Fracking XR

A reader writes from Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens:

“I live overlooking the XR camp. They are using Calor gas and ironically our block is so energy efficient we never have the heating on but it is powered by renewables. I am spitting feathers with rage but police actually admitted they don’t know what’s going on…”

That wouldn’t be fracked gas being used to warm up their lentil soup… would it?

Jo Swinson Took £14,000 Donation from Fracking Boss

The Lib Dem leadership content is so firmly in the Tories’ shadow that even Ed Davey is writing op-eds about the Tory race rather than the one he’s competing in himself. Meanwhile his rival Jo Swinson has been busy doing a Gove-style hypocrisy tribute act by taking £14,000 in donations from a fracking boss while claiming to have “campaigned tirelessly” for the environment. Awkward…

The number two pledge on Swinson’s campaign website is her environmental credentials, she even boasts about how “she took to the streets with Extinction Rebellion”. Coincidentally as well as taking two donations totalling £14,000 from fracking boss Mark Petterson, she’s also voted against a moratorium on fracking permits, in favour of cutting renewable subsidies and against CO2 targets in the past few years. Sensible positions which will likely be better for the environment in the long run, her own Lib Dem selectorate may not quite feel the same way…

Putin’s Fracking Green Puppets

Kremlin-backed Russia Today have been busy pushing Putin’s line on fracking, promoting green useful idiots to ensure that Europe remains reliant on Russian gas. The strategic interests of Russia make Putin and the Greens allies:

Natural gas has made fuel in America cheaper and greener, and more energy independent. Putin fears that if the UK were to follow the same path, energy prices would fall and his stranglehold on European supply would weaken,,,

Skinner’s Fracking Smears Debunked Days Ago

At PMQs today Dennis Skinner told the House that INEOS’s fracking activities have caused problems with the Bolsover water supply. Residents have had discoloured water for 10 days, and Skinner was not missing the opportunity to blame INEOS and fracking. Just one problem. Severn Trent Water said five days ago that the issues were caused by a broken water pipe, not fracking activities. INEOS have said in a statement in response to Skinner’s PMQ that they were working 3 kilometres away from where the leak happened and that “there is absolutely no evidence that the leak is in anyway linked to our work”. This was all public well before Skinner asked his question. Will he apologise?

Friends of the Earth Rapped Over Fake Fracking Claims

Friends of the Earth has been rebuked by the advertising regulator and forced to promise it will not repeat pseudo-scientific claims about the economic, environmental and health effects of fracking. FoE published a scaremongering campaign leaflet last year warning fracking would be responsible for everything from falling house prices to asthma and cancer. Now the Advertising Standards Authority has extracted a pledge from the group that future literature will not include the claims, none of which could be evidenced. The watchdog said the environmentalists must:

  • Not claim that fluid used in fracking contains chemicals dangerous to human health or that it would contaminate drinking water;
  • Not claim a US fracking site was responsible for increases in asthma rates or that the public would be at risk of equivalent increases in asthma rates in the UK;
  • Not claim that there is an established risk of the chemicals concerned causing cancer and other conditions among the local population;
  • Not claim that fracking will cause plummeting house prices.

That means the entire ‘scientific’ basis of FoE’s anti-fracking lobbying effort has been debunked. Importantly, these now banned claims were made on a leaflet intended to solicit donations from the public: Friends of the Earth is a registered charity. Guido understands a complaint has been put in to the Fund Raising Regulator. FoE is yet to remove the claims from its website. Quite literally fracking unbelievable…

Nottingham Next to Approve Fracking


Nottinghamshire Council will be following Lancashire and Yorkshire in looking for shale gas after approving an application from iGas. Friends of the Earth had attempted to use an arcane covenant set up in the 1960s to block the bid, but the council has approved the proposal. A grand total of 30 protesters opposed the decision.


More good news for the fracking revolution, at last.

Saj Overrules Fracking Luddites


Good news for the fracking revolution: Sajid Javid has overruled Lancashire county council and given the go ahead for fracking on the Fylde. Labour / Guardianistas have reacted predictably, claiming locals don’t want fracking and it’ll be disastrous for the area. The truth, according to a pan-European survey on attitudes towards shale gas, is that people in Lancashire are among the most pro-fracking in Europe. Worth remembering that Lancashire country council also ignored the advice of its own planning officers in order to side with lobbyists at Friends of the Earth, whose campaign was slammed by the advertising watchdog. This is a sensible decision by Saj, rolling back heavy-handed state intervention and helping to create private sector jobs…

Shadow Energy Secretary Talked Up Fracking Last Month


Labour have found something else to argue about – Shadow Energy Secretary Barry Gardiner today pledges to ban fracking completely if they win the next election:

“Today I am announcing that the next Labour government will ban fracking in the UK. Fracking locks us into an energy infrastructure that is based on fossil fuels, long after our country needs to have moved to renewables.”

Just a month ago Gardiner was talking about how fracking could bring benefits so long as safeguards are met. He said this on August 7:

“Labour recognises that a UK shale gas industry could create a number of jobs and increase the security of our domestic supply”

The GMB union are losing it over the hardening in policy, blasting: “Which henchman, hangman or head-chopper do we want to buy our gas from going forward?” Lights out…

How Friends of the Earth Dodge Charity Regulations


When members of the public donate to Friends of the Earth, they think they are giving money to a charity, not a limited company. Their leaflets neglect to mention that donations actually go to Friends of the Earth Limited, the political wing of the organisation, instead of the charitable trust. Why the distinction?

By directing donations to a limited company, FoE avoid being regulated by the Charities Commission. This means that if they distribute leaflets with false claims – such as the above porkie claiming the silica used in fracking fluid is carcinogenic – they escape censure. If the donations went to the charitable wing of FoE, the leaflet would breach regulations on charities fundraising by deception.

The Charities Commission admit this is confusing for the public and will look at their rules to address it:

“The structure of Friends of the Earth is not unique and other organisations work in this way with both a charity and a non-charitable campaigning body. We realise that this can cause confusion to the public and could pose a reputational risk to charity and we therefore propose to look further at this issue. Aside from this, we have no jurisdiction over Friends of the Earth Limited as a non- charitable body, but we have established that charitable funds are not being used to campaign against fracking and your Company.”

A nifty little loophole for charities to avoid regulation…

Sturgeon’s Tax Bung For Big Oil


The SNP have long tied their hopes to the price of oil and, now it’s under $30 a barrel, Sturgeon is pushing for big oil tax breaks. As tax policy is made in Westminster, Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney has scheduled an “urgent meeting” with Osborne. This is despite the Chancellor announcing £1.7 billion pounds worth of tax breaks for oil and gas last year

The SNP suspended new coal bed methane and fracking sites in Scotland last year, killing off a growing industry in its infancy. Now they want Osborne to pay big oil for their mistake. Tax breaks for big business while eternally delaying fracking decisions – why don’t the SNP just go and join the Tories?

Green Light For Fracking In National Parks


Parliament has given the green light for fracking below national parks by a majority of 37 votes. The bill was passed by 298 votes to 261, and will allow fracking 1200 meters below national parks, areas of natural beauty and world heritage sites. The victory will be welcome for pro-fracking Climate Secretary Amber Rudd, coming after MPs previously pledged an “outright ban” on fracking in national parks in January. Should give the anti-fracking lobby something to think about…

ASA Investigate Friends of the Earth Leaflet Cock Up


Friends of the Earth have widely distributed this leaflet in Lancashire, illustrated with a tranquil photo of a lake and the words: “Don’t let fracking destroy all of this”. Unfortunately the picture is of Grasmere in the Lake District, an area where there is no license to explore for gas. Despite having the faux pas pointed out to them, FOE are sticking to their guns:

“The leaflet is not misleading, the image of Grasmere is being used as an illustration of the sort of areas that might be under threat from fracking if the government and industry get their way.”

The rock bed under Grasmere is volcanic; there is no shale gas under it. The Advertising Standards Authority is investigating, though knowing them don’t hold your breath…

Council Offers £100k to Explain Away Fracking Decision

frack free lancashire

Lancashire County Council, who against the advise of their own planning officers refused planning permission for two fracking sites this year, are shelling out £100,000 of taxpayer’s money to hire someone who can explain their decision.

In exchange for the ludicrous amount of cash, the person who gets the contract will have three months to come up with a defence of LCC’s reasons for refusing planning permission for one of the fracking sites and present this defence at a public enquiry. Chancers looking to make a quick buck can apply for the job here

EU Survey Finds Lancashire Loves Fracking


The EU Commission has conducted a massive pan-European survey on attitudes towards shale gas and found that people in Lancashire are among the most pro-fracking in Europe. A finding that is completely at odds with a survey by Greenpeace that has been widely cited in the press.

More people in Lancashire – where the Labour council opposes fracking – agree that fracking will benefit the local economy than anywhere else in Europe. Most significantly, only 23% of Lancashire residents agree with the statement: “The EU should consider banning hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”)”. That makes Lancashire the joint third place in Europe where locals least likely want a ban on fracking. Meanwhile the appeals process against the bizarre decision by Lancashire County Council to refuse planning for a fracking site rumbles on…

Nazi Slur Vivienne Westwood in Tank Attack on Dave’s Family Home

vivienne tank

Millionaire anti-capitalist Vivienne Westwood is weighing into the fracking debate again this morning by driving a tank to Cameron’s Chipping Norton family home and calling for “regime change in Britain“. Tank protests are so March 2015

In a statement bonkers even by Westwood‘s increasingly unhinged standards, she likened the issuing of fracking licenses to Assad raining sarin rockets down on civilians:

“Cameron accuses foreign leaders such as President Gaddafi and President Assad of supposedly using chemicals on their own people as a justification for regime change. But he is doing precisely that here in Britain by forcing toxic, life threatening Fracking chemicals on his own people…It’s time for regime change in Britain.”

As if the Gaddafi and Assad comparisons weren’t enough, Vivienne also slurred Richard Edelman, the Jewish CEO of of the PR firm who represent the independent Task Force on Shale Gas:

 “Edelman is Goebbels” 

Take your meds, Vivienne…

Shadow Energy Minister Backs Fracking


Lady Worthington, Labour’s shadow energy minister, has come out in favour of fracking, revealing on Radio 4 this morning that she believes that it is more efficient to frack for gas than to import it:

Back in the day Worthington used to be a climate campaigner at green loonies Friends of the Earth and was instrumental in the creation of the 2008 Climate Change Act that legally commits the UK to reduce an 80% arbon emissions by 2050. FOE’s current position is that “fracking won’t help us tackle climate change“. Now she has seen the light…

Rudd Declares War on Fracking NIMBYs

amber rudd axe

Amber Rudd has played the latest card in her war against the anti-fracking lobby and it’s a blinder – if councils take longer than 16 weeks to rule on fracking applications, the government will sweep in and make the decision for them. She also warned that the government could routinely take over shale gas drilling applications, especially if councils repeatedly drag out the application process.

The new approach will come as a relief to those who watched Lancashire County Council drag their feet for over year before finally rejecting Cuadrilla’s application to drill – against the advise of their own planning officers. The announcement combined with today’s policy statement affirming that “natural gas is absolutely vital to the economy” and David Cameron tweeting links to videos explaining the fracking process should leave people in no doubt as to which way the wind is blowing. Frack on…

Sh** Hits the Fan For Anti-Frackers


For years anti-fracking doom-mongers have been warning that the waters of Lancashire will become polluted – a completely baseless assertion that contributed to the local council rejecting permission for two fracking wells.

However, it seems the anti-fracking crowd’s predictions have come to pass – sort of. The tap water for more than 300,000 households has been contaminated with cryptosporidium and locals are being advised to boil their drinking water until further notice. The presence of the microbial parasite which causes diarrhoea indicates that the water supply has come into contact with animal or human faeces.

Perhaps if Lancashire County Council spent less time dealing with imaginary risks and more time on real ones, the residents of Blackpool and Chorley wouldn’t be running to the loo so much this week…

Return of the Frackers, Cuadrilla to Appeal


Secret Fracking Report Doesn’t Reveal Much


An unredacted draft Defra report into the economic effects impacts of drilling for shale has revealed that despite there not really being any evidence for it, houses near fracking wells could lose some value. The usual suspects are running “fracking likely to wipe 7% off house prices” headlines…

“Overall the evidence on impact on property prices in the literature is quite thin and the results are not conclusive.

[…] Read the rest


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Peter Mandelson tells Emma Barnett…

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