Here is an update of where we are at:
Sutton cum Lound
Dart have now built the access road, erected all fencing and are now finalising the pad. The drill will be in within the next few days as it has been taken down in Farndon, so people are urged to go up and support the protest, to walk the drill and equipment in. See here for a great news article about the new camp set up.
There was a meeting this week where Bassetlaw MP spoke with local residents about what is going on. As we know, he isn’t well educated. Residents who did go said it was generally positive in that there were a lot of people there and a lot of them seemed to be taking notice of the dangers and concerns of CBM. A number of folks really grilled Mr Mann and the EA, especially about ensuring that the drill site is being constructed with regard to the planning etc. A local resident stood up and spoke out about the site being an ex-ROF site and the research she’s done and this stumped John Mann.
On this, an article in the Retford Times was published this week about the county council denying the fact this site was the specific site of the factory, it was only the access road to the factory……but still, the Environment Agency did not check this site out before allowing Dart to move on.
Isabelle is going to email John Mann and ask for a briefing, so once we have that, we’ll send it in the next update.
FAMILY EVENT NEXT WEEKEND
At the Sutton cum Lound site: Get your costumes ready for next weekend (29th/30th) for Medieval Mayhem in a family friendly fashion proving we are the sons and daughters of Robin Hood – and that WE LOCALS DO NOT WANT CBM extraction – dress code : use your imagination! Bring smiles, hugs and picnics!
Environment Agency Report
On the 10th, we went to visit the EA and put a lot of questions to them. They have recently come back to us with the answers to these questions – their response can be viewed here.
Review of BBC Question Time 13th March
Thank you to the few of you who stood outside the Albert Hall for the filming of BBC Question Time. Because we didn’t have our leaflet finalised and printed, we couldn’t give out official flyers, but we did give out some.
Leafleting – A BIG THANK YOU
A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped to distribute leaflets. Since the 1st March, we have distributed over 7,000 leaflets in Retford and around villages closest to Retford.
Review of North East Bassetlaw Forum
On Tuesday this week was the North East Bassetlaw Forum, held at the Idle Valley Reserve Centre near Retford. The room was packed with around 100 people, mainly people from Everton, Mattersey and Misson, where TESLA have been carrying out seismic surveying.
Pretty much every one of these residents were against fracking, and a huge thanks to David Burley for delivering a fantastic presentation (a shame it had to be cut off). Then Andrew Austin, CEO of iGas spoke….for much longer than he should have done….and afterwards questions were asked to the speakers. It didn’t help that iGas went last because they tried to put David’s information down, and said it was all okay, but residents were not happy and kept on slamming iGas.
Once that had finished, FFN set up a table and gathered lots of people’s contact details to appear on the Bassetlaw against Fracking email list.
Review of Bassetlaw against Fracking public meeting
On Wednesday this week, was our BIG DAY, the public meeting. Over 200 people packed into The Well in Retford – an amazing turn out – pretty much every seat taken! A huge thanks to David Burley and Brian Davey who gave fantastic presentations about what was going on and the planning process. The meeting was chaired by the excellent Andy, who is a local Lound resident, so a big thanks to him. At the end of the meeting, people came forwards and put their name down to be part of the Bassetlaw against Fracking steering group, which was brilliant. We also got everybody signed up to the BAF mailing list and they also signed our petition. So overall, a hugely successful evening.
Next steps – the first Bassetlaw against Fracking steering group meeting – to be held very soon! Frack Free Notts will be supporting this new group to assist them in their work, so we shall continue to let you know what is going on.
Review of fracking talk in Southwell – 19th March
Big thanks to Hockerton Housing Project who made us aware of this talk at Southwell Library. FFN member, Maggie, went along – so a big thanks to her!! The talk was given by an ex oil and mining worker, Kevin Topham, who lives in Ekring. It was well attended – the meeting room was packed. Unfortunately the speaker must be about 85 and he talked as though the fracking that he and his ‘compatriots’ (two other gentlemen of a similar age who were helping – a geologist and a geo-phiz) were involved in was the same now as it was over 40 years ago when they were working.
Obviously they are all retired now and the business has changed quite a lot, which Maggie felt she had to point out quite early on as he was speaking so confidently and reassuringly about it, perpetuating this myth that fracking has been carried out since the first world war!
Maggie did interject quite often and some of the audience became irritated by jer interruptions, but she just couldn’t let him get away with his soothing assertions that there is nothing for anyone to get worked up about. One other woman there appeared to be well informed, and she also said her piece, for which we were grateful, and a man put in some points about climate change and being concerned about our children’s future. The speakers called the process ‘hydro fracking’, which is the activity they were involved in and they used no chemicals in the process. Maggie pointed out that it’s now hydraulic fracturing and it uses many toxic chemicals. At one point when Maggie uttered the word ‘renewables’, she was practically hounded out of the room!
Also present was a representative from BCG who is working for the Environment Agency – he is German but working in this country. He said that they have to remain impartial, but you have to remember that he’s advising businesses. He was aware of many of the issues, including that Germany and France have a more up to date attitude towards fracking and climate change than our country, but he didn’t appear to know what happens to the waste water or what chemicals are added, referring to the environment agency and commenting that there ought to be more ‘trust’. When Maggie said that trust is affected by the evidence of vested interests and he agreed. He did not approve of nuclear, by the way – and he said he was a scientist. As he left he said, ‘Trust the Scientist!’ Hmmmm ……
Maggie thinks though that the discussion will have made everyone who attended want to find out more. She pointed out the house value/insurance aspects, which she think those at the meeting would be more in tune with. They finished the evening with a film about oil – which is not quite fracking!
Other few things from this week
Kat Bottege of the European Green Party elections stated her support again at a Green Party public meeting with leader Natalie Bennett on Friday.
On Saturday, she made another appearance, along with the excellent Dave Shaw of Frack Free South Yorks, at the Leicester Greenlight festival fracking debate, so a big thanks to them!
It has been a very hectic month, with the leafleting and meetings in Bassetlaw. Now it is all over, we should definitely feel more relaxed, but that doesn’t mean we will be stopping. Hopefully we can soon get on with organising film nights, education days, and speaker discussions in other areas across Nottinghamshire, starting with the PEDL licensed areas first.
URGENT – Government consultation
The Government wants to launch a new licensing round for onshore oil and gas. These are held every few years and this round – the 14th – would open up a large area of the UK for licensing (see above link to PEDL licensed areas).
These licences give a company the right to apply to explore for and extract any hydrocarbon: oil or gas, conventional or unconventional, so it won’t always involve shale gas and fracking. This is just the first stage: the companies still need planning permission and the appropriate environmental permits before they can do anything.
Before it can launch a new licensing round, the Government has to produce an Environmental Report and put this out to public consultation. This is your chance to comment on whether you think there should be further licensing potentially leading to fracking for shale gas, or to the extraction of coal bed methane.
Friends of the Earth have been kind enough to set out some suggestions for points you might like to make in response to the consultation – you can find them here.
If you wish to join the FFN to discuss overall coordination, the next meeting will be this Tuesday – 25th March. Reply if you’d like to join.
Tuesday 8th April at Govindas Restaurant, Thurland Street
6.30pm for newcomers. Meeting starts at 7pm.
Cheap vegan food will be for sale, so come along, enjoy some delicious food, and join in the discussion!
See you soon!