Spring Update

rally
INQUIRY
First of all thank you all for your support during the Inquiry, either by joining in, letting friends and colleagues know what is going on, or contributing to our legal expenses.

Thanks to you all, we put on a good show and gave IGas a good run for their money. An objective of IGas was to sting the Council for expenses so that the Council would not oppose applications in the future. Well that did not work, the Inspector reminded IGas that the majority of their expenses were due to the Frack Free defence for which they had no come-back. In the recent trading announcement from IGas which showed a £25 million loss on £48 million trading. Once again IGas is in a dreadful financial state and not worthy to be undertaking anything involving the environment. Stay away IGas, you are not welcome, we will cost you every inch of the way!

This Inquiry was one of the first to be refused specifically on Climate Change, and the comparison given by the Council’s experts, the equivalent of an additional 36,000 cars per day in Ellesmere Port, or the same amount of gas as the Council uses in all its activities in the course of a year, or the same anount of gas to heat all the homes in Chester for a year, brought the truth of this industry home to the Inspector. The Council expert witnesses were so surprised that they are preparing an academic paper exploring this issue. Not coincidentally another group published that national fracking would contribute the same as 50 million additional cars on our roads!

And of course the Governments fracking policy was found to be unlawful because it did not consider climate change, something that the Government has a legal obligation to do both domestically and internationally. Given the current focuss on the Environment is is increasingly likey that this industry is dead and is in the process of being buried.

There is clearly some rethinking taking place in government, heralded by the resignation of the Fracking Supremo, Natascha Engle who claims she does not have the backing of the Government to make progress! Maybe the timing of the EPort decision reaching her desk and her resignation are not coincidental!

Last month the Inspector wrote to us saying that he was going to publish the decision early May, but that date was subsequently removed from the Planning Website so we do not have a decision date at the moment. It is likely that the Secretary of State is sitting on it for a number of other reasons; the Inspector’s holiday which lasts until late autumn, the Government’s unlawful fracking policy being made lawful, or something else on the horizon that we are not aware of – maybe even a declaration of a National Environmental Emergency which should finish this industry off once and for all in this country. This Inquiry has gone a long way to make that happen.

Once again thanks to everyone who made this happen, if you happened to sit in one of the hot seats at the Inquiry, we felt very supported and cared for. Thank you for standing up for the environment.

More details https://tinyurl.com/y28zk4ef

Hoping to see you soon.

Inquiry Update

The public inquiry decison into IGas plans to test the flow of its well
at Ellesmere Port has been delayed, the Planning Inspectorate has confirmed.
The inquiry, which ran for 12 days from January to March, was the first
of its kind to consider the impact of onshore oil and gas on climate
change.
A date had been scheduled for the decision, but the Planning
Inspectorate (PINS) said that this had been withdrawn following the
publication of greenhouse gas reduction targets by the government’s
advisor on climate change. The Committee on Climate Change said on 2nd
May the UK should phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This net
zero target should be put into law as soon as possible, the report said.
A spokesperson for PINs said: “The decision on the Ellesmere Port
inquiry had to be postponed to seek comments/representations following
the government’s Committee on Climate Change net zero report published
in May. These comments will now be considered by the inspector and a
revised date for issuing the decision will be made as soon as possible”.
The Ellesmere Port inquiry had already been extended beyond the original
scheduled six hearing days. On what was due to be the final day, the
High Court ruled that national planning policy on the benefits of shale
gas was unlawful. On 24th May, the communities secretary, James
Brokenshire, acknowledged that the policy in paragraph 209a of the
National Planning Policy Framework had been quashed by the courts.
Inspector Brian Cook kept the inquiry open so that Cheshire West and
Chester Council, Frack Free Ellesmere Port and Upton, and IGas could
make legal submissions on the relevance of the ruling. Mr Cook had
originally said he would need at least a month to make his decision.
Frack Free Upton and Ellesmere Port said the inspector could no longer
safely give any weight to the government’s policy support for shale gas
for energy security and as a transition fuel to a low carbon future.
In a separate issue, the inspector also said he was required to contact
Natural England about whether a habitats assessment was needed. The
site, on Portside North, was close to the protected Mersey Estuary
wildlife site.
IGas has said it would take no further action in its exploration
licences in the Cheshire West and Chester Council area until the outcome
of the Ellesmere Port appeal. This included initial fracking plans at
Ince Marshes.

What an amazing day!

acid squeeze
Everyone say “acid squeeze!”

A massive thank you to everyone who came along to see our final submission at the Ellesmere Port public inquiry yesterday. Your support was amazing!

It was special to be in that grand old hall and listen to the forceful arguments against IGas stack up one by one. Our brilliant barrister Estelle delivered her speech with aplomb, and the rapturous standing ovation she received was testament to the terrific work of her and our team. They’ve done us all proud.

There were tears of relief as months of effort and hard work came to an end. We can rest assured that we’ve done everything we possibly can to fight the frackers and Keep Cheshire Frack Free. We hope that this may turn out to be a historic day.

The inquiry is now adjourned until next Tuesday at 10:30am when Cheshire West and Chester Council will make its final submission.

Have yourselves a fantastic frack free weekend!

Public inquiry final submission

estelle
Estelle making her final submission

Our brilliant barrister Estelle made her final submission to the Ellesmere Port public inquiry yesterday. She spoke eloquently and convincingly for over 100 minutes, and it’s difficult to convey the full weight of her arguments, the complexity of her technical understanding and the sheer impact of her speech, but here’s a summary.

IGas’s proposed exploration for shale gas, on a site 320m from local residences and 50m from local businesses, is not sustainable. Its impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, its negative air quality impacts, negative public health impacts, the social and economic harm it will cause, the risks it poses to nearby residents and businesses, and the way in which it undermines the regeneration vision for Ellesmere Port and its historic waterfront, mean that it is not sustainable development.

Given the existential threat of climate change, given the IPCC’s warnings of the need for immediate action to stay within 1.5 degrees of warming, given we have 11 years in which to act, it is the policies that seek to address climate change and limit greenhouse gas emissions that must be given the greatest weight.

We are currently at 1 to 1.1 degrees above preindustrial levels. If we are to hold to 1.5 degrees we have a small carbon budget available; incredibly small. Every additional molecule will take away from that tight carbon budget. So there is little emissions space.

Every emission emitted by this development is one that cannot be emitted by a school or a hospital or any other development if we are to stay within our carbon budget.

There is evidence that deprived communities are disproportionately exposed and vulnerable to the effects of exposure to environmental pollution including traffic related impacts on air quality. Even small levels of exposure can impact negatively on such communities. Residents who are poorer, suffering from health problems, unhappy and opposed to the proposed development may experience its impacts more intensely than others.

There is clear evidence before the inspector that there are widespread, genuinely held fears on the part of the local community that the development represents a risk to their health and to their safety. The specific characteristic of the local community make the social harm caused by granting planning permission more acute.

This is not an ignorant or an ill-informed community. They have long experience of the impacts of industry. They have access to, and have accessed, information on the impacts of shale gas exploration within a residential community, even when regulated. They have read the science.

They have a wealth of information about the public health impacts of climate change, to which this development unquestionably will contribute. Again, they have read the science.

So these genuinely held and entirely justified concerns, in and of themselves, are a reason to refuse planning permission

In the way it interacted with the community, in the information it provided, in its high-handed approach, in its resort to injunctions, IGas made a series of decisions that caused and then exacerbated the community’s lack of trust. This contributed significantly to the social harm which the development will cause.

What makes this proposal different from other proposals is that it is planned to be situated in the heart of an already vulnerable community, in the context of a complete breakdown in trust between that community and the developer, based on the developer’s behaviour, and where the expert evidence shows a granting of planning permission would lead to social harm and a public health impact.

The local community has said a resounding no to the proposed development. Its opposition is not ill-informed or ignorant or knee-jerk, as some have attempted to characterise it.

The proposed development is simply in the wrong place and, in light of its adverse impacts, is not acceptable in planning terms. This issue boils down to location, location, location. The proposed development is simply in the wrong location. As a result is it not sustainable development and planning permission should be refused.

Read Estelle’s full speech:

Ellesmere Port Inquiry – FFEP&U Closing Submissions 28-2-19

We still need your help!

cheshire frack free

Thank you to everyone who’s donated so far. Without your generous donations we simply wouldn’t have been able to fight our corner at the inquiry. It’s a fabulous achievement and we couldn’t have done it without you!

We’ve entered the home straight, so if you’d like to donate and help us over the finish line, we’d be very grateful.

DONATE

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Ellesmere Port residents say – NO. The CW&C planning committee say – NO 28/01/18

Ellesmere Port residents say – NO.

The CW&C planning committee say – NO

cheshire frack free

A Public Inquiry will resume in Chester Town Hall from the 26thto the 28thFebruary; it deals with a number of firsts.

  • First public inquiry in the UK to be held where the planning application has been refused on the grounds of failing to mitigate the effects of climate change – granting the application would fly in the face of all recent climate science which requires us to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 Deg C. Ignoring this could lead to climatic disaster within a couple of decades.
  • First gas well sitethat is situated in an urban area – on an industrial estate with a new housing estate under construction only 320m away.

Nearly 1,500 separate objections and a petition of over 1000 signatures were against the proposal.

Public statements from three local MPs, a representative for the Cheshire Crime and Police Commissioner, have supported the groundswell of opposition. Many local residents gave moving accounts of how the existing pollution in Ellesmere Port and surrounding areas has affected their health adversely.

So far the inquiry has unearthed –

  • 250,000+ is the estimated policing cost to Cheshire Police if IGas is successful in this appeal.
  • 15,000+ is the amount of money raised in crowd funds for FFEP&U to defend the council decision.
  • 17,600 is the amount of tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions the IGas proposal will cause.
  • 3,500 is the number of times a car would travel around the worldto expel the same amount of CO2.
  • 2 is the number of people who were in favour of the IGas proposals.
  • 0 is the number of permanent local jobs likely to be created as a result of the IGas operation.
  • 0 is the amount of Climate Change experts provided by IGas to the inquiry.

IGas are looking to sting the Cheshire West & Chester Council for the cost of the inquiry. IGas has to prove to the government appointed planning inspector, that the CW&C planning refusal is unreasonable. Potentially this cost could be considerable and will, without doubt, hit CW&C essential community services hard.

Frack Free Ellesmere Port & Upton will object to this IGas proposal every step of the way.

Crowd funding for the appeal – http://www.gofundme.com/ellesmere-port-appeal-fund

Visit http://www.ellesmereportfrackfree.uk

Ellesmere Port says NO! 20/01/19

cheshire frack free

The Public Inquiry being held in Chester Town Hall from the 22ndto the 24thJanuary has a number of firsts.

  • First Public Inquiryin the UK to be held where the planning application has been refused on the grounds of failing to mitigate the effects of climate change – granting the application would fly in the face of all recent climate science which requires us to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 Deg C otherwise face climatic disaster within a couple of decades.
  • First gas well site that is situated in an urban environment – on an industrial estate with a new housing estate under construction only 320m away.

Continue reading “Ellesmere Port says NO! 20/01/19”

Ellesmere Port is not for shale! 11/01/19

not for shale

The forthcoming inquiry will be a first –

  • First in the UK to be held where the planning application has been refused on the grounds of failing to mitigate the effects of climate change – granting the application would fly in the face of all recent climate science which requires us to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 Deg C otherwise face climatic disaster within a couple of decades.
  • First in the UK where the well site is located in an urban environment. If the precedent is set here, we could have gas wells popping up in towns all around the country.

Continue reading “Ellesmere Port is not for shale! 11/01/19”