fracking

Support for Fracking Remains Low after Government Reintroduces Survey Question

Read time: 5 mins

By Ruth Hayhurst, Drill or Drop

The government has resumed its quarterly survey of public attitudes to fracking and shale gas. The latest results, published this morning, show support for fracking stands at 15 percent, down 3 percentage points, and opposition at 31 percent, down 1 point.

The previous Wave tracker survey, published in August 2018, dropped questions, for the first time since 2013, on whether people supported or opposed fracking.

At the time, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the questions would be asked only annually in future to allow space for “more focused questions” on subjects, such as consumer issues or employment rights.

But BEIS explained last week why the questions were returning:

With the UK entering a new era of shale gas exploration it is only right that we routinely gauge the opinion of the British public and so the questions on supporting/opposing shale gas development will return to each quarter of the tracker.”

The fieldwork for today’s results was carried out before a series of earth tremors linked to Cuadrilla’s fracking at Preston New Road near Blackpool.

Who Decides When Fracking Starts and Stops After an 'Earthquake'?

Read time: 7 mins
Fracking traffic lights system

For the second time in four days, fracking company Cuadrilla halted and restarted its fracking activities at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire because of seismic activity, leading to many “earthquake” headlines in the media.

But who decides when fracking needs to stop and can be restarted? DeSmog UK unpacks the monitoring and real-time decision-making process behind fracking.

Government Meets Fracking Industry: Redacted Notes Show Energy Minister Claire Perry's Vision For 'Success'

Read time: 7 mins

By Ruth Hayhurst, Drill or Drop

Several shale gas wells in production would be seen as success by the government, according to recently released notes of a round-table meeting between the energy minister and the industry.

Once the first well was in production, the notes said, the government believed “we will be in a better position”.

And according to the notes, ministers intended to streamline regulation for shale gas and create a “UK model” for shale extraction that can be exported around the world.

Fracking Campaigners Freed As 'Manifestly Excessive' Jail Sentence Overturned

Read time: 5 mins

Three judges have quashed the prison sentence of the three anti-fracking protestors, ruling the sentence to be “manifestly excessive”. The court room erupted into applause, when the decision was announced.

Simon Blevins, Richard Roberts and Richard Loizou will walk out free of Preston prison in Lancashire this evening and go home to their families.

The appeal case was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday morning in a packed court room with Blevins, Roberts and Loizou appearing through a video link from Preston prison.

'It's Not Over': Lancashire Protestors Vow to Continue as Cuadrilla Get Fracking Go-Ahead

Read time: 5 mins
Cuadrilla's Lancashire site

The rig standing in a field in Little Plumpton, Lancashire, is about to start drilling. Today, Cuadrilla finally got all the all-clear to start fracking, after the High Court rejected a request for a last-minute injunction.

Activists stationed outside the site have been disrupting Cuadrilla’s plans for over a year. They’ve used lock-ons and legal challenges to obstruct the company’s plans, but it looks as though Cuadrilla has leapt the final hurdle.

None of the protesters are about to go home. They see this as a legal hiccup on a longer road to victory.

Government Drops Shale Gas Question from Survey After Fracking Opposition Consistently Outstrips Support

Read time: 4 mins

By Ruth Hayhurst for Drill or Drop

For the first time since 2013, a quarterly public attitudes survey for the government has not asked questions on whether people support or oppose fracking.

The latest findings, published this morning, cover only whether people were aware of the process.

Previously, 18 surveys for the Wave public attitudes tracker had asked whether people supported or opposed fracking for shale gas and by how much. It also asked why people supported or opposed.

Government Recruits Fracking Commissioner to 'Facilitate Communication' With Residents

Read time: 5 mins
Preston New Road site

The UK government is recruiting a shale gas commissioner to “facilitate communication” with residents and push what is sees as the benefits of a new fossil fuel industry. The position was announced days before the government gave the go-ahead for fracking to start in Lancashire.

The new role of shale commissioner has been described by the government as “an independent appointment” which will have no powers of enforcement or investigation but will aim to “improve local understanding of shale gas operations by directing concerned local parties to relevant and impartial fact based information”.

Comment: The Fracked North has Already been Written Off as ‘Desolate’, Don’t let it Become Dehydrated Too

Read time: 3 mins

By John Hobson, chair of campaign group Defend Lytham

This year we have experienced the longest heat wave since 1976, and we learned this weekend that the North West of England is heading for a hosepipe ban in a couple of weeks. We also discovered recently that Cuadrilla has applied for the final consent from BEIS to start fracking.

For those of us who have been looking into the impacts of fracking over the years, the timing is striking.

Fracking is an extremely water-intensive process. So Cuadrilla could be set to frack it’s first well while the rest of us are looking at our yellow lawns and dirty cars.

Sick as a Dog: Fracking Protests and the Media Blame Game

Read time: 5 mins

By Andy Rowell, Open Democracy UK

North Yorkshire Police are coming under renewed pressure to answer questions over the apparently hasty, heavy-handed and heavily publicised arrest of two campaigners in January this year at the height of the protests against fracking firm Third Energy.

As the protests reached a peak at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire, many people believed that fracking could be approved by the Government any day. To add to the heightened tensions, North Yorkshire Police issued a news article which stated that two men had been arrested on suspicion of poisoning a guard dog – potentially with “pellets” made from aniseed balls. The media were quick to pick up the press release leading to stories in the BBC, ITV; Daily Mail as well as local press outlets.

The media was quick to point the finger of blame at the anti-fracking campaigners: “Two men arrested on suspicion of poisoning a fracking site guard dog were environmental protesters”, revealed the Mail Online.

Minister Delays Fracking Decision at Kirby Misperton until Third Energy submits its Overdue Accounts

Read time: 3 mins
anti-fracking activists Kirby Misperton

This article originally appeared on Drill or Drop

The government is delaying a decision on Third Energy’s fracking plans at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire until the company has filed its latest accounts.

Under the Infrastructure Act, the Business Secretary has to give the final consent before hydraulic fracturing can go ahead.

In a written statement this afternoon, Greg Clark said the company must submit its accounts for the year ending 2016 before he would announce his decision. The accounts are nearly four months overdue.

He has also added two further financial checks before giving the company the final go-ahead.

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