Below are three actions you need to take right now (or two if you live in Nottingham City)
Respond to the Government consultation on Habitat Regulation Assessments
The government wants to allow drilling, including fracking, everywhere except within the boundary of a small area of protected ancient woodland around the Major Oak known as Birklands & Bilhaugh Special Area of Conservation. They would even allow seismic testing (using explosive charges to map the geology) within this area and fracking under it.
The area of Sherwood Forest subject to consultation is mainly between Worksop and Newstead, and between Creswell and Tuxford. Relevant block references:
SK46c, SK47b, SK55, SK56i, SK57c, SK66b, SK66c, SK67a, SK76b.
Please respond to the Government consultation and tell them that:
- Sherwood Forest is much more than just the trees around the Major Oak.
- Fracking will threaten the sherwood sandstone aquifer which runs down the centre of Notts which supplies half our drinking water – it is the whole aquifer that needs protecting, not just the extraction points.
- The area around Ollerton is already the earthquake capital of the UK due to past coal mining.
- The sandstone covering large parts of Notts provides very important heathland habitat, home to rare birds and plants which could suffer from noise, vibration, air pollution, or contamination of soil and groundwater.
- Details of the consultation are at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/habitats-
Details of the consultation are at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/habitats-regulations-assessments-of-14th-onshore-oil-and-gas-licensing-round
Responses are required by 29 September – quoting block references – Please respond – Robin Hood would!
Write to your county councillor about the Nottinghamshire Minerals Plan
Nottinghamshire County Council will be approving a Minerals Plan for consultation in November. But so far they have refused to include a policy which protects us from the specific problems of fracking. Their current policy does not recognise:
- that hydraulic fracturing could compromise the sherwood sandstone aquifer which runs down the centre of Nottinghamshire, providing a large part of our drinking water;
- that because of past coal mining, the area around Ollerton is already the ‘earthquake capital of the UK’;
- hydraulic fracturing requires disposal of large quantities of waste water contaminated with heavy metals and radioactive materials from the shale layers;
- the increased risk of venting methane which is a powerful greenhouse gas, and carcinogenic gases such as benzene and toluene.
If you live in the county, not the city, please write to your County Councillor to ask the Council to include a policy in the Minerals Plan to protect us from unconventional hydrocarbons including fracking for shale gas, coal bed methane and underground coal gasification.
Some of the key issues to raise include:
- horizontal drilling for perhaps 2km underground requires the site boundary to be defined in 3-D;
- hydraulic fracturing risks triggering seismic activity, particularly in areas of former coalmining;
- The EU Water Framework Directive requires a precautionary approach to protect groundwater;
- Hydraulic fracturing increases the risk of venting of methane and carcinogenic gases during and after operation. This is a potential risk for greenhouse gas emission and for public health.
If you live in the county you can find your councillor here
Before going to the full Council on 26 November the Minerals Plan will be discussed by the Environment & Sustainability Committee – date not yet fixed but before 19 November.
Send a briefing to your MP about the Government backtrack on fracking regulations
During the passage of the Infrastructure Act 2015, the then Minister and now Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd MP, made two important commitments in an attempt to address some of the risks from fracking. These included a ban on fracking:
- In drinking water protection areas (groundwater source protection zones or SPZs); and
- Other protected areas such as national parks, SSSIs and AONBs.
On 26 January 2015, Amber Rudd MP told MPs: “We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special scientific interest and areas of outstanding natural beauty.”
The Infrastructure Act is also clear on drinking water protection. It states “hydraulic fracturing will not take place within protected groundwater source areas”
However, the regulations currently before Parliament backtrack on these commitments by allowing fracking in all drinking water protection zones, drilling through aquifers, and fracking in SSSIs, AONBs and National Parks.
This is a complete u-turn on previous Government commitments. MPs must oppose these regulations.
PLEASE SEND THIS BRIEFING TO YOUR MP