush in the United States. But in one center of the hydraulic fracturing boom—North Dakota—authorities are finding that the initial blast of water to frack the wells is only the beginning.

    ‘The wells being drilled into the prairie to tap into the Bakken shale need “maintenance water”—lots of it—to keep the oil flowing. (See related photos: “Bakken Shale Boom Transforms North Dakota.”)

    ‘So while the water first pumped down the hole to crack rock formations and release the underground oil and natural gas typically totals 2 million gallons (7.5 million liters) per well, each of North Dakota’s wells is daily drinking down an average of more than 600 gallons (2,300 liters) in maintenance water, according to recent calculations by North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). ‘

  34. How to lose hearts and alienate voters! From The Telegraph yesterday:

    ‘Shale gas exploration has so far been concentrated in the North, but Mr Fallon said the South could also be in line for fracking. Next year, the British Geological Survey will publish a map of the “southern basin” of England, identifying sites most likely to be rich in shale gas.
    ‘“It’s right across the South we’re talking about: Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, into Kent,” said Mr Fallon, the MP for Sevenoaks. Ministers have reduced the regulatory barriers to fracking, clearing the way for the industry to spread across the country, he said, adding: “There is shale in the Midlands too.”’

    • rn82497 says:

      The home counties 🙂

      Looks Like the Conservative Government are bent on self-destruction over this issue. We just need Liberals / Labour to stand up and make a clear no fracking policy.

      As an aside – I know the “pro-fracters” that frequent this site really don’t give a damn. But I wonder if they are going to explain the Super Typhoon Haiyan as yet another one off event? Along with all the other ‘one off’ events.

      When fighting to stop tracking in Balcombe and Lancashire, we are fighting to try and avoid pain and suffering on a much much bigger scale.

      • Rodney Jago says:

        Indeed it must be tempting for candidates to put short-tern electoral advantage before the long -term national interest in energy security and the economy.Remember that Labour supports fracking in spite of an attempt to cash in locally. If in power they will put the Nation first (unlike the irresponsible Libs & Greens.)
        As for your not giving a damm name calling get this; if Shale oil & gas does not succeed, either for technical reasons or because the Luddite Mob prevail the ONLY practical alternative will be more coal powered power stations and MORE emmissions. The ONLY major economy to have substantially reduced emmissions in recent years is USA. Thanks to shale gas. Less name calling & more thinking please.

  35. Please read these last three postings from bottom up.

    • Andy Strang says:

      So no evidence just conjecture. If someone prefaces their chitchat with “TESTIMONY” it doesn’t give it any extra weight or credence. The old guy needs to clean his rusty old pipes that’s all.

  36. I also wonder what effect this poisoning is having on farm animals. Most of the cows drink
    the water from the stream called Ugoszczanka, and the pigs get their water from wells,
    not from the village network.
    Finally, I do not understand why the authorities allow such a barbaric destruction of the
    environment and the people. Has greed made them completely blind ?

    The concessions for drilling for gas in the shale were given without any procedure,
    without any invitations to tender. The beneficiaries are not well-known multinationals, but
    small, dummy companies, registered in Poland for the circumstance : they all have very
    long names (with the name of the multinational camouflaged in the middle) and with
    authorized capital reduced to the minimum, this last so as not to have to respond to
    claims for damages.
    It is another colonization of the country, yet another, after industry and the banking
    system. Yet this is the most dangerous of them since it destroys the very essence of the
    country : its environment, its drinking water, the health of its inhabitants.
    Needless to say that NO insurance company will agree to insure you against the risks
    linked to drilling, just as is the case with nuclear energy.
    Teresa Jakubowska

    I own a chalet in the forest on the banks of the river Bug. Already, in 2011, I had noticed
    that every time I was absent for several weeks, the water that came out of the tap ran
    brownish and oily for half an hour. Afterwards, the kitchen smelt of gas for a long time.
    First of all, I thought that my gas bottle was leaking. But as the same smell could be
    detected in different parts of the surrounding forest, I began to think about shale gas and
    to look for information.
    In the spring of 2012, when I turned on the pump that brought up water from eighteen
    meters below, there was an explosion that tore the reinforced rubber pipe. You could
    smell gas everywhere. I decided to buy a new system.
    In the summer of the same year, another strange thing happened. I was indoors, sitting
    on a wooden stool when there was a tremor, strong enough to make me fall onto the
    floor. My house is made of wood, so it was not damaged ; there would certainly have
    been cracks in a permanent structure. From that moment on, the dribble of water got
    smaller and smaller and disappeared completely in the spring of 2013. My system no
    longer worked. Obviously, the underground aquifer eighteen meters below that had
    supplied me with water for fifteen years had disappeared. Later, I discovered that
    companies prospecting for shale gas use explosives at a great depth.
    For years, I had planned to move permanently into my house in Ugoszcz. But, no longer
    having access to water, I have to ask to be connected to the village water network. Since
    my land is quite far from the centre of the village, it is going to be very expensive. The
    Town Hall has refused to help with the cost of the connection.
    A few years ago, several families of beavers had been brought in to live in the nearby
    stream, and they all disappeared last summer, exactly like the fish and the crayfish. I can
    also see that the bees have disappeared – my trees have not produced any fruit this
    year : not a single plum, not a single apple in the orchard. Never before had such a thing
    The drilling pad is some four kilometers from my house and is no longer operating. It is
    deep in the forest, inside the triangle formed by the villages of Treblinka- Maliszewa-Lipki.
    The forest paths are full of potholes caused by heavy vehicle traffic and hundreds of tons
    of mud have been dumped amongst the trees. I could not get onto the site ; the wheels of
    my motor bike sank in up to the axles. And until recently, this place was so beautiful and
    so clean ……
    I also found another well, not far from the place called Zlotki Kolonia. Machines were
    drilling into the earth, sending up dirty mud that ran down the forest path.
    Three years ago, the local farmers tried to drive out the team whose big lorries were
    moving slowly near the village sending powerful vibrations into the ground.

    • Atlanta Cook says:

      Hi there, This is a great testimonial but I cannot use it to further the anti-fracking cause if I don’t know who wrote it. Can you tell me their name so I can put it in my presentations?

    Thoughts about the value of a house without water – October 2013
    Read this story which may soon become your story. You are not a farmer who has
    allowed himself to be hoodwinked by the propaganda of the venal Polish government.
    You have not signed a contract leasing your land to a small company which may go
    bankrupt at any moment, but which masks a powerful multinational.
    You are just the owner of a main or a second home with a small orchard, situated in a
    bucolic setting, and you believe you are in no danger from the the unknown quantites
    linked to the shale gas and oil industry.
    And yet, everything may be turned upside down as you can see from this story that
    happened in Ugoszcz, a small village in Mazovia, ninety kilometers frrom Warsaw.

  39. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/us-trade-deal-full-frontal-assault-on-democracy

    ‘This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy
    ‘Brussels has kept quiet about a treaty that would let rapacious companies subvert our laws, rights and national sovereignty. (…)

    ‘…the most important issue: the remarkable ability it would grant big business to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to defend their citizens. It would allow a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and destroy our legal protections. Yet the defenders of our sovereignty say nothing.

    ‘The mechanism through which this is achieved is known as investor-state dispute settlement. It’s already being used in many parts of the world to kill regulations protecting people and the living planet. (…)

    ‘These companies (along with hundreds of others) are using the investor-state dispute rules embedded in trade treaties signed by the countries they are suing. The rules are enforced by panels which have none of the safeguards we expect in our own courts. The hearings are held in secret. The judges are corporate lawyers, many of whom work for companies of the kind whose cases they hear. Citizens and communities affected by their decisions have no legal standing. There is no right of appeal on the merits of the case. Yet they can overthrow the sovereignty of parliaments and the rulings of supreme courts. (…)

    ‘Investor-state rules could be used to smash any attempt to save the NHS from corporate control, to re-regulate the banks, to curb the greed of the energy companies, to renationalise the railways, to leave fossil fuels in the ground. These rules shut down democratic alternatives. They outlaw leftwing politics. (…)

    ‘This is why there has been no attempt by the UK government to inform us about this monstrous assault on democracy, let alone consult us. This is why the Conservatives who huff and puff about sovereignty are silent. Wake up, people we’re being shafted.’
    Do read more

  40. The letter to Fernhurst was clearly written at the time when no analysis had been made of the green dye. The mention of the green dye was a small part of the help that Balcombe (the majority of Balcombe) was keen and able to offer to Fernhurst in the early days after their discovery that they too were under threat of drilling. The EA still does not know what the green dye was, but has ruled out the type used by the industry for tracking – I do mean tracking, not fracking. And they have ruled out your algae. Everyone, camp and village, was keen to show the EA where the stream was. Didn’t bother?? We, they, all of us in unison, were deeply concerned. The EA turned up in the gloaming, with police escort, their sample-taking delayed, they later admitted, by the need for police protection – from the campers! Peaceful people – and no one could have been keener for the EA to take their samples. I am absolutely certain that no one from the camp put green dye in the stream. Emptying latrines? It would have been ludicrous to tramp uphill from the camp loos, through the ancient woodland and across the railway line to tip waste into a tiny stream that is more than a trickle only after heavy rain. The loos were composting loos, and the waste was removed to be recycled, ecologically. No motive for people from the Balcombe Estate? Did someone have a motive for speading muck along the edge of the field adjoining the camp? Did they have a motive for shooting pigeons in that field? Either they were rotten shots or the pigeon population of Sussex must have been roosting there in protest. Were people from the Balcombe Estate annoyed that people from the camp had (a day or two before) discovered and publicised an (in their view) unecologically sound tip on Balcombe Estate land? I could continue.

    Rodney, what can you and humanity live without, fresh, clean water or fossil fuels? Are you happy to industrialise our countryside for the sake of the last globs of oil and gas? Balcombe’s will be one well amidst thousands if the industry and the Government gets its way. Planning requests are popping up now right across the country, across Europe, across the world. The flow-back water – contaminated by the original fracking chemicals and, from the depths, radiactivity, heavy metals and salt – cannot be adequately treated. In America it is being dumped down old wells (causing earthquakes), spead on fields and roads. Rodney, ask the Government what plans they have in place for disposal of fracking waste. The world would like to know. No one has a good solution.

    And now we hear that Balcombe estate has leased Lower Stumble to Cuadrilla and its sucessors for the next 30 years, until 2043!

    Rodney, I do hope that YOU will have the decency to apologise one day, when you realise the error of your views.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Thanks! I hold no brief for Balcombe Estate. Taking subsidies for wind farms in Scotland is just not on! However as the Estate are getting good money for leasing the drilling site it does not make sense that they would put dye in a stream knowing the protestors will immediately blame the drillers.
      As for the error of my ways, if I see them I will apologise. Likewise when imported energy comes under pressure, perhaps because of a flare up in the Middle East, President Putin holds us to ransom, energy prices rocked, fuel poverty multiplies, the economy collapses and unemployment doubles, you will question the wisdom of sparing the NIMBYS among us some minor inconvenience.
      Agree it was over the top for the EA to demand a police escort as I found the remaining campers very friendly & willing to show me the watercourse. However it is not only the EA who demand protection from all conceivable risks however imaginery! Best wishes.

      • Rodney, I clearly do not mean that Mr Greenwood, his family or land agents were out there in the woods by the railway line with containers of green dye. And I sincerely hope that they would not santion such a thing. ‘Balcombe Estate people’ was my surmise. There are quite a lot of those in this feudal village.

        What are your children and grandchildren going to do for energy, and for water, and what sort of industrialised waste are they going to live in?

        • Rodney Jago says:

          What did the feudal serfs (as you seem to regard them) have to gain by risking the master’s wrath polluting streams ? The Protestors had lots to gain with their pictures of “radioactive” water. So, on the balance of probabilities who are the more likely culprits?

          As to the “industrial wasteland” I would leave to my grandchildren. So many people have asked me this so for what its worth; on a local level a few well hidden areas the size of football fields which will soon grow over and become industrial heritage sites.

          On a more profound level I would like them to inherit & improve upon the generous & liberal society my generation have enjoyed.

          Our grandfathers & fathers , unimpeded by “green” sects built an industrial economy which for all its faults led to a huge improvement in welfare. Yes, they left areas of industrial waste (now largely greened over) no, the mill owners etc. were not all generous employers BUT they created the wealth without which no government, however well intended, could have produced the welfare state & the benefits of free university education etc. which my generation enjoyed. These things are precious. We must not let a subsidy crazed pressure group destroy them.

          I would wish my grandchildren to understand that nothing comes from wishful thinking. That maintaining the rule of law, supporting the generation of wealth, and research into ways of doing it better is the only way to benefit the community, themselves and next generation. I do not want them to believe that demanding their way by abusive protest (however enjoyable) is anything but despicable. Above all I want them protected from fanatics of whatever stripe trying to impose their beliefs on the community. Once priests, mainly well-meaning, put the fear of god into children. We must not allow “greens”, even if well-meaning, to take their place (or to impose their green “tythes” on energy- poor families).

          I would like my grandchildren to welcome a new energy producer, support its proper regulation, help to ensure it pays taxes, contributes to research into cleaner & cheaper energy for the future, and ,at local level, pays a fair share of profit towards maintaining our beautiful environment & supporting youth & community causes. In a word to be constructive, not just shout “frack off!”

          YOU may dream of an unchanged bucolic community living on subsidies generated elsewhere & ruled by whoever can get out the biggest mob. With respect I think my vision more liberal, more practical and ultimately better for the environment & next generation.

          Drilling or not drilling will not affect me . I never heard the noise some people pretend kept them awake all night, nor sensed any earthquakes. I WOULD like to welcome employees of the Driller & their Families into the Village & Pub but, believe it or not, the core of my opposition to NoFibs is concern for the next generation.

          • Bravo Rodney! Very well put.

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Thanks, Michael. A bit of moral support much needed!

          • Poor you, Rodney. It’s hard being such a tiny minority.

          • Tommie William says:

            Well said. It is hard for the renewable bandwagon to face the inconvenient truth when it comes to face reality of losing their government subsidies and their unreliable technology (currently).

          • http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/10/fracking-by-numbers
            This could be Sussex, at the moment, it’s just Wyoming – Philip

          • Philip, please stop repeating this porky. It has already been pointed out to you that this is not a “fracking field”. It is a picture of the Jonah field, an extremely unusually closely packed number of vertical wells drilled into highly faulted stacked lenticular fluvial sand/silt/shale sequences. The startling fact is that Jonah has a surface area of approximately one township yet it contains 10.5 trillion cubic feet (300 km3) of conventional gas – it is one of the world’s densest gas fields. Nothing like it will be found in the UK.


            Philip, there are enough people influenced by this blog who evidence a considerable lack of profound knowledge & an exaggerated fear of unlikely consequences. It is a shame that you are dishonestly feeding such fears.

          • Richard says:

            Tommie – Which planet do you live on? Here on Earth – renewable is not optional. If we want a sustainable future then we have no choice. Your comments only make sense if you motives are based on short term self-interest – and we all should know where that leads.

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Richard, If the whole of UK switched to renewables we would wreck our economy, devestate our welfare state and make no perceptible difference to world emissions.( Note that Germany, let alone China & India are opening NEW coal fired plants.)
            Only when “clean” energy is cheaper than conventional will there be any progress on world -scale emissions. So let’s use what we have wisely putting royalties & taxes into research.
            Switching to the present uneconomic renewable technology is but a pointless gesture. Just as effective & more fun to dance round an oak tree.

          • Richard says:

            Increasing intensive agriculture – so reducing area of land used by farming, large scale reforestation and nuclear all have their place. But the reckless pumping CO2 into the atmosphere from fracking doesn’t. This can only be acceptable – IF and only IF there is full off-set. Funnily enough the Government keep avoiding this discussion.

            Britain has stood alone and done the right thing in the past. We should have the guts to do so again.

          • Rodney Jago says:

            If shale gas succeeds it will help to reduce emmissions as the only practical alternative will be more coal -fired generation..
            I’m all for intensive agriculture especially via GM crops but the Green loonies trash the experiments!
            However you evade the point. Renewables are at present MUCH more expensive than conventional energy. Correct or not?
            If as an individual you want to use (unsubsidised) renewables, that’s fine but do not foist the cost of pointless gestures on others.
            Yes Britain should do the right thing——get out of ruinous EU emmissions directives!

      • Richard says:

        Rodney – The following indicates an extreme naivety on your part.

        “support its proper regulation, help to ensure it pays taxes, contributes to research into cleaner & cheaper energy for the future, and ,at local level, pays a fair share of profit towards maintaining our beautiful environment & supporting youth & community causes.”

        Regulation will not be rigorous, full taxes will not be paid, off-set Carbon capture will not be pursued, the environment and communities will be degraded in pursuit of short term political objectives and “share holder value”.

        If we had half decent government that would commit to these objectives – there would be less concern. Unfortunately we don’t.

        • Rodney Jago says:

          Richard, Here we have an industry with potential to safely boost our economy, improve the balance of payments, contribute to our energy security AND benefit the environment (by replacing coal).
          We all have our gripes with Government. One of my many is that they too often roll over when faced with irresponsible minorities. Perhaps yours are different but if you doubt proper regulation, taxation etc then by all means campaign to get it.
          Do not just hamper or try to ban the industry & hope that affordable heat & light will arrive from windmills or stardust. THAT is naive!
          Regarding taxation I accept that Government (both parties) have been out-foxed by the likes of Amazon, Google & Starbucks but oil is rather different. The IR actually seem quite efficient at taxing whisky distilleries in the Highlands of Scotland & micro-breweries in remote barns so I think they might be able to spot & tax a couple of oil tankers a day leaving Balcombe.
          In spite of what I say above about Governments caving in to minorities when push comes to shove no Government of whatever party (except perhaps the Greens!) will put NIMBYS before avoiding blackouts. So just face it; shale gas WILL be exploited. By all means use your energies to demand proper regulation & taxation. Best wishes with that.

          • Richard says:

            Regulation frameworks should be defined first, and only then commercial activities pursued – WITHIN the context of THAT framework.

            Government have / continue to / totally failed us all. Our carbon capture policy should be active – the taxation mechanism to ensure that appropriate money from the profits of companies likes of Cuadrill flow to our Carbon Capture commitments. Also local environmental impact studies should be conducted / concluded by independent parties. Finally appropriate liability mechanisms – with TEETH – should ensure that any wrong-doing by corporates results in appropriate financial punishments.

            Then and only then should commercial activity begin.

            By protesting at the focal point of all these issues – the protestors are doing us all a service – include the next generation of your family. You should be thanking them.

        • Tommie William says:

          Richard. Ask yourself the same question. I look at the facts, statistic numbers and make informed choice, not emotional decision. Why don’t we have a choice of those who like to use renewables pay for renewables at the cost they happy to pay and who don’t want renewables pay for cleaner and more efficient source (namely natural gas, and nuclear).

          • Richard says:

            It is real simple..
            Selfish individuals should not have the option of destroying shared resources.

          • Tommie William says:

            Do you consider governmental tax subsidies for wind farm a common resource? The cost of energy for poor family and industries (i.e our country’s economy and security) as a common resource? Why should the poor family have to pay to additional cost of green energy on their bill while the rich land owner benefit from land lease to wind farm and their governmental subsidies? and those who can afford to install solar panel to benefit the feed-in tariff?

          • Richard says:

            Tommie – surprisingly I agree with your comment. The solution though is simple.

            Increase Taxation on the wealthy minority. Access pension benefits on Asset / Income – and push the generated revenue into subsidising the energy costs for everyone.

            That is if you really care about energy poverty.

          • Tommie William says:

            I agree. Tax the riches as well as those companies exploiting shale gas.

  41. https://attachment.fbsbx.com/file_download.php?id=539083426180706&eid=ASu_-96rtq6x_bmEDRujGUp8C8PC6KLceTyn0M7mEgTUHeilqX6kj3-4cJ58hntDJuY&inline=1&ext=1383388318&hash=ASuZ7ChvA6IHK_l0

    See the last page. On September 26th this year, a month ago, the Balcombe Estate signed a 30-year lease on on ‘Land at Lower Stumble’ (WSX359771). So, Simon Greenwood appears to have given his blessing to Cuadrilla (and to those to whom they might choose to sell on) until 2043!

  42. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/naturalresources/article3907511.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2013_10_29

    Security fears lead to shale gas hiatus
    There are growing concerns that environmental regulations could limit growth in the industry
    Matthe Lloyd / Getty

    • Rodney Jago says:

      I note the following in an open letter to Fernhurst Residents;”we have just had a gill stream go fluorescent green down its entire length, 75 yards from the well pad last Monday, ”
      Grateful is someone could tell me where to find this fluorescent stream as I would like to take a look .Thanks!

        • Rodney Jago says:

          Thanks Michael but it is the location of the Balcombe fluorescent stream I want so that I can see it and take a sample.

          • It probably left when the tents left. Surely you couldn’t think a Balcombe resident might have added the dye to the stream?

          • Michael and Rodney, yawn! Rodney, you are a bit slow on the uptake of samples.The Lower Stumble stream ran green for a day and a half, so long ago that I can’t remember when. Early October some time. Balcombe people took samples, people from the camp took samples, the EA finally got around to taking samples, with a police guard! It was established that the source of the green was up beyond the railway line – it’s a stream that dives underground at various points. The nature of the dye was never determined. I suspect it was a prank by people from the estate.

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Thanks for replying, Kathryn. Slow off the mark because I have only recently seen a letter to the People of Fernhurst from some Balcombe residents (not including yourself)
            In contrast to your honest reply these people write, immediately after mentioning radioactivity ;” we have just had a gill stream go fluorescent green down its entire length, 75 yards from the well pad last Monday, it was reported early afternoon by numerous residents, and the EA only arrived at night to take samples, went to the wrong stream, so came back the following day at lunchtime…They haven’t been back and they still have not found the source, they havent had the results back, though they think its harmless. “
            You speculate a prank by Balcombe Estate & certainly they had the opportunity but no motive that I can think of however the protestors had both opportunity AND motive. As M. Poirot might say—-!
            One of the remaining campers kindly led me to the stream. I took a sample & am pleased to say a bit of my pond weed seems quite happy in it.
            Perhaps it was a natural algae flush but it is suspiciously close to the camp latrines. Has anyone considered when they were emptied?
            Whatever it was all seems well except that the protestors have photographs of green water and this “radioactive” stream will now join earthquakes, cancer & all the other myths used to hamper the Nations energy production.
            Another gem, among others, in the Fernhurst letter is “Where is our apology from the council for allowing——— up to 120 trucks and tankers on our road weekly ?
            The drillers were lucky to get one truck a day past the mob buts what’s a bit of artistic licence if it serves the Cause!
            And where is the apology to the council from those who cried “wolf” and didn’t bother to show the EA where the suppose pollution was? Next time it might be real.

  43. ‘UK universities urged to pull cash from fossil fuel giants
    ‘Anti-carbon divestment campaign targets £5bn of British funds’

    Damian Carrington in The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/27/fossil-fuel-divestment-campaign-uk?guni=Keyword%3Anews-grid+main-1+Main+trailblock%3AEditable+trailblock+-+news%3APosition6

    ‘An international campaign to urge large institutions to dump fossil fuel investments reaches the UK this week, following rapid success in the US.

    The year-old divestment campaign, Fossil Free, has grown even faster than similar efforts that once targeted apartheid, tobacco and arms manufacturers. It now aims to focus attention on the £5bn invested in coal, oil and gas by the endowment funds of UK universities. The move comes as financial giants such as HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are starting to take seriously the prospect that global action to reduce carbon emissions could leave two-thirds of the world’s proven fossil fuel reserves unburnable and worthless.’


    ‘With the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies spending $674bn in 2012 on finding new reserves (compared to $281bn renewable energy investment), the risk of inflating a stock market “carbon bubble” to the tune of trillions of dollars is “very big indeed”, according to Stern. “The financial crisis has shown what happens when risks accumulate unnoticed,” he said in April.’


  44. You are invited to the following event (where Caroline Lucas will be speaking):

    Can fracking be sustainable?

    Monday, 11 November 2013 from 17:30 to 20:30 (GMT)
    Royal College of Physicians
    11 St Andrews Place
    NW1 4LE London


  45. ‘Erin Brockovich Weighs in on Fracking and Gives Praise to GasLand the Movie – See more at: http://environews.tv/erin-brockovich-weighs-in-on-fracking-and-gives-praise-to-gasland-the-movie/#sthash.ylQlrgTe.dpuf


    ‘”Communities need to get really proactive about what’s happening in their backyard and take control again – this is my community, my town, my air, my water, my family, my health and I am going to get involved and I am not going to wait 10 years for the EPA (equivalent of Environment Agency in UK) to catch up and come out and have the “oh crap” moment of you’ve been polluted all this time.”

    People of Balcombe and beyond, come and meet Josh Fox, director of Gasland II, and watch the film with us in East Grinstead on Wednesday, October 23rd. Bring your friends – it’s a big venue:

    in the presence of Director JOSH FOX
    on October 23rd 2013 at 7.30pm
    Talk and Q&A with Josh after the screening

    Jordan Hall, Jubilee Community Centre
    Charlwoods Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 2HL
    Map and directions: http://www.jcceg.co.uk/about-jcc/map-and-directions/
    20 minutes’ drive from Balcombe,
    12 minutes’ walk from East Grinstead Railway Station

    Event ends at 11pm Free, donations welcome

  46. Re yesterday’s French announcement of continued ban on fracking, I received some clarification last night from a friend in the anti-fracking group in Jouarre (the place south of Paris where villagers occupied the rig in September). It seems that EXPLORATORY fracking might nevertheless go ahead. This is my translation/summary:

    There is no legal recourse to yesterday’s decision of the Conseil Constitutionnel – it has been declared that the law of July 2011 banning extraction of hydrocarbons by fracking is in line with the French Constitution.

    However, the law of July 2011 left open the possibility for exploratory fracking. Section 2 of the law proposed the creation of a ‘national advisory commission to investigate and evaluate exploration and extraction techniques for liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons’. This commission could give the go-ahead for exploratory fracking. If the Government does not get on with forming this advisory commission, the industry could take the French State to court again and insist that it does so. The friend in Jouarre fears that the Government will not fight the setting up of this commission. The French state does not have a good record in this respect – this case in the Conseil Copnstitutionnel is the first time the French state has stood up to the oil and gas industry. The Government will, she fears, be able to duck out of the responsability – they will say they didn’t want exploration, but that this has been imposed on them by the judiciary.

    This wd no doubt not displease the ‘Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices’ (a group made up half and half fom the two French chambers and sometimes called the Commission Bataille et Lenoir), who issued a preliminary report in June calling for exploratory fracking to be allowed in order to demonstrate that it is harmless. Their final report is due in November.

    Incidentally, on Thurs 10th October the firm EcorpStim issued a press release about a new type of fracking using non-flammable propane. The Commission Bataille et Lenoir had got excited about this propane fracking back in January, but following reports of its causing explosions were a bit less enthusiastic about it in their June report.

    Meanwhile, Schuepbach is preparing a court case and demanding a billion Euros of compensation for the cancellation of its two licences.

    No FiBS (No Fracking in Balcombe Society)

    Court upholds French fracking ban

    A ruling in Paris this morning has confirmed that the French Government’s ban on fracking can stay in place.

    The French State had been taken to court by American oil and gas company Schuepbach, who claimed that the ban contravened the French Constitution. At a hearing on September 24th before the Conseil Constitutionnel, the case for the French State had been elequently put by barristers from Greenpeace and France Nature et Environnement, as well as by their own lawyer.

    Schuepbach was climing €1 billion in damages for the withdrawal of its contract to explore for oil and gas in South East France, an area where the geology, with its many natural faults, is just as dangerous and inappropriate for fracking and coal seam gas exploration as the much faulted areas of Britain where fracking could be imminent.

    Kathryn McWhirter of No FiBS says: ‘We in Balcombe, united with the growing number of anti-fracking groups around the UK, call upon the British Government to examine the French legal arguments, and to abandon their dangerous dash for gas – and their untruthful or misguided spin. Only yesterday David Cameron repeated his false claim that shale gas would bring cheaper energy prices. Within the UK and Europe market, this is clealy not true. Nor will it bring jobs. Mr. Cameron, listen to the French lawyers: fracking spells risk – to the purity of our water, the quality of our air, the beauty of our countryside, and ultimately to our climate, and the future of our children.

    No Fracking in Balcombe Society nofibsbalcombe@gmail.com

  48. Gas and the danger of open exploration holes: A driller’s view

    If the water is removed from the coal seams as planned over such a vast area of Queensland we are going to see uncontrollable volumes of gas leak from open mineral exploration test holes and we will also witness the depletion of many of our aquifers via these holes.

    • Coal Seam Gas/ Coalbed methane. There is coal in East Kent, not East Sussex.

      The author, a water driller {not oil & gas} refers to “open mineral exploration test holes” – not common in England.

  49. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-10-08/shale-drillers-offered-water-cheaper-than-u-dot-k-dot-residents-energy

    Britain’s water utilities, which coped with at least three separate periods of drought in the last decade, are ready to offer discounts for drillers needing supplies for fracking oil and natural gas wells.

    A reduction would help make the technique to extract hydrocarbon reserves more profitable in Britain, where municipal water rates often are two-thirds higher than in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Hydraulic fracturing uses high volumes of pressurized water mixed with chemicals and sand to crack open underground deposits….
    “You send them an economic signal, and they will respond,” Ian O’Gara, U.K. head of new energy at the consulting firm Accenture Plc (ACN:US), said in an interview. “You can’t allow the water price to be such that it hinders development.”

    Cheaper water along with tax breaks and government support for the technology support Prime Minister David Cameron’s goal to draw investment for petroleum production in the U.K. as wells in the North Sea go dry. It would benefit companies such as Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., backed by former BP Plc (BP/) Chief Executive Officer John Browne, and anger residents concerned that toxins in drilling fluids will poison their water supplies.
    United Utilities Group Plc (UU/), the U.K.’s largest publicly traded water company, said it’s negotiating tariffs with large industrial customers that generally are lower than households pay. Fracking companies qualify for those rates, said Helen Wilson, a spokeswoman for the company.

    Water Costs
    Southern Water Ltd. said its industrial rate is 1.05 pounds ($1.69) per cubic meter. That can drop to 88 pence for the biggest customers, 25 percent less than homes and business pay. The lower rates would apply to shale drillers, though it hasn’t had any applications

  50. It was a great blog wit many information about Drilling in Oklahoma

  51. Interesting news from Dimock:

    In one northeastern Pennsylvania village that became a global flashpoint in the debate over fracking, the switch has raised more than a few eyebrows.

    A few weeks ago, Victoria Switzer and other activists from Dimock endorsed a candidate for governor who supports natural gas production from gigantic reserves like the Marcellus Shale, albeit with more regulation and new taxes. Dimock was the centerpiece of “Gasland,” a documentary that galvanized opposition to fracking, and Switzer was also featured in this summer’s “Gasland Part II,” which aired on HBO.

    “We had to work with the industry. There is no magic wand to make this go away,” said Switzer, who recently formed a group that seeks to work with drillers on improved air quality standards. “Tunnel vision isn’t good. Realism is good.”

    For Switzer, the endorsement was a nod to reality; for some of her onetime allies, a betrayal. Either way, it was a sign that anti-drilling activism is evolving, with some opponents shifting tactics to reflect that shale gas is likely here to stay.


    • Refracktion says:

      When you are already infested with this industry a rational response is to ensure that it not as bad as it otherwise could be. However, we will ensure that they don’t manage to get themselves into the woodwork here, so we won’t need to make these compromises. 🙂

  52. ‘The Environment America Research & Policy Center report, Fracking by the Numbers, is the first to measure the damaging footprint of fracking to date.’


    • Philip says:

      Could this be the most worrying environment report in years? Have tried to capture the key points here:


      • Philip, your blog starts dishonestly: “This is an aerial photo of a fracking field in Wyoming today”. That is the Jonah field – it is not “today” & it is not a “fracking field” {whatever that undefined term might mean – it is a picture of unusually close-drilled wells to bounded reservoirs in an extremely faulted non-shale field.

        “People who live close to fracking sites are exposed to a variety of air pollutants …” – as are people who live near factories, urban areas, motorways, ports …

        There are other broad-swipe inaccuracies – as would be expected in a summary of an aggregated & inaccurate report from an “anti-fracking” so-called environmental association.

        • errata: … might mean} – it is a picture of unusually close-drilled wells to fault-bounded reservoirs …

        • Michael/Yetypu – you are the dishonest one. Shame on you. You claim that the Jonah field is conventional gas and it is not a fracking field and point to a wiki entry.I have read th entry and nowhere is conventional gas mentioned. The gas is referred to as ‘natural’ which includes both conventional and unconventional the latter being exploited through fracking which indeed it is in the Jonah field. This is an extract fro the wiki entry you refer to: “The principal technical challenge in Jonah is identification and stimulation of productive intervals in a 3,000 ft (910 m) to 3,500 ft (1,100 m) section of stacked lenticular fluvial sand/silt/shale sequences which comprise the Upper Mesaverde, Lance, and Unnamed Tertiary formations. Hydraulic fracturing is used to open (stimulate) the tight sand formations that exist more than 1.5 miles (2.4 km) underground, which allows gas to be recovered at economic rates.”
          Do you see the bit about Hydraulic Fracturing?????
          If you are the Michael Baker who claims to be a lifelong member of SPE, double shame on you.

    • There is a plethora of comment Below The Line to this story, in the Guardian. I recommend reading the story on the Guardian Environment pages.

    • Given the inexperience of those companies holding onshore leases, it is to be hoped that they would partner with experienced ‘majors’ & work through competent contractors.

      But the Independent story inaccurately conflates the two – Halliburton is the most experienced hydraulic fracturing contractor {& has been continuously established in the UK for over 40 years, & has already done a lot of work in Sussex}, but it is not a company that “farms in” on leases. The major service companies tend to avoid acting in competition with their customers & so generally do not act as lease operators.

  53. stvact says:

    Have you considered a legal approach to putting some grit in the works? The Case of Rylands v. Fletcher see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rylands_v_Fletcher and http://www.e-lawresources.co.uk/Rylands-v-Fletcher.php. This established the principle of STRICT liability of a landowner who allowed the escape of harmful substances from his land. Not sure how this applies to leased land. Strict liability applies even where the landowner has not been judged to have been negligent.

  54. Rodney Jago, this rather contiues our theme:

    PRESS COMMENT, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Sunday, September 22nd, 2013
    No FiBS (No Fracking in Balcombe Society)

    Shale oil rig occupied for four hours

    A drilling rig was occupied for four hours this morning by local protesters in Jouarre, a village as far south of Paris as Balcombe is south of London. At 6.53 this morning, 30 local activists climbed and chained themselves to the rig, and dropped a full-length banner from the top: STOP FORAGES (NO MORE DRILLING!). Although a fracking ban is currently in force in France, the action is timely. A well has been drilled at Jouarre by US company Hess in anticipation of the French fracking ban being overturned in early October by the Constitutional Court, a case brought by US company Schuepbach against the French State – they claim the ban is unconstitutional. The court hearing is this Tuesday, Sept 24th, and the decision is likely to be announced on October 3rd or 4th.

    The rig was due to be dismantled today. Its next destination is unknown, but campaigners in Jouarre suspect that it is heading for Fonteney-de-Bossery, south of Champagne, right by the Nogent-sur-Seine nuclear power station, on the banks of the Seine, 110km from Paris.

    A spokesman for the Jouarre protesters said: ‘By this action we want to draw press and public attention to this farce. We want to remind president Hollande of his promise that there would be no exploration in France for unconventional oil and gas. We demand an end to exploratory drilling for coal bed methane, shale gas and oil, the withdrawal or rejection of all permits for oil and gas exploration, that all projects like this one here at Jouarre should be abandoned, and that the Government should commit to a real transition towards green energy. We are taking this action because the oil and gas lobbies are determined to press ahead with exploration and extraction of ‘extreme’ energy sources in France with no regard whatsoever to public outrage. We are here to defend our water and our air, our health, the beauty of our countryside, the green alternatives, and a vision of a world driven by more important objectives than profit. WE SAY NO TO SHALE OIL AND GAS AND COAL BED METHANE, TODAY, TOMORROW, HERE, EVERYWHERE.

    Balcombe residents will join the French national protest against coal bed methane and shale oil and gas in Montélimar on October 19th.

    • Just goes to show that fracwit ecotards are not confined to Balcombe.

      In Balcombe 126 people got themselves arrested on what we now know was a conventional oil well, not to shale, not for frac’ing, although they atavistically persuaded themselves that that was the hidden agenda. I cautioned that you needed a response position should it eventuate that Cuadrilla were doing just as they said.

      Now some claim, similarly groundlessly, that Hess are drilling to shale in the Paris basin & laud that the rig was “occupied” at the termination of drilling. Maybe Rodney was right about fearing trouble at the end of the well – he just had the wrong well?

      As to your quoted “lobbies are determined to press ahead with exploration and extraction of ‘extreme’ energy sources in France with no regard whatsoever to public outrage” – France, with 80% of electricity delivered by nuclear, might be considered as the epitome of extreme energy.

  55. Richard says:

    Interesting article. Truth v.s. Belief – https://medium.com/editors-picks/adfa0d026a7e

    Having read that reflect upon…

    “According to Think Progress, over half of Republicans in Congress have taken over $51 million from the fossil fuel industry, which causes the majority of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. This, even though a study by the U.S. National Academy of Science states over 97% of climate researchers say humans are the cause of global warming.” http://thinkprogress.org/climate/issue/

  56. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/fracking-for-gas-and-oil-poses-serious-risk-to-livestock-warns-expert-8822746.html

    ‘Fracking for gas and oil in the British countryside poses such a significant risk to livestock that a moratorium should be imposed on the industry until its impact on food safety can be assessed, a leading researcher has warned.

    ‘Professor Robert Oswald, co-author of the first study into links between hydraulic fracturing and sickness in farm animals, said his findings of deaths and deformities in American livestock are so alarming that Britain should halt growth of the practice while further research is conducted.

    ‘Professor Robert Oswald said that farmers living in intensively drilled areas should be ‘very concerned’

    ‘The stark warning comes as planners prepare to consider applications to expand exploratory drilling operations around Sussex, a prime dairy farming area.

    • Didn’t Oswald publish that report in 2011? If in updating it for peddling in the UK, he {or the regurgitator} still claims the ‘chemicals’ are unknown or ‘secret’, when they can all be found on DEFRA’s CEFAS site, isn’t this rather dishonest?

  57. Good summary (in Spanish) of the current situation in Spain: fracking was agreed by the central government, scattered anti-fracking groups sprang up around the country, then they got together, became co-ordinated, politicians began to take notice and the shale gas prospectors set up a PR campaign to try to convince the public of the ‘virtues’ of fracking! Now various local governments have banned fracking. Catalunya is still on the fence – they have set up a fract-finding committee (bit like Balcombe Parish Council!). I especially like the statement by the government of Rioja, which banned fracking throughout the province in May, and plans ‘fines of up to €2.5 million for anyone drilling into the region’s sub-soil in search of natural gas. Rioja will not permit fracking while there are no scinetific guarantees of the safety of this technique.’


    • A most ‘scinetific’ (sic) point of view.

      Meanwhile, in other news, a UT study just released, the first actual study, shows 99% of ‘fugitive emissions’ during completion can be captured.

      There is science, and there is superstition.

      • Refracktion says:

        … and then of course there are industry funded studies 🙂

        • The results were published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

          Nine large fossil fuel companies contributed about $250,000 to fund this study, as did the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund. The Environmental Defense Fund can not be described as “industry”. Study authors said they controlled how the research was done and how the wells were chosen for study. And even Robert Howarth of Cornell University, one of the scientists who first raised the methane leak alarm, calls the results “good news.”

          As Forbes reports “it would be helpful if commentaries were less biased or focused more on the facts. The scientists, and some media and industry observers, seem to have no trouble admitting the limitations even of a study whose results they find agreeable, while the kneejerk reactions from some fracking opponents is highly informative of their prejudices.”

        • per UT, http://www.utexas.edu/news/2013/09/16/understanding-methane-emissions/

          The study, a unique partnership between the Environmental Defense Fund, participating companies, an independent Scientific Advisory Panel and the study team:

          • Is based on measurements made directly at 190 production sites throughout the United States, with access provided by nine participating energy companies.
          • Found that the majority of hydraulically fractured well completions, which were sampled during the study, had equipment in place that reduces methane emissions by 99 percent. Because of this equipment, methane emissions from well completions are 97 percent lower than calendar year 2011 national emission estimates, released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April 2013.
          • Found that emissions from certain types of pneumatic devices are 30 percent to several times higher than current EPA estimates for this equipment; combined, emissions from pneumatics and equipment leaks account for about 40 percent of estimated national emissions of methane from natural gas production.
          • Found that the total methane emissions from natural gas production, from all sources measured in the study, were comparable to the most recent EPA estimates.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      How irresponsible to set up a fact-finding committee! Obviously if the mob cry “frack –off” any competent authority should do just that.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Reply intended for Kathryn’s post 17 September but it seems to get in the wrong place. Sorry, Michael.
      “How irresponsible to set up a fact-finding committee! Obviously if the mob cry “frack –off” any competent authority should do just that.

      • Rodney Jago says:

        There is a rumour that the protestors’ object is now not to expell Caudrilla but to prevent them leaving with a view to prosecuting for over-staying their licence. I would not want to spread a false rumour so perhaps some of you gallant eco-warriors would confirm or otherwise. Thanks.

        • Oh but Rodney, it isn’t over until the Fat Bastards leave. (I of course mean the FBs within the Cuadrilla Cage, whose tune and lyrics the majority in the village do not like.) And in any case, the FBs might be back before long. Who knows what they are doing right now as we fiddle on Gasdrilling? All Cuadrilla’s PR company will say is that whatever is going on now is ‘in line with the existing planning permission’ – which of course included horizontal drilling (they have admitted to starting that on September 3rd) and a test. I am waiting for proper, detailed replies to my questions:

          When they will stop drilling? Assuming that they want to get out by the 28th, when will they have to stop drilling? Will there be any testing before end September? If not flaring, are they currently venting? What will remain on site, October onwards?

          To you, now, Rodney: where will the drill go from here? We think it will go to Salford, Greater Manchester, where iGas is poised to drill (at least FBs share nicely). Do you think we don’t care about the ‘desolate north’? Do you think this is only about Balcombe? Two-thirds of the country could be closely affected by fracking if the coalition of industry and government get their way. Do you feel lucky, Rodney, to be one of the first?

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Thanks for replying if not answering my question. Are the protestors attempting to delay Caudriller’s departure from the site or not?
            Perhaps some in the village have supported your efforts to get them out. They may be interested to know if you are now trying to keep them here. Or are you just concerned that if they go the protest camp & the millions spent on policing and legal costs will be even more pointless? Please note that the Protestors have achieved NOTHING.
            I f Caudrilla has been forced to re-apply for a licence that is because someone (F of the E lawyers?) have combed through the minutiae of the licence. They are of course entitled to do so but would have achieved the same result without all the unpleasantness of recent months.
            I have been upbraided for calling a Green MP a fool ( perhaps I should have made the same point in more diplomatic language) but you seem to consider it OK to call ordinary employees “Fat Bastards.” Admittedly quite mild compared to the repellent insults hurled at them by some of your supporters. These are people going to work and contributing taxes to support the Druids, benefit cheats and “take a sickie” shirkers whom you have welcomed here. Yes, OK, I accept many of the protestors are perfectly nice, hard working, if misguided people genuinely concerned for the environment. Shame they have become the unwitting stooges of selfish NIMBYs.
            As to the” Desolate North”. Up there they have a proud history of producing real wealth and the energy which some spoilt Southerners feel entitled to have discreetly piped down to them. Perhaps they will take a more robust view of bussed in “rent-a-mobs”.
            As for being the first. we are not. Fracking has been going on for years and in some of the most desirable areas of the country. Am I pleased it may come to Balcombe? Selfishly, no ! I would like our friendly, peaceful, a-political village back. But not at the price of a “green” dictatorship contemptuous of the National Interest. We are not an island unto ourselves etc. etc.
            Happy camping.

          • Refracktion says:

            Rodney – having read what you write here and now seen you on TV, I can say that I’d rather welcome any of those in the protest camp to my house in the desolate North than your good self.

          • Rodney Jago says:


          • Rodney,

            The most important myth in your post that I really must counter is: ‘Fracking has been going on for years’. No, Rodney. That is a piece of the Cameron-and-Cuadrilla Coalition spin.

            1 High volume hydraulic fracturing using slick water and other additives into lateral sections in unconventional reservoirs at high pressures is new . Developed over the last decade.
            2 Original hydraulic fracturing into vertical wells located in conventional reservoirs at lower pressure is “old”. Developed in the US in the late 1940s.
            3 The two are about as related as a small grocers shop and a hypermarket.
            4 Conventional reservoirs generally allow gas/oil to flow easily once punctured.
            5.Unconventional reservoirs do not generally allow gas and oil to flow easily (ultra low permeability) and so require HVHF. I.E. 20M litres of chemicals, sand & water per well to be introduced at various stages, at pressures in order of 6000psi and typically leave 50% of the fracking fluid in the target formation post frack. This is NEW not old.
            6) Ask DECC – they will confirm that the only well to have been fracked in this way in the UK, the new, modern, dangerous way, was Preese Hall in Lancashire, the one that caused the earthquakes.

          • No Kathryn, after all these months you should not be peddling this favourite chestnut of the frackwits.

            • “using slick water and other additives” – slickwater is fluid with fewer additives {“just slick it up some”} Also, its been over a decade more since “the last decade” when it was developed;
            • there is no major difference in hydraulic fracturing for vertical or horizontal wells – both are the use of fluid pressure to crack rock. Because a horizontal well accesses a greater sandface, there will be more perforations, the perforations may be grouped, the stages may be separated by sleeves or packers instead of diverters & the fluid volume will be greater – but none of these make it into something different;
            • both a small grocer’s shop and a hypermarket sell produce for a consideration, scale does not alter substance;
            • all frac’ing is used in tight reservoirs. Reservoirs which flow easily are not fracced, Whether one is frac’ing milliDarcy or microDarcy permeability rock, the purpose of the frac is to create flow channels & so increase the productivity by altering the flow pattern;
            • proper usage is to mention items in terms of significance: “water, sand & chemicals” is the order of volume. 20 million litres is a way high {deliberate exaggeration?} estimate, 1 to 10 million is far more reasonable. Stages are used in all types of fracs – the greater the perforated interval, the more stages. There is no difference in frac pressure, it depends on the rock tensile strength & overburden; shale may be deeper, but may also be more friable, these effect countering each other. The % amount left in the rock doesn’t differ, what differs is that new shale frac operators might tend not to flow back immediately & because of the much lower permeability, the time to unload the supercharge is closer to 2 years than 2 months.
            • DECC were unaware of drilling & frac’ing in the Wiltshire Cotswolds – they have poor records. No present operator is going to broadcast their frac history lest they unleash the unwashed of Balcombe upon their fields & verges, but fraccing has been going on onshore the UK for perhaps half a century. The “earthquakes” at Preese Hall #1 were noticed primarily because the well treatment was intentionally monitored on several microseismic recorders.

            Despite the knee-jerks attacks on him, Rodney Jago’s recent long post was a sensible & observant statement of his opinion, which should be respected.

            You decried “bullying”, but it seems most of the bullying has been by those opposing the drilling of Balcombe #2. After all, it is not 106 Cuadrilla employees who have been arrested.

          • Michael, unconventional tight reservoirs were not fracked in the UK before 2011.

            Are you aware of Prof R Selleys’ studies in Lancashire back in 1993? He identified the gas reserves Cuadrilla are getting so excited about now. But they couldn’t get at it as high volume slick water hydraulic fracturing had not been developed then, and was not to be developed for another ten years. Your ultra-tight micro Darcy formations could not be fracked even in the 1990s. All these wells that they (Coalition of Government and Industry and their Balombe friend Rodney Jago) say were fracked by old-style fracking are in conventional reservoirs of higher permeability. As you say, easy-flow reservoirs are not fracked, but they might be tickle-fracked if/when flow dwindles as they get ‘tighter’ – not, of course, as tight as the unconventional wells that are up for fracking now, the wells that need the heavy treatment, high volume slick water hydraulic fracturing.

            So basically it’s new. It has never been done here except at Preese Hall in Lancashire, and never on lateral sections (as DECC have confirmed to us).

            If I remember, slick water contains friction-reducers so that it is less viscous at higher pressures, and flows. Plus of course other additives including biocides and hydrochloric acid, to name but two of some 600 possibilities… More chemicals rather than less or fewer?

            Who said the difference between high vol fracking and old-time fracking is just a difference between vertical and horizontal? No one?

            The volumes of chemicals, silica sand and water used are of a totally different magnitude in ancient and modern fracking. So is the pressure. Corner shop and hypermarket, yes.

            The 20m litres figure for water comes from a company called, er, er FB Limited? Cuadrilla? Maybe they are lying but hey, for once maybe I believe them.

            Frack pressure – not sure we ever had an argument there. But flowback, well, it was much faster than that in Lancashire, if I remember. There I would argue.

            The earthquakes at Preese Hall had nothing at all to do with micro seismic. BGS picked them up (so did the locals!) and reported them to Cuadrilla, who hadn’t noticed. But those earthquakes cracked local houses and damaged the well over a large distance, and deformed it severely over 240 feet. (Why are you lot so pre-historic as to talk in feet???) And Cuadrilla carried on drilling!

            Anyway, Michael, main point: fracking in the UK in unconventional tight reservoirs using high-volume slick water is new. New since 2011.

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Kathryn, in your skill at NOT answering questions you are up there with our political greats!
            For the THIRD time of asking are the protestors now aiming to prevent or delay Caudrilla’s departure from the site? In the absence of an answer I shall assume there is no just cause or impediment why I should not take it as fact.
            I am not qualified to debate your point on when fracking is not fracking but I trust our Learned Friend , Michael Baker, will help us.
            Happy Camping.

          • Rodney, if you read my original reply, you will note that I did answer your quesions. And if you fail to understand my allusions and read Fat Bastards as a gratuitous insult… yawn. If I were choosing insults from the panoply of possibles, I would have found a far better one. No FiBS has no leaders. The Balcombe Protector Camp has no leaders. As I said, there is still a job to do at Cuadrillagate. A varied bunch of principled people are getting on with it. Sunday is too short, so I shall not repeat the details. If you are not qualified to debate whether or not a frack is a 20th century tickle or a large-scale 21st century menace to our health, water, air, farming, ecosystems, landscapes and climate – then, Rodney, please don’t repeat the myth that the wells (bar one) that have already been tickle-fracked in the UK have anythng to do with what we are talking about.You are a prime example of people who are taken in by Government and Industry spin.

          • Refracktion says:

            Kathry – I don’t think Rodney is taken in. I think he knows exactly what the truth is but comes out with this drivel in spite of that.

          • Philip says:

            Rodney: I seriously dont think that this website is the place for downright rude comments. Using language such as: Shame they have become the unwitting stooges of selfish NIMBYs – drags the whole debate down and yourrself with it. I’d be happy to debate evidence and opinion online, but you go too far.

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Philip, Your delicacy seems rather one –sided! “Fat Bastards “ is apparently acceptable . Go back on this web-site & you will find several accusations of corruption levelled at people who are actually qualified to comment. As far as I know the leaders of NoFibs have never tried to distance themselves from these slanders , let alone from the really foul verbal abuse of hurled at the driller’s employees.
            In the circumstances “UNWITTING stooges” seems quite moderate!
            May I repeat that many (not all) of the protestors are good, sincere and well meaning people with whom I have enjoyed talking. Our talks usually fade out when it comes to paying for their Utopian dreams, but I do not doubt their goodwill.
            However this is not just a local issue. On a broader front, a legal operation has been stopped for a week, its work obstructed for over two months and the public, especially farmers , greatly inconvenienced.
            Forget for a moment that Caudrilla is “only” an energy company employing “fat bastards”. Imagine a group objecting to the policy of, let us say, a local newspaper. Instead of taking their complaints to the authorities they bus in a mob; barricade the entrance, shout obscenities at the employees, sabotage vehicles and stop the paper publishing. Would you adopt a benign stance towards these “peaceful” protestors? Or would you take up your pen in support of a legal business?
            There are many groups who arrogantly believe their pet causes justify unsocial actions. If we are to maintain a civil society we must not become their stooges.
            But I will try to avoid unparliamentary language in future. Hope it will be reciprocated! Cheers .

          • Refracktion says:

            Rodney – you are being totally disingenuous (again) – you are giving an example which bears no real comparison. The policy of a local newspaper compared to the impact of fracking LOL – oh come on! If you haven’t managed to learn enough about the local impacts that will occur when fracking starts in earnest down your way you must have your eyes and ears closed. This (and that other small thing about global warming – BTW are you a climate change denier Rodney? ) is why people are protesting. Not because they don’t like the coverage of the village cricket match.

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Dear Refraction, Just my point. YOU may think fracking so risky it justifies protests. OTHERS may think the contents of a newspaper so blasphemous THEY are justified in protesting, or it might be drink or tobacco or (close to my heart) wind turbines.Please note I do not object to peaceful protesting (would do some myself if a wind turbine is planned near me) but to closing or disrupting a legal business. We have to face it that the Law does not always give us what we want but unless mob rule is to take over we need to accept that not everyone agrees with all our oppinions or beliefs.

          • Refracktion says:

            And there was silly old me thinking Cuadrilla had to stop drilling because their planning permission was deficient and they got caught out drilling at twice the permitted volume… It was all those pesky protestors’ fault all along was it?

    No FiBS (No Fracking in Balcombe Society)

    West Sussex case against Balcombe Camp ‘deeply flawed’

    This morning at the High Court of Justice, the Strand, a judge took less than an hour to dismiss the attempt by West Sussex County Council to evict the Balcombe Community Protection Camp. The case was ‘deeply flawed’, she said.

    This was much more than a simple eviction. Given that the court notice was issued on Friday lunchtime, there had been little time for council for the defence to study the documents and prepare their case. There was no discussion of human rights law and freedom of assembly. And nowhere in the submission was it stated that Cuadrilla’s planning permission was to run out on September 28th. The judge ordered the case to be adjourned until October 8th. Council for the Camp expects it then to be either withdrawn or dismissed.

    West Sussex County Council will pay costs. Council for the Balcombe Community Protection Camp, although acting pro bono, has asked that West Sussex Council Council should pay a donation to a pro bono charity fund.

    A tense assembly of Balcombe villagers, anti-fracking campaigners and many protestors from the site filled Court 37 this morning – standing room only and permission from the judge to sit on the floor.

    ‘Justice Prevails!’ said Graham Mackie, who lives just beyond the village. ‘Thanks to all the wonderful people who made it happen. And the pro bono legal team who supported them. ‘

    No FiBS member Douglas Wragg added: ‘This is very good news. This should send a message to the County about the sloppy way they’ve behaved throughout – over permissions and regulations, as well as over this eviction attempt.’

    Cuadrilla are bound by the terms of their Planning permission to cap the well and leave the site by September 28th. The protest camp will remain, with the blessings and support of the majority of the Balcombe community, for as long as Cuadrilla occupy the site.

    The Camp was rejoicing early afternoon: ‘ We are so happy that we can now stay to finish our protest, and then leave in a peaceful way once Cuadrilla have left,’ said a spokesperson. ‘This will give us time to clear and clean up. And to rethink and regroup, for future action against oil and gas drilling – in Balcombe and elsewhere in the country where new drilling sites are in the offing.’

    No Fracking in Balcombe Society nofibsbalcombe@gmail.com

  59. ‘Colorado Floods Break Pipeline and Engulf Gas Wells

    ‘The rain pummeling Colorado this past week caused epic flooding. Photos show miles of devastation: homes lost, crops underwater, surviving livestock on flooded pastures, people in shelters.

    ‘In addition to rescuing stranded people, emergency crews have also had to contend with broken oil and gas pipelines – and those that haven’t broken yet are exposed due to eroded ground.
    ‘According to reports from the Denver Post, “Oil drums, tanks and other industrial debris mixed into the swollen river flowing northeast. County officials did not give locations of where the pipeline broke and where other pipelines were compromised.”


    ‘Weld County is home to about 20,000 oil and gas wells, and companies have been drilling on the flood plains. Once the gas and oil companies were notified of the threats, they began shutting down drilling operations and transmission pipelines. Even so, that still leaves wells, tanks, gathering lines and transmission lines in the path of raging waters.

    ‘In a statement to the press Gary Wockner, of Clean Water Action, said “Fracking and operating oil and gas facilities in floodplains is extremely risky. Flood waters can topple facilities and spread oil, gas, and cancer-causing fracking chemicals across vast landscapes making contamination and clean-up efforts exponentially worse and more complicated.”

    ‘No one expected this type of flooding: it’s a one-in-500-year type of event, aided in part by hillsides denuded of trees resulting from wildfires over the past couple years. Even so, the results illustrate the risks of drilling in flood plains. Even when the company shuts off the drilling or shuts down a pipeline, there is little they can do to prevent flood waters from ripping tanks from their moorings or washing frack pit waste downstream.’


  60. Floods in Colorado – how many gas wells are under water?

    From Vanessa Vine:

    ‘Media blackout on fracking flood disaster in Colorado.

    ‘”The tanks are tipping and, in some cases, have fallen over. They have to be leaking toxins into the flood waters. There have to be hundreds if not thousands of underwater well pads in Weld County as a result of the flooding.”

    ‘Please publicize this. Media and politicians have gone silent.’

    • from the Guardian story on Balcombe road-side & High Court, BTL:

      raggedbandman -> watersprite
      17 September 2013 1:15pm

      The real news is that a 500 year flood hit an oil pipeline and some fracking sites. All the wells have been valved-off and there is no leakage from the wells. There has been some damage but we (I’m in Colorado) don’t know if it’s even significant.

      9News covered your claims as a “Myth” along with the other flood related conspiracy “Myths” that have come from the loonies after this natural disaster. Honestly, what would you expect from a 500 year flood?

      • Energy plants need to to be fit to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis and 500-year floods.

        You say ‘Myth’ if you want to!

        Maybe you talk to the wrong people. Read this: http://www.texassharon.com/2013/09/15/is-there-a-media-blackout-on-the-fracking-flood-disaster-in-colorado/

        ‘Regulators say they agree these well sites could pose a contamination risk, and they will get out to assess the damage as soon as it’s feasible.


        ‘Lafayette-based anti-fracking activist Cliff Willmeng said he spent two days “zig-zagging” across Weld and Boulder counties documenting flooded drilling sites, mostly along the drainageway of the St. Vrain River. He observed “hundreds” of wells that were inundated. He also saw many condensate tanks that hold waste material from fracking at odd angles or even overturned.

        ‘ “It’s clear that the density of the oil and gas activity there did not respect where the water would go,” Willmeng said. “What we immediately need to know is what is leaking and we need a full detailed report of what that is. This is washing across agricultural land and into the waterways. Now we have to discuss what type of exposure the human population is going to have to suffer through.”

        A spokesman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said the agency is aware of the potential for contamination from flooded drilling sites, but there simply is no way to get to those sites while flooding is ongoing and while resources are concentrated on saving lives.

  61. From a friend in Lancashire:

    ‘There’s a AJLucas Preliminary annual report now available – to year end 30 June 2013 published Aug 2013.

    Click to access 42j2dkzv93yvvz.pdf

    Interesting comments on Cuadrilla’s prospects pages 5 and end of page 6,

    especially this —

    “Currently, an Environmental Impact Assessment is being conducted on the Bowland Prospect and drilling consents are being sought. It is therefore unlikely that any significant drilling work will be undertaken on the Prospect for upwards of another 12 months.”


    “Drilling has also commenced, this time looking for oil, at Balcombe in the Bolney Prospect in the south of England. The results of this drilling are not expected for several months.”

    So a delay before significant drilling in Lancs? They are on the hunt for more pads? Or what?

    Are they seeking to renew their PEDLs? I thought time was up next Spring.

    Some comments reported here on this link from an Interview with CEO of Cuadrilla, Francis Egan, by the Australian Financial Review —

    http://www.sharescene.com/index.php?showtopic=1906This is my favourite —
    “Mr Egan said the population density in the UK was not necessarily a problem for shale development given much of the land in Cuadrilla’s 1200-square­kilometre Bowland Shale licence was farmland or rural.”

    So there you have it. Rural Lancastrians don’t matter. At least he didn’t say “desolate”.

  62. Drilling poses dangers, as well as fracking. I think we missed this article back in June, I did anyway. Balcombe also has a very faulted goeology:

  63. Thank you.
    This is nice and useful article. You write well.
    Hope next time you write on oil and gas drilling in oklahoma

  64. Balcombe Blockaders says:

    9th September 2013

    Balcombe Community Protection Camp Press Release

    Please find below an update from the Balcombe blockade of the Cuadrilla drilling and fracking site. The update is provided in the context of a letter from one Tony Kershaw of West Sussex County Council’s legal department. The blockaders are consulting their own legal advisers about how to respond to it. The validity of the letter is questionable.

    From the viewpoint of the blockaders the last six weeks have been a great success with national and international coverage of the danger fracking poses to the environment and human health. The invasion of the British countryside has been strongly resisted and will continue to be resisted until the last fracker runs out of gullible investors. Landowners are discovering the hidden liabilities they will have to bear when the inevitable accidents, contamination and injury bring massive claims for damages. Best of all communities are learning how to defend themselves and combine with other communities in strength and unity.

    An amazing feature of the fight against fracking is the range of people, political and social positions that have drawn together to face the unwelcome gas and oil invaders. The blockaders have conducted themselves peacefully throughout this first blockade of a UK based fracker. The safety and sanctity of human life is at the heart of the purpose of the blockade.

    It is a shame that a lower speed limit has not yet been imposed in the area of the entrance to the Cuadrilla drilling site and the blockaders and their many supporters in the wider community urge those responsible to immediately establish a safe speed limit of 20 or 30 miles per hour on the relevant stretch of the B2036 south of Balcombe. Failure to heed this request for a lower speed limit will lead even more people to question the good faith of their elected representatives and institutions.

    The Balcombe blockaders urge West Sussex County Council to take urgent steps to preserve its democratic role in the community.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Excellent article in today’s Telegraph. “Romantic Germany risks economic decline as it tries to pursue its green dream”
      To quote just one paragraph’ “ Germany’s greenhouse emissions rose 1.6 pc last year. In the US they fell to a 20 year low thanks to the switch from coal to shale gas.”
      And still the NIMBY’S protest away at the expense of the community AND the planet!

      • Philip says:

        Rodney, it’s not that simple. In Europe, Germany and the UK are burning cheap coal from the USA, dumped on the world energy market because of the American shale gas boom. The UK’s emissions have also increased as a result. Hve a look at the new DECC report on shale gas, and you’ll see that DECC predicts this will happen. Without the development of renewable energies the emissions increases would have been even higher.

        After the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, Germany embarked on an ambitious “energy revolution”, deciding to phase out its nuclear power plants by the end of 2022 and bolster renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power. The biggest worry is the free market for energy again converting more coal into electricity.

        Germany said that despite the slight increase in emissions in 2012, it had more than met the targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol, with its greenhouse gas emissions having fallen by 25.5 percent compared to 1990.
        Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-german-greenhouse-gas-emissions-rose.html#jCp

        • Rodney Jago says:

          But if we can make a success of shale gas we will not need to import cheap coal from US and at least lessen our dependance on oil & gas from unreliable sources. Give shale a chance, tax the profits, & put some of the revenue into researching cost effective clean energy.
          Germany is about to discover existing renewable technology is financially unsustainable. So will we.

          • Philip Pearson says:

            Where we are in this debate is that there is no credible evidence that domestic shale gas will have any beneficial effect on UK gas prices – see the DECC report on this point. Cheap US shale gas seems to be creating a global cheap coal glut, highly damaging to CO2 emissions globally, whilst reducing them in America. In my view, the UK should focus on carbon sequestration technology for coal and gas wherever the gas comes from. Anyway, there’s no silver bullet in shale gas or any other energy source.

          • Rodney Jago says:

            In reply to Philip Pearson; I agree with your last sentence advocating investment in carbon sequestration technology for coal and gas.
            Your contention ,so often repeated, that shale gas will not affect domestic prices deserves a comment.
            It is a simple law of economics that increased supply reduces prices be it of wine, milk, or, as so clearly demonstrated in US, gas.
            It is true that the increased supply must be significant. Just as a couple more cows will not reduce the price of milk, a few dozen wells will not affect gas or oil prices BUT while prices remain high production will be profitable and from profits can flow tax.
            This tax can be used to subsidise energy costs or contribute to research into carbon sequestration and more fundamentally into cost-effective clean energy.
            We have to face it that ONLY when clean energy is cheaper than dirty energy will there be ANY effective reduction in world emissions.
            One protestor told me , and I suspect it’s a popular myth in the camp, that the oil drillers would fiddle their way out of paying tax. Perhaps they would like to, but whiskey distillers deep in Highland Glens get taxed; open a micro-brewery in a remote barn and the man from the Revenue will be round in a flash. Possibly the revenue would suss out huge oil tankers leaving Lower Stumble?
            If our eco-warriors really want to reduce emissions they will give up pointless gestures. Those qualified to do so might enter constructive dialogue on safety issues.

          • Refracktion says:

            Rodney – your faith in your fellow man does you credit – but you really do need to get wise and ask yourself why Riverstone LLC is based in the Cayman Islands if Cuadrilla don’t intend to dodge as much tax as they can 🙂

  65. Blog by Glasgos Emeritus professor David Smyth: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/newsdesk/energy/analysis/why-have-cuadrilla-withdrawn

    ‘Cuadrilla claims that they’re ceasing operations at Balcombe because they didn’t realise they should first have notified local inhabitants living above the location of their horizontal drilling. Hard to believe? Yes. But on the other hand, their plans and operations to date seem to be so inept that perhaps there is a grain of truth there. They are attempting a challenging technical drilling operation in heavily faulted geology which could act for a fast track for leakage of drilling fluids. To avoid this a full 3D seismic survey of the area would be required, and has not been undertaken. (etc…)

  66. The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/10283587/Cuadrilla-admits-Balcombe-planning-application-legally-ambigious.html

    Cuadrilla admits Balcombe planning application ‘legally ambigious’
    Cuadrilla’s attempts to drill for oil in West Sussex have suffered a fresh setback after it was forced to re-apply for planning permission, admitting its current application may not comply with regulations.

  67. PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release, Tuesday September 3rd)

    No FiBS (No Fracking in Balcombe Society)

    In response to news that Cuadrilla is withdrawing planning applications to extend the time they can test drill and increase height of flares at Balcombe, Louisa Delpy, villager and member of No Fracking in Balcombe Socieity (NoFIBs) said:

    “This is a victory for our campaign and we thank everyone who raised objections. But we know that the problem has not gone away. We are now in limbo and ask West Sussex County Council urgently to explain the reasons why Cuadrilla must resubmit the planning application and whether testing and flaring has been carried out on the vertical well section.

    “We also want to know the current direction and length of the horizontal section of the well; how they can test drill into oil without a flare; and how they can operate and test right now without their permit to extract radioactive substances, about which the Environment Agency has maintained a curious silence since public consultation ended.”

    Kathryn McWhirter added:

    “No FiBS’ delight is tempered by suspicion of the company’s motives, and question marks over details of the full planning application that Cuadrilla will now submit on September 27th. Do they want to do something that is not allowed in the current permission? Do they simply want to disperse the blockade and postpone matters until next spring, when less contested planning consents will perhaps already be in place elsewhere, and the Government’s deregulation will make their lives easier. However they dress up their new planning application, the community in Balcombe has spoken loud and clear. 85 per cent do not want Cuadrilla in Balcombe.”

    It would seem that Cuadrilla have withdrawn their current application for planning extension in anticipation of its being thrown out by West Sussex County Council. The planning and flare permit applications had been due for consideration on September 19th. The existing planning permission is due to run out on September 28th. Cuadrilla now intend to suspend operations mid-September and temporarily clear the site by the end of September.


  68. Rodney Jago says:

    Interesting visit to protest site on Sunday 1/9 when I actually met a sensible protestor! (first ever).His idea was that all households should get the energy reasonably needed by the average well-insulated house at the lowest possible price with an escalating surcharge for additional consumption. Excellent idea! Would encourage home insulation and could substitute for the lib-labs beloved “Mansion Tax” as even a well insulated “mansion” would use more energy than the average house and one-bed London flats (not that I have one) would not be hit.
    But in case I am accused of going soft two more points;
    1) I asked about compensation for farmers obliged to block their gates . The lady suggested they should come & discuss it. It did not occur to her ( or to me at the time) that no farmer would risk becomming the target of the next “peaceful” tresspass by complaining. If innocent victims of your protest are of any concern perhaps something could be done?
    2) Over the, very intrusive, loud speaker those who worked were invited to cheat their employers by throwing sickies to make time for blocking site deliveries during the week. Heatry applause & not a murmer of dissent. And you lot claim the moral high-ground!

    • Katherine Marchment says:

      Hi Rodney from Australia, If you like the idea of a gas field in your neighborhood you could try moving to one of ours – land is dirt cheap. You would only need to put up with headaches, skin rashes, breathing problems, neurological problems and an increased risk of cancer. You would also have to put up with government and industry that insists it is perfectly safe despite all evidence to the contrary.Please support your community on this issue – maybe you could suggest ways they could do things better or maybe you could tolerate a small inconvenience now as compared to the bigger inconvenience of trucks, heavy machinery noise and pollution 24/7 if the CSG industry hits your area.

  69. Hi folks,
    Thanks for the all the quality debate on here – excellent stuff. Just to let you know it’s our aim to REMOVE and UNAPPROVE comments that are overly personal, incendiary or accusative.

    While we don’t get all of them, if you feel like writing something like that then it’s worth knowing we will do our best to remove that post. We’d also highly recommend Facebook if you’re interested in more incendiary debate!


  70. Caroline Lucas: ‘There are some major questions to be asked about the role of politicians in the fracking debate. To me, the biggest are about why the Prime Minister is acting as a public relations man for the shale gas industry, and why there are people with financial interests in the sector who have senior roles in Government. (…) ministers are ignoring industry experts whose analysis undermines the frequently repeated myth that shale gas will mean lower fuel bills. Deutsche Bank, Chatham House, and Ofgem all predict that it will not bring down fuel bills.’


  71. Richard says:

    And one more.

    “The Fifth Assessment Report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) is due next month. Drafts of the study include the conclusion that it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities (primarily the burning of fossil fuels) are the main cause of warming.

    That likelihood has risen from 50% in 1995, to 66% in 2001, to 90% in the 2007 report, suggesting that expert opinion is swiftly moving toward a unanimous conclusion. We are to blame. Yet the deniers keep repeating the same old myths, trying to confuse the public.”


    Michael – keep spreading those olds myths – you’ll eventually convince yourself.

  72. Richard says:

    Today the scientific community is in almost total agreement that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of human activity, and that this represents a huge threat to the planet and to us. According to a Pew survey conducted in March, however, public opinion lags behind the scientific conclusion, with only 69% of those surveyed accepting the view that the earth is warming — and only 1 in 4 Americans see global warming as a major threat. Still, 69% is a solid majority, which begs the question, Why aren’t we doing anything about it?


  73. Richard says:

    “Not only is the planet undergoing one of the largest climate changes in the past 65 million years, Stanford climate scientists Noah Diffenbaugh and Chris Field report that it’s on pace to occur at a rate 10 times faster than any change in that period. Without intervention, this extreme pace could lead to a 5-6 degree Celsius spike in annual temperatures by the end of the century.”


    • Purely as a matter of scientific literacy, one cannot have a 6 degree Celsius spike. One cannot have a “degree Celsius” change. “degree Celsius” is a temperature. The correct nomenclature for a change is “Celsius degree”.

      As in a Celsius degree is the same as a Kelvin degree, whereas a Celsius temperature is some 273 degrees higher than a Kelvin temperature.

      Funny, I should have expected a fellow “Physics graduate” to know that.

  74. From a Guardian blog – we in Balcombe would like to underline that we stand united against oil and gas drilling in the beautiful North West, North East, South Wales and whevever else these bullies are heading in Great Britain, Northern Ireland or beyond.

    ‘Slightly odd one. Bookies Ladbrokes is claiming to be the first to offer odds on fracking. It reckons Balcombe and the south are likely to be behind Lancashire – where Cuadrilla has already fracked – for commercial fracking in the UK. Here are the odds if you, um, fancy a fossil fuel flutter:
    Where will fracking first take place commercially in the Britain?
    North-west 4/6
    North-east 3/1
    South Wales 4/1
    Southern England 4/1
    Scotland 10/1
    Northern Ireland 14/1
    The company’s Alex Donohue says: “The odds suggest fracking will take place in the north-west before the end of the decade. The odds of Balcombe being developed before anywhere else continue to drift as the protest movement grows.”

    • Rodney Jago says:

      One jolly quote from another disgraceful day; Caroline Lucas says the quality of debate at the protest site is better than in the House of Commons. Could this be because all the professional protestors agree with her but the House of Commons regard her as a fool?

      • Richard says:

        Caroline is one of the better ones in Parliament. She has convictions and will fight for them.
        She’s earned my vote.

        In general – the quality of our MP’s is low – across all parties they are ineffectual, and / or overly influenced by shorter self-interest – especial that bunch of Clowns that are collectively referred to as Cameron’s cabinet. Obviously my personal opinion.

      • Refracktion says:

        Rodney you really are a dislikeable twerp – you are so full of bile that I’m surprised you don’t melt from the inside 🙂

        • Lost an argument, have you?

        • Enfield says:

          Agreed, this spite is simply the death throws of Capitalism, it’ll be difficult for them, they have been defeated on all fronts, but at least it’s nearly over. As for Baker, yes he and a couple of others on here are clearly industry stooges, they need to be banned once found out otherwise the argument is unfair and this site is fast becoming just another government outlet for industry propaganda.

          • Richard says:

            Enfield – I suspect you are correct about the use of this site for Government / Company propaganda. It seems to be a common occurrence a number of sites and responses to on-line news paper articles. I’ve noted several ‘rote’ responses across several sites.

            I suspect the antagonists are paid by some marketing company. Superficially they seem to be able to respond to a wide range of arguments – but scratch beneath the surface and they show little real understanding about the implications of their arguments. Of course they could also be simply retired Tory ‘free market’ bigots from the Thatcher era. Which ever, once backed into a corner – they resort to re-iterating key facts: facts they are told to push (Golf Courses)? Or start personal attacks. OK – I’ve been overly blunt on a couple of occasions. But in my defence, I am right and I am a Northern 😉 (Living in Haywards Heath).

            I don’t think this is about Capitalism or Socialism; it is about doing the write longer thing for the UK Environment and Economy. All major political parties will ‘short’ the future for a quick win at the next elections. The point Taleb makes in antiFragile – is that individuals / organisations / governments should not be allowed to make profit by dumping long term risk on other people. This is exactly what happened in the Finance Industry, this is what I suspect the Fracking Industry seem to be trying to do. Taleb’s message is simply and one Chris failed to understand / or choose not to / understand.

            It is wrong to ban free speech even if we dislike the message. They are arguing a point of view – it may be a self-interested, short-sighted, ethically and intellectually dishonest point of view – but is is not an unpopular point of view. They just need to be challenged continuously.

          • Enfield says:

            Richard, I’ve got to be quick I’m afraid, I agree with you on most of those things, or just quibbles that aren’t worth going into except for the free speech, banning them is not banning free speech, they are paid to spread propaganda, normal people have to work for a living and then fight the good fight, we have no chance against a band of people employed specifically to counter every response with prepared non-facts, they are hindering our free speech by polluting it for their own gains.

          • Richard says:

            Some will be paid / some will not. I don’t know how one would differentiate. That’s my concern 😦

          • Rodney Jago says:

            To Enfield from the Dislikeable Twerp. Probably a waste of time but let me quote Charles Murray writing in The Times;
            “ From the dawn of history until the 18th century, every society in the world was impoverished, with only the thinnest film of wealth at the top. Then came capitalism and the industrial revolution. Everywhere that capitalism took hold national wealth began to increase and poverty began to fall. Everywhere that capitalism didn’t take hold, people remained impoverished. Everywhere that capitalism has been rejected since then, poverty has increased.”
            In the course of my career I have been able to visit, compare & contrast countries which adopted socialism or capitalism. I can assure you that, while capitalism, like democracy, has its faults, it is far better than the alternative. Better, that is for everybody, not just the capitalists (of whom I am not one).
            Before you resume protesting read today’s Times report on Detroit and have a good day.

          • Richard says:

            Rodney – I’d argue that Detroit’s present problems are a direct result of the failure of the unregulated free market. Also much of Africa’s problems are caused by distortions in the ‘free market’ caused by US agricultural policy and commodity speculation. However I acknowledge your point.

            If you are really interested in an analysis of the effectiveness of unregulated free markets – I’d recommend reading ‘Ill Fares the Land’ and also ‘The Entrepreneurial State’ – the second explaining how the free market ride on the back of long term investments made by Governments / Society.

            Finally Jarred Diamond – ‘The World Until Yesterday’. While we are materially better off in the West – that’s not the whole story. Jarred’s latest book makes some thought provoking points.


          • Rodney Jago says:

            Thanks, Richard. Perhaps we are getting a bit off topic but read the article on Detroit.
            Meanwhile perhaps you can use your good influence to discourage us from accusing each other of being in the pay of sinister forces. Just as I cannot know for sure who some on my side may be I cannot be sure that some of your fellow travellers are not Tory bankers trying to protect the views from their converted barns! best wishes.

          • Richard says:

            Rodney – I have no influence. 🙂 I have no clue who is and isn’t who they say they are. I live in Haywards Heath – a work in IT (so cursed with being on the computer a much of the time :-/ ).

            Will read the article (as long as I don’t have to pay the Times to access it).

          • Richard says:

            Rodney – OK I’ve read the headline. The “Cost of Government” is a tired argument. Peddled around by Tea Party types. I don’t feel compelled to read further. Detroit may / may not / have in-efficient local government – but the basic problem was a mono-economy. Not enough economic diversity.

            If savings made by cutting back on in-efficient public services could be ploughed into increase economic diversity – then I’m all for it. However – the Elephant in the room is the grossly unfair Taxation System. As pointed out by Warren Buffet no less!

            If we’re going to fixing things – lets make sure the Wealthy make an appropriate contribution to society – lets base the taxation system on income and assets. Not just income.

            Anyway – we’re drifting again 🙂

          • Rodney Jago says:

            I’m all for taxing the profits of fracking so long as we don’t kill the goose. As for landowners getting rent for wind-farms squeese till the pips squeak!!

          • Richard says:

            The problem is long term (longer time frames than affect you or me) – the goose may kill us :-/ See my previous reference to Lovelocks comments on CO2 / Methane.

            If profits are used to fund an equivalent level of Carbon Capture – then I find it more difficult to be against Gas. But we know the Government will not do that. The Government have given Tax cuts to the industry.

            Re Rent / Windfarms – +1.

          • A mono-economy might have been a major problem, but the basic cause of the disaster was continuing Democratic civic administrations spending more than they had coming in.

            Spending without earning – hmm, might be able to see some local campers who think that is economically feasible.

          • Richard says:

            Michael – you continue to demonstrate your lack of subject knowledge. Marks for perseverance thought.

          • Refracktion says:

            Rodney, Chris and the rest – they’re not here for the hunting. Stop wasting your time humouring them. They are classic forum trolls – you have seen they don’t care about what is really going on – they are just here to sow fear uncertainty and doubt – they aren’t very good at it but they do spend a lot of their and our time on it.

            The problem is that as enlightened well brought up people we like to give people the benefit of the doubt. In this case though it is better just to ignore them – maybe just post “don’t feed the trolls” when they try their silliness in future?

          • Richard says:

            Refracktion – Agreed I think we’re at that point.

      • Enfield says:

        Piss off Jago you Tory pig.

        • john says:

          Is this sort of language & abuse really necessary? it just confirms my statement (earlier post somwhere on here) that those against are too busy shouting down anyone who has another view, won’t listen to anything but their own voice, hardly a democratic protest is it.

  75. Richard says:

    From the Royal Society report – that Chris is so fond of quoting from…

    Recommendation Regarding Water Management.

    Water should be managed in an integrated way:
    • Techniques and operational practices should be implemented to minimise water use and avoid abstracting water from supplies that may be under stress.
    • Wastewater should be recycled and reused where possible.
    • Options for treating and disposing of wastes should be planned from the outset. The construction, regulation and siting of any future onshore disposal wells need further investigation.

    So the Royal Society agree with the concerns raised by several of us here on this site. For those of us that live in Sussex will know that water supplies have been under-stress in recent years.

    I hope South Eastern Water are gearing up to pursue Cuadrilla for the necessary investment. I’d be writing to them to may my views know and I would encourage others to do likewise.

    • Chris French says:

      I don’t diasgree with any of those Water Management Recommendations by the Royal Society. Any rational person would support those recommendations.

      However, relatively insignificant water usage by fracking at say 0.3%, will not be the issue putting our water supplies under stress.

      What is and will continue to put our water supplies in the South East under stress is the shameful water management by the water companies, who lose 17% of our water through leaks in their pipes and do not invest any money at all in increasing capacity i.e. building new reservoirs.

      • Richard says:

        No matter how many times you repeat the sentence – YOU are not in the position to state what is / or isn’t / significant water consumption for Mid Sussex.

        If South East Water need additional investment to cope with Cuadrilla’s drilling – then Cuadrilla should bear all the costs. NOT the population of Sussex. If Borde Hill Estate also stand to profit from this grubby little business – then perhaps the costs should be split between Cuadrilla and Borde Hill Estate.

        • Chris French says:

          Richard, are you seriously suggesting that using up to 0.3% of all freshwater supplied for fracking is likely to be a serious water consumption problem for Mid Sussex?

          It’s not a question of “If South East Water need additional investment to cope with Cuadrilla’s drilling”; South East Water & Southern Water without question need to invest in additional capacity now, by building new reservoirs, regardless of any potential future modest need for water from fracking.

          • Richard says:

            Chris – I am stating two thing.

            1: Despite endlessly repeating a number you’ve found – you are clueless as to the actual impact on Sussex; the percentage increase that would be caused by Cuadrilla. As per Royal Society recommendations – in the paper you keep parroting – an independent local impact assessment is needed.

            2: The complete costs of of ANY impact caused by Cuadrilla need to be fully carried by Cuadrilla – and NOT the local community.

            If impact is minimal – then financial exposure to Cuadrilla – for this aspect of their operations – is minimal.

            I don’t see how anyone can argue against this. Unless of cause you are Cuadrilla and you intend to dump on the local community / Sussex all the environmental costs?

          • Chris French says:


            The total amount of water supplied by South East Water & Southern Water is greater than 1,000,000,000 litres a day.

            The total amount of water needed for up to 10 days to frac a well with a life span of up to ten years is 18,000,000 litres.

            The amount of water used to frac a well as a percentage of the total water supplied by South East Water & Southern Water over 10 days, is therefore 18,000,000 divided 10,000,000,000 = 0.18%


          • Richard says:

            You really are rather stupid aren’t you Chris.
            It doesn’t matter what the number are. The principle IS – that Cuadrilla will pay for any Water Infrastructure enhancements that are trigger by their activities in Sussex.

          • Chris French says:


            What a shame. You’re no better than Refracktion, resorting to abuse when losing the argument.

            The function of a water company is to plan for and provide an adequate supply of water to its customers. This simple enough function, our local water companies have blatantly failed to fulfill for decades. The cost of this long overdue new water infrastructure should not be borne by one customer, such as Cuadrilla, particularly give its relatively modest water needs.

          • Richard says:

            Chris – yes the costs should. If the requirement is only modest. The cost to Cuadrilla will be modest. Honestly – It’s very simple.
            You could only object to this argument if you represent Cuadrilla. Read Taleb AntiFragile – for a quick lesson on commercial ethics. (I think it will help you).

          • Chris French says:

            But what “water infrastructure” costs will Cuadrilla’s relatively modest water requirements trigger?

            In Lancashire, Cuadrilla simply sourced their 8,400 cubic metres of water for fracking from the mains.

            Think I’ll give Taleb’s ‘Antifragile’ book a miss thanks:

            “Antifragile, a more philosophical work than Taleb’s earlier books, shares much with the Marxist philosophers….”

            Do you still maintain you’re not a socialist?

          • Richard says:

            Interesting – so you are aware of the work. Though you appear to completely misunderstand Taleb’s message. Stupid? Or intellectually & ethically dishonest?

            Anyway – I’d like to thank you. Without your inane banging on about minimal water consumption it wouldn’t have crossed my mind to contact other commercial companies that might be exposed to down-side caused by Cuadrilla.

            Home goal! 🙂

    • Richard says:

      I’ll be writing the Nicolas Soames, my local Council and the MD of South East Water tomorrow.

      1: South East Water asking them to ensure that – should operations commence – all costs caused by increase in Water demand – caused by Caudrilla – are born by Cuadrilla.
      2: The Local Council asking them to ensure that all costs caused by increase in lorries on our local road infrastructure are charged back to Cuadrilla.
      3: To our MP’s restating (1) & (2) – and asking for a statement from the government that all environmental damage associated with Cuadrilla by independent body – are born by the company.

      I’d encourage others to do the same.

      The costs and risks must fall on those responsible, those taking the profit, and not the local population.

      • john says:

        so hopefully the cost of policing this lot (as Cuadrilla are there legally & protestors blocking them & the highway are not) will be bourne by those responsible too? i.e the protestors.

        • Richard says:

          In my opinion – those cost should also be born by Cuadrilla and perhaps Borde Hill Estate. But feel free to write and suggesting otherwise.

          • Richard says:

            Kathy – Thanks for the correction. Is Balcombe Estate a completely separate entity to Borde Hill Estate? Or is there a relationship of some form?

          • Completely separate. Adjoining estates, Borde Hill to the south, incldes the lovely, visitable, Borde Hill Gardens, Jeremy’s Restaurant and Elviras’s Cafe, all very worth a visit. Balcombe Estate is farms, managed forest, a small quarry. Meanwhile the Cowdray cousins down the road to the west, instantly declared themselves against fracking when a well was mooted at Ferhurst:

            ‘Cowdray Estate was approached by Celtique Energie about an alternative location, 18 months ago but we had concerns about the environmental impact on the area and decided not to proceed with the proposals.

            ‘Cowdray Estate has a number of concerns about Celtique Energie’s proposals for an exploration well at Nine Acre Copse, Fernhurst. These include traffic, noise, light pollution and the impact on an area within the National park.

            ‘Whilst it is recognised that the proposals on the table are for an exploratory well, it could be the thin end of a wedge which would have long term implications on the village of Fernhurst and the nearby residential and business properties.

            ‘There is not enough information about whether or not Celtique Energie is expecting to find oil or gas. If they find shale gas they may apply for consent to carry out extraction by Fracking or hydraulic fracturing techniques which may have long term environmental implications, such as pollution to the natural water resources, the potential for wellhead pollution or indeed earth tremors. Fracking requires vast amounts of water and we must question where this will be coming from.

            ‘We therefore have concerns about whether there have been sufficient investigations into the Environmental assessments which have been carried out, for instance; we question the results of the noise level survey which has been published in Celtique Energie’s consultation document.

            We also question whether the relevant parts of the National Planning Policy Framework, (paragraphs 115 and 116) which relate to planning considerations for development proposals within a National park, have been fully considered

            We also call upon Celtique Energie at this stage of the proceedings to make a public commitment supported by evidence that they will fulfil their liabilities in the event of contamination, given the potential impact their activities may have on the local community.

          • Richard says:

            Kathy – many thanks for the clarification.

          • PS The No Dash for Gas/Reclaim the Power camp is on a field belonging to a farm belonging to the Borde Hill Estate. The Cuadrillagate Balcombe Protection Camp is on the grass verges adjoining the Cuadrilla site and (across the road) a farm on the Balcombe Eastate. Some families with little children were camping safely and peacefully in a Christmas tree field up a tree-lined bank from the verge, with impressive views of the rig.. Today they were served notice to move to the verge. Shame on the Balcombe Estate, shame on the police.

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Richard, let’s get this clear. Suppose you run a legal business but I don’t like it or you.
            I bring in a mob to “peacefully protest “ by closing your access, abusing your employees, threatening civil disobedience, and closing you down for over a week. And, oh yes, encamp my mob on your neighbour’s premises.
            YOU should pay the policing costs, I should have no liability to you, your neighbour or the community.
            Is that what you are saying?

          • Richard says:

            As always – it depends on the context.

            Probably – in this costs should be allocated via an independent review process – split between both sides. If this were the case – Cuadrilla / the Government might have tried harder to win over the protestors. The protestors may have thought a little harder about blocking the roads. Unfortunately the population of West Sussex should not – but will – end up picking up the costs.

            All too often greed and corrupt hide behind the “law”.

          • Refracktion says:

            But suppose that “legal” business is found out operating outside it’s legal permissions for months, or repeatedly trespassing on people’s property (just like Cuadrilla). The case is no longer clear cut is it?

            Egan’s whining yesterday that he has to abide by the law but the protesters don’t was just hypocritical guff.


  76. Me to Parish Council, of which Simon Greenwood of Balcombe Estate, host to Cuadrilla, is a sometimes-absent member: ‘Bad idea to close the country footpath, the safe route to Cuadrillagate?’

    Simon: ‘If some irresponsible idiot had not invited the outside professional protesters to disrupt the lives of the 77% who did not oppose drilling then I am sure the council would not have felt the need to close the footpath. I imagine that British Transport Police were concerned over the possibility of illegal trespass onto the railway property and the resulting danger to themselves and rail users. Some very nasty people are coming who think nothing of actions such as throwing scaffolding poles through police van windows and otherwise trying to injure the police.

    ‘For they sow the wind And they reap the whirlwind.’ – Hosea 8:7’

    My reply: ‘Oooooh how exciting, a direct message from the Horse’s mouth! Not via your Land Agent! Not telling us to mind our own business!

    ‘A great day today. Peaceful, huge publicity. The country needs to learn about this process. It could be coming their way. Invited? No. They (protecting our village, our country, our planet, unlike you) decided to come. We welcome them.

    ‘The Irresponsible Idiot is the one who allowed Cuadrilla onto this site on the edge of our village. Shame on you, Simon Greenwood. I do hope Mummy and Daddy are ashamed of you
    too. Tell us, have you signed a new, ongoing contract with Caudrilla? What a foolish question.

    ‘If 77% of the village did not vote in the Parish Council survey, shame on them. Perhaps some of them were scared, because they live in houses, run shops, or farm land attached to the estate. 82% of the people who exercised their democratic right and responded to that council survey were against.

    ‘Nasty people? Simon, do visit the site – the temporary site, south of Cuadrillagate. So civilised, so organised, so democratic.

    ‘Hm, I seem to have mislaid that fracking prayer from the Diocese of Chichester. Oh what a fitting finale that would have made.’

    • K, I imagine you have royally p*ss*d off some neighbours.To oppose something safe.

      As a kid, my Dad read me myths – you have certainly been sowing dragon’s teeth. Now to see what the harvest is.

      • Refracktion says:

        I think if anyone is reaping a whirlwind just now it is Cuadrilla and the government 🙂
        just sayin’

      • Richard says:

        Kathy – according to local spin
        “Mr Greenwood is the owner of The Balcombe Estate, and has a passion for all aspects of the countryside and its pursuits. He is proactive with the running of the Estate, and also an active member of the Balcombe Parish Council.” What a nice chap!

        However I’ve only noticed a passion for attempting to bulldoze local opinion w.r.t. fracking and housing development (Penland Estate).

        I’m assuming / hoping that readers of this blog will think twice before getting involved with other ‘community’ Board Hill Estate activities.

        • balcombe1 says:

          Penland Farm is on Borde Hill estate as is Sugworth Farm. Both subject to speculative development. Borde Hill estate is entirely seperate from Balcombe Estate. The only housing Balcombe Estate has enabled development of in the last few decades is Barn Meadow, an affordable housing site on the old allotments which they then provided land to relocate.

  77. Michael, the oil did not flow for Conoc. Please would you comment on the prospects for Frack Free Caudrilla?

    • Kathryn, Conoco found oil, so obviously it did flow. But oil was probably over $35/ bbl when they applied for planning permissions for the well & about $10 /bbl when they finished the well, the biggest downturn since the sixties, so it would have been classed as uneconomic. That same well today, with oil at $115 /bbl, even allowing for inflation, would probably be economic. Add in drilling horizontally to increase the exposed sand-face {micrite-face} & the increased productivity due to the increased flow surface could well be very economic.

      Or, since they’re only testing it, could flow at a rate economic to complete.

      Or not – since other nearby wells were completed at the time, was it only the timing of the downturn/ slashing of CapEx budgets, or were there productivity issues that led to it being abandoned? Hence the option of an acid wash.

      All those protestors, under a false flag. Not gas, not shale, not fraccing. Tsk!

  78. From an absent supporter

    I am not at Balcombe though I whole-heartedly support the protest to stop fracking, there – and at other sites, where water-extraction and water-contamination could jeopardise people’s well-being.
    The pollution by noise, fumes, artificial lights, and the dangers and upset caused by new lorry-movements and by other machinery, near and away from the drilling site, will not be noticed by politicians and others who encourage this exploitation. These things will be devastating to the people of the locality, and hazardous to people who are further away.
    Although I am not protesting at Balcombe, I am represented by those who are so.
    However many people protest at Balcombe, they will be but a small number compared with those they represent – a vastly greater number with the same opinion and wishes.
    Yours, sincerely in support of the protest. J. Kaadé

  79. Richard says:

    The following paper is hopefully of interest to those trying to see through some of the bullshit that is being liberally spread around this site.

    Click to access tyndall-coop_shale_gas_report_final.pdf

    The report is actually quite old – 2011.

    The Tyndall Centre seems to represent some of the UK’s strongest academic universities. The report was commissioned by the Sustainable Change Co-operative – which appear to be a local North West Group of companies and organisations interested in sustainable development.

    Comments on Water Consumption can be found on page 69. The report states that fracking will cause significant issues for local communities w.r.t. water consumption – both the volume used – and the need to transport this to and from the sites.

  80. Richard says:

    Rodney. Your house will be worth less, you may not have drinking water if Sussex have another drought year and fracking is in full flow. You may experience subsidence, the local road system will be overwhelmed with lorries. And the environment you leave to you children more damage than that left to you.

    And you have an issue with the protesters?

    • Chris French says:

      The Guardian carried a report this week implying that a town in Texas is running dry because of water used for fracking. Yet in Texas 1 per cent of water use is for fracking; in the US as a whole it is 0.3 per cent — less than is used by golf courses. If parts of Texas run out, blame farming, by far the biggest user. For more myths about fracking please see this: http://www.thegwpf.org/matt-ridley-shatter-myths-fracking/

      • Richard says:

        w.r.t. the gwpf —

        “The foundation has rejected freedom of information (FoI) requests to disclose its source of funding on at least four different occasions.”

        So another industry lobby group. One only needs to take a cursory look at the site to see what the agenda is.

        Chris – so you are stating that the fracking operation will only required the same amount of water as that required to water a normal golf course??

        With anyone with access to the real facts care to comment?

        • Chris French says:

          The 18,000 cubic metres of water needed for drilling a well with a life span of up to ten years is equal to the volume used to irrigate a 3 hectare corn field in one season or an 18 hole golf course in one month.

          The entire volume of water used, over a projected life span of 10 years at the Cuadrilla Resources’ well in Lancashire UK, is less than half of the water lost through leaking pipes in Manchester in one day.


          • Richard says:

            Chris – do you work for Cuadrill?

          • Richard says:

            Then why do you keep referring to websites sponsored by the industry. The information presented there cannot be taken at face value. Yet you keep doing so — as long as it supports your bias.

          • Refracktion says:

            ” or an 18 hole golf course in one month”

            I do wish you’d occasionally check a fact or two!

            The GWPF’s claim bout the golf course is comprehensively debunked with figures
            here .


            they are only out by a factor of about 60

            The GWPFs credibility is shot to hell as they may lose their charitable status http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/lord-lawsons-climatechange-think-tank-risks-being-dismantled-after-complaint-it-persistently-misled-public-8659314.html


          • Refracktion says:

            ” or an 18 hole golf course in one month”

            I do wish you’d occasionally check a fact or two!

            The GWPF’s claim bout the golf course is comprehensively debunked with figures
            here .

            www. refracktion.com/index.php/myth-busting/myth-8-fracking-water-usage-is-minimal/

            they are only out by a factor of about 60

          • Chris French says:

            “A Unesco World Water Development report found that an 18-hole golf course can use as much as 2.3 million litres of water every day.” Source: Independent 29/8/2010

            2.3 million litres = 2,300 cubic metres every day

            2,300 cubic metres every day = 70,000 cubic metres per month

            Therefore Nick Grealy of No Hot Air’s, (not GWPF) quote of :

            “18,000 cubic metres of water needed for drilling a well with a life span of up to ten years is equal to the volume used to irrigate a 3 hectare corn field in one season or an 18 hole golf course in one month.”

            is entirely reasonable and credible.

            . http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/its-a-greener-shade-of-green-britains-first-organic-golf-course-2064801.html

          • Richard says:

            So my water consumption concerns include new Golf courses in West Sussex, as well as fracking in Balcombe. However, I’m not aware that any of the former are planned.

          • Richard says:

            NO Chris – My point was that water is an increasingly scare resource in Sussex. We can ill afford to waste it on golf courses or fracking! Or for that matter – significant new housing developments.

          • Chris French says:

            Of course water is a resource that requires careful management, on that we can agree, however fracing’s temporary use of water would be relatively insignificant:

            Total amount of water supplied by South East Water & Southern Water is greater than 1,000,000,000 litres a day.

            Total amount of water needed for up to 10 days to frac a well with a life span of up to ten years is 18,000,000 litres.

            The amount of water used to frac a well as a percentage of the total water supplied by South East Water & Southern Water over 10 days, is therefore 18,000,000 divided 10,000,000,000 = 0.18%

            For comparison the leakage rate from South East Water & Southern Water’s water pipes is 17%

            Water companies should be fixing their leaks and increasing capacity i.e. building more reservoirs.

            To stop fracing from using a relatively insignificant amount of water for a short period of time, will therefore have no significant effect whatsoever on conserving water.


          • Refracktion says:

            The GWPFs credibility is shot to hell as they may lose their charitable status www. independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/lord-lawsons-climatechange-think-tank-risks-being-dismantled-after-complaint-it-persistently-misled-public-8659314.html


        • Refracktion says:

          “an 18-hole golf course can use as much as 2.3 million litres of water every day” possibly if it is in a crazy place like Dubai. I imagine the snow dome there probably uses quite a bit of power to keep to down to alpine temperatures too. So what?

          If Royal Lytham – a UK championship golf course in the heart of the area to be fracked can get by on just 5 million litres a year it shows how desperate you have to be to try to use such a bizarre comparison.

          I see you also repeat the new bit that politicians like DAn Byles have disingenuously added – the part about “a well with a life span of up to ten years” – don’t you know a:) that fracking a well takes only a couple of months b:) there will be around 40 wells per pad.so the water used on a single well pad (base on GWPF’s estimate of up t 19,000 m3 per well), would keep Royal Lytham irrigated for about 150 years.

          That’s not what Geasy Grealy of AllHotAir would have you believe but then Cuadrilla are one of his clients…

          • Chris French says:

            Total estimated 2011 water consumption for all shale wells completed that year represented about 0.3 percent of total U.S. freshwater consumption.

            In comparison, golf courses in the United States consumed about 0.5 percent of all freshwater used in the country, according to the Professional Golf Association.


          • Refracktion says:

            Well Chris I don’t know what country you are in – maybe the the USA I guess, but we are in the UK and our golf courses hardly use a frackers piss of water by comparison.

          • Slow learner? Wet behind ears?

          • Refracktion says:

            “1. It proves Nick Grealy’s quote to be correct about water usage.”

            Why not go further and use a golf course in Abu Dhabi as a comparison Chris? ou could make yourselves look REALLY silly then. What it actually proves is that you are both rather desperate and short of relevant material

            “2. I am referring to the US to compare water usage between fracking for shale and usage by golf courses, as the UK cannot be used at the moment for such a comparison.”

            I have given you data for usage in a premier UK golf course. Perhaps you can explain why you think water usage per frack in the UK will be significantly different to that suggested by your friends at the Global Warming Policy Foundation then?

            Frankly you are making yourself sound ridiculous (again) Chris

          • Good Lord, Royal Lytham uses a ‘wetting agent’??? That wouldn’t be a surfactant now would it, you know, the sort of ‘chemical’ used in fraccing? And put directly onto the earth, not pumped within the confines of multiple casing & tubing strings.

            Well I never. Perhaps the Occupy lot should leave the field to the sheep & decamp to the 13th fairway at Royal Lytham?

          • Refracktion says:

            I imagine if they start covering the links in fracking fluid and or flow back fluid a:) locals would indeed be up in arms. b:) the membership might have something to say about it.

            Your disingenousness seems to know no bounds Michael

          • Refracktion says:

            LOL – but Royal Lytham is one of the UK’s best maintained golf clubs and is slap bang inside PEDL 165 Chris. Trying to compare UK fracking water usage to a golf club in Florida is pathetic. You just make yourself look like a fool (again). Why do you keep digging?

          • Refracktion says:

            …, you silly man, that is what the original quote about golf course, long ago referred to Florida. You don’t even know THAT do you 🙂 The quote has since been bastardized for use in the UK and the clever “in 10 years bit” added by devious commentators, but if you do a bit of homework you will find the original quote you mindlessly refer to in its full glory 🙂

          • Chris French says:


            My post above, referred to an article written in April 2013:

            “Total estimated 2011 water consumption for all shale wells completed that year represented about 0.3 percent of total U.S. freshwater consumption.

            In comparison, golf courses in the United States consumed about 0.5 percent of all freshwater used in the country, according to the Professional Golf Association.


          • And anyway, OMG you are slow to learn. The water poured on golf courses makes nice green grass, evaporates, forms clouds, and falls again as rain. Pity about the cost, but at least it falls again as rain. The unfortunate water whacked down fracking wells laced with sand and chemicals comes back enriched with saline solution, heavy metals and radioactivity from down under, and at best is dumped underground, forever out of the water cycle, causing eathquakes the while; at worst it is dumped on land, in watercouses or at sea, polluting; while some remains underground, free to migrate throughout eternity to God knows where.

          • Chris French says:


            In the well developed fracking industry of the USA, water usage is a relatively insignifcant 0.3%.
            In comparison our local water companies lose through leaks a far more significant 17%.

            Flow-back water in Europe must be recycled according to a standard which means it is equal to existing water supplies in rivers or lakes.

            Untreated flowback water cannot be disposed of in rivers, streams or anywhere above ground according to current EU wide laws. It certainly cannot as you state be simply “dumped on land, in watercourses or at sea.”

          • “forever out of the water cycle” … perhaps just as well, considering that burning all that gas creates pure virgin fresh water. We wouldn’t want the sea-levels to rise from all the water being brought into existence, now would we?

    • Rodney Jago says:

      In response to Richard Aug. 17th 9.22 am. (my replies seem to get in the wrong place).
      Yes I do have an issue with protestors.
      Most of them nice people but “greenwashed “ into believing they can protest their way to a clean, green, subsidised world while still enjoying all the benefits the real economy provides for them.
      In perhaps 15 lengthy conversations three protestors have with obvious sincerity told me we could all have free & clean energy but “they” are blocking it for profit. Might as well argue with the Druids (also present).
      Even the reasonably sensible ones seem unconcerned about higher energy prices or energy security.
      I do not wish to be governed by rent-a-mob or faded “celebs”. Parliamentary Democracy involves some give & take. Just look what happens when people think their “causes” justify mob rule.
      If property prices fall it is entirely the fault of the selfish NIMBY’s who have brought our village notoriety .
      Much more important is the economy we are leaving to the next generation. We are nearly as indebted as the Weimar Republic and do not have the resources to waste on pointless gestures to satisfy green or any other cults. We may have an opportunity to reduce energy costs to the great benefit of the economy and thus the welfare of the Nation.
      As to Balcombe I doubt if drilling will do more damage than the M23 spur road. I love our countryside & heartily wish shale oil were confined to the northern waste lands. But we do, or may, have it and for the sake of our country must accept some new development. If the professional protestors would go away we would hardly notice it…

      • Refracktion says:

        “the selfish NIMBY’s who have brought our village notoriety .”

        I presume you must be referring to David Cameron and Lord Howell there? After all you won’t find two more selfish nimbys on the subject of fracking anywhere in the UK 🙂

      • Richard says:

        Rodney – originating (a long time ago) from the Northern Wastelands – I’d need to defend those locations also.

        I do sympathise about the M23 truck; we also suffer from its effect on the run into Haywards Heath.

        As I discussed with a friend of mine. I’d rather support the deployment of a couple of Thorium reactors to Sussex than see hundreds of fracking wells. I’ve come to conclusion that James Lovelock was 100% correct. Radiation is preferable CO2 / atmospheric warming.

        • Thorium?!?! You think we don’t have the technology to pump water under pressure through steel piping into the earth for a few hours ate a stretch, but that we do have the technology to weld unobtanium piping to contain ultra high temperature liquid fluoride {fluoride!} salts in a closed loop through a nuclear reactor for thirty years at a time.

          I guess a PhD is no proof of the ability to discriminate risk.

          • Richard says:

            Michael – you don’t know what your talking about.

          • A PhD? “your” as an abbreviation for “you are”??

            So tell me – what is the working temperature of the liquid fluoride salt used for exchanging heat in a thorium reactor? Go on, you’re a ‘physicist’.

          • Richard says:

            Sorry – I’m too busy trying to find your “Raal et al” paper – that doesn’t appear to be cited anywhere. Guess it was low grade research. Consistent with your ongoing comments on the web site.

          • Its not that difficult, here’s one: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14786436508230081?journalCode=tphm19#.Ug-vqxxR8pI

            & a ref: http://orlabs.oclc.org/identities/lccn-no2008-40989

            but that is all totally irrelevant to the Balcombe #2 well, or this blog site.

          • Richard says:

            Go and look it up in Wikipedia.

          • Richard says:


          • Wikipedia:

            Piping: A low chromium, nickel–molybdenum alloy, Hastelloy-N, was used in the MSRE and proved compatible with the fluoride salts FLiBe and FLiNaK.[6] All metal parts contacting salt were made of Hastelloy-N. … all major components were fabricated in U.S. Atomic Energy Commission-owned shops at Oak Ridge and Paducah. … At the time that design stresses were set for the MSRE, the data that was available indicated that the strength and creep rate of Hastelloy-N were hardly affected by irradiation. After the construction was well along, the stress-rupture life and fracture strain were found to be drastically reduced by thermal neutron irradiation. The MSRE stresses were reanalyzed, and it was concluded that the reactor would have adequate life to reach its goals. At the same time a program was launched to improve the resistance of Hastelloy-N to the embrittlement. … Fluorine gas was found to be produced by radiolysis of frozen salts, but only at temperatures below about 100 °C.

            Components that were developed especially for the MSRE included flanges for 5-inch (130 mm) lines carrying molten salt, freeze valves (an air-cooled section where salt could be frozen and thawed), flexible control rods to operate in thimbles at 1200 °F (650 °C), and the fuel sampler-enricher. … Remote maintenance considerations pervaded the MSRE design, and developments included devices for remotely cutting and brazing together 1½-inch pipe, removable heater-insulation units, and equipment for removing specimens of metal and graphite from the core.

            One unexpected finding was shallow, inter-granular cracking in all metal surfaces exposed to the fuel salt. The cause of the embrittlement was tellurium – a fission product generated in the fuel. This was first noted in the specimens that were removed from the core at intervals during the reactor operation. Post-operation examination of pieces of a control-rod thimble, heat-exchanger tubes, and pump bowl parts revealed the ubiquity of the cracking and emphasized its importance to the MSR concept. The crack growth was rapid enough to become a problem over the planned thirty-year life of a follow-on thorium breeder reactor. This cracking could be reduced by adding small amounts of niobium to the Hastelloy-N.

            The ensuing decontamination and decommissioning project was called “the most technically challenging” activity assigned to Bechtel Jacobs under its environmental management contract with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Operations organization. In 2003, the MSRE cleanup project was estimated at about $130 million, with decommissioning expected to be completed in 2009. Removal of uranium from the salt was finally complete in March 2008, however still leaving the salt with the fission products in the tanks. Much of the high cost was caused by the unpleasant surprise of fluorine and uranium hexafluoride evolution from cold fuel salt in storage that ORNL did not defuel and store correctly, but this has now been taken into consideration in MSR design. A potential decommissioning processes has been described; uranium is to be removed from the fuel as the hexafluoride by adding excess fluorine, and plutonium as the plutonium dioxide by adding sodium carbonate.

            Michael. paraphrasing Mae West: “I seen thorium & I seen fraccing and believe me honey, fraccing is safer”.

  81. Alison and Rodney,

    Was it you (BPC) or WSCC who instigated this footpath ban? How are the 82/85% of interested/concerned residents safely to access the site? And others who are here to protect us? I hope whoever it was who took tis decision to close the country route will take responsibility for accidnets on the road. Serious question – who was it who instigated the ban?

    • adream608 says:

      responsibility for accidents on the road lies with who ever organised an event on a main road, without proper stewarding and risk assesment

      • NOW, not Sunday’s protest, is the time when road traffic poses a danger to residents as well as to those here to protect us who now need to walk down the twisting, forest-shaded, verge-free first stretch of road between Balcombe station and the start of the wide grass verge that leads to the camp site. Normally we walk safely across the fields. Thanks to bullies in our local council (or should that read councils?) the footpass is closed for 21 days.

    • responsibility for accidents on the road lies with who ever organised an event on a main road, without proper stewarding and risk assessment

  82. Chris Harley says:

    I do not know if your legal advisers have given you any advice on this action but you should and advisably must obtain a quiae timet injunction to stop any further activity. This would be based upon the real and immediate fear of environmental pollution under the Environmental Protection Act, should any of the complained of events present a clear and imminent danger to health, human rights and environmental well being. Good luck and remember solidarity is strength!

    • Chris French says:

      Effect of fracking on UK house prices:

      “It certainly does not seem to have affected property prices. In Poole, which looks out on the main offshore activities of Perenco, properties go for millions. Purbeck Property, the local estate agents, said the proximity of an oilfield has not had an adverse effect”.


      • Refracktion says:

        Are you suggesting that Wytch Farm was fracked with high volume hydraulic fracturing? I’m not convinced it was fracked at all but if you believe it was then please share the volume of fluid used and the date of the operation. As far as I am aware ther has only ever been 1 HVHF operation in the entire UK – Preese Hall and we all know what happened there don’t we?

  83. ceepowers says:

    I have just posted a piece about the potential fracking in Balcombe on my site, here at http://www.intheirprime.wordpress.com Everyone is welcome to read it

  84. Enfield says:

    We don’t care if Cuadrilla are legally responsible, it makes no difference once the damage is done and we all know the law is not on the side of people but on the side of the government who are there to line the pockets of the rich and have already demonstrated that they can simply change laws to suit themselves. We don’t want the damage done in the first place, we already know that it is not a safe practice, they people at the top who will profit are willing to take the risk but we are not.

    • Peter Townsley says:

      Guys, I just want to add our support to your efforts all the way from the antipodes. Our community has been fighting a 2+ year running battle to prevent exploitation of Sydney’s main drinking water catchments ( yes, that’s right, on the driest continent on earth). So far we have prevented commercial drilling but the war is far from won. We, at Stop CSG Illawarrra http://stop-csg-illawarra.org/ would like to offer any practical support we can: We have developed effective branding, web media tools, research material, messaging, merchandising etc, as well as public event experience, which we can make available if it will help you.

      It is important to raise awareness and support outside of the immediate area and generate large numbers of supporters willing to sign partitions and give voice. This the purpose of our new website focussing on water supply http://stopcsg.org/ourwater/ . (As you may well be aware less than 1% of the world’s water is potable!). This site provides a common interface and messaging for a range of communities and has the support of half a dozen local councils and various state MPs.

      I have lived in Ardingly and Haywards Heath and know not only the beauty of the area but also the location and importance of Ardingly reservoir as a drinking water supply, wildlife habitat and public recreational area.

      Dig in for a long, hard and dirty fight from the industry, be resilient and cohesive ( as the industry will try to split you up and isolate you) and may the force be with you.

      • Richard says:


        While not nearly as stressed as Australia, Sussex is a water stressed county.

        We’ve had hose pipe bans for the last two out of three years. There is continued pressure to build more housing and now we have Cuadrilla – who if successful will be a massive consumer and possibly polluter of water. I doubt Sussex water supplies can cope with these additional stresses on top of increasingly volatile weather.

        Thanks for your support. I spent a year in Sydney (many years ago) – and loved the country. Sussex is – to me – special and we need to fight to protect it.

        Best Wishes


        • Richard, “Sussex is a water stressed county”. Do grow some perspective – I grew up in the Karoo; I have fracced in the Rub al Khali {in mid-summer}. That is water stress.

          • Richard says:

            I really don’t care where you lived. Do you actually live in Sussex. If you do – you will be aware that for a number of reasons water HAS BEEN as problem. Governments activities across several fronts will make this situation worse. Period.

          • Richard says:

            Michael – so you do work in the fracking industry. Are you paid to post by your employees?

      • Richard says:

        Peter – suspect you have some good numbers for water usage w.r.t. fracking. Could you comment on Chris’ claim that there is no issue here?

        • Richard, How would Peter have the remotest idea – he is on about Coal Seam Gas. There may be historic coal in Sussex, but Cuadrilla is not remotely seeking Coalbed Methane.

          I realize you have just woken up to this & have as much knowledge as my teddy bear, but do think before posting. Perhaps you should spend some time on “industry sites”.

          • Richard says:

            Point me to some balanced resources – resources that are not industry propaganda unlike the sites Chris continues to reference – and I’d gladly read around the area. You are quite correct – I’m not an expert, but I suspect I’m significantly more qualified in the fundamental sciences than yourself or your comfort toy. The challenge is finding unbiased high quality information.

            What exactly is your motivation? Something drives you to keep re-posting. Do work in the shale gas industry? Do you live local to Balcombe?

          • Richard, the answers to your questions are all in previous postings on this very site, so read this at least.

            You might be more qualified than Teddy, but you’d have to go some for the other half of your claim to be true.

            If you continue to seek your information off the web, then do yourself a favour & expand your researches to the sites without a “k”: ‘fracing’, ‘frac’ing’, ‘fraccing’, ‘fracting’, ‘fracturing’, ‘hydrofrac…’, ‘well stimulation’, SPE & BGS sites – you might be amazed – or even learn something.

          • Richard says:

            1st Class Honours in Physics, Experimental Physics prize, Phd in AstroPhysics. And you? As I previously requested – I’m happy to read any unbiased resources you can point me to?

          • Member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers since 1977 {now a life member}; Member of the Chartered Management Institute since 1984; did my last 10 years before retirement working in oilfield law; did my first job, in 1960, doing x-ray diffraction in diamonds; did my dissertation on binary stars.

            As I said, browse the sites without the “k”. Book in to some SPE symposia – there are always some, e.g. Offshore Europe in Aberdeen early next month.

          • Richard says:

            So at least we have something in common (re AstroPhysics). As promised – I will check out the resources you mentioned. When I get time. (Unfortunately I have a day job).

          • Richard says:

            Michael – just doing some background checking. FYI – I cannot find any publications under you name concerning binary stars, or X-ray diffraction in Diamonds. If you have any URL’s much appreciated.

            However in my travels I came across the following question that you didn’t answer from earlier this year. A similar dialogue on a Somerset web site.

            I assuming the name is coincidence only?

            “My name is Tim Richards and I live in Somerset within the PEDL licensed by UK Methane Ltd. You have got me wondering if you are a local to Somerset or not? I can’t help but notice that as well as posting comments in This is Somerset you also comment on fracking (we spell it with a ‘k’ over here) stories in This is Bath, This is Derbyshire, This is Leicestershire, Gas Drilling in Balcombe, Gentle Wisdom and the Daily Maverick in South Africa, – who say that Michael Baker is “a retired member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers with extensive experience of hydraulic fracturing”. Perhaps I have got it wrong but in the interests of transparency it would be useful if you would clarify to the people of Somerset if you are a local, if you are associated with the Michael Baker Corporation in the USA and why you are so interested in commenting on fracking stories in the local press across the UK and in particular here in Somerset?”

            Read more: http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/New-report-highlights-fracking-technical/story-18450093-detail/story.html#ixzz2cEWBUcj7
            Follow us: @thisissomnews on Twitter | thisissomerset on Facebook”

          • You won’t find anything under my name. The diamond stuff is under Raal et al – I was 16.

            If you can find Tim Richards’ question you can find my answer to him.

            Stop playing the men – its bad enough you think an oil well in Sussex is a shale gas frac site, now you’re off the subject entirely.

          • Richard says:

            Michael (if that is your real name – you seem to have several): you are clear paid by the Industry to goi around UK web site spreading disinformation and oil industry propaganda.

            Cannot be bothered wasting my time further.

  85. Richard etc – “Analysis of the US shale gas phenomena concludes that the benefits are – at best – short term”.

    Marcellus Shale natural gas production is rising even faster this year than energy experts had predicted, and that’s having a national impact on energy.

    Bentek, a Colorado company that analyzes energy trends, said 2013 production in Pennsylvania and West Virginia is up about 50 percent compared with last year. Figures for the pipelines that take gas out of the Marcellus show that in the first six months of the year, Pennsylvania produced about 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, with projections for a year-end total of about 3.2 trillion cubic feet.

    That yearly number translates into the equivalent of about 550 million barrels of oil.

    The official mid-2013 production figures for Pennsylvania and West Virginia haven’t been released yet by those states, but Bentek’s figures are considered very reliable by government and industry sources.

    Marcellus production this year “has definitely outpaced our expectations,” said Diana Oswald, a Bentek energy analyst, and it’s changing long-established national energy trends.



  86. There seems to be a sub-thread going about rival economic theories, & proposing that it is the duty of good socialists to oppose drilling in Balcombe. Interesting.

    But anyone wishing to acquire knowledge directly relevant to shale exploitation, might want to look at “Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril”, by Vikram Rao

    ps – why are my posts being blocked? Don’t reverberate with “anti” hysteria perhaps?

    • Richard says:

      Michael – Unfortunately the author (Vik Rao) is not unassociated with the profit side of the fracking industry. He previously worked as CTO for Halliburton – a company making money out of the chemicals used in fracking. See http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/05/03/2868988/fracking-chemical-rule-sent-back.html.

      • Halliburton do rather more than make a profit out of the chemicals used in fraccing – they developed hydraulic fracturing & make a great deal of money performing actual frac jobs. They also run the most extensive frac research programme. They are an actual “fracking company” unlike the many drilling companies so described by the BBC & Grauniad.

        The fact that Vik Rao has retired as their chief technical officer makes him pretty well uniquely placed to write about it. From the reviews I’ve seen {I haven’t read it}, he is reportedly even-handed about it. Or do you prefer to get your facts from idiot numpties?

        • Richard says:

          My only question concerns the degree to which the author is unbiased / untainted by financial considerations. It may well be a completely balanced analysis, but without understanding the authors Financial interests one cannot assume that.

          The fact that the author has been a life long member of the Sierra Nevada club – would imply a strong environmental ethic.

          Given the extent to which US industry lobbyist have attempted to skew / corrupt interpretation of data – I hope you can understand my caution.

          • Vik’s 401K {pension} entitlement form being CTO in a company that pays its CEO over $2million a year will surely be sufficient that that we can assume that as a retiree he is free of financial constraints.

            Many senior Halliburton {& not doubt Schlumberger etc {other fracking companies are available, T Wogan}} have high environmental & ethical standards. The company offers a matched giving scheme of up to 10% of salary, for charity etc.

          • Richard says:

            Michael – I think you are being a little naive. Or perhaps I’m being overly paranoid. The problem is – its difficult to fix environmental destruction / pollution once it occurs. But easy to avoid. Therefore caution makes sense.

            This is why I keep reiterating that – should fracking commence – Cuadrilla should be legally liable for any long term environment or property damage. Insurance companies have already stated that property damaged that can be attributed to fracking will not be covered.

            Only then, only with these responsibilities enforced, can we be sure that Cuadrilla will do the right thing.

            Surely that isn’t contentious. If fracking causes no-harm – then Cuadrilla’s exposure / liabilities will be £0. ?

          • ‘from’, not ‘form’

          • Richard, “Cuadrilla should be legally liable for any long term environment or property damage. Insurance companies have already stated that property damaged that can be attributed to fracking will not be covered.”

            Cuadrlla are legally responsible – that is the legal position. That is also why the insurance industry has that stand; Damage would be what in US usage would be a tort by Cuadrilla, insurance companies do not generally provide primary cover against loss recoverable from a party inflicting tortuous harm.

    • Refracktion says:

      ps – why are my posts being blocked? Don’t reverberate with “anti” hysteria perhaps?

      Kathryn did you activate that post quality plug in?

      • Sorry, I don’t understand the question… But I don’t administer this site, if that is an answer. Just post on it. And am currently working furiously on wine stuff, so not even reading most posts.

        • Rodney Jago says:

          Several correspondents have been waiting for answers to questions about the recent “survey” but a strange silence continues. Unfortunately the “Middy “did not see fit to publish my letter but I have sent it to some of the responsible authorities. To quote
          “Two correspondents (August 8th) imply a recent survey found 85 % or more of residents against fracking. But they do not tell us the question asked which was; “ DO YOU WANT YOUR LAND/ROAD FRACK FREE?”
          As for most of us our “land” is a modest garden it is no surprise they got the required result.
          Just to be sure well drilled campaigners visited every house (sometimes more than once) spreading fear and never, of course, mentioning the dire outlook for our energy costs & energy security.
          The survey was controlled solely by campaigners . I voted twice and for all we know the keener Greens may have ticked their boxes a dozen times apiece. No information is available on the number of votes cast or qualification for voting so the percentages are meaningless.
          I trust the responsible authorities will ignore this dodgy survey.”
          Whenever I have questioned the false claim that that the Parish Council poll last year showed 82% of the village against fracking I have been told that only the percentage of votes cast is relevant. If that is the case then the latest “survey” has produced an increase of just 3%
          So congratulations to NoFIBS. For a miserable 3% you have spread fear, abused members of the Parish Council, branded us all as selfish NIMBY’s, politicised the Village Fete, encouraged illegal banners, welcomed rent-a-mob and incurred huge policing costs.
          All this unpleasantness for what? 99.9% at the protest camp are already “converts”. (Some perfectly nice people deluded into believing they can protest their way to a clean, green subsidised world and still enjoy all the benefits the real economy provides for them).
          Perhaps you hope to convert the police or employees abused as they go to work?
          Do you really want to see every issue on which people have strong feelings decided by protest mobs?
          Try to keep the peace this weekend!

  87. Mick Mack says:

    There seems little point in trying to gain the upper hand intellectually or through presenting more or less rational logic here as ideas won’t be the limiting factor in this whole process. What will shut this whole operation down is action and that’s precisely what we intend to do. Let’s save our energy for that and let those who are fearful and emotionally damaged to do the necessary work on themselves.

  88. Like households across the rest of the country, Balcombe’s residents use rather a lot of fossil fuels.

    In fact, they use more fossil fuels than most. Three-quarters of Balcombe’s homes have gas central heating, in line with the rest of the country (78 percent). But Balcombe’s residents consume 30 percent more gas and 30 percent more electricity than the average for England, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    Most households in Balcombe have either one car (37.6 percent) or two (39.2 percent). With 1.6 vehicles per household, car ownership is nearly 40 percent higher than in England as a whole (1.16 vehicles per household).

    Like many other Britons, Balcombe’s residents, and the protestors who have travelled down to show solidarity with them, depend on the availability of reasonably priced oil and gas – they just don’t want it produced in their own area.


    • Richard says:

      I actually suggest the protestors at Balcombe care about the much bigger picture. However Balcombe is a focal point. Especially salient as usually a Tory strong-hold. I suspect the Tory’s will pay the price at the next election. Perhaps that is way Cuadrilla are starting to engineer their exit 😉

      Balcombe keep it up – we’re winning 🙂

    • Michael, what do you make of the fact that Caudrilla trucks have been spotted and photographed taking silica sand into the site? Why would they need that for micrite, and why if not fracking? What do you make of Cuadrilla’s latest announcement that they are unlikely to PRODUCE at Balcombe? Just trying to make us shut up and go away? Why bother to drill if not intending to produce? Our local geology is very different from that of the surrounding country. So what wd be the use?

      • Kathryn, I was surprised at the silica report – its months too early, they must still have a couple of thousand feet. You wouldn’t happen to know the size of the sand? Sand can also be a cement additive, but usually in deep hot wells. Mind you, sand can be used to strengthen a whipstock plug – a strong cement plug used to kick off into the deviated section.

        I still doubt that C will frac, but its worth remembering that when carbonate is too homogeneous to etch, it can be propped with sand.

        As you know, I was at Balcombe {wish we’d met}. Its a pretty good site for a well, and for a producing well, in my estimation. But perhaps too crowded, or too adjacent to the road & railway line for the erection of storage tanks needed for a production hub. Maybe that’s what they mean.

        I shudder at C’s profligacy with the readies, but Balcome is not shale, so maybe not part of the Centrica acreage buy-in & destined for something else. I would have thought they’d like a cash flow, e.g. Elswick, but maybe the cash-flow pressure is off for now. Drilling it does give confirmation {or not} of the Conoco data – & cores.

      • John says:

        As a village resident of over 35 years with a wife born here, I feel compelled to put my views on this issue.
        We are both appalled by the absolute waste of money to police & protect this exploration site to allow Cuadrilla to carry out what they are entitled to when some village clubs or societies would be so happy with just a small amount of it, i.e. cubs/scouts to renew their portakabin perhaps or church bell refurb? It appears it will get worse between 16th & 21st when “direct action or missions” is forecast. Already we are seeing large tree trunks being placed in front of field gates, where we live (in Balcombe) is now getting a 24 security guard to protect the site, are we preparing for an invasion again? What effect is all this threat of action having on our residents? I feel this situation has now gone well beyond sensible, the views of a few (82% of the responders) has done more to damage our village than any amount of activity from Cuadrilla, what about those who are not against or don’t know, why are their views just being ignored, just get shouted down, don’t they have a right too?
        Where were most of these protesters in 1986 when the site was drilled exactly as it is now? Most weren’t born & a majority weren’t living in Balcombe, there was no trouble, Conoco were able to get on with their job, finish & go.
        As a resident I am fed up with the inconvenience of the concrete road being closed because of “protesters” the impression visitors coming into Balcombe get is not one I’m proud of nor would I expect it to actually attract anyone to visit our village at present.
        We don’t need this “threat of direct action” Cuadrilla ARE NOT FRACKING, save your actions until they apply for the licence, if they ever do, just let them get on & do what they want to at this time & the quicker they will be out of Balcombe.
        Just let us have our quiet, peaceful & scenic village back.
        It is up to the organisers of this fiasco to demand that this threatened “direct action” does not take place, it isn’t needed, but I doubt if anyone will take any notice of my request, after all, according to Kathryn I’m a cronie!

        • Chris French says:

          Thank you John for speaking up for what I perceive as the silent majority in Balcombe, who have had enough of this protest, which could spiral out of control with talk of ‘direct action’.

          • 85% of nearly every house in Balcombe. We visited them all, street by street. No reply from very few. You must remember our visit? You should be grateful that someone is taking action, someone is protecting your future and your children’s future. You belong to the oh-how-noisy-few!

            Some reading for you:


          • Chris French says:

            If 85% support the protest, how come less than 7% took part in the protest walk please?

          • Richard says:

            Chris – Thanks to your efforts I’m sure the numbers will increase. For certain – I’ll be at the next one I can get too. I’ve not attended previously.

          • Richard says:

            I’ve never been worried about standing alone.
            I’ll be cycling over from Haywards Heath to show my support tomorrow for the protestors. If you are around – I’ll even buy you a pint.

          • Refracktion says:

            “If 85% support the protest, how come less than 7% took part in the protest walk please?”

            A fair point Chris French – can I suggest you organise those who are in favour to make a similar show of solidarity. It will be fascinating to see how many you can get. If you got 7 % of the people you know support fracking out how many would that be? Do tell us so we can see how well you actually do.

          • Chris French says:

            Frankly, I think the last thing the silent majority of Balcombe residents want is more protesting. They’ve probably had more than enough of that already. I should imagine they would just like the hundreds of uninvited ‘direct action’ protesters from outside Balcombe gone, and their once peaceful village returned to them.

          • Richard says:

            Chris – Where do you live? I’m guessing not in Balcombe?

          • Chris French says:

            Where I live is irrelevant to this debate. I’m simply exercising my freedom of speech, based upon my own research on the topic. Not only does the less than 7% attendance at the protest walk undermine the much publicised ‘85% support the protest’ line, but also many letters written by residents of Balcombe to the local Mid Sussex Times paper. This one is a good example: http://www.midsussextimes.co.uk/news/letters/letter-well-done-balcombe-1-5369121

          • Richard says:

            Chris – are you paid per post – or is it a flat rate?

          • Richard says:

            Chris – you don’t live there – how would you know?

          • john says:

            & as usual a snide remark left by Kathryn!
            Yes I remember the visit, I was left a non -functioning DVD! I registered my answer, I was one of those 15% not against or undecided, so i can assure you that you are not protecting mine or my childrens future, we ALL rely on fossil fuels & will for years to come, you are not representing my views or those of that 15%, I am not grateful you are causing me & hundreds of others inconvenience & unnecessary expense, possibly long term when the bills for this fiasco are added up & our council taxes rise to pay for the policing etc, also if this “direct action” results in damage or injuries, sympathy for the protest will rapidly evaporate.

          • Richard says:

            John – I think you have more to worry about than any temporary blip in local council costs caused by policing the demonstrators.

            Assuming you live in Balcombe – the value of you home will fall and you water rates will increases as Cuadrilla competes with local residents for limited water supplies – see http://www.organicauthority.com/sanctuary/farming-or-fracking-water-rights.html

          • john says:

            In reply to Richards comment below, Yes I do live in Balcombe, for the last 35 years actually & also worked here, probably a bit longer than most of the protesters! My house price won’t drop, my water rates won’t rise, if they do I’m not bothered because I enjoy living in Balcombe – well, used to, I’m sorry to say that I feel really upset by all this stupidity, none of the “against” brigade have the slightest intention of listening to anyone but their own opinions, lifelong friendships ruined by split opinions & misinformation.
            If the oil prices in 1986 had been different there may well have been a “nodding donkey” on the drill site now, would people that have moved here since then lived elsewhere because of that? doubtful.
            Perhaps we could have a poll on how many residents want this protest/direct action/ fiasco to continue?

          • Refracktion says:

            John you say “there may well have been a “nodding donkey” on the drill site now”

            So you really have no idea what a 40 well multi-lateral shale gas frack pad will be like for years then? You think it will be just like a single vertical oil well? Really??

          • john says:

            “If the oil prices in 1986 had been different there may well have been a “nodding donkey” on the drill site now” refers to when Conoco drilled here in 1986 & found oil, price of oil then made it uneconomical to extract, but if prices had been higher, they may have done so, there was no talk of fracking, no intention of exploring for gas, just the possibility of one pump. What you are suggesting is never likely to happen at lower stumble nor is it even planned.

        • Fracking prayer written for Balcombe by the Revd Dr Mark Betson, Diocesan Rural Officer, Chichester

          God of love, spirit of creation, out of your love you created the world and made it so that it might sustain us and that we might care for it.

          Forgive where we have in the past used its resources in greed and selfishness, indifferent to the needs of others and the rest of creation. In our ignorance we made mistakes, which now we begin to understand.

          We ask that through your spirit you encourage us in our understanding so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and further abuse creation to support unsustainable lifestyles that will make future generations suffer.

          In Christ you gave us a message of hope, and in that hope help us look to a future where all creation will be redeemed by your love. Give us courage to build for this future now with sources of energy that will last in harmony with creation and with lifestyles that look to support our children and grandchildren’s future. Amen.

  89. Newminster says:

    I’m probably wasting my time since facts are something that are evidently not wanted on this site but I can at least say I tried!

    But hell, don’t ever let the truth get in the way of a good demo.

  90. Chris French says:

    We have at present a political consensus, not a scientific consensus. As for cherry picking data, what about Climategate and Mann’s Hockey Stick graph : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/6738111/Climategate-reveals-the-most-influential-tree-in-the-world.html

  91. Richard says:

    Do No Harm…

    There seem to be several individuals that post to this site whose strategy seems to be obfuscate or dismiss the scientific consensus concerning Global Warming and issue relating to fracking.

    Science progress / evolves through robust discussion and testing theories against the actual real world via the process of experimentation. So argument / differing opinions / is not in itself an issue. However two principles must be applied when the consequences of a decision could potentially cause harm.

    1: The burden of evidence should fall on those proposing the action. In this case – those proposing fracking need to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that fracking is safe. This has not been done!

    2: Those that profit from fracking should be liable for down stream damages. By profit I mean the company directly involved, the current Conservative Government / Cabinet that are trying to force this through.

    If the Balcombe community could sue Cuadrilla / Conservative Party for damages caused by fracking – I’m sure we’d all sleep a little easier.

    • Indeed – The burden of evidence should fall on those proposing the action.

      So those who are attempting to strangle at birth the U.K.’s best chance of evading our foreseeable power shortages must needs justify why they wish pensioners to die of hypothermia.

      • Richard says:

        Michael – what utter utter nonsense.

        • “utter utter nonsense” – exactly my opinion of so many of the “fractivist” posts on this site.

          • Chris French says:

            Michael is quite correct. Regarding the most recent excess cold winter deaths: “The experts said that the crisis showed the need for more energy to be produced in this country, either from nuclear, coal or gas plants”. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/9950731/Drawn-out-winter-may-have-caused-thousands-of-extra-deaths.html

          • Richard says:

            No – you are both quite wrong / misled. Energy poverty has nothing to do with the lack of fuel. Everything to do with the distorting effects of an unregulated free market. If you want to address energy poverty:

            – Increase taxation levels on the well off.
            – Force the energy generation companies to reduce pricing – via reduced profits / senior management pay / dividends paid.

          • Every time you post I have to lower my estimate of your maturity …

          • Chris French says:

            The degree of energy poverty is related to the price of energy. The price of energy is determined in a free market by the interaction of the supply of and demand for energy.

          • Richard says:

            Suggest you read the following –
            ‘The Great Transformation’ – The Politics and Economic Origins of our Time – Karl Polanyi
            ‘Ill Fares the Land’ – Tony Judt
            then reflect and review and reconsider your faith in unregulated markets.

          • Chris French says:

            Thank you Richard for confirming what this is all about – imposing socialism in the guise of environmentalism. Suggest you read the following –
            ‘The Road to Serfdom’ – Hayek – then reflect and review and reconsider your faith in excessively regulated markets.

          • Richard says:

            Chris – I’m not a Socialist. I just enlightened enough to look beyond simplistic dogma’s and understand – what the free market is good for / and what is isn’t good for.

            Neither political extreme work and the reasons can be found in hard science. If you are actually interest in this area – as opposed to just trolling – or paid to push a POV – I’d be happy to exchange some reading materials.

            Start by reading around the area of research know as ‘Complex Adaptive Systems’. I will read the book you suggest. I doubt you’ll do the same.

          • Chris French says:

            “I’m not a socialist” Funny then how those 2 books you recommended are the first 2 books in a suggested modern day ‘Left Book Club’ http://redrabbleroz.tumblr.com/post/17300404128/any-suggestions-for-a-left-book-club-reading-list

          • Richard says:

            Actually – sounds like Hayek would be in agreement with my views.

            I quote….

            While Hayek is opposed to regulations which restrict the freedom to enter a trade, or to buy and sell at any price, or to control quantities, he acknowledges the utility of regulations which restrict allowed methods of production, so long as these are applied equally to everyone and not used as an indirect way of controlling prices or quantities, and without forgetting the cost of such restrictions:
            To prohibit the use of certain poisonous substances, or to require special precautions in their use, to limit working hours or to require certain sanitary arrangements, is fully compatible with the preservation of competition. The only question here is whether in the particular instance the advantages gained are greater than the social costs which they impose.

            I think this is in-line with my previous posts. 🙂

          • Chris French says:

            Hayek was simply saying that some regulation is necessary. 

            Hayek made it clear that he was not advocating a system of pure laissez-faire, but one with a general system of rules that would enable individuals to carry out their own plans. http://gardinersright.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/what-would-hayek-say-about-our-economy-28-2/

          • Richard says:

            Exactly. The free market cannot be left to its own devices. We both appear to agree on this – we are making progress 😉

            The discussion turns to the degree and form of regulation required – i.e. the boundary conditions. This is difficult – one has to be careful – as the boundary conditions affect the behaviour of the Market. Again – I refer to the previous comments I’ve made in this area. There is no longer any need for Left / Right political dogma. The dynamics of such systems are increasingly understood and policies should be crafted with that knowledge.

            Back to Balcombe and fracking. Those making the profit should be held legally liable for any damage to the environment or community caused by their activities. Im certain this is a necessary constraint that Hayek would have agree with – do you?

          • Chris French says:

            What you are proposing is nothing new; Cuadrilla must be subject to the Rule of Law, of course Hayek would agree.

          • Richard says:

            So as long as those laws are sufficient to cover the long term interests of the Balcombe community; then we’re in agreement.

          • Refracktion says:

            “The price of energy is determined in a free market by the interaction of the supply of and demand for energy.”

            You were doing quite well before that idiocy. time to pipe down now 🙂

          • Chris French says:

            So you refuse to acknowledge the law of supply and demand? Just look at the United States: they’ve got more than 10,000 fracking wells opening up each year and their gas prices are three-and-a-half times lower than here. Even if we only see a fraction of the impact shale gas has had in America, we can expect to see lower energy prices in this country.

          • Refracktion says:

            “So you refuse to acknowledge the law of supply and demand?”

            No Chris – I just know that they don’t apply to gas pricing in Europe – it’s not a “perfect market” by any stretch of the imagination and I am honestly fed up of hearing idiots like you (and the Prime Minister) telling me that increased supply will result in cheap gas. I’ve lost count of the sources who agree it won’t (including as you can hardly fail to be aware surely) Cuadrilla themselves.

          • Richard says:

            As I suspect Refracktion is aware.

            ‘Perfect markets’ tend to a power law distribution of the resources that define the Market. A few extremely wealthy individuals and the majority surviving with just enough. Both external regulation (boundaries), and wealth re-distribution mechanisms, are required we want a market to behave in a socially acceptable manner.

          • Chris French says:

            May I suggest that the Govt is probably better informed than you. Gas prices could fall by a quarter and help bring down household energy bills if Britain exploits its shale gas reserves. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10186007/Gas-prices-could-fall-by-a-quarter-with-shale-drilling-Government-advisers-say.html

          • Refracktion says:

            “Gas prices could fall by a quarter and help bring down household energy bills if Britain exploits its shale gas reserves. ”

            Yes Chris, and pigs may fly.

            Given the choice between the government desperately trying to shore up a busted policy and the massed voices of those telling them that shale won’t bring down prices (and even Cuadrilla have admitted this) I know who I trust, but then I don’t have any vested interests.

          • Chris French says:

            Do you deny the reality of the US shale gas success story? Fracking in America has brought US natural gas prices to lows not seen in decades, boosting its economic recovery and providing cheap energy for consumers.

          • Richard says:

            Analysis of the US shale gas phenomena concludes that the benefits are – at best – short term. If the US slow down investment in Green alternatives – long term they’ll be screwed.

            Chris – Don’t you have a day job? Or are you paid to do this?

          • Refracktion says:

            “Do you deny the reality of the US shale gas success story?”

            I don’t deny that gas prices in America fell to levels which let to fracking companies “losing their shirts” to quote one CEO.

            You are either being disingenous, or you are simply ignorant, if you suggest that the same thing will happen over here. As I have said, even Cuadrilla admit it won’t. What do you know that they don’t?

          • Chris French says:

            The UK’s Bowland Shale in North West England, contains 50% more gas than the combined reserves of two of the largest fields in the United States. http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2013/jul/16/bowland-shale-fracking-uk-economy-co2-emissions

  92. ‘We are writing to express our solidarity and support in your fight to defend your enviroment, community and the right to protest, We are acutely aware that your fight is our fight as we face the roll out of fracking throughout the UK. We reject the assertion that fracking will provide cheap energy and are appalled at the tax give aways to fracking companies at the clear expense of sustainable enregy sources.

    ‘We wish you every success and will be with you in thought and physically.

    PCS Union Revenue and Customs enviromental committee’

  93. And Louisa’s letter to the editor, unpublished:

    To the editor,
    I am a Balcombe resident. I am a mother of two small children and since Cuadrilla announced on the 8th May 2013 this year that they were intending to drill an exploration well this summer I have been researching and informing myself regarding the facts about fracking and the potential impact to my village, community and landscape.

    I am a Conservative voter. Balcombe is a conservative village. I am shocked by the Conservative’s response to Fracking and the push to get this unproven, unsafe technology into our countryside without proper regulation or consultation with local residents.

    We are on the frontline here in Balcombe, this is a fast growing campaign, individuals are informing themselves, coming together to share information and I think it is safe to say that most other communities facing the government pressure to host this kind of activity, will be following our lead and fighting against your governments plan to inflict this on our communities.

    I would like to respond to some of your statements in your letter within the context of my own discussions with the research I have done and the meetings and correspondence I have had with Cuadrilla, DECC, the Environment Agency, the local Mineral Planning Authority in this case West Sussex County Council and the Health and Safety Executive.

    Firstly, regarding reduction in our energy bills – Cuadrilla’s representatives said at a meeting in our village when asked about the impact on energy bills “We’ve done an analysis and it’s a very small…at the most it’s a very small percentage…basically insignificant,” How do you respond to that? This is what we have been told.

    Secondly, fracking will create jobs, jobs for whom and where? I have seen no evidence of jobs apart from the police force and security at the site

    Thirdly, the community bribes. Balcombe is on the front line of exploration and fracking. I have seen no mention of the community payment/benefit to us. If we are not benefitting how can other villages like ours trust that they will too?

    Regarding regulation and safety. The Royal Society wrote an excellent review of hydraulic fracturing within it they wrote 10 recommendations of multiple points. Which of these points have actually been taken forward and addressed by your government?

    You say that “what they [local people] do object to is the idea that their neighbourhood should change without any say” – we have had no say in Balcombe, our views are not being listened to or taken into account. They are being swept aside by your Governments insistence that this is the right thing to do at any cost to our environment, landscape and community.

    Our community is currently being ripped apart by exploratory drilling in our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, no amount of community bribe or regulation can make fracking/acid etching or acid stimulating acceptable. If there is any risk to our water supply it should simply not be taken. If I had the choice between the lights going out or the taps running dry I know which I would choose.

    And finally, there has been no dawn chorus in Lower Stumble woods since the drilling began. The birds have left, sensibly like they do when a storm is brewing. The clouds are gathering, the storm is turning into a hurricane. Mr Cameron you had better ready yourself, middle England is just getting started!

    Louisa Delpy, Balcombe, West Sussex

  94. My full letter to the Telegraph, truncated by them:


    David Cameron advises us to ignore the ‘myths’, to lie back and be fracked. He is the myth-spinner. Slashed energy bills? No. Experts (Ofgem amongst them) agree that gas prices will not change. Jobs for hard-working Brits? No. Frack sites will employ a few specialised workers, many of them foreign; but yes, jobs for the army of tanker drivers who will infest our country roads, and the road-menders who will have to repair the damage. Welcome windfalls for communities? Cash bribes will not work if property values plummet and houses become uninsurable. Vast volumes of gas? Even if true, extracting this locked-in gas will mean fracked wells every mile across our landscape. Mr Cameron should Google Pennsylvania , and ponder its forests pocked with wells. He should ask himself why New York is fighting fracking. He should investigate the earthquakes of Ohio and Texas , whose old wells and mines are dumping grounds for the sea of contaminated water that fracking generates. How much water is Cameron willing to sacrifice to his new god? Has he considered the destiny of British waste water, too polluted to be treated and returned to the water cycle? Our bullying government and their oil and gas cronies can expect a Balcombe barracking wherever they go next in Britain . Mr Cameron, think of the votes you are flushing down all those wells.

  95. At last some sense on gas prices:

    UK Senior Banker debunks argument for fracking in letter published today by the Financial Times:

    Sir, Your support for UK shale gas (“Make haste slowly on UK shale gas”, editorial, August 6) based upon “the reduction in energy prices and the improvement in energy security” is unjustified on both grounds. Even if the extraction, transmission and eventual environmental reinstatement costs were lower than those of Norwegian conventional gas, the end user, industrial or residential, will pay the same and the benefit of the presumed (but at this point unproved) higher operating margin for onshore shale gas extraction will accrue entirely to equity and debt investors in the extraction companies and to the exchequer through corporation tax and petroleum revenue tax.

    The only way it could be cheaper would be if the government sought to penalise gas imports through higher duties, which would be illegal under EU and World Trade Organisation rules. As for… energy security, it is absurd to imply that gas extracted from the Norwegian sector of the North Sea is less secure than from the UK sector, unless you expect FT readers to believe that Norway could be overthrown by a hostile regime.

    Import substitution would, of course, benefit the balance of payments (BoP), but you do not mention this and there has been little (if any) economic analysis to suggest that the UK will run into an unmanageable BoP problem because of gas imports alone. Wider issues of competitiveness and whether the UK can continue to attract foreign direct investment if it suicidally exits the EU are far more likely to weigh on the external position over 20 years.

    Above all, the pursuit of shale gas is wrong-headed because it distracts from the overriding public policy objective of de-carbonising the economy.

    You report today (“A rising power”, Analysis, August 9) how the surge of efficient Chinese production of solar panels has led to an 80 per cent drop in the capital cost of solar photo-voltaic production and how Germany is already producing 22 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, manifestly without any noticeable impact on overall German competitiveness.

    Consequently, the suspicion is that the UK government’s support of shale gas is a political sop to its climate-change-denying supporters – led by Lord Lawson – which, however, may yet backfire as it becomes clear that it risks industrialisation of the English countryside.

    With a global glut of conventional gas, which has seen the value of Russia’s Gazprom slashed, the sensible course is to continue to work with our excellent Norwegian and Qatari friends to secure plentiful gas imports by pipeline and liquefied natural gas transportation.

    Tom Brown, Senior Credit Executive, Norddeutsche Landesbank, London EC2, UK

    • Chris French says:

      According to Tom Brown in his ivory tower: “Germany is already producing 22 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, manifestly without any noticeable impact on overall German competitiveness.” Back in the real world Tom, Germany has gone further down the ‘renewables’ path than any country in the world, and now it’s paying the price: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9559656/Germanys-wind-power-chaos-should-be-a-warning-to-the-UK.html

      • Refracktion says:

        To quote from the article you reference Christopher Booker writes “vacuous, one-sided propaganda”. If he and you don’t believe global warming is happening then feel free to keep sticking your heads in the sand. Meanwhile, back in the real world….

        • Chris French says:

          Try pulling your head out of the sand. There has been no global warming for over 17 years: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/13/no-significant-warming-for-17-years-4-months/

        • Chris, there is a scientific consensus, don’t be silly. Get used to reading and critically analysing peer-reviewed research which is published in high impact journals. These are typically more robust and reliable in their analysis of primary research. The only way a scientist can now deny climate change is by ‘cherry picking’ their evidence and not looking at all the evidence, critically and on balance. You will find, if you take the time to really educate yourself in critical analysis of evidence, that the phenomenon of catastrophic climate change as a result of human activities is highly likely to exist

          The medical community puts its 2 pennies in:

          The bmj is lauded for its high editorial quality, critical discussion and openness/avoidance of bias.
          If you or anyone cannot access these journals then reply to me and I will ensure we can share them

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Whatever our views on climate change reducing emmissions must be a good thing. If shale gas fails to deliver in UK we will have to follow Germany and INCREASE coal powered generation. If you really want to reduce emmissions as opposed to posing as a holier -than -thow subsidy junkie Green ,see off the selfish NIMBYS & give shale gas a chance.

          • Richard says:

            Rodney, I’m afraid it is not that simple. It is an established fact that Fracking results in leakage of Methane. Methane is 12X more potent w.r.t. warming that CO2. Meanwhile coal burning is indeed dirty – the soot and sulphur in the atmosphere actually having a cooling effect.

            Nether fracking, nor coal are the answer.

          • Richard, Point of Fact: it is not an established fact that frac’ing results in leakage of methane.

          • Richard says:

            For most people – those without a vest interest – cause & effect have been established to a sufficient extent to be concerned. I suggest you read the latest issue of New Scientist – page 41. 4 to 8% of methane from fracking sites goes straight into the atmosphere. Also – in Boston alone 3000 methane leaks have been identified from pipelines.

            New Scientist is balanced – and also explain that over a 20 year + horizon methane has less impact than CO2 – because methane has a shorter lifetime.

            However the vast amounts of ocean or tundra methl hydrates that could be unlocked by a small additional amount of global warming is frightening. Surely we are not so self interested / short sighted as to take such risks?

          • Richard, I don’t doubt that the gas pipes under Boston leak. Probably under Birmingham as well. But that in no way makes it established fact that frac’ing results in leakage. As to the New Scientist – not enough data. If one is spending $5 million drilling a well to recover gas to sell, one would be very unhappy about the lost revenue any leakage represents & accordingly seek to minimise it..

            “Cause & effect” is a strange term to use about possible leaks. One could draw conclusions …

          • Richard says:

            I’m guessing the cost of preventing the 5% leakage out weights the value of the lost methane to the company. No matter how destructive it is too the planet – the the company accounts say let it leak – they will do so. Of course – you know that? What industry do you work in?

          • I doubt that. When one is putting PTFE tape round joints to make them leakproof, one never says to oneself “oh, I know, I’ll just make this joint 95% leakproof to save myself the cost of making it 100% leakproof.”

            They say boys only mature at 42 nowadays – I’m guessing you haven’t got there yet?

          • Richard says:

            When one cannot win the argument – turn to sarcasm?

          • Makes the point rather neatly though.

          • Refracktion says:

            Rodney – you really must learn to distinguish between the short and the long term. By 2050 Germany will be streets ahead of us in terms of renewables. Ask yourself why a country so committed to environmental protection thinks a short term dose of coal is preferable to shale gas extraction. Hmm . Interesting question that one eh?

            And the choice is not clear cut between domestic shale and coal as you pretend. There are many other possibilities, including but not limited to increasing renewable generation, reduction in demand – and even the import of gas from the USA – the latter carries a raft of issues with it but it is an option which shows your false choice scenario for exactly what it is. Why do you do do this?

          • Chris French says:

            There is no scientific consensus, only a current political consensus. As for cherry picking data, how about Climategate and Mann’s hockey stick graph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/6738111/Climategate-reveals-the-most-influential-tree-in-the-world.html

        • Refracktion says:

          Hey Chris, it occurs to me that multinational consultancy businesses like PwC would benefit from your great wisdom.That way they could save huge amounts of cash they waste on research like this


          – have you thought about contacting the silly old things to explain how things really stand?

  96. Texans competing with frackers for drinking and farming water:


    ‘…and we’ve got fracking, which uses a tremendous amount of water’

  97. Little Ghost says:

    I read this in today’s Guardian. “Call Me Dave” wants us to sign up for fracking at any price, including the destruction of the environment, apparently. The UK doesn’t have an integrated energy policy, only a sticking plaster approach to covering the energy gaps. Importing LPG from countries who can turn off the taps at a moments notice is not a recipe for long-term energy needs. What kind of world does he imagine we will be leaving future generations?


  98. Please see the UK Parliament’s research paper on fracking for an impartial view. This is a Parliamentary paper not a Government one.

    • Barbara Sage says:

      These cannot be independent or impartial if by a ‘Royal’ society. Cost benefit for long and short term not investigated, nor the safety of drilling. What assurances are obtained/demanded of drilling companies and what checks are in place?
      At what cost is fracking having on the tax payer? Who owns the gas? Where do all liabilities lie ?
      How can UK be convinced that this is a reasonable exploitation of the earth’s resources when the ministers involved have a personal financial interest in fracking

  99. jojam says:

    Please stop paying your taxes. Its the only protest they will listen to. You are such a close knit community, so is it not possible to start your own alternative tax to clear rubbish, upkeep roads, help the poor and sick, own hospitals and fire crews etc.? Since most of the tax collected goes to paying off debt and useless waste, it may be possible to achieve.

    It seems to me that the plan is to eventually turn almost all of the UK into one big fracking factory with trucks going every which way transporting chemicals and water. Not forgetting all the pipelines.

  100. Second attempt: from Spiked-online:

    Balcombe Resident
    Be careful what you wish for

    85% of Balcombe Residents are against fracking.

    Really? That’s not the impression I get. Take a leisurely stroll around our beautiful village and count how many houses are displaying anti-fracking posters? About 1 in 20 at my last count, maybe 5%? Even less are displaying yellow ribbons to show they support the campaign. However, the ‘stroll’ event on Saturday shows how committed the Villagers really are to this cause; depending on who you listen to there were 60, 100 or even 120 Villagers participating (according to their own You Tube video). Now that surely shows that 85% are against fracking. But do the maths; 120 including children and families equates to about 30 families, out of 800 living in and around the area, so another 4-5%. Surely if you were that opposed to something you would as a minimum display a poster, a ribbon or join in a peaceful stroll?

    Now I am no statistician but none of this adds up to the 85% I keep hearing about! The thing that really worries me about this 85% figure is everyone is latching onto it like it is set in concrete. It is apparently the reason why Balcombe is getting all this attention. So what if it was wrong? Would everyone go home? No, but it might make the World realise that there is another view amongst the Villagers. Maybe the dynamics of Balcombe are more complicated? Maybe Balcombe has three sets of people; the anti-frackers (say 10%), the pro-frackers (say 5%) and the others; ‘haven’t made my mind up’, ‘don’t know’, ‘neutral’, ‘sitting on the fence’ – however you want to class them making up the ‘real’ 85% of Balcombe?

    All I am asking for is for a truly independent survey to be conducted where everyone gets to respond (just once) and rather than just two options; Pro or Anti there is another – Neutral. Would this paint a different picture? Maybe, maybe not but at least this magical 85% that I keep hearing about could then be verified one way or another.

    I have listened to all the arguments for and against and have kept silent up until now but the realisation that over 500 extra protestors are about to descend on our beautiful little village purely based upon the ‘fact’ that 85% of us want them here has tipped me over the edge! Do we really want ‘No Dash for Gas’ to arrive on our doorstep on 16th August for 6 days? Does the taxpayer really need an even bigger bill for Policing? Do we really want an even larger camp site on the edge of a road without any sort of facilities? Apparently 85% of us do.

    When this is all over and the protestors have returned to their homes or moved onto the next headline grabbing campaign we will be left to clear up this mess; a broken and much divided village.

    Please Balcombe, be careful what you wish for.

    An anonymous resident
    (I wish to stay anonymous as I do not wish to seek publicity)

    • balcombe1 says:

      How many people participated in the door to door petition?

      We have heard how many in percentage terms answered which way, but not how many households participated. I am sure the answers are ready to hand and that the numbers are high, but what are they.

    • Mum says:

      its not just your village involved though, its the whole area, fields farming, and water supplies, not to mention the vast amount of heavy traffic carrying toxic & highly dangerous chemicals into the site, that will only expand and expand, please get more informed about the realites of what this will mean to Balcome and the rest of the UK, If you can watch drill baby drill, a documentory by a polish filmaker who visited a new site in Poland and established sites in America, i think this would give you a more realistic view of what to expect if allowed to go ahead in your village. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTL11N4Tp-k

  101. rn82497 says:

    With reference to the Insurance industry’s refusal to cover property damage caused by Fracking…

    My question to Nicholas Soames was whether the Government and / or Cuadrilla would be liable for any long term damage caused by these operations. Or is it the case that all the profit goes to Cuadrilla / Government – while all the’risk’ falls on the shoulders of the Balcombe community. Sound familiar?

    Dear Dr Nicholson,

    Mr Soames is now away from this office so I have read your email to him over the phone.

    He has asked me to seek a reply from the Minister on the point that you have raised about insurance.

    Yours sincerely,

    Claire Barker

    PA to The Rt Hon Nicholas Soames MP
    House of Commons
    SW1A 0AA
    Tel 020 7219 4143
    Fax 020 7219 2998

  102. Nick Poulton says:

    From afar (not as far as USA, Colombia or Korea where there was an article today on Balcombe) can I congratulate you for your hard work and say my hopes are with the people of Balcombe in these times.

  103. Long letter of support from the people of a village in Colombia threatened by a different ecocidal process:

    Dear Balcombe UK inhabitants,
    We are reaching you from Colombia, South America. We have been astonished by all you efforts and resistance in order to keep the
    fracking companies out of your town, and we address this letter because we feel identified with your struggle. We are inhabitants of a
    small town called Doima, in the Municipality of Piedras, in a region called Tolima, on the Andes Mountains, near the Magdalena river
    basin. Anglo Gold Ashanti, a huge gold mining corporation, arrived at our town at the end of last year with the interest of installing a
    processing plant for the rock extracted from one of the potential biggest gold mines in the world, La Colosa. Five years ago, this
    company received the license to explore the possibility for exploitation of the dissipated gold in a forest reserve area, with an
    approximate production of almost 759 tons of gold in all its production stage, acquiring one gram of gold per ton of removed rock. This
    region is very vulnerable because of its steep mountains, rich forests and vast water wealth. When the company received the license, it
    was made clear that the leaching facilities couldn’t be built in this area. But the question of where it would be held was never
    Doima, 100 kilometers in a straight line from the mine, is the ideal place to install the leaching facility, because if its abundant water
    resources and aquifers. January 31st the town’s inhabitants, peasants and farmers, worried about their environment, occupied the only
    bridge that gives access to the town and the company’s working place, on La Opia river. This was a way to start a pacific protest held
    with banners with pro-life and water protection messages, and to block vehicles and employees of the corporation, leaving them with no
    access to provisions and working tools. As it was to be expected, the company found its way of entering the area.
    Despite of the insistent presence of the corporation in the region, the majority of the community is against mining activities, and insists
    that the company should abandon their land. Calling for help to the competent governmental authorities the protest on the bridge
    continued. Our people have resisted the police, who have exercised their power by guarding the company, and the municipal mayor
    received a lawsuit from the company, for allowing the violation of their free transit right, and the community had to rethink their strategy,
    but they didn´t abandon their cause. Piedras Municipality lives from what they produce from the earth. Farmers have rice crops and
    other products like plantain, manioc and maize. This is why the region is called the “agricultural pantry” for the country. Worries about
    the future of this region have not disappeared, but grown with the presence of the company and with the various governmental actions
    benefiting foreign companies for their investment strategies of extraction projects in the country.
    Consequently, the community did a formal request to the local government authorities in order to hold a popular vote referendum in
    the municipality so the inhabitants would be who proclaim if they agree on a mining project in their territory. After the long
    process this request has to go through in order to be legal, the referendum finally took place last Sunday, July 28 with the following
    “Do you agree as an inhabitant of the Piedras municipality, Tolima, with the development of exploration, exploitation, treatment,
    transformation, transport, wash of materials result of large scale gold exploitation activities in our territory; storage and use of harmful
    substances for health and the environment, like cyanide and/or any other toxic substance or material associated to these activities, and
    for these to use superficial and underground water resources from our territory in mining activities or any other similar development that
    can affect or limit the provision of drinking water for human consumption and the traditional productive agricultural activities of our
    The results of the election vote were imminent. Of 5,105 people enabled to vote, there were 3,007 voters of which 2,971 voted
    against mining and only 24 votes were in favor of these activities. On behalf of Colombian Law 134 of 1994, this decision should
    be of mandatory fulfillment for our government, because more than one third of the possible voters participated, and the voters against
    mining won with more than 50% of the votes.
    The community had to formally request the government to make the “Popular Consultation” by popular vote. This is a civil participation
    mechanism that appears with our new Constitution in the year 1991. Analysts say this will put local and regional governments in debate
    with the national government because the later will have to decide if it will give legitimacy to this democratic exercise, or will go
    forward with the development of investment projects without regarding the people´s opinion.
    2. Taken from: http://www.elespectador.com/opinion/editorial/megamineria-lios-articulo-436850
    Our former government has great interests in opening opportunities for large investment extraction projects, and the Minister of Mines
    and Energy has manifested that the last word will be in the ANLA´s (Environmental Licenses National Agency) hands. Some months
    ago, the national government signed a decree (0934 of May 9 2013) that removes the possibility of the municipal governments to
    decide if they destine mining zones in the environmental arrangement of their territory, leaving this decision in the hands of the ANM
    (Mining National Agency) and ANLA. This decree was sued by the Mayor of Bogotá (our national capital), declaring it
    “anticonstitutional”. However, because of this decree, the Minister of Mines could argue that the results of the votes does not count in
    the governments final decision.
    About a month ago, the ANM Agency also established a resolution that declares some mining projects as “of national interest”, for
    which the AGA project of La Colosa is on the list. This “national interest” concept appears very abstract when taken into account that
    not only AGA´s project is on the list, but other polemic projects in the country like: the Drummond coal mine project which entered a
    strike last week and who´s owner is sued in the USA for disappearing nearly 600 Colombian civilians in the past; The Santurbán gold
    mine, which has been very criticized because of its location in one of our endemic high mountain ecosystems (páramo) only found in
    Venezuela and Colombia; and the Cocigo Gold Mine project in the Vaupés Amazon region also called “the South American Avatar”,
    which is located within a protected area, which is illegal regarding that this national park figure is the only one in the country that
    protects the subsoil.
    Unified and pacific resistance have been key for our process, and now our government shall decide if it will recognize the voice of its
    citizens in a democratic exercise, or shall it award the international interests? Autonomy and participation in decision-making is the core
    of our Constitution as a democratic republic. In spite of this, yesterday morning, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable
    Development said on the radio that government shall wait for the pronunciation of the Minister of Mines, who said that the subsoil
    belongs to “the nation”, and it shall be the national government who takes the decisions. This concept of “the nation” appears abstract
    when it was the nation’s citizens who clearly pronounced themselves through an official mechanism. Anyhow, Piedras is for now only
    one of many options for the leaching facility ground as AGA has said, and that there shall not be any subsoil resources utilized in this
    municipality. Anyhow, the Piedras community did not vote against the subtraction of natural resources from the subsoil in their territory,
    but against any mining activity in its jurisdiction. Beyond this debate, the real debate here is how democratic actions are taken
    about by the government and to what extent can civilians really participate in the decision making of projects that will affect
    them, their land and their future.
    This is why we want to manifest our support and express our solidarity to the inhabitants of the town of Balcombe in the
    United Kingdom, and are willing to recommend the UK government to listen to its people and involve them in decisionmaking
    regarding their land and future. In consequence, we are interested in establishing a constant communication with you in
    order to initiate a brothership between the two municipalities living through the same issues.
    Please receive warm regards and the best of luck from

  104. A personal comment to me from Ranjana Bhandar, anti-fracking campaigner in Texas. Tired of hearing our government spokespeople falsely assert how fracking will cut gas prices for hardworking families, I asked her about the economics of gas prices in the USA. This is her reply:

    ‘On top of the environmental and health consequences, the supply of natural gas is vastly overstated. The Energy Information Administration dropped its estimation of shale gas resources by 40 percent from 2011 to 2012. The Marcellus Shale, one of the largest deposits in the country, is estimated to have only a six-year supply of gas. Further, recent reports have shown that fracking is not as cost-effective as once thought. The vast majority of fracking wells deplete within five years and production has been on a plateau since December 2011. The high decline rate of fracking wells requires continuous capital inputs—at least $42 billion per year to drill more than 7,000 wells. There may be gas trapped in the shale, but the more difficult it becomes to release it, the more expensive the process becomes.Moreover, while many proponents claim that the large supply of gas released through fracking would make prices fall, there has been little impact on electricity prices nationwide. The recent natural gas boom created an overabundance of supply, yet electricity prices have steadily increased. Utilities do set rates in advance to protect against fuel price spikes, and the cost of delivery is increasing due to investment in electricity infrastructure. But the wholesale prices of natural gas have significantly decreased, yet no cost savings have been passed on to customers.’

    She sent us the link to this article of last June:http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/unnatural-gas-how-government-made-fracking-profitable-and-left-renewables-behind

  105. Have you seen this? We have till 13 August to make representations!
    Consultation underway for second Cuadrilla permit at Balcombe
    The Environment Agency is seeking further views from the local community and interested groups following the application for a second environmental permit from energy company Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd (Cuadrilla). The company is not proposing to carry out any hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as part of this activity.
    The company has already applied to the Environment Agency for a mining waste permit to manage wastes arising from an exploratory borehole to test for oil reserves at Balcombe in West Sussex. This consultation was open until today (16 July) and is now closed.
    Cuadrilla has also now formally applied for another permit to manage any waste water or solid waste which may contain naturally occurring radioactive substances. Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) are present in many types of rocks. Sometimes, waste water from such activities can contain low levels of this NORM. A permit is required to ensure safe disposal of any waste that may fall within the scope of the regulations.
    The NORM waste permit, if granted, will only be needed if Cuadrilla carries out any well testing onsite.
    If any of the permits are granted, the company will need to adhere strictly to the conditions set out in the permits. This will ensure that local communities and the environment are protected.
    Chris Wick of the Environment Agency said: “We would like to thank the local community and interested parties for all their valuable comments received so far. We are now inviting feedback on this second permit application between Tuesday, 16 July 2013 and Tuesday, 13 August 2013 to ensure that we have fully considered all views before determining this latest application.
    “It is our role to ensure that the environment will be safeguarded during exploration for oil and gas. With this in mind we will ensure all relevant information is considered before we make a final decision. If any of the permits are then granted, we will ensure that they are being fully complied with.”
    More information on the plans is available on our website: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/
    16 July 2013
    People now have the chance to comment on the proposals by visiting our website or by emailing: rsr.rotherham2.ne@environment-agency.gov.uk
    or writing to:
    P&SC – RSR Team
    PO Box 4404
    S9 9DA
    The consultation on the second permit runs until Tuesday 13 August 2013. Responses will be fed into the Environment Agency’s on-going assessment before a final decision to grant or refuse the permits is made.
    All media enquiries: 0118 953 5555, out of hours 0800 141 2743.
    Please ask for the duty press officer
    Environment Agency news releases, both national and regional, can be found on its web site: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk
    Follow us on Twitter @EnvAgencySE

  106. Bonjour, (hello)
    My name is Isabelle Levy, I am a “fracktivist”, acting within a group nammed “collectif du pays fertois”. I am French, leaving in a village called “Jouarre”.
    What is happening in our place sounds very similar to your situation.
    Jouarre is 65 kilometers far from Paris. It is already the countryside, not far from the first suburb circle (25 kilometers).
    You have to fight against Cuadrilla, we have to fight against Hess Oil France.
    Our group is gathering “citizens”. We are not in this group because we are from the left wing or from the right one.
    We are not in this group because we are “environmentalists”.
    We are not in this group because we wish to become rich and famous.
    We are in this group because we are totally against the idea of exploring the shale oil supposed to lay down 3000 meters (9000 feet) deep under our feet.
    This stupid artificial factory is set up in the middle of wheat fields.
    I read these last days that you had to fight against Cuadrilla which had decided to go fracking not far from you village.
    Several people were arrested this is what we learned from the French newspapers.
    Last Saturday (3rd of august), in Jouarre we set-up a protest against Hess Oil new drilling pad (approximativaly 500 people).
    Nobody was arrested. Obviously our police was les agressive than yours.

  107. From Louise Delpy, commenting on the misguided communiation we have received from our County Council:

    “I’m very sorry for the disruption that you’ve experienced over the past couple of weeks from protestors at Lower Stumble Wood. Here at West Sussex County Council, the interests of our residents are our primary concern and I am keen to ensure that we support you as much as we can during this challenging time. ”

    Where is our apology for allowing this to happen in the first place? Where is our apology for allowing trucks in to the site past 1pm last Saturday? Where is our apology for providing incorrect information that an extension would be a full planning application and then it turns our to be a minor amendment? Where are the enforcement officers? Where will they be on 29th September the day after planning permission expires? Where will they be when the 13.7m flare which does not have planning permission is lit? Where are our councils, our representatives? Where are they – they are writing letters to residents to apologise for something 85% are against? I am proud to call myself a Balcombe resident AND a protestor and protector of our land. Please do not apologise to me about my behaviour, take responsibility and apologise for your own and most importantly do not allow Cuadrilla further permission to continue the industrialisation of our area of outstanding natural beauty and contamination of our water, air and soil.
    WSCC – 02-08-13-louise-goldsmith-letter-to-balcombe-residents-re-oil-and-gas-exploration.pd

    “I’m very sorry for the disruption that you’ve experienced over the past couple of weeks from protestors at Lower Stumble Wood. Here at West Sussex County Council, the interests of our residents are our primary concern and I am keen to ensure that we support you as much as we can during this challenging time. ”

    Where is our apology for allowing this to happen in the first place? Where is our apology for allowing trucks in to the site past 1pm last Saturday? Where is our apology for providing incorrect information that an extension would be a full planning application and then it turns our to be a minor amendment? Where are the enforcement officers? Where will they be on 29th September the day after planning permission expires? Where will they be when the 13.7m flare which does not have planning permission is lit? Where are our councils, our representatives? Where are they – they are writing letters to residents to apologise for something 85% are against? I am proud to call myself a Balcombe resident AND a protestor and protector of our land. Please do not apologise to me about my behaviour, take responsibility and apologise for your own and most importantly do not allow Cuadrilla further permission to continue the industrialisation of our area of outstanding natural beauty and contamination of our water, air and soil.
    WSCC – 02-08-13-louise-goldsmith-letter-to-balcombe-residents-re-oil-and-gas-exploration.pdf

  108. 2nd attempt at response to
    JL Laura BSc(Hons), BA(Hons) Dip Ed, MA. – posted by kathrynmcwhirter says:
    August 5, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    “say that Cuadrilla have are [sic] now simply drilling for oil – Why bother at all if the previous company which prospected on the same site gave up?”

    Perhaps because Conoco found oil at $10 /bbl, whereas Cuadrilla hope to find it at $110 /bbl?

  109. Letter to South East Water:

    2nd August 2013

    Dear Mr Greg Tate,

    RE: Your ref: GT/je/Laura/20919730-8

    Thank you for your prompt reply to my serious concerns regarding Cuadrilla’s intention to begin drilling for hydrocarbons at Lower Stumble, Balcombe, West Sussex.

    I’m however sorry to say that I do not share your faith in the EA or HSE with regards to looking after our water supplies, environment and checking on Cuadrilla’s activities. Their ‘robust framework’ is questionable. The EA received nearly 1000 responses to Cuadrilla’s previous permit application and some 9000 residents of Balcombe signed a petition against Cuadrilla’s proposals to begin drilling at Lower Stumble. The permit was given three days after the consultation period had ended. The questions asked by concerned citizens were genuine and yet the EA ignored them. 90% of Balcombe voted against Cuadrilla’s proposal and yet their local MP has ignored them.

    Did you read the article referenced in my letter from the Scientific American ? It is readily available and not a difficult article to read it makes reference to a number of peer assessed studies.

    You quite rightly say that Cuadrilla have are now simply drilling for oil – Why bother at all if the previous company which prospected on the same site gave up? As we all know Cuadrilla feel that they will be able to use Hydraulic Fracturing to release more oil/gas. Then what? This is not an ‘old tried and tested’ industrial process but a relatively new and dangerous one which has destroyed everything in it’s path where it has been deployed. Do you really believe Cuadrilla when they say that this is safe?

    I even overheard a police sergeant tell people at the Balcombe site that this process is ten times safer here than in the USA! Where is he getting his quantitative data from?

    More importantly I would urge you to check the validity and appropriateness of the Cuadrilla staff qualifications supplied in Cuadrilla’s Permit application for a Radioactive waste permit currently on the EA website and Cuadrilla’s Balcombe site. (See Appendix A – Letter and Training Certificates.)

    Mr Nick Mace and Mr Graham Scarisbrick have undertaken a ‘basic’ radiological awareness course on the (delivered 16th November 2012) and a ‘basic’ Radiation Protection Training course (delivered 8th Feb 2013).

    The certificates are signed by Ash Matthews on behalf of a company called RADSMART Ltd. This company is registered to a small suburban property in Portishead, Bristol (see Google maps). Mr Ash Matthews is sole director and principle consultant for Radsmart Ltd which was set up in 2011. He has been appointed as the Radiation Protection Adviser for a small waste management company called Remsol based in Lancashire. He includes this fact on the certificates as a way to somehow enhance the validity of the ‘certificate’ which he has given the Cuadrilla staff. The content of the course is extremely basic and no higher than level 2 (gcse). A one day introduction to gcse level ionizing radiation physics is laughable. How long was the course : 1 hour, 2hours ? Where did it take place? Was this ‘course’ delivered online . It is not accredited to any organization or UK University or examination board.

    These certificates are worthless in my opinion. I question the legality of supplying these to the EA.

    As someone who is qualified and who teaches in Higher Education and who is used to OFSTED scrutiny and external verification and moderation, I find the EA/HSE’s inability to vet appointed Cuadrilla staff very poor and shows no respect for the general public who are meant to believe that their safety is being looked after.

    In the light of the above are you seriously expecting myself and others to feel safe in the knowledge that the EA/HSE feels it is OK to allow Cuadrilla to deal with ‘norm’ brought up from the ground, check bore case integrity and carry out their own water sampling on the site? Why are you not undertaking the sampling yourselves? Have you asked to do the site sampling? Are you happy with the level and quality of training that Cuadrilla staff have with regards to radioactive materials which may surface and seep into surrounding land?

    As you mention in your reply the South East will need more and more water (145 million litres extra per day by 2040) in the years to come. Fresh water will be at a premium. Our weather patterns are changing and the likes of flash floods and general flooding has increased. Are you happy for residual chemicals to be washed away from this site? Who will be checking on the Cuadrilla’s activities on a daily basis? Their track record to date is extremely poor. They will be planning to set up thousands of wells across the South East – Then what? It doesn’t even bare thinking about does it? Does this not concern you?

    This, Mr Tate, will be you and your company’s legacy as well as Cuadrilla and this coalition government if no pressure is put on the EA/HSE to stop this now.

    Perhaps you can supply references to long term impact studies on groundwater supplies in areas of hydraulic fracturing ? Where are the impact studies on the South East with regards to this industry including waste management, water supply and burden on transport arteries and destruction of ecosystems which are already under severe stress from poor farming practices ? You clearly have knowledge and feel secure that nothing will happen to our groundwater. Have you read the Duke report? You must also have a register of the chemicals Cuadrilla intend to use and their respective COSHH data? If not, why not? What would happen to me if I was caught dumping chemicals or low radioactive waste into a local reservoir or water supply? I certainly wouldn’t be getting a 30% tax break!

    Having read your response to my letter, my feelings towards South East water have not changed for the reasons mentioned above. If Cuadrilla are not challenged and stopped then I have no choice but to express a vote of no confidence in your future ability to monitor and to deliver safe water to the South East.

    If you are so confident why don’t you set up a meeting at Balcombe Victory Hall for all residents of the village and beyond to voice their concerns about their water supply, that would be a good start. I appreciate your comment about referring my concerns to the HSE but would it not be more appropriate for SE Water to do this on all of our behalves as bill paying SE Water customers?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours Sincerely

    JL Laura BSc(Hons), BA(Hons) Dip Ed, MA.

    • Chris French says:

      “..9000 residents of Balcombe signed a petition..”. That’s quite a feat from a population of just 1,700.

      • Rodney Jago says:

        Indeed! and it was 17% against fracking not 90%

        • Lock the Gate survey, Rodney, not the Parish Council one. Parish Council one 82% against, not 17%. (I despair of your maths, and your poor understanding of how our democracy works); Lock the Gate (conducted by residents callong at all houses) 85% against, 9% not sure, 6 per cent your cronies. Even the Parish Council don’t quibble with their 82%. And the petition is yet a different thing. All adds up to most of the village against. Some feat when you consider that Balcombe has – is it 100 tied farms and houses? And that rumour has it that tenants and workers have been warned not to comment. That reminds me of the shooting, the all-night bird-scarer and the smelly muck-spreading on the Balcombe Estate farm behind the hedge opposite the Cuadrilla gate, right beside the camp. I wonder whose idea THAT was?

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Guilty of many things but not muck spreading! Am patiently awaining published results of latest survey before commenting, not that anyone doubts you got the “right” result.Do read today’s Times an excellent article by one of your own.

          • Chris French says:

            Kathryn, re: “Parish Council one 82% against” – Would that be the 82% of the 33% who bothered to reply to BPC’s survey? Therefore only 27% (82% of 33%) of those surveyed indicated opposition to fracking. What did the other 73% think about fracking? Obviously not concerned enough to warrant a reply to the issue in question.

          • When we asked them again a year later, calling at every house, 85% said no to the oil and gas industry in this village. Only 9% were still pondering. Once all the implications become clear…

          • Chris French says:

            Kathryn : This survey of all households in Balcombe, showing 85% support, please provide more details i.e. How exactly was the question (s) worded? What proportion of all households responded to the survey?

          • Rodney Jago says:

            Thank you. But percentages can be misleading as you keep telling me.Please advise;1) Who was entitled to vote?2) What were the total number of votes against, not sure, & how many cronies do I have?

          • john says:

            Are those in favour of the exploration now being referred to as “cronies” by those who have no intention of respecting their views??

  110. This is my third attempt at a reply to:
    deniseashurst says:
    August 4, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Denise, The DECC probably says “that the injection fluid was ‘safe’” because only approved chemicals are allowed to be pumped into wells in the UK.

    Google the CEFAS site {google ‘CEFAS DEFRA chemicals’} to see an Excel spreadsheet of all the approved chemicals.

  111. steve grieve says:

    Hello – an interesting article below, gives the lie to those who say there is no corroborated evidence that fracking is harmful – the evidence is often gagged.


  112. Andy says:

    Has anyone found out who and what is pulling the string?
    Interesting background information here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPrq1Anc0Ag

    Also, I read that over 500 chemicals are used to break rock and it will undoubtedly affect the environment. Perhaps, it’s time that the protesters used the Aarhus Convention to demand information. It will halt the project.

    • Andy says:

      I meant to add the detail of 500 chemicals are kept secret and therefore one should demand it to be disclosed.

      • Andy, I will do you the courtesy of assuming you don’t live in Britain.

        There are not “500 chemicals used” anywhere – that is nonsense. It is also physically impossible.

        There are NO “secret chemicals used” – all chemicals used either in drilling or stimulating British or Dutch wells, onshore or offshore, can be found on the CEFAS website maintained by DEFRA – just google ‘CEFAS DEFRA chemicals’.

      • Chris French says:


        In Europe there will be 100% visibility of the contents of fracking fluid under a combination of local regulations and via the EU regulatory body the European Chemical Agency (ECHA).

        Existing best practice in the USA is moving towards 100% transparency of fracking fluid via sites such as http://www.fracfocus.org. We can anticipate similar visibility will be the norm in Europe through both government and private sites such as NGS Facts.

        There are generally only a handful of chemicals in fracking fluid. In the example of Cuadrilla Resources in the UK, they are only using three,two of which only have to be revealed as they already exist in the public water supply of local supplier United Utilities. The third, polyacrylamide is widely used in water treatment and agriculture. In this case, polyacrylamide is used at a concentration of less than 0.25%, whereas the same “chemical” is used at a 2.5% solution in disposable contact lenses among other uses.

        Drillers have an incentive to use less fluid both on cost grounds and for environmental risk abatement.

        Many chemicals are already present in far greater concentrations under a kitchen sink in common household cleaners. A common chemical is also used in lipstick and many foods (sorbic acid) or in plastic containers (polypropolene). One of the chemicals most often used in the highest concentration is hydrochloric acid, naturally occurring in stomach acid. Hydrocholoric acid is present in higher concentrations in swiming pools than that found in fracking fluid.

        Fracking fluid is over 99.85% water and sand. Fracking fluid serves to act as a proppant so that gas can flow into the well bore and to the surface. Chemicals are necessary to keep the process going. Consider as well that chemicals are more expensive than water or sand, providing an incentive to use as little as possible.


  113. Please share as widely as possible – put this on your facebook pages:

    Balcombe call to Nick Clegg

    Press comment, Sunday August 4th, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: nofibsbalcombe@gmail.com 01444 811682 07767 420549 No FiBS, No Fracking in Balcombe Society

    The people of Balcombe call upon Nick Clegg and all Lib Dem MPs, party members and supporters throughout the UK to examine their consciences and their policies and stand up against the Tories on the issue of fracking. We ask you to stand firm against an explosion of exploration for on-shore oil and gas in this beautiful land that the Liberal Democratic party has always sworn to protect.

    We thank Lib Dem President Tim Farron for his honest opposition to fracking. In a private conversation, Ed Davey has voiced similar views and offered advice to our cause. The time for revolt is NOW.

    The Environment Agency apparently swept aside nearly 900 representations from the public in the recent mining waste permit consultation, approving Cuadrilla’s application within three days, despite the arrival of hundreds of public comments, many of them long and detailed, in the last hours of the consultation period.

    We quote from an article in yesterday’s Guardian online:

    ‘Planning authorities have been banned from considering whether renewable energy plants would be a better fit for their communities, if they receive an application for a fracking mine.

    ‘Documents released by the government stress that local authorities should instead recognise that “mineral extraction is essential to local and national economies”. This is despite a Department for Communities and Local Government document highlighting 16 environmental risks linked to the process, including seismic shocks and the appearance of radioactive surface water.’

    Mr. Clegg, we call upon you now to defend the liberty and democracy of your electorate. At the next election, we shall not forget.

    • Wow! This is very informative and I cannot help thinking a link to the Frack-Off.org site with this info would be helpful. What has concerned me is CEO of Quadrilla made reference to the Dept. of Enviro’t and Climate Change saying that the injection fluid was ‘safe’. I would like to know on what grounds the DoECC are saying this. Thank you for your article

      • Denis says:

        Just read the post two up from yours. Main chemical is polypropolene which is used in water treatment to help remove particles from the water supply. That is, it is in the water you drink every day. So it is not likely to be harmful if injected into the ground 3000 to 5000 metres below the ground surface. The other chemicals are already in the treated water supplied by the water company. So can’t be harmful.

        • Denis says:

          RE my comment above. The chemical is not polypropolene. It is polyacrylamide. It is used in water treatment to floculate solids and aid their removal as part of the process of providing drinking water for disribution in the water mains.

  114. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/03/ignore-fracking-protests-government-tells-planners

    Planning authorities have been banned from considering whether renewable energy plants would be a better fit for their communities, if they receive an application for a fracking mine.

    Documents released by the government stress that local authorities should instead recognise that “mineral extraction is essential to local and national economies”. This is despite a Department for Communities and Local Government document highlighting 16 environmental risks linked to the process, including seismic shocks and the appearance of radioactive surface water.


  115. The Telegraph on line yesterday evening:

    Lib Dem president Tim Farron warns fracking could harm countryside ‘for decades’

    A new political row has broken out over the Coalition’s support for shale gas fracking, with a high-ranking Liberal Democrat warning that the process risks “damaging the countryside” for decades.

    By Robert Watts
    9:30PM BST 03 Aug 2013

    In the first major attack on fracking by a leading member of the Coalition, Tim Farron, the Lib Dems’ president, said he was “greatly worried” by the Government’s “dash for shale gas”.

    Mr Farron’s views clash strongly with those of Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary and a fellow Lib Dem.

    Mr Davey said he was “excited” about the secure supply of energy and thousands of jobs that shale gas extraction could create.

    Mr Farron’s comments suggest that rank-and-file Lib Dems, whom Mr Farron represents, could increase pressure to rein in fracking, restricting the potential that senior ministers such as George Osborne see for it to help revive the British economy.

    Hydraulic fracturing has already cut the energy bills of millions of Americans, and ministers are hoping for a similar effect in Britain.

    Related Articles
    The academic turned protester behind anti-fracking group Frack Off
    02 Aug 2013
    Lush chain bankrolling Frack Off campaign
    03 Aug 2013
    We could soon be paying billions for this wind back-up
    03 Aug 2013
    The technique involves blasting rock deep underground with water and chemicals to extract shale gas.

    IGas, one firm hoping to exploit Britain’s shale gas reserves, estimates that there may be 170trillion cubic ft of gas in the areas of the north of England where it is licensed to explore.

    The company estimates that fracking could create up to 40,000 jobs over 20 years.

    However, opposition to the process on environmental grounds has become increasingly vocal. A protest near the West Sussex village of Balcombe is into its 11th day, and has already led to more than 30 arrests.

    Residents are concerned about issues such as possible contamination of their water supplies and the increase in traffic on their roads. A poll published by villagers found that 85 per cent opposed fracking at the nearby site.

    On Saturday more than 100 Balcombe residents joined forces with campaigners who have blockaded the site. Cuadrilla, the firm operating the well, has a licence only to drill so far, but may apply to extract gas by fracking.

    Mr Farron told The Sunday Telegraph: “I am afraid the Government has seen flashing pound signs, and has not considered the long-term threats fracking poses to the countryside.

    “I think this is a very short-sighted policy, and we will all be left to live with the consequences.” Mr Farron said he had raised concerns with Mr Davey and would also do so with Nick Clegg.

    Mr Farron, a respected figure within the party tipped by many to succeed Mr Clegg, said he opposed shale-gas mining because it would industrialise unspoilt areas, could cause seismic activity, and maintains Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels.

    He believes opposition to fracking could become even more fierce than the campaign against wind farms and said Mr Osborne should not be offering tax breaks to firms that use the technique.

    “With a wind farm you can actually choose where you put it; that is not the case fracking,” said Mr Farron, who represents a Lake District constituency. “This technology can lead to earth tremors and I’m particularly worried that buried nuclear waste in my part of the country could be affected. We should be investing more in renewable fuels.

    “I am very sceptical. The green movement were pro-wind farms, and countryside groups were against. With fracking you are already seeing powerful alliances forming between those two groups, so opposition could become very strong.”

    Those arrested in Balcombe have included Natalie Hynde, the daughter of Ray Davies of the Kinks and Chrissie Hynde, the Pretenders singer.

    On Saturday night Michael Fallon, a Tory minister at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, was criticised for a joke he made about fracking at a private meeting that was held in Westminster.

    Mr Fallon said a key place for shale gas exploration was the Weald, between Hampshire and Kent. “The beauty of that — please don’t write this down — is that of course it’s underneath the commentariat,” he said. “All these people writing [newspaper] leaders saying: ‘Why don’t they get on with shale?’

    “We are going to see how thick their rectory walls are, whether they like the flaring at the end of the drive.”

    After the comment was reported on Saturday night, Mr Fallon told The Sunday Telegraph that it was intended to be “light-hearted” and that fracking would only be allowed in the Weald if it were shown to be absolutely safe.

  116. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2384191/Doomsday-alert-fracking-minister-warns-rectory-walls-quaking-Middle-England-drilling-continues.html

    ‘The Tory Minister responsible for fracking has conjured up a chilling image of swathes of rural England shaking with the sound of drills as a result of the drive for shale gas.
    Referring to people living in the countryside who have supported fracking, Energy Minister Michael Fallon said at a private meeting in Westminster: ‘We are going to see how thick their rectory walls are, whether they like the flaring at the end of the drive!’
    His unguarded comments follow angry protests in Balcombe, Sussex, last week in the first clashes between police and anti-fracking protesters.
    And they are in stark contrast to a public statement Mr Fallon made last week when he said claims that fracking will ruin the countryside were ‘nonsense’.
    Mr Fallon is a huge enthusiast for fracking, arguing it offers the promise of lower energy bills and millions of pounds in compensation for local communities.
    But in the private briefing, he candidly admitted that prosperous homeowners who find fracking on their doorstep in the Tories’ Middle England heartlands could be in for a shock.
    Mr Fallon, MP for Sevenoaks in Kent, said that exploratory studies for fracking were already poised to start in the North of England and are set to spread the length and breadth of southern England.
    He said: ‘The second area being studied is the Weald. It’s from Dorset all the way along through Hampshire, Sussex, East Sussex, West Sussex, all the way perhaps a bit into Surrey and even into my county of Kent. It’s right there.’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2384191/Doomsday-alert-fracking-minister-warns-rectory-walls-quaking-Middle-England-drilling-continues.html#ixzz2awjw7B00
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  117. Dear citizens of Balcombe,

    My name is Maurizio Atzori and I am writing you from Sardara a small town in Sardinia.
    I often read The Guardian on line and I could not help but notice the fights you are putting up against hydraulic fracturing.
    I just wanted to say “hi” and let you know that, even if someone like me lives so far away, you are not the only ones hoping
    that your lands and waters will stay “drill free”.
    There are companies which would like to drill the area where I live too; must be some kind of fancy trend..
    Keep up with the good job and send those drills away from your lands!

    My best regards,
    Maurizio Atzori

    Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world — Arthur Schopenhauer

  118. Ben says:

    When are you people going to realise that our society needs energy independence. In these most uncertain of times it could be the likes of Quadrilla and Sirius Minerals with their potash project which help to bring the UK out of recession in the same fashion that North Sea Oil exploration did. Have any of you thought of the jobs these projects create? How about reduced energy costs? Do you really want to see pensioners sat without their heating on because they can’t afford it?

  119. A link to helecopter pictures of the site toay:


    A spot of 2002 Dom Perignon is in order, perhaps, chez Greenwood, our traiterous Lords of the Manor. And no dount a bottle of Tesco Finest for Rodney Grinning Jago.

    • Jack Savage says:

      We will drink the tears of or enemies……

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Thanks, Kathryn, I will Stand you a Dom P. myself when the Queen’s Highway is again open to all citizens and the give & take required for a democracy re-affirmed.Not a perfect system but as it has produced only one Green MP ( less than the communists in the 30’s) it can’t be all bad.Cheers when the time comes!

    • W G Meek says:

      Great to see the drilling has started. Hopefully the well will prove the resource and allow safe and careful exploitation of the gas.

    • Norman Hawkins says:

      Not a reply to this particular bit, just a general comment or two from myself, a ( hopefully ) normal resident of Balcombe of over 35 years :
      It appears that the Fracking process is something that could go a long way to helping the UK energy requirements, particularly as successive Goverments are very poor at Long Term Planning. However, it appears that as the technology stands, there are some real risks attached to this process. Particularly operating near to inhabited areas and water supplies. So, my principle concerns ( and I think we’re too focussed on Balcombe here and we should attack this from a wider area; Mid Sussex and beyond ) are the massive amounts of water required for Fracking in an already very dry area of the country and the longer term possibility of water contamination. Both of these issues are also concerns for the Water Supply Companies who have recently approached the Government. And what do my years of infinite wisdom tell me? Don’t trust anyone and allegedly everyone can be ‘bought’………….

  120. From a supporter:
    Hi all,

    First up – look at the massive impact your little village is having on one of the most powerful companies in the world:

    “Shell also continued to play down the prospects for shale gas in the UK and said recent controversy over fracking showed it was right not to get involved.”


    This will have a huge ripple affect on the investment decisions of many companies in relation to shale – it is terrible news for Osborne and Cuadrilla!

    • j gordon says:

      The trauma/tragedy happening in sleepy Balcombe village should serve as a lesson to all other regions that are threatened with fracking in the UK. You have to STOP the Government from issuing the licenses to the fracking companies in the first place. I’m not a lawyer but it seems Cuadrilla had its license almost well over a year ago? Why were its residents not better informed ? Wake up UK ! Watch the attached link and whatever you do don’t forget to watch Josh Fox’s latest documentary Gasland Part II.
      Anyway, Well done Balcombe and everyone who’s protesting. It’s NEVER too late.

  121. They have just started drilling.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Good news and unless every issue is to be decided by mob rule the authorities must ensure they can do so unhindered.

  122. For Publication
    From Tony Bosworth, friends of the Earth:

    Energy Minister Michael Fallon’s suggestion that people in the south east must accept fracking for the sake of Britain’s economic future is complete nonsense.

    The ‘benefits’ of shale gas and oil have been over-hyped. There’s plenty of evidence to show fracking isn’t going to lead to a new era of cheap fuel. Earlier this year energy experts Bloomberg New Energy Finance described hopes that shale gas will lead to lower energy prices as “wishful thinking”.

    Fracking poses a significant threat to the quality of life and local environment of communities across the UK. And, despite the Government’s localism agenda, the Government appears determined to foist fracking schemes on them – regardless of local opinion. 82 per cent of Balcombe residents oppose fracking in their area – but that hasn’t stopped Cuadrilla pushing ahead with test drilling.

    This is just the beginning. If the Government continues to back fracking large parts of our green and pleasant land will become industrialised – from the leafy shires of the south to what Tory peer Lord Howell called the ‘desolate’ north east.

    If we want to create new jobs and safeguard our environment we must build a clean energy future based on cutting waste and investing in the UK’s huge renewable power potential.

    Tony Bosworth

    Energy campaigner

    Friends of the Earth

  123. See Balcombe Parish Council website this morning, their replies to West Sussex County Council re flare permit and extension to planning period. (Are they also scratching their heads about the radioactive waste permit?) They should note that we do not want an oil well on the edge of our village, fracked, unfracked, or prepped for future fracking.

    Click to access bpc-response-re-cuadrilla-extension.pdf

  124. http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/10579654.Send_in_questions_for_anti_fracking_campaigner_Vanessa_Vine/

    Send in your questions for Vanessa by commenting below, emailing news@theargus.co.uk or by calling 01273 544 682.

    Sussex is now on the front line of the controversial fracking revolution.

    The ‘Battle of Balcombe’ continues to rage on as anti-fracking protestors stand defiant against drilling company Cuadrilla, who now want to start drilling for shale gas in the sedate village.

    This week’s Your Interview features high-profile anti-fracking campaigner Vanessa Vine, founder of Frack Free Sussex.

    On Cuadrilla, she’s previously said: “They have underestimated the local resistance. They will have a big fight on their hands.

    “Fracking threatens to contaminate our water and our air, and the roads are not suitable for the tankers. We do not need to take more fossil fuels out of the ground – we need to invest in clean renewable technology.”

    Do you want to challenge Vanessa’s views? Or maybe you want to know more about the fracking process?

    Send in your questions for Vanessa by commenting below, emailing news@theargus.co.uk or by calling 01273 544 682.

    The interview will be published on Friday.

  125. ‘Saturday Stroll to the Site’

    • Confused about fracking and what it all means?
    • Not been down there yet and want to see it for yourself rather than what’s depicted in the press?
    • Nervous about going down on your own?
    • Willing to find out a bit more about it from some informed people from the village and beyond?

    All Balcombe Villagers are invited on a relaxed stroll on the public footpath down to the Drilling Site

    There we can chat with some of the protesters – both from this village and from Cuckfield, Ardingly, Haywards Heath and beyond and find out why they feel so strongly about this controversial new drilling process.

    We will meet at 1045am this Saturday up at Balcombe Rec and start strolling down at 11am, there will be refreshments on arrival.

    Hope you can join us!

    • lyn foord says:

      Hi Kathy My sister and Iwould like to come to your chat re anti fracking on Saturday. We will be travelling down from Essex so Please could you advise on parking facilities – is it easy to park at the Rec? Also is the walk to the site fairly easy – sorry but we are both elderly and not so athletic anymore! Good luck to you all in Balcombe!!!! Cheers lyn

    • Demn – I almost did. Was 6 hours too late.

  126. Jane, thank you for your round robin reply to our many questions to the planning department of West Sussex County Council.

    2 things.

    1) If, when you granted an extension to Cuadrilla’s delivery time last Saturday, you had communicated that to people in Balcombe other than the parish council (in whom we have no trust), certain arrests would not have been made, we protesters would not have been so furious at a seeming breach of the permission, and the police would not have had such a hard time. The parish council put the info on their website. Of course we monitor the parish council website regularly every five minutes all day every day – not! Had you shared this info with the police? If so, what a pity they did not share it with the protesters. And how sad for the people who were arrested because we were so furious, becasue there had been no communication.

    2) You mention in your FAQs ‘no objection’ from Balcombe back in the day, 2010, when the permission went through. See attachements. I know you are aware of this. I know you were are the meeting in Balcombe, Jan 2012. You know that Balcombe Parish Council did not follow normal procedure, did not circulate the application to members prior to the meeting, did not put the planning application on the agenda, that Councillor Simon Greenward of Balcombe Estate did not declare an interest at the start of the meeting, that the application was not properly discussed, that, in the minutes of the meeting, the application is mentioned only under the application number of someone’s car port! For someone in the village to have known about this planning application, and the council’s non-decision, they would have to have be interested a) in reading the minutes of the parish council meetings (yawn, back in the day) and b) to have been interested in that particular car port.

    How can you still answer a FAQ with the defence that there were no objections? Do we still have redress? Can we still challenge the fact that Balcombe council never properly considered the impact of an oil well in our village?

    A third question:

    How long does it take to frazzle a mummy bat in a flare? One second? One minute? One week?

    The attachements to follow

    • My statement to the Parish Council, January 2012:

      Kathryn Metcalfe in the village and family, Kathryn McWhirter in my professional life.
      I have lived in the village for nearly 10 years.
      I address this statement to those of you council members who were present at the Parish Council meeting of February 2010: that is to chairwoman Alison Stevenson, Simon Greenwood in his absence, Mike Talman, Susan Barker-Danby, Carol Jarvest, Sarah Moore-Williams (who apparently arrived late arrival and probably missed the moment of the absent apology, but was probably there by the time Simon Greenwood ‘mentioned’ his plans), Robin Williamson, and clerk Richard Greig,
      It would appear from the minutes of that Parish Council meeting that the planning application for the re-opening of the Balcombe oil well was not properly discussed. The planning application number did not appear on the minutes. Mention of the matter comes in a little afterthought, with no heading of its own, at the end of a paragraph about an application to build a carport.
      I quote: ‘Mr Greenwood mentioned a recent application (to WSCC) relating to re-establishing exploratory oil drilling at the previous site off the London Road on Estate land.’
      Incidentally, at the beginning of the meeting, at the official ‘Declaration of personal or prejudicial interest’ moment, another councillor declared an interest in another planning matter. But there is no mention in the minutes at this point of a declaration by Simon Greenwood.
      The County Council had emailed details of the planning application to the Balcombe council on January 28th, 2010, prior to the February meeting, along with the address of the County Council website at which the application could be viewed. I note that after the meeting Richard Greig, clerk of the council, failed to reply to the County Council. The County Council re-emailed Richard on March 10th to prompt a response, and within minutes Richard replied to say yes, fine, go ahead, we have no objections. I wonder on what grounds he based this consent?
      I wonder how honourable members of this council can expend much thought and energy on discussing minor details of our village porches and carports, and yet fail to discuss the implications of an OIL WELL within the confines of our village. An OIL WELL, even a conventional oil well, with all the potential impliations for road use, noise, pollution…. It was not worth discussing.
      As far as your deputy chairman Rodney Saunders can remember, this particular planning application does not seem to have been circulated to members of the Council in the way that all other planning applications are, prior to the meeting. According to Rodney, it does not seem to have been put on the advance agenda, and it was not put into your ‘box’ in the centre of the table. I quote Rodney, ‘It is my personal opinion that the letter should have been treated as a formal planning consultation document and placed on the agenda.’ I find myslef wondering why this application was not treated like any other.
      The deputy chairman of this council ‘cannot remember’ what happened at the meeting. I wonder if other councillors can remember, or whether maybe Richard Greig can remember some details that he did not put into the minutes. He must have remembered something 3 weeks after the meeting, something that gave him the confidence to email the Council’s ‘no objections’ the the planners.
      What is done is done. But now, surely you owe it to the village to rack your memories for the details of that day, to explain what actually happened, and to apologise. At the meeting last Wednesday Rodney merely explained that the matter had passed under the Council’s radar, and suggested that none of the rest of us, without the benefit of hindsight, would have read the small print or investigated further. I think you underestimate your ‘constituents’, Rodney.
      Why am I bothering? It is of little positive use backtracking and casting blame. Nevertheless, it would be NICE for the village to understand exactly how the Parish Council passed this application. And it worries me that, while protecting your backs, you will be too locked in your defensiveness to take the views of the villagers into proper consideration, too defensive to keep open minds
      Please tell us what happened.


      The following spcific matters run through my mind:

      1. I wonder precisely whose decision or oversight meant that the planning application was not placed on the agenda

      2. I wonder whether Richard Greig in particular remembers any discussion of this planning application at the meeting, anything that he did not put into the minutes

      1) I wonder why Richard Greig considered he had the authority to write the ‘no objection’ email to the Planning Department

      2) I wonder whether anyone else who was present at that meeting of February 15th can remember more about the ‘mention’ of this matter than Rodney Saunders can.

      3) I wonder what the view of the Council is now? I wonder whether you plan to fight possible future planning applications from Cuadrilla to scale exploration up to production

      4) I wonder if the Council will take into account the views of the majority of the locals who attended the neeting last Wednesday? The only voices of support for Cuadrilla came from Rodney Jago and a Cuadrilla-paid PR man.

      5) I wonder what kind of representation you are going to make to Simon Greenwood? And when.

      6) I wonder if you are aware of this clause in the Council Council planning papers of 2010: ‘After receiving planning consent for the exploratory well, the minor site construction and preparation would take one or two weeks to complete. The drilling rig would then be mobilised to the site over an approximate 2 to 3 day period. Once rigged up, the 24-hour drilling would take place over an approximate 4-6 week period.’ Twenty-four hour drilling. I was told today by a pro-Cuadrilla oil and gas engineer that residents with ‘sensitive ears’ would hear the drilling.
      7) Mark Miller told me after the meeting that, following a possible future commercial frack at the Balcombe site, around 100 tankers would be required to take away the spent frack fluid. Since more liquid always goes in than comes out of these wells, MORE than 100 tankers would be required to DELIVER the water and chemicals to the site. I wonder if you, our Council, feel the London Road was built to withstand this kind of traffic.
      8) I wonder if you will admit to having failed to follow proper procedure, and having failed to discuss an issue that will have such an impact on the quality of our village life.

      • R Greig,
        I am the planning officer at West Sussex County Council dealing with a County Matters planning
        application at Lower Stumble Wood, Balcome- reference WSCC/027/10/BA. Balcome Parish
        Council was invited to comment on the application on 28 January 2010, where it was indicated that
        if no comments were received by 18 February 2010 it would be assumed that the Parish Council
        has no objection to the proposal. I wish to clarify if this is the position so i can record that no
        response was received.
        I look forward to hearing from you at your nearest convenience.
        Michael Vine.

        M Vine
        Thank you for your enquiry. I can confirm that the matter was discussed at the
        last Regular Meeting of the Council & that there is no objection to the application.
        Richard Greig
        Clerk to the Council

      • Kathryn,

        More fluid always comes out than goes in.


  127. From a village mother:

    ‘Just want to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who helped and came to Storytime at the Rig this morning! Especially xxxxx. Chris told me how inspiring the protest is and he was thrilled to be there.
    A fantastic fun kids event in the sweltering heat and wow what a moment when all the kids and parents stood on the road with the handprint sign – so moving.

  128. Today at the rig – friends from the potential gaslands of the Bowland Shale in Lancashire will be coming to offer their support. Thank you also to the people of Fernhurst to the west of us, next in the fracking line, who have been here to support. Thank you everyone, from Balcombe and beyond, especially to those brave people who have risked arrest to protect our environment. Balcombe and the Bowland shale are just the start. Two-thirds of the UK will be blighted by oil and gas wells if this industry and our government get their way. This is not just a Balcombe issue.

  129. Storytelling at the rig this morning. From 10.30 this morning, come down to the Cuadrilla site with your children for a fun morning of storytelling and live drawing by award-winning local author/illustrator Chris Riddell, along with craft activities organised by village mothers. A family, fun-filled, safe event for children of all ages – from anywhere in the UK!

  130. From an Australian friend. Encouragement from down under!

    Coal and gas licences or applications currently cover more than half of Australia, an area 18 times the size of Great Britain.[1] But community efforts to stop fracking in its tracks are gaining ground, and we’ve got new stories to share to keep the momentum going strong.


    On Sunday, managing director of Origin Energy, Grant King, admitted that grassroots campaigning had “materially influenced public policy and resulted in more onerous and duplicative legislation…” Yesterday, QGC managing director Derek Fisher said activism “has been allowed to shape public policy as a relatively small but vocal group have campaigned against us”.[2,3] Vocal? Absolutely. Relatively small? Nup.

    Click here to watch and share inspiring micro documentaries — 4 minute films exploring what happens when the gas industry comes to town.


    Energy executives have no problem drilling on other people’s land without their consent1, but spit the dummy when the same people make them spend time and money on ‘onerous’ tasks like proving they aren’t going to poison our water tables before they do so.

    Fortunately, there are increasing signs of a major tipping point against unchecked CSG expansion. In April, Dart Energy suspended all CSG developments in NSW; while just last month Santos abandoned plans to drill 550 mines in the Pillaga State Forest. A huge shout out to our friends at Lock the Gate, who’ve been leading some of these amazing victories, with the involvement of many GetUp members.

    With the tide of public opinion against them, the industry lobby group, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, is now planning a new multimillion dollar advertising campaign — claiming that opposing CSG will ruin Australia’s economy[4].

    Fortunately, the truth is more powerful than any amount of corporate spin. Just as films like An Inconvenient Truth and Gaslands ignited mass consciousness around threats to our environment like never before, we can help keep CSG companies on the back foot, instead of taking over our land, by sharing these short, powerful videos far and wide.
    Click here to check them out:

    Thanks for all that you do — and let’s keep it up,

    The GetUp team

  131. Duncan Donut says:

    Rodney Jago is obviously in the pocket of quadrilla

  132. Bruce Fraser says:

    Greetings and best wishes for your efforts from a resident of the so-called “desolate” Northumberland in the English north east, seemingly next in line for fracking according to George Osborne’s father-in-law!

  133. Urgent:

    Hello, I work for Channel 4 News.

    After much chasing the CEO of Cuadrilla has agreed to be interviewed by us. We think it would be execellnt to give some local people in Balcombe the chance to put their questions to him via phone.

    It is in half an hour but if you are keen to put your issues and questions to him then give me a call asap: 07854401302.

    Many thanks

    Tom Calverley

  134. Paul Carey says:

    You all have a right to peaceful protest but what you are doing by physically preventing the licensed operator from doing their work is undemocratic. They have obtained permission through the normal legitimate process (and approved by your elected representatives) to drill a well (not to frac) and they should be allowed to do so. If you want to stop fraccing then take a close look at their next application and lobby your planning committee members.

    In the meantime, if you want to do something for the environment, go home (preferably walk or cycle and not drive your cars), turn off a few lights, turn down your thermostat, recycle your rubbish properly and compost your green waste.

    • Take a closer look at the protesters most of them clearly live as cleanly and greenly as possible. The point is that despite protesting those with power and influence will do as they please…… but we will never stop. Trying to protect this earth and our children from those who only appear and i mean appear to care when forced too. The idea of relentlessly drilling in this way, is clearly wrong for so many reasons. But like so many things, such as the scale of child abuse, the dangers of vaccines or GMO,s, we are told by ‘experts’ that these poisonous things are good for us. More and more people are awakened, and there is now an unstoppable will within people en masse to create changes despite this…………….. If you listen to the real news on the internet you will hear a woman explaining that due process is not being followed, to allow enough time. They are not intending to just drill a well. And even if that were true, it is still not needed or wanted. This is like building carparks as a step towards another type of permission, which is a step. When will those in power simply act in right ways? rather than use might to do so much harm and wrong ?

    • They seem to have an atavistic need to fabricate a scary happening in order to protest it.

      This is not a shale gas well, it is not a shale well, it is not a gas well & it is not scheduled to be fracced.

      Bit what the h*ll – its summer holiday time.

      • As you say, we shot ourselves in the feett by campaigning on the f and the s word. And oh how clever Cuadrilla have been, and oh how gullible the press and the regulatory authorities! Cuadrilla will psuedo-frack up to just below point of rock fracture. And so what if their unconventional target seam is micrite or shale? If they get to test, it will be the precursor of fracking. Or will it be fracking after all? Who will be there to check? Not the EA – where are their staff??

    • I see by your cc that you are or have been in the industry. I had two and a half hours sleep and have been awake for 20 hours. The EA consultation on the mining waste was a joke. I am waiting to hear how many people there worked on turning around hundreds of public comments in three or was it four days? I cannot believe that they read them all. Hundred of comments arrived in the EA offices in the last day. What confindence can we have in the EA? How may zillion times less can we have confidence in DECC, who have been so unhelpful! Is it worth responding to future consultations? Radioactive waste? Flare pollution? Will they listen, will they read? What kind of regulation is this? What kind of bullying government. What democracy? I would like to compare our personal energy consumption with yours! Thermostat, what thermostat? We scarcely heat our house, almost never turn on the central heating, and then only in the room we are in. We compost every scrap of green waste, are even currently taking green waste from the brave folk outside the Cuadrilla site. What cannot be composted is eaten by our chickens. Please, please suck your own eggs. (The reference is to Grandmothers, and not to huevos.)

    • J. Brock says:

      Perhaps we should ask exactly how much investigation was carried out by the elected representatives, both Balcombe Parish Council and West Sussex County Council on behalf of local people before planning permission was granted back in April 2010.
      What I find extraordinary about this whole process is that a company can obtain planning permission to carry out heavy industrial processes, literally, in people’s back yards. Flaring of gas, if discovered, will have to take place for safety reasons at the test stage and there are legitimate concerns about the potential for leakage of methane into ground water. I realise that Cuadrilla are drilling for oil, but gas is also found when oil is present. The planning permission does give Cuadrilla permission to frack – they have said they don’t intend to do so at the test stage – but WSCC were apparently willing for this to happen.

  135. http://www.uta.edu/news/releases/2013/07/Schug-water-well-contaminants-study.php

    A new study of 100 private water wells in and near the Barnett Shale showed elevated levels of potential contaminants such as arsenic and selenium closest to natural gas extraction sites, according to a team of researchers that was led by UT Arlington associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Kevin Schug.

  136. So thoughtful, these lwayers and landowners back in 1898.

    Dear Sir,

    I attach a restrictive covenant applying to the land at Lower Stumble.

    You are bound by this cove. It says:

    “4. No noisy noxious offensive or dangerous trade business or occupation shall at any time be carried on upon the land hereby conveyed or in any buildings thereon and the same shall not at any time be used to the nuisance annoyance injury or danger of the houses or land adjoining or near thereto or the owners or occupiers thereof.”

    We call on you to cease your noisy, noxious, offensive and dangerous activities, according to the restrictive covenant on the title attached.

    Yours faithfully,

    Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn Metcalfe

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Brilliant bit of research! And brilliant of those 19th century lawyers to foresee the rent-a mob “peacefully” blocking the highway & cutting break linings!

  137. Hi Kathryn,
    I think I told you that D’s talk on fracking was brilliant. I just wanted to let you know that it’s left me feeling so strongly against fracking. I feel quite frustrated that I can’t get up to Balcombe to help. I’ve never protested about anything in my life, haven’t even had a speeding ticket but I’d be there if I could – which sounds quite feeble I know. Sorting out parents and tomorrow I’m off for the next 2 weeks playing at festivals. If there’s anything I can do (from a distance – at the moment) let me know It’s just an email of support, keep on. xx

    Thank you! It is really much more peaceful than it seems, apart from the police. See what it does to people to watch police violence, dutiful citizen that I once was, only last week. Lucky really that I was in hospital last week with C and tied up on the computer writing press releases etc this week and saw only one lorry arrival with Cuadrilla kit. Disgusting police behaviour. Not sure any more how I am going to get on with the idea of S being a special constable. Disgusting police behavour. Coochy cooch try on my police hat little child and let me help your across the road one minute, fierce and physical the next, children screaming in terror. Bi-polar, our police. Forming a guard of honour round every Cuadrilla vehicle.

    When you get back, if the camp is still there, it wd be great to come down and play one night. Lovely people. If we are hijacked by hippies, bring on more. We Grrrrr. Round the campfires at night there is a lovely atmosphere. Such lovely people. We are so grateful to them


    • If “D’s talk on fracking was brilliant” & left K “feeling so strongly against fracking” – then its an easy money bet that D’s talk was neither true nor accurate.

  138. Be Well And Happy says:

    keep up the good work…. you are all wonderful. A few of us going to come over to visit the camp on Friday afternoon. Is there anything you particularly need that we can bring?

  139. The Parish Council will be visiting the site (with Rafe) at 6.30pm this evening, Tuesday. It is important that as many villagers as possible are there at that time. Please come, even for a short time.

  140. Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for the South East, has written to Sussex Police over what he describes as the use of ‘excessive force’ against protesters in Balcombe.

    Mr Taylor, who was in Balcombe on Sunday to support the protesters, is particularly concerned over the suspected use of the ‘mandibular angle’ technique to force protesters to comply with their demands. This technique, which involves pressing against a pressure point behind the ear, was used on Friday to clear protesters from an access road which they were peacefully blockading.

    In the letter to the Chief Constable of Sussex Police Mr Taylor said:

    “Given the peaceful nature of the protest I was concerned to hear reports from both my own staff and others that your officers seemed to be using excessive force against protesters last week.

    Specifically I was concerned to see video and photographic evidence showing officers apparently using pressure point techniques against some protesters who had locked arms on the side road leading to Cuadrilla’s drilling area.

    The officers appear to be using their hands to apply pressure on or near the protesters ears – I believe this is the mandibular angle technique.

    The use of this kind of force seems to me to be excessive given the peaceful nature of the protest and could run the risk of exacerbating tension between protesters and police.”

    After sending the letter Mr Taylor said:

    “The campaigners in Balcombe are modern day defenders of the land. They are fighting against a company desperate to drill into the countryside and a Government hell-bent on supporting extreme energy.

    The fact that so many ordinary people are willing to take direct action against drilling in their area shows the depth of feeling against shale oil and gas extraction.

    The police shouldn’t resort to excessive force against peaceful protesters who are taking action to defend their communities from extreme energy.”


    1) The letter to the Sussex Chief Constable: http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Letter-to-Sussex-Police.pdf

    2) Clear photos of the Police using the mandibular technique are available on request.

  141. My email to our Conservative County Councillor Bill Acraman re the unannounced extension of delivery time on Saturday from 1pm cut-off to 4pm. And his reply.

    ‘Whom can residents contact out of office hours with any concerns about the operations at the Cuadrilla site in Balcombe, such as alleged violations of planning permission etc?

    ‘We feel that you, as our local representative, should be informed in future of amendments to planning permission etc, so that you can make sure that we in Balcombe are in the loop. I know you agree that the works anticipated in Balcombe are scientifically questionable.’


    ‘There is no out of hours contact and even if there were that person would not be able to do anything.
    The senior officer contact is Elkington.
    You will see deep in his letter below an apology to me and the parish council for not keeping us fully informed. I think that lesson has been learned.’

    His email address is billa@sussextory.org.uk. I’ll get his phone number.

  142. Contact: Neil Verlander, Friends of the Earth press office – 020 7566 1649


    Commenting on new Government planning guidance on renewable energy and climate change, published today (Monday 29 July 2013), Friends of the Earth’s Planning Campaigner Naomi Luhde-Thompson said:

    “Eric Pickles rightly says the views of local people must be listened to when making planning decisions – it’s outrageous this doesn’t apply when it comes to fracking.

    “Under these proposals clean energy schemes such as wind turbines could be rejected on visual grounds, while fracking operations that threaten local communities and pollute our atmosphere could be given a virtual green light.

    “It’s staggering that the Minister has refused to insist on councils playing their part in developing renewable energy goals – unless everyone take urgent action, the UK will fail to meet its targets for slashing emissions.”

  143. From a villager:

    I spent some time down at Lower Stumble, and amongst many other things noticed the deterioration of the road at the site entrance, and work has not really begun in earnest.

    Something you may care to ponder upon – a tanker carries approximately 30,000 litres, depending on the construction of the vehicle, so how many tankers will it take to supply the water necessary for one fracking application?

    The state of the B2036 leaves a lot to be desired due to “normal” traffic – what will it be like after such “abnormal” use?

    Having had a very friendly chat with several police officers on duty at Lower Stumble, it would appear that there are about 70 officers present to deal with the arrival and departure of traffic from the site – the cost of which is going to be considerable – who, in your opinions should pay for that?

    • Rodney Jago says:

      As you ask, obviously the protest groups should pay.Without them & their threats police would not be needed.

      • Obviously Cuadrilla should pay. Without them anbd their threats the police would not be needed.

        • Jack Savage says:

          An astounding bit of logic. Listening to YOU whinge about the policing costs (of which you doubtless pay very little) of a disruptive protest actually ORGANISED by you provides a perfect microcosm of the holier than thou eco-loon mentality. I wish I had the means to broadcast it further.

  144. From a village member:

    “Feeling angry and saddened about some of the recent press coverage about the villagers in Balcombe especially Saturday’s Guardian: ‘There is mass hysteria in the village and the fears are ungrounded’ says Katherine Gunning, a local resident. Most of the village is not anti-fracking’. WHERE DOES SHE GET THIS INFORMATION FROM? HAS SHE DONE A POLE HERSELF IF SHE HAS THEN MAYBE SHE CAN PUBLISH THE RESULTS SO WE CAN ALL SEE. At least Louisa Delpy who is a star and supposed to be having a break from all this got a chance to balance the discussion. If Katherine Gunning has been misquoted then shame on the Guardian. I agree that most of those in the village including myself will do nothing illegal and will not go to the extent that many outside protesters would HOWEVER I respect their right to protest and admire that they have the courage of their convictions.”

    Shame on you, Kathering Gunning. You know very well that the Parish council poll came out 82 per cent against oil and gas exporation in the village – despite the fact that people had to put their names and addresses on the form, that only one form was allowed per household, and that so many people in this village live in houses tied to the Balcombe estate, or work for the estate, and that the well will be on the Balcombe Estate land. No Fibs has run a door-to-door survey at nearly every house in the village – just a few now to mob up. We have spoken directly to everyone. The result is over 90% against. You must have a very limited bunch of friends and acquaintances, Ms Gunning.

    Shame also on Rodney Saunders for his most unhelful and unsupportive comments to the press.. After the results of your poll were published, you councillors promised to support us against this oil well, since you ‘now had a mandate to do so’. So where is that support? Why don’t we see you down at the rig? Why do we never see you at our meetings. Why are you openly obstructive to this cause?

    Shame on you, councillor Simon Greenwood, for leasing your land to bullies (not to mention failing to declare an interest when the planning permission came before the parish council). We hear that you have renewed the lease, post September 29th when the first one runs out. You won’t even reply to our emails. You agent tells us to mind our own business. What do your parents think about all this? They who have been so beloved in the village? I cannot believe they want to sell the soul of the village for – what was it? £16,000 per year, £16,000 for three years? Just how many pieces of silver were handed over has never been quite clear.

    • Rodney Jago says:

      Well done all those slated above ! The Parish Councll Poll managed only below 17% of eligible voters against exploration. I do not doubt the new poll will get the “right” result but will await the detailed report.
      I did not observe any local people other that the usual NFIB lot on the Cuckfield road. Perhaps Katherine is right?

      • There have been many local people. Pehaps you do not mix with the same people we do. Only one reply was allowed per house, Rodney.

        • Rodney Jago says:

          Parish Council Circular 12 August 2012 ” Each resident of the Parish of Balcombe AGED 16 OR OVER is invited to express his or her oppinion” and inspite of all the threats of earthquakes etc less than 17% bothered. We are really quite a sensible village!

          • The Parish Council had many multiple responses from single households. They were counted as individual votes;

            This is the wording of the letter that accompanied the poll cards.

            Each resident in the Parish of Balcombe age 16 or over is invited to express his or her opinion by completing the attached fracking poll document and either placing it in the box which will be located in Balcombe Stores, or handing it to any member of the Parish Council or the Parish Clerk, by not later than 10th September. If more than one person living at your address wishes to express an opinion, please make copies of the fracking poll document.

  145. From Helen Savage:

    ‘4 things happening at the mo. Please forward this to anyone who will be interested!

    Please respond to the consultation below, there are only a few days left. Remember that Cuadrilla are drilling through an aquifer. The area already contains ‘brackish’ water apparently but it’s worth asking whether the work going on will disturb or cause this water to move into the main water supply (Ardingly reservoir). In Poland local farmers have found that even initial seismic testing has caused their individual farm wells to become contaminated in the vicinity. Presumably it is causing movement of groundwater. There is a seasonal gill stream in the area which connects to a tributary to the Ouse which feeds Ardingly reservoir which feeds 84,000 homes to the south. If Cuadrilla do not deal with their radio-active (NORMS) and mining waste appropriately, there are risks of contamination. Please bear in mind Cuadrilla intended to go ahead with this work without a ‘mining waste’ and radioactive waste’ permit as directed by the EU. Given that they over-drilled for a month in Lancashire (without permission – they had been asked not to because of bird-migration) and cracked a well including causing seismic tremors, this does not inspire confidence. They also told someone at the open consultation in Balcombe that they would ‘mix the waste as straw and use it as fertilizer!’ TRUE! When you read up on this kind of waste it should be disposed of extremely carefully in steel drums…ask SouthEast water where this waste is going and where will it be stored, how will it finally be ‘dumped’. Apparently in the sea in the case of Lancashire.

    Consultation on SouthEast water’s management plan ‘clear water’, closes 30th July

    This petition is still being developed, but up and running for signing, please sign it is the only one genuinely created by Balcombe residents and we will take it to WSCC, please forward!


    Daily protests occurr at the site. Balcombe people are down there as much as possible, but obviously it is hard to sustain, so we are grateful that people from surrounding villages (Pease Pottage/Forest Row/Ardingly/Horsted Keynes/Haywards Heath) and Lewes and Brighton, care enough to come along. It’s important to keep as many local people going down there as possible – particularly tomorrow as the drill rig is scheduled to arrive. Local faces help stop this being labelled as a ‘rent-a-mob’ campaign, so if you can, please go down. Bear in mind, however, that it is not a small child friendly site. Big layby but by a fast road.

    As always, write to Francis Maud/ your MP, but please be sure to copy a version to another MP or chairman of their party, Mp’s of different parties etc, don’t want Maud to feel he can hide his mail bag!

    38 degrees is canvasing for opinion if this is a cause worth fighting…and raising funds to do so, if you have a mind to, check out their site etc….

    Fracking: if you haven’t heard of it yet, you’re probably about to. It’s the process of blasting water and chemicals deep underground to extract shale gas. [1] And Last week, the chancellor George Osborne announced that the UK will become the “most generous” tax regime for shale gas extraction in the world. [2]

    Osborne’s ‘dash for gas’ is scaling up – but fracking is incredibly dangerous. In Lancashire, it’s caused small earthquakes. [3] In parts of America, fracking has resulted in contaminated drinking water. [4]

    Most damagingly, pouring tax payer’s money into shale gas now means less investment in renewables and clean energy. Green MP Caroline Lucas has said that fracking is “incompatible with the climate change targets of the UK. Shale gas is a high-carbon fuel.” [5]

    George Osborne would like us to think that this is all sewn up. But fracking isn’t an established industry here yet – and there’s a huge amount still to be decided. There’s lots that 38 Degrees members could do together to stop fracking, but first we need to know how ambitiously we should plan and how much money there is to spend.

    Are you in? Could you make a pledge today to chip in just £3 or more to make this possible?

    If you’re standing behind this, here’s a first list of ideas for what we could do together:
    Commission expert reports into the murky legislation – and then campaign to fix it
    Publish every MP’s opinion on fracking, so local campaigns know what they’re up against
    Push local councils to declare themselves ‘frack free’
    Support local community campaigns with small grants, campaigning advice and outside experts like lawyers for court cases
    Learn from successful anti-fracking actions in other countries
    There’s lots more than that, too. This could be the next big climate and energy campaign for 38 Degrees. We have the numbers and the energy to take this fight to fracking companies across the country: but there’s no point making grand plans unless we know that we’re all behind this – and that we’ll have the money to be successful. This won’t be a quick win, but we’re ready to go – if enough of us want to.

    Can you pledge £3 today to support what could be the next watershed environmental campaign?

    Thanks for being involved,

    Becky, Susannah, James and the 38 Degrees team

    [1] BBC News: What is fracking?: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23314874
    [2] The Guardian: George Osborne unveils ‘most generous tax breaks in world’ for fracking: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jul/19/george-osborne-tax-break-fracking-shale-environment
    [3] BBC News: Fracking ‘likely cause’ of tremors: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-15550458
    [4] Duke University: Higher levels of stray gases found in water near shale gas sites: http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/news/higher-levels-of-stray-gases-found-in-water-wells-near-shale-gas-sites
    [5] The Guardian: Fracking companies should not get tax breaks, says No 10 adviser http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/18/fracking-tax-breaks-peter-lilley

  146. http://blueandgreentomorrow.com/2013/07/05/norwegian-pension-fund-divests-from-financially-worthless-fossil-fuels/

    ‘Its decision to divest comes after the publication of UK-based thinktank Carbon Tracker’s latest Unburnable Carbon report, which said some 60-80% of fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground if the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided.’

  147. An important point made by Frack Off. Do phone the Environment Agency about this on Monday. Worthing office, but switchboard is 03708 506506.

    “The ‘EA permit for radioactive substances activity’: Why does it only apply to the testing stage? If Cuadrilla are testing a layer of rock that may contain Naturally Occuring Radioactive Materials (NORM) they will have to drill through it. This means their drill cuttings and also drilling mud that they use will be radioactive, and they will need to be stored at the site and disposed of at some point. The consultation mentions it is to “operate a radioactive substances activity at Lower Stumble Hydrocarbon Exploration Site” which would seem on the face of it to apply to handling and storage of these materials as well as disposal, though you would have to look at this the law this is all based on to be sure. If so the permit should be needed before the material is brought out of the ground, i.e. for the drilling stage. There is clear evidence from the states of how radioactive shale drill cuttings can be:

    “Shale truck sets off alarm in South Huntingdon

  148. From villager Louisa Delpy:

    Dear WSCC and Planning Enforcement,

    Yesterday (Saturday at 2pm) I had rush down to the Lower Stumble site with the planning conditions for the work going on at Balcombe Lower Stumble site and negotiate with the police to ensure that no further trucks were allowed on to the site. The conditions of the planning have been put in place to protect my and the other residents of Balcombe’s amenities.

    Why was no-one available at WSCC to come to the site or speak to the police? Where are our representatives, where are planning enforcement?

    I would ask that planning enforcement at WSCC be at the site from 07:30 tomorrow when work starts to liaise with the police – Chief Superintendent Webb is in charge, and ensure that no further planning conditions are breached. The police told me that WSCC had agreed an extension until 4pm for Saturday work which there was no documentary evidence of. The planning conditions clearly state that in Condition 6 “Unless otherwise agreed in advance and in writing by the County Planning authority,construction, drilling rig mobilisation and restoration phases of the development work at the site shall only be undertaken between the hours of 0730 and 1830 Mondays to Fridays and 0800 to 1300 on Saturdays. No work shall occur on Sundays, Bank Holidays and Public Holidays. This condition does not relate to operations necessary for the 24hrs drilling operation.Reason: In the interest of residential amenity.” How was an extension agreed? Who made that decision – where is it published? Why weren’t the residents informed or consulted with? How are WSCC allowed to make changes to conditions? Please advise me of that process so that I will be aware of any further changes WSCC is making without residents being involved?

    There are further conditions of the planning decision being breached as well, which urgently need investigation and enforcement action taken:
    Condition 5 “A copy of this decision notice together with the approved plans and any schemes
    and/or details subsequently approved pursuant to this permission shall be kept at the site office at all times and the terms and contents thereof shall be made known to supervising staff on the site.
    Reason: To ensure the site operatives are conversant with the terms of the planning permission.”
    There was no copy of the decision notice available, no-one at WSCC to talk to which was why I had to drive my copy down there. Clearly the site operatives are not conversant with the terms of planning. What else are they not conversant with? Who will planning enforcement be taking this up with?

    Condition 12: “Prior to the commencement of the development hereby approved details of signage
    (including text, size, fixings and location) to be displayed at the exit of the site strictly directing all Heavy Goods Vehicles northbound onto the 82036, shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the County Planning Authority. The signage shall then be installed and maintained in place as approved for the duration of the site occupation. Reason: In the interests of highway safety.” Trucks are turning southbound off the site – who is enforcing this?

    The police tell me that these breaches (and we are on Day 3 here!) are civil matters and therefore they cannot do anything about them therefore WSCC it is I assume your responsibility to ensure that there is cover day and night and over weekends until the