Davyhulme fracking: Council postpone decision as activists reveal holes in drill plans

Trafford Council fracking plans in Davyhulme have been stopped after lobby group Friends of the Earth (FotE) drilled holes in their plans.

The decision will be deferred to give further consideration to environmental issues on the fracking, which will be in conjunction with IGas Energy – the UK-based oil and gas exploration company behind recent drilling in Barton Moss, Salford.

Friends of the Earth appealed to Trafford Council three times in one week about the concerns over the planning processes of the controversial energy resource and claimed that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is ‘inadequate’.

An EIA is the process which predicts the environmental consequences, be it positive or negative, of any proposed project before a decision to move forward with the proposal is made.

The proposed coal bed fracking for methane production over a period of 25 years was found to have failed to properly take into account the impact the plans would have on air quality, drinking water and the climate of Trafford and Greater Manchester.

FotE Manchester also used the power of the people to hand in a 1300-strong petition against the plans signed by local residents.

In a statement, Helen Rimmer – FotE North West campaigner – said: “This raises serious concerns about the regulatory system – if Friends of the Earth hadn’t raised concerns, the flaws in this poorly assessed gas production scheme may well have been ignored.

“More than 1,300 people have already signed a petition against these unpopular plans which could lead to fracking and health risks for local people.

“We believe the impacts of this proposal on air quality, climate change and the environment are far too high and it should be rejected when it next comes before the council.”

FotE North highlighted the faults with the plans by claiming: the environmental assessment has failed to consider climate, that there has been no assessment of air quality impacts from truck movements and no detail has been given on the gases emitted from venting gas into the atmosphere.

They also suggested that detail on the chemicals to be used in drilling had not been provided and the same for waste fluid and how it will be disposed of safely.

The successful prevention of the proposals comes ahead of the #GlobalFrackdown day on Saturday.

The Global Frackdown, an international movement, is initiated by Food & Water Watch to ban fracking and has already had success in the United Kingdom having blocked several shale gas drilling sites.

The Global Frackdown’s mission statement states: “Fracking for oil and gas is inherently unsafe and the harms of this industry cannot be fully mitigated by regulation.

“We reject the multi-million dollar public relations campaign by big oil and gas companies and urge our local, state and national officials to reject fracking.

“We stand united as a global movement in calling on governmental officials at all levels to pursue a renewable energy future and not allow fracking or any of the associated infrastructures in our communities or any communities.

“Fracking is not part of our vision for a clean energy future and should be banned.”

Manchester FotE are currently waiting on a response from Salford City Council after handing in a petition with more than 3000 people calling for the city to go frack-free.

The Barton Moss site has attracted controversy since IGas established its drilling which detected gas from the shale rock test well in Salford.

Protesters had set up a camp around the site and won a legal battle against their eviction in July.

MM had previously interviewed Manchester Green Party Chair Nigel Woodcock prior to the proposed committee meeting who said: “Fracking is a discredited technology that enjoys no popular support whatsoever.”

IGas now hopes to begin drilling at their exploration site in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, over the next month to extract shale gas now that construction of the well is complete.

CEO Andrew Austin said in an investor statement (regarding Ellesmere Port): “This, similar to the one we successfully drilled at Barton Moss earlier this year, is to further appraise the geology in the North West and another step in unlocking Britain’s onshore energy resources.”

The site is part of the Ocean Gateway fracking area that includes Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire that could yield £10billion investment and create up to 4000 jobs.

IGas’ Ocean Gateway is expected to be one of the UK’s main fracking sites if approved.

Image courtesy of highlander42 via YouTube with thanks

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