Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Planning Breaches: Reply from the council

This is a reply to this letter.

Crawberry Hill Drilling Site, Walkington

I refer to your e-mail dated 4 August 2014 addressed to Nigel Pearson, Chief Executive regarding planning consent ref. 12/02945/STPLF granted 18 September 2012 for the above site. I have been asked to respond on the Chief Executive’s behalf. This response also deals with concerns over the site’s fencing and lighting that have been raised in subsequent correspondence on 6 August and your e-mail dated 15 August asking to cease operations on the site and for all the agencies to work together.

Your letter requested that East Riding of Yorkshire Council immediately investigate “breaches of the planning conditions detailed in the Notice of Decision, report to the Planning Committee and in the meantime stop any test drilling at Crawberry Hill until –
i) Rathlin give proof that they are fully compliant with planning conditions, and
ii) A detailed monitoring regime and schedule of inspection visits by the ERYC, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency is agreed and published.”
The specific issues that your letter raised will be dealt with in turn below but the Council is satisfied that the planning conditions are being complied with, apart from the traffic management plan which will be explained below.

The Council, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency each have different remits and therefore will undertake their own monitoring visits to the site. The Council works with both Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency but cannot prescribe when they should undertake their monitoring visits to the site.

Regarding Unconventional High Volume, High Pressure Hydraulic Fracturing

The permission is expressly for a temporary appraisal borehole to investigate the potential presence of petroleum minerals. Condition 15 expressly prohibits hydraulic fracturing activity. The approved Crawberry Hill exploratory operations do not propose hydraulic fracturing and the planning application did not seek to obtain permission to undertake such an operation.

Any agreement between Rathlin Energy and the Landowner has no bearing whatsoever on whether hydraulic fracturing is intended to be carried out at the site. The Council cannot comment on the allegation concerning Mr Ellerington’s repossession of his land as that is a civil matter between him and the developer.

Groundwater Management

Regarding the alleged breaches of condition 5.9 and 5.10;
Condition 5.9:
There shall be no discharge of foul or contaminated drainage from the site into either the groundwater or any surface waters, weather direct or via soakaways.
Condition 5.10:
Any facilities, above the ground for the storage of oils, fuels or chemicals shall be sited on an impervious base and surrounded by impervious walls. The volume of the bunded compound should be at least the equivalent capacity of the tank plus 10%. All filling points, vents, gauges and sight glasses must be located within the bund. The drainage system of the bund shall be sealed with no discharge to any watercourse, land or underground strata. Associated pipe work should be located above ground and protected from accidental damage. All filling points and tank overflow pipe outlets should be detailed to discharge into the bund. Such facilities shall be constructed and completed in accordance with plans approved by the Local Planning Authority.
Although there is no bund to the eastern boundary of the wellsite, there is a perimeter drainage system under the site which is provided to capture all surface water that migrates through the stone on to the membrane. The wellsite has been specifically constructed in a manner such as to prevent any contamination to the underlying subsoils and neighbouring fields.

A tank installed in the northeastern corner of the site, which was intended to receive surplus surface run-off water from the drainage ditch, is leaking. It was installed to provide additional surface water containment, in the event that Rathlin Energy was unable to bring water tankers to the wellsite to reduce the water level in the perimeter drainage ditch. The tank was subsequently identified as having a leak so Rathlin Energy closed the inlet valve and declared the tank unsuitable for use. Samples of the surface run-off water were obtained and sent away for analysis.

The content of the tank is believed to have been only surface run-off water, but this cannot be confirmed as Rathlin Energy were unable to access the wellsite for a period due to the site being occupied by protestors. The tank has now been mended.

Alleged lack of routine monitoring

The planning conditions relating to protecting water resources were attached at the request of the Environment Agency. This was at a time prior to the introduction of their permitting regime for such works. The Environment Agency confirmed to the Council that the changes to the regulatory regime since the planning application was approved mean that those activities at Crawberry Hill now fall under the Environmental Permitting Regulations and they are regulated under the permit issued by the Environment Agency on the 2 May, 2014. The Environment Agency has confirmed to this Council’s officers that they are satisfied that the proposal meets the requirements of condition 5 and the site will continue to be monitored under the permit. Whether or not the activity on site is in breach of the environmental permit is a matter for enforcement by the Environment Agency.

Temporary permission

The letter refers to the temporary nature of the exploratory drilling at Crawberry Hill. The planning permission is a temporary permission for 24 months (see Condition 2 of the planning permission). The Council has received an application (14/02622/STVAR) from Rathlin Energy for a variation of that planning condition that seeks to allow for a further 24 months to complete operations relating to exploration and testing at the Crawberry Hill site. The Council has invited comments on the application in the usual manner and the application will be considered by the Council's Planning Committee in due course following the expiry of the consultation period.

Rathlin’s long term plans

As with any company exploring for minerals, Rathlin Energy remain hopeful that petroleum will be encountered in commercial quantities during its exploratory operations in the East Riding of Yorkshire. These intentions have been made clear from the outset both in the planning application and in the extensive public consultations they have undertaken, pre- and post- planning permission being granted. Should the exploratory operations prove unsuccessful in finding commercial quantities of petroleum, the well will be plugged and abandoned with site restoration being undertaken thereafter, in accordance with the terms of the planning consent.
The agreement between Rathlin Energy and the Landowner provides initially for a temporary occupation, consistent with the temporary period applied for in the planning application, covering only the planned exploration activities. The 2012 permission grants a temporary exploratory permission. The developer’s strategy, whether publicised or not, does not alter that. Any future consent would be a matter of public consultation.

Traffic Management

The traffic management plan has not been adhered to as access to the Crawberry Hill wellsite became difficult due to the presence of protesters. In order to facilitate Rathlin Energy going about its business, Humberside Police have instructed Rathlin Energy to access the wellsite using an alternative route to that approved under the traffic management plan, primarily down to safety reasons. Whilst the road ‘Walkington Heads’ is a live and active road even on occasions when it has closures in place, the paramount priority is to get vehicles onto the site whilst maximising people’s safety, including the safety of the workers, police and protestors. To bring a large long convoy of vehicles past the tents and structures that are in place on land forming part of the highway, the police have had to look at alternative routes, in order to maximize safety. When accessing the site, a police escort is provided to ensure the safety of other road users, Rathlin Energy employees and the protestors. The planning condition was imposed in the interest of highway safety, but the police have amended the approved routeing arrangements in the interests of highway safety based on a different scenario than that envisaged during the planning process, I consider it would not be expedient or in the public interest for the Council to take enforcement action.


Rathlin have erected a steel security fence. Prior to its erection they checked details of the fencing with the Council. The Council confirmed that the site would have permitted development rights regarding fencing under the General Permitted Development Order. The fence will need to be removed at the end of the temporary consent under the site restoration works.


The Council’s Public Protection department, who requested the condition regarding lighting be attached to the planning consent, have confirmed that they are not concerned by the lighting on the site based on the information in your letter. If there is a serious road safety concern about lighting affecting traffic, then this is a matter for the Police. Public Protection can investigate alleged light nuisance, but it would need to be the occupant of a neighbouring property who complained about the lighting and how it affected them at their property, not in the street. Nonetheless it is understood that the lighting rig on site has been adjusted to reduce its impact on the public highway.

I hope you find the above helpful. I will copy this letter to all addresses of your e-mail of 4 August 2014 for their information.

Yours sincerely

Alan Menzies Director of Planning & Economic Regeneration

Planning Breaches: Letter to Council

The reply to this letter is here.


To: Chief Executive
East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Dear Mr. Pearson,

We the undersigned request that as the responsible planning authority, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council immediately investigate the breaches of the planning conditions detailed in the Notice of Decision, report to the Planning Committee and in the meantime stop any test drilling at Crawberry Hill until -

i) Rathlin give proof that they are fully compliant with planning conditions and 
ii) A detailed monitoring regime and schedule of inspection visits by the ERYC, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency is agreed and published.
(References: Report to the Planning Committee ERYC 13th September 2012 Application for Construction of a temporary drilling site etc 12/02945/STPLF, and
Notice of Decision, Town and Country Planning Act, 1990,
Full Planning Permission for Rathlin Energy UK Ltd18th September 2012)

1.Background to the this request

Unconventional High Volume, High Pressure Hydraulic Fracturing known as Fracking

1.1 Fracking at Crawberry Hill

A specific condition of the planning permission was included following representations from local residents,
15.Hydraulic fracturing (also known as “hydro-fracking” or “fracking”) is expressly not permitted under the development hereby approved.The condition is imposed in the interests of groundwater protection and the broader protection of the amenities of residents. (NOD Condition 15)

However, in a later application to the Environment Agency submitted by Rathlin Energy UK Ltd on 16th January 2014 it is stated that as part of the test drilling Rathlin will
inject liquids into the well….. for “well stimulation” or “hydraulic fracturing” purposes..”  (Section 9.4.5 page 10)

In addition Rathlin state

The activity on site relates to the exploration for hydrocarbons from the Crawberry Hill 1 wellsite. Specifically, this will involve perforation of the existing well-casing to perform tests within the Bowland Shale, Namurian Sandstone and Kirkham Abbey formations. These tests may require the injection of water, some of which may return to the surface. (EA 9.2.1 page 8)

This is a reference to the exploratory hydraulic fracturing of the Bowland shales used elsewhere in the UK by companies such as Cuadrilla or I-gas who are open about their search for shale gas in the same Bowland shales.

Mr Ian Crane, with 20 years experience as a senior executive in the oil industry, is ready to give evidence that the Bowland shales are known to be “tight”. Like similar gas shales in the USA where fracking has been used extensively, gas can only be extracted by hydraulic fracturing for testing and production purposes.

Further understanding of Rathlin’s intentions may be gained from the current installation of fracking pumps at the West Newton test site.

In contrast to the statements by Rathlin as part of public consultation and subsequently, the papers submitted by Rathlin to the High Court hearing of 29th July 2014 included the lease agreement with Philip Ellerington which states
Rathlin has an option at any time to require the Second Claimanat to grant Rathlin a lease of Crawberry Hill in order to construct and operate a long term production facility at Crawberry Hill. The lease would be for a term of 25 years with an option to renew for a further 25 years.”(Witness statement of Tom Selkirk. 22/07/2014. Para.6. Page 2. Copy attached)

Rathlin are not currently testing, including the use of fracking, at Crawberry Hill but intend to do so now they have possession of the site. They are therefore not currently in breach of Condition 15 but are making preparation to do so.
Given the emerging data and analysis of long term serious health impacts from fracking in the USA and the detailed reports of the failure of hydraulic fracking at Preese Hall in 2011 we urge a review of the planning permission given to Rathlin because of the risks posed to residents of the East Riding and refer to our European Convention Human Right Article 8.

2. Groundwater Management

2.1 Breach of Planning Conditions 5.9 and 5.10

Condition 5.9. States
There shall be no discharge of foul or contaminated drainage from the site into either the ground water or any surface waters, whether direct or via soakaways.” ( NOD page3)

Condition 5.10. States
The drainage system of the bund shall be sealed with no discharge to any watercourse, land or underground strata. Associated pipework should be located above ground and protected from accidental damage. All filling points and tank overflow pipe outlets should be detailed to discharge into the bund.” (NOD page3)

The attached photograph shows there is no bund on the eastern boundary of the main drilling site so if we experience a severe weather event similar to recent storms in nearby Cottingham or Market Weighton there would be a high probability of run-off onto the pea and wheat crops in adjacent fields.(Attached A.0)

The photographs also show leakage from the storage tank used to receive surplus water from the drainage ditches on the drilling pad.(Attached 1-5) This leaks into a very small bund around the tank which does not meet the specification of 110% capacity of the tank.

While the current position is that rainwater is likely to be the main run-off, the concern must be that without full conformity with the planning permission and regular monitoring by the planning authority (ERYC) , the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water, the commencement of drilling and testing does pose significant risk to local crops and the aquifer.

The well testing will involve thousands of gallons of hydrochloric acid and other chemicals. Rathlin’s application to the Environment Agency acknowledges that drilling fluids and any water released from deep underground by drilling will be likely to contain Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMs) as well as solid radioactive scale from the equipment. It is an obvious risk if spills and leaks mean that rainwater can wash these contaminants onto farmland and into the aquifer.

(Such a spillage has already been reported to Birds Eye, the buyer of the peas harvested at West Newton. Philip Ellerington cites his contract with Birds Eye as the reason for urgent repossession of his land in his High Court witness statement dated 21/07/2014)

The Environment Agency, gave permission to Rathlin to drill at Crawberry Hill on 2nd May 2014.
These include a Permit (EPR/BB3000KC) for mining waste operations at the wellsite, namely the management of extractive waste from prospecting for mineral resources. The permit also allows flaring of waste gas arising from onshore oil and gas operations as Permit (PB3930DV) for disposal of radioactive waste.” (Tom Selkirk. Witness statement 22/07/2014 Para 28. Pages 8 and 9)

Further detail about waste is given in Rathlin’s application to the Environment Agency dated 16/01/2014.

9.2.1 How do you plan to accumulate radioactive waste?
The activity on site relates to the exploration for hydrocarbons from the Crawberry Hill 1 wellsite. Specifically, this will involve perforation of the existing well-casing to perform tests within the Bowland Shale, Namurian Sandstone and Kirkham Abbey formations. These tests may require the injection of water, some of which may return to the surface. Additionally, water naturally present in the target formation has the potential to flow to the surface. Contact with the target formations mean that waste (produced water) may contain low levels of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material(NORM) and so accumulation of radioactive waste is unavoidable. There is also potential for scales forming within associated pipe network. The waste produced waters arriving at the surface will be piped to a device which separate any hydrocarbons present from the produced waters. The produced waters will then be piped directly into, and accumulated in, dedicated storage tanks, from which they are removed by road at suitable intervals for disposal to an authorised waste disposal facility. Equipment found to be contaminated with scales will be removed from service and stored in a designated quarantine area to await removal from site ( following characterisation).

The application goes on to request a maximum storage period on site of 3 months while the waste is tested and further indicates a maximum volume of waste storage of 125 cubic metres.
(Crawberry Hill B9 Application Form 16/01/2014 9.2.2 and 9.2.3 page 8)
The volume of the current, leaking, storage tank for groundwater is 24 cubic metres so Rathlin are requesting 5 similar storage tanks for radioactive waste.

2.2 Lack of routine monitoring at Crawberry Hill

The Protectors at Crawberry received a letter from Martin Christmas of the Environment Agency (attached A.1 ) and Mr Crane replied on the 22nd June ( attached A.2 ).

On the weekend of 19th-20th July there was heavy rainfall. Mr Crane noted the water from the drainage ditch on the well site was up to the level of the overflow pipe. He opened the valve to drain some of the water in the ditch into the overflow tank. It quickly became apparent that the 24 cubic metre relief tank is not fit for purpose. The tank had a leak at the base of the tank (photos attached A.3- A.5 ) and at the seal between the overflow pipe and the tank.

Jon Mager contacted the Planning office on the 21st July to enquire about Crawberry Hill. He asked if the case office, Shirley Ross, had visited the drilling site recently. He was told that Mrs Ross was on leave and that the details of monitoring visits were kept by her.

The water was leaking straight onto the soil so Mr Crane shut off the overflow valve and tried to call Martin Christmas at the Environment Agency. Martin Christmas returned the call on the morning of Thursday 24th July (call recorded). Having explained the situation regarding leaks Mr Crane invited him to visit the Crawberry Hill site to conduct his own inspection; Martin Christmas advised that he wasn’t too concerned because it would only be rainwater.

On the 30th July Jon Mager contacted Mrs Ross to catch up on planning issues on her return from leave. Mrs Ross confirmed that she was responsible for monitoring but had not visited for some while.
Mr Mager then outlined the concerns about leaks; Mrs Ross replied that the Environment Agency carried out regular checks and was surprised to be told that this was not the case.

2.3 Summary

In summary Rathlin have not conformed to the strict conditions laid down to ensure that groundwater contamination is avoided. There is no established routine inspection of the ERYC or EA permissions to drill.
Paragraph 9.4.3 of the report to planning committee refers to the need “to protect the groundwater resource” (Page 347). Since 12th May 2014 the Protectors at Crawberry Hill have effectively protected the groundwater resource. Now that Rathlin have regained access to the site there is an immediate risk to the groundwater from drilling chemicals and radioactive waste unless the required safety precautions relating to groundwater leakage from the site are dealt with.
In addition monitoring arrangements are clearly not effective and not coordinated. This is why we request an agreement between East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency about the regularity of inspection visits and a published timetable. In addition, given the vulnerability of the aquifer we would also expect an undertaking to conduct unannounced inspections with full public reports of the findings to reassure residents.

3. Temporary Nature of the exploratory drilling in the Current Planning Permission

3.1 Temporary nature of exploratory drilling

There are numerous references to the temporary nature of the exploratory drilling at Crawberry Hill in the report to Planning Committee of 13th September 2012.
  1. The title of the report “Application for Construction of a temporary drilling site etc…” Page329
  2. Introduction –“a temporary well site” (Para 1.2 and 1.3 page 330)
  3. Case on behalf of the Applicant “proposing to construct a temporary well site” “The temporary development is required….”(Para 7.3 and 7.6 page 342)
  4. Recommendation. “The site preparation and construction, drilling and testing activities approved by this permission shall be carried out for a limited period of 24 months…
This condition is imposed because this is a temporary permission to allow a period of exploration and testing. (Para12.2 page 352)
  1. Reason for Decision “This development proposes a temporary well site for the purposes of testing for petroleum……”
The development is considered acceptable in landscape terms, subject to a temporary consent and full restoration of the site.” (Page 360)

Rathlin may argue that they presented their longer term objectives. In the Case on behalf of the Applicant planning officers state, “If however, commercial quantities of petroleum are present, then the applicant will suspend the well pending the outcome of a decision on a subsequent planning application for the production of petroleum.” ( Para 7.4, page 342)

It is clear that the full report did not acknowledge this because of the repeated reference to the temporary nature of the exploratory work and the special time limit of 24 months instead of the normal three years.

In any case elected members supported the recommendations and this is recorded in the Notice of Decision.

Reason for Decision “This development proposes a temporary well site for the purposes of testing for petroleum……”
The development is considered acceptable in landscape terms, subject to a temporary consent and full restoration of the site.” (NOD 18th September 2012. Page 9.)

3.2 Rathlin’s long term plans

A claim for possession of property was served on Protectors resident at the wooden construction on the access road to the drilling pad on Thursday 24th July 2014 following occupation by a number of people which started on 13th June 2014.
In the accompanying witness statement by Tom Selkirk, Country Manager for Rathlin, it is stated,
Rathlin has an option at any time to require the Second Claimant to grant Rathlin a lease of Crawberry Hill in order to construct and operate a long term production facility at Crawberry Hill. The lease would be for a term of 25 years with an option to renew for a further 25 years.” (Selkirk Para 9. Page 3)

The second claimant is Philip Ellerington, the landowner, who corroborates this statement in his witness statement.

3.3 Summary

This was the first time that Rathlin’s long term intentions and plans became public. The plan is consistent with the stated strategy of the Canadian parent company, Connaught Oil and Gas, which, in its website reported its licence to develop oil and gas resources in the Humber Basin, claiming that potential reserves could be similar to the North Sea.

Rathlin has never published the link between the “temporary, exploratory” drilling sites at West Newton and Crawberry Hill and the strategy for 50 years of gas production from these proposed “production” sites.
Had these facts been known at the time of initial public consultations it is certain that many more and detailed objections would have been raised by individuals and local town and parish councils.
This is why we are calling for a stop to the present planning permission which was based on a lack of full, relevant information.
Also, there can be no doubt that it is in the public interest for East Riding of Yorkshire Council to ensure full formal consultation before any decision about the extension of planning permission for a further 2 years.

4. Traffic Management

4.1 The Traffic Management Plan

Extensive consultation took place with the East Riding Traffic Management team, the local Police and Parish Councils about traffic to the drilling site. Local residents frequently drew attention to the need to avoid vehicle traffic through adjacent villages.

Rathlin provided a traffic management plan which achieved minimal impact on local roads and villages by ensuring that all traffic was directed to approach and leave the site by the route running east towards Killingwoldgraves roundabout on the A1079. To ensure this a sign was erected to indicate No Right Turn at the site exit.

This sign and the traffic management plan has been ignored by all tanker convoys visiting the site.
The No Right Turn sign has been removed by ERYC staff.
Two way traffic is in place on the road and it is therefore urgent to establish that the Traffic Management Plan is adhered to before deliveries to the site are resumed.

Development shall be carried out in accordance with the Approved Traffic Management Plan.” NOD 12.page5)

This requirement will become all the more important once large convoys of supply lorries and equipment bring drilling and equipment onto the site. It will be extremely important when tanks containing acids and other chemical travel to the site; similarly local residents will want reassurance about the safe arrangements for transport by large numbers of tankers with radioactive waste on board.

4.2 Summary

East Riding of Yorkshire Council must ensure that the agreed Traffic Management Plan is put in place before any resumption of activity on site by Rathlin.

Please acknowledge receipt ... but note that each of the signatories below wish to receive written confirmation of receipt and an urgent response from you.
Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

[12 residents from the surrounding area]

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Rathlin's Propaganda: Read between the lines

Rathlin's propaganda machine has delivered 45,000 leaflets to local residents.  Here's a response to the latest (lack of) information from their PR.

Dear Simon, all very clever but still no explanation of why Rathlin applied to the Environment Agency to carry out hydraulic fracking.

No explanation of why they are drilling into Bowland Shale when it is public knowledge that this is a "tight" formation from which gas can only be released by fracking. At least the other oil companies are honest about this.

No reference to the 50 year option to set up oil and/or gas production at West Newton and Crawberry Hill, the latter on top of the second most important chalk aquifer in the country.

No reference to the numerous breaches of the planning permissions.

No reference to the serious impact on local wildlife.

No reference to spillages at both sites compromising the integrity of pea crops harvested by Birdseye, and in the case of West Newton draining into a SSSI and then on to the Hull River.

No reference to the breaches of Health and Safety legislation which meant that on the first day of operations at Crawberry Hill a person exercising their European Human Right to peaceful protest was knocked down by a tractor and had to have hospital treatment.

No reference to Operation Trojan/Trogan/Trogen (pity the highly paid police can't spell) which involves the police, Rathlin and East Riding Council in a Memorandum of Understanding, a deliberate, secret, strategy to undermine the right of residents to protest against the evidence-based concerns about the impact of exploratory drilling, let alone full scale production, on the health and welfare of all East Riding residents, with the first signs of impact on property values at West Newton.

No reference to the impact of oil and gas development on global warming which creates extremely high risk in a county with the fastest eroding coastline in Europe, recent experience of major flooding and monthly experience of severe weather conditions leading to damage to property.

No explanation of the incompetence of Rathlin's project management which has led them to run out of time at Crawberry Hill. They knew at the start  they only had two years to complete their drilling at Crawberry Hill but they had three years at West Newton. So what did they do? They put all their drilling equipment into West Newton first leaving them insufficient time to meet the 5th November 2014 deadline for Crawberry Hill rather than the obvious logic of working the other way round. If this is typical of their management incompetence then heaven help us if they get the chance to operate here for the next 50 years.

No explanation of why there was no office facility, no security fencing, no security staff employed at Crawberry on a site which was described in the High Court as being at high risk if there was any tampering with the well head - a deliberately irresponsible approach.

No explanation of why Humberside police have colluded with Rathlin in ignoring the traffic management plan for both sites.

No explanation of why the so-called community liaison meetings are held in strict secrecy to avoid the community voicing their concerns.

In other words another example of your well deserved reputation for mastery of the dark arts of spin and deception.

I trust you still sleep well despite your active role in defending the planned ruin of the East Riding. I expect the fee you earn helps but that will be little comfort for the 8000 reported to work in the local tourism industry or the similar number of residents who work in agriculture.

Finally, an apology. Thanks for the offer but no, I do not want to meet you for a cup of coffee and a chat; perhaps we might if you are able to answer truthfully to the points made above.

Regards, Jon Mager

"The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." Joseph Goebbels 1941

ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT TO HAVE YOUR SAY: Consultation on Underground Drilling Access

The government wants to change the law to allow oil & gas companies to drill under your property without your permission.

You have until just before midnight on Fri 15th Aug to have your say.

It's only about 5 questions, and can be done in as little as 2 minutes if you wish.

Useful Info in this press release, that links to the consultation:

It's currently unlawful drill under your property without permission.
You can refuse at WrongMove.org.

Where's the Council's Climate Change strategy gone? A reply.

Members of the public are entitled to ask questions at Council meetings.  This question was asked at the last meeting of East Riding of Yorkshire Council:

What has happened to the ERYC Climate Change strategy which, according to the Council website, was due for adoption by Council in 2012?  It promised to "set targets and action plans for mitigating both council and area wide greenhouse emissions by 2020."

Council – 30th July 2014
Response to Question by Elector

As part of a comprehensive review, the Council has recently updated and broadened the scope and content of its Environmental Policy in relation to climate change.  As a result, the Council's objectives and targets on climate change will now be contained within the policy's associated delivery plan, removing the need for a separate, stand-alone climate change strategy.  Therefore, the existing draft strategy dating from 2010 will be superseded by the Environmental Policy, and objectives within the policy will be reported against in the Council's annual Environmental Statement.

The operation of a separate Climate Change document had some advantages early on in the case for addressing the impact of climate change but as with all such subjects, the approach now needs not to stand apart but to be embedded within in all aspects of the Council and the daily lives of local communities and businesses.

In going forward this approach has been adopted to ensure practical measures are taken forward within each sector – for example:

Energy and Carbon Reduction Management Plan

The Council is currently preparing an Energy and Carbon Management Plan which sets out the energy and carbon reducing measure it has already achieved and its proposed way forward in respect of targets and action plans.  This is very much a practical approach and shows considerable success over the last two years and, although measures can be expensive, bidding for funds to support the measures sought, has assisted in taking this element of impact on climate change forward.  The council has received some acclaim for the stance and measures it has put in place.

Flood Risk Management Strategy

There are other aspects to climate change such as Flood risk management and this area again is of such significance within the East Riding that a Flood Risk Management Strategy is being produced for consultation early in 2015 but in the interim there is intensive bidding for investment funding for flood protection measures with some schemes already underway and especially treatments for a sustainable way forward in respect of local communities and businesses at risk from flooding.  Targets include number of homes with a reduced flood risk.

Local Transport Plan- emissions 

Considerable effort has been put into the Local Transport Plan to increase the use of walking and cycling for short everyday journeys and reduced car usage and this approach towards a reduction in emissions is embedded within the overall transport plan

Housing & Schools- affordable warmth with reduction in carbon emissions 

Measures again have been taken in these areas to have significant impact on individual property emissions, however this has a considerable way to go and work is ongoing to address this area.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Police and fracking companies – in each other’s pockets?

In the week that Rathlin thank Humberside police after rough arrests at the weekend, and the Hull Daily Mail prints Rathlin's press release pretty much verbatim, evidence of Police Collaboration with gas company at Barton Moss emerges:
  • growing levels of nationwide police collaboration in response to opposition to unconventional energy extraction
  • Police PR department at the disposal of IGas fracking company
  • judge accused Greater Manchester Police of exceeding its powers by intervening on IGas’ behalf during a civil trespass and of “acting as civil enforcement officers” for the company.