Use Your Vote to Keep Tameside Frack Free

Jenny Ross on the dirty industry that threatens our beautiful hills

Hydraulic Fracturing – the process of extracting gas from wells drilled deep below the earth by administering a highly pressurised mix of water, sand and up to 600 chemicals – may seem a long way away for the electorate, but Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Stalybridge and Hyde, Jenny Ross, says Tameside locals should vote to protect themselves from this controversial form of extreme energy gathering because our entire area is currently being offered up for license.

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95 out of a potential 295 bids have come in to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, but they won’t release details of where until after the general election,” says Jenny, “So if the people of Tameside don’t vote for a party that opposes fracking, the world’s worst lottery scenario – where our houses lose 70% of their value, our families’ health is put at risk, and our entire area is blighted, could apply to us.”

Last month a report from Medact, backed by leading UK doctors and public health academics, advised a nationwide prohibition on fracking – a process which remains hugely unpopular with the electorate. 76% of people oppose fracking, according to a Department of Energy and Climate Change survey, and the Infrastructure Bill’s removal of peoples’ right to oppose fracking under their homes, has cemented public dissent.

The Green Party are the only party who oppose fracking. That’s the only sensible decision to take when health evidence from the USA and Australia makes it abundantly clear fracking isn’t safe,” states Jenny.

The pro-fracking Conservative party have been strongly criticised for their close relationship with industry bosses, whilst Labour support a regulated industry – despite the fact their regulations to demand mandatory Environmental Impact Assessments and no fracking on controlled water zones were watered down in the House of Lords, leaving campaigners concerned over UK aquifer supply and integrity.

There is lower Boland shale in Tameside,” says Jenny. “However, I think it’s much more likely we will see fracking to develop Coal Bed Methane as our area is littered with old mine seams and CBM is in TMBC’s local plan.”

Coal Bed Methane extraction – known as Coal Seam Gas (CSG) in Australia – has caused earthquakes and air and water pollution in the rural outback, provoking huge nationwide protests.

The problems we’ve seen in Australia and the US would be magnified here on our highly populated island. These developments aren’t just one well: a production zone could have up to 30 wells on, each taking up 5km square. They have 24/7 drilling licenses, flaring radioactive gasses through the night, compressor stations, thousands of movements of 300,000 litre tankers clogging up and damaging our roads. Furthermore, each frack takes between 20,000-50,000 cubic meters of water per well. Where on earth do we find that amount of water when every summer we get a hosepipe ban for wanting to hydrate the marigolds? And how do we replace it when the water is rendered toxic and radioactive during the process?” asks Jenny.

Parliament’s own Environmental Audit Committee have advised the House of Commons that even if shale and CBM are developed in the UK, our carbon budget would not allow for their burning, and industry insider’s have already admitted the gas will not be cheaper.

Jenny MC-ing the People's Climate March in Manchester, 2014

Jenny MC-ing the People’s Climate March in Manchester, 2014

Continuing to invest in fracking is stifling investment in affordable renewable energy that the people of this country so desperately need,” says Jenny. “1-in-4 households in the UK are now living in fuel poverty. It’s time to roll out renewables creating 1,000,000 new jobs in the process and supplying the people of the UK with clean energy that won’t cost the earth.”

If you don’t want to see fracking developed in Tameside, sign our petition here

Greenpeace ‘Frack’ UK Prime Minister’s Home Before He Announces Pro-Drilling Policy

Greenpeace UK volunteers visited Prime Minister David Cameron’s home Wednesday morning to deliver some medicine—his own.

They set off to make Cameron’s home a fracking site on the day that he announced plans for legislation that would make it easier to frack under residents’ property, despite 74 percent of the British public stating they are against changes to trespass laws that would allow companies to drill under homes without permission.

Cameron, of course, wasn’t around and police quickly ordered the group to remove the materials from his property, but he now understands what it’s like to have his home invaded for trapped gas and/or oil.

“Ahh, what a perfect day for fracking,” one of the volunteers says in the video.

With their smiles and iPhone selfies, the Greenpeace volunteers tried to duplicate the joviality companies will feel when they embark on a fracking mission knowing they’ll reap the benefits of fossil fuels without regulation. Under current law, companies need permission to frack on private property.

Now that Cameron officially announced the intention change the trespass law, Greenpeace UK says it will shift its attention to members of Parliament in hopes of triggering a backlash. According to The Telegraph, the policy will undergo a governmental consultation before it is officially on the books.

Though they had to take down the equipment they had set up outside Cameron’s home, the activists were anything but bitter.

“We have to say the police have a point, you shouldn’t be allowed to just turn up outside someone’s home and start fracking under their garden without their permission,” Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said in a statement. “But following today’s announcement, we’re one big step closer to a law that will compel police to side with the frackers over homeowners.”

In conjunction with the mission, Greenpeace UK launched an online hub to allow people to find out if their home could be fracked. For Cameron’s home, they used Frack&Go, the organization’s pioneer shale gas firm that erected mock rigs outside the office of Chancellor George Osborne a year ago.

“The prime minister is robbing millions of their right to say no to fracking under their homes for the benefit of a few energy companies,” Clydesdale said. “He should stop chasing this shale pipe dream to focus on the real-world solutions that can boost our energy and climate security, like slashing energy waste and backing clean technologies.”

NEW EU RULES A ‘LOST OPPORTUNITY’ TO STOP FRACKING

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Jean Lambert, Green MEP said the decision to exclude fracking from EU level regulation was ‘a lost opportunity’.

 

The updated legislation on environmental impact assessments (EIAs) fails to make them compulsory for shale gas extraction projects and exploration involving fracking.

 

Greens voted against the revised rules which could see more fracking projects being bulldozed through without a basic standard of assessment of their impact and public participation in the process, as required by EIAs.

 

Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London said:

 

“These new rules are a missed opportunity. They do not go far enough to protect the public from the risks of fracking, and will not halt the speedy dash for shale gas by many governments across Europe.

 

“Greens believe there is enough evidence to ban fracking in Europe, as they have done in France or Bulgaria, but making an environmental impact assessment compulsory should be the absolute minimum standard expected.

 

 “The objections to fracking cannot be simply ignored. There’s the risk of toxic chemicals contaminating our water supplies, the air pollution, the effect on our environment of thousands of wells, the huge quantities of water consumed, and the climate change impact of our continued reliance on dirty gas.

 

“It beggars belief that there is a threat of fracking sites popping up across London, with the government already granting licenses for exploration in Croydon and Lambeth. Mayor Boris Johnson said he would leave ‘no stone unturned, or unfracked’ if reserves of shale gas are found in our most densely populated city. The Mayor should instead be throwing his weight behind energy efficient housing and renewables which would benefit communities, not big businesses.

 

“We need to halt fracking and properly assess the risks instead of offering bribes to councils to press ahead.

 

“Fracking is not a quick-fix solution to meet our energy needs. The best solution is for shale gas to stay in the ground, and for forward thinking governments to invest in clean green energy.”

 

More on the new legislation here:

 

Boris Johnson’s comment here: