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To be really concerned that it looks like fracking is going ahead in West Sussex

(98 Posts)
frazzled1772 Thu 13-Jun-13 12:16:42

I have been learning more about fracking (due to Cuadrilla proposing to frack just up the road from me). It seems that there are so many risks attached and the impact of fracking is not fully understood yet. The impact of fracking is far greater than being just on one small Sussex village. The whole area will potentially be transformed by numerous wells and drilling pads. The proposed site is close to Ardingly Reservoir - which provides drinking water for thousands of people in the area and is surrounded by streams which feed the River Ouse. There are many reports of fracking contaminating water supplies - rendering tap water undrinkable and harming wildlife and farmland. But it looks like the government thinks it's ok! I need to know that my water will be safe and not full of radioactive waste, heavy metals or methane and I am not convinced that Cuadrilla or the government can say that they 100% sure that it will be yet it looks like they may get the go ahead - surely that can't be right?

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 13-Jun-13 16:32:45

The greenpeace briefing has points of view from across the spectrum. Its a briefing doc. That's what they do. You can also read other articles, or the articles behind this briefing doc.
The one place I wouldn't bother to go for information is a company that has a vested interest in it going ahead.

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 13-Jun-13 16:35:01

Sallying- what is greenpeace's 'agenda?'.
No corporate interests. Just the interest of keeping the planet healthy.

reggiebean Thu 13-Jun-13 16:38:45

For what it's worth, OP, I am from a town in the US that has had fracking for almost as long as I can remember about it. Yes, it's a bit of a blight on the landscape, and yes, some of the people it brings to town can be less than unsavoury, but in regards to the amount of jobs and money that it brings to the area, and the long-term benefit that comes from it in regards to cheaper oil and gas prices, it's a trade-off I'm more than willing to make. Never once have I felt a tremor due to the fracking, nor have I ever suffered from undrinkable tap water.

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 13-Jun-13 16:45:13

If you rad the. Briefing you will see that we are not in the same situation over here, especially with regards to savings and population density of target areas.

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 13-Jun-13 16:45:37

If you read...

Slipshodsibyl Thu 13-Jun-13 16:50:24

Fracking is ok. Green peace is sometimes not overly concerned with facts

reggiebean Thu 13-Jun-13 16:55:10

Kittens I live here in the UK now, and have watched all the news coverage and read plenty about it online. It's not something I'm overly bothered about, so don't plan on spending any more time reading anymore into it, especially from a source that's just as known for their mis-information as Fox News is.

My only point in posting was to say that it's not actually as bad as people are trying to make out. Fear of the unknown and all that. So, in regards to your question, yes, YABU.

Sallyingforth Thu 13-Jun-13 16:59:52

I have nothing against Greenpeace, and raise a cheer when they save whales from the Japanese fleet. But they seem to be against every modern development on principle - particularly where energy is concerned. We have to get it from somewhere!

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 13-Jun-13 18:47:22

They prefer renewable energy sources and are concerned that fracking is not only bad for the environment but it will also stop research into more sustainable energy.
Anyway, I don't have kids, so the mess we are making of the environment is less of a concern for me. Good luck.

frazzled1772 Thu 13-Jun-13 18:55:51

Morgan Mummy - It's not just my backyard. Fracking will be taking place throughout the country, they are just starting here. They have started drilling in Scotland too and SEPA are investigating methane leaks there.
Flatpack - I will be contacting the drilling company when I know exactly what it is I want to know. They have lots of PR and have held drop in meetings. They of course say that they are a very reliable company who are being very responsible with their methods. Locally we have had a lot of information from Cuadrilla regarding the process.

I have just received information from West Sussex County Council who are making decisions based on the fact that "fracking is as safe as conventional drilling" - yet there is lots of information out there saying that it isn't.

Thanks Kittensoft will look at that link.

Sallyingforth - of course I don't want the lights to go out - is there an immediate threat to our energy supply? Do we have to rush for shale gas before it's impact is fully understood? Furthermore shale gas may not solve all the problems it's supposed to - the amount of gas that's there is not really known. And yesterday in the Guardian Cuadrilla PR man did say that it wasn't likely to change energy prices signficantly if at all.

frazzled1772 Thu 13-Jun-13 19:00:26

reggiebean - I have found out that fracking can be done safely. It relies on the the integrity of the well being safe, the waste management being effective, risk assessments being done properly in the local area. Also deeper fracking is safer than shallow fracking. However there is enough information out there to question whether it is always done safely. If it's safe why are France and Germany not buying into it? Why are some states in the US placing a moratorium on it?

frazzled1772 Thu 13-Jun-13 19:01:06

sorry reggie bean - mis read your post

frazzled1772 Thu 13-Jun-13 19:02:28

reggiebean - are you in an area where they do horizontal fracking? And how close are you to the sites? Are the residential areas nearby?

frazzled1772 Thu 13-Jun-13 19:27:32

thanks for that link earlier kittensoft. V useful

flatpackhamster Thu 13-Jun-13 20:07:38


The greenpeace briefing has points of view from across the spectrum. Its a briefing doc. That's what they do. You can also read other articles, or the articles behind this briefing doc.

No it doesn't! It downplays the profitability, usefulness, long-term potential and plays up the risks.

The one place I wouldn't bother to go for information is a company that has a vested interest in it going ahead.

Goodness, no, why would you go to drilling experts for information in drilling when you can get it from a bunch of swampies?

reggiebean Thu 13-Jun-13 20:10:53

frazzled1772 In regards to France and Germany not buying into it, I'm afraid I can't offer any insights to that. It's the same question as to why some people think that gay marriage should be illegal. Because most lawmakers have an agenda, and have special interest groups they need to keep happy, and it's as simple as that.

Yes, they do some horizontal fracking in Colorado. I know of at least 30 wells within 50 miles from where I grew up, and there are probably many, many more. As I said, it's not a pretty sight, which is a shame, because Colorado is a beautiful place, but it's a price (necessary, I think) that most are willing to pay. There are residential sites as close as about 10 miles from the drilling sites. There is a law about how closely they can drill to ground water wells, heritage sites, etc., but I'm not sure what those laws are.

mac12 Thu 13-Jun-13 20:33:35

OP, just to put your mind at rest - Cuadrilla is drilling a conventional well with a horizontal leg in Sussex and does not intend to frack it. You can see the details in the May 8th announcement on their website and should also be able to track the planning application via your council's website.

Sallyingforth Thu 13-Jun-13 21:28:36

of course I don't want the lights to go out - is there an immediate threat to our energy supply?
You can't have been following the news. Several nuclear stations are reaching the end of their lives, and old coal fired stations have to be closed to meet pollution targets. There is nothing to replace them and the reserves of capacity are getting very slim as demand increases. We are reliant on imported gas that is getting more expensive and could be turned off at any time. Wind and solar are unreliable and extremely expensive. They can't supply more than a tiny proportion of our needs. Something else is needed.

frazzled1772 Thu 13-Jun-13 21:38:03

mac 12 - on their website and in the information they sent round they said that they are drilling to a depth of approximately 3000 feet (914m) with a horizontal arm of about 2500 feet (762m). They are looking at the following:

(1) If there was negligible oil flow the well will be capped and abandoned;

(2) If there was sufficient natural flow further exploration wells may be drilled at other locations to assess how much oil might be commercially extracted without Fracking;

(3) If there was insufficient natural flow consideration would be given to applying for permission to frack the well at a separate future date.

In the 80s the site was drilled for oil and it was found that there wasn't enough oil there to make further drilling worth while. I'm no geologist but I assume that in 30 years or so the oil levels wouldn't have increased - if they replenish themselves that quickly we wouldn't have an energy crisis.

In their literature they refer to shallow shale gases - it is clear they are on the forefront of gas extraction in the UK. As I understand it the test is "stimulating" the rock using acid - creating fractures with chemicals - not too different to actual fracking.

What's more they have detailed the depths they are drilling as 914 m but then I found this which says they are testing at a far shallower level. Shallow fracking poses a greater risk to water in the aquifer due to the faults created by fracking expanding upwards and potentially allowing methane seepage. I am looking into this discrepancy.

So thank you but the fact that they are test drilling does not really put my mind at rest. It is a small step towards their final goal.

frazzled1772 Thu 13-Jun-13 21:43:26

Sallyingforth - I am aware that we are becoming more reliant on imported gas, however, is there a reason why they could be turned off at any time - why would they do that? Am I being a bit naive?
I can see another solution is required - but not in haste and not one that could have a disastrous impact on our health and environment if not done in a safe, controlled and regulated manor.

LessMissAbs Thu 13-Jun-13 21:46:03

Surely the process of fracking most people cover in general science education at school? Its not a new process, its an established process in the oil and gas industry.

Natural gas is one of the most plentiful natural resources that can be used for fuel that hasn't yet been exhausted. The United States at the current rate should be totally self-sufficient in fuel by 2050. If the UK doesn't go forwards with fracking, it risks not only power cuts but being left behind as it would have to buy in fuel from other countries with little of its own production.

As for water supplies, where do you think all the pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers sprayed onto crops go when it rains?

catgirl1976 Thu 13-Jun-13 21:46:50


We have it here (Fylde Coast) and I am vair opposed to it.

And I understand fracking very well and work in the energy industry so I am not some lentil-weaver and I don't take my information from fecking Caudrilla. It wouldnt exactly be objective would it hmm

frazzled1772 Thu 13-Jun-13 22:18:24

LessMissAbs - fracking has been around for a long time in one form or another. However the recent approach of extensive horizontal drilling is relatively new. More chemicals are used now, more wells are drilled than previously hence there are more fractures made.
As for pesticides etc int he water - we the industriual waste produced in fracking is highly concentrated - it is a higher concentration of chemicals (including radioactive materials) - I don't think it's a fair comparison to pesticides.
Catgirl - I'm not a lentil weaver either. Has fracking had much of an impact on the Fylde Coast (apart from the odd earthquake) and what's the general feel about it there?

catgirl1976 Thu 13-Jun-13 22:32:50

We had the one little tremor and then they stopped for a while but they are about to start again. Opinion seems to be split (and lord knows the area could use some jobs etc) but there is a strong opposition.

But with Caudrilla making sizeable donations to the Conservative party I doubt a few earthquakes and potential damage to the water supply will stop it sad

catgirl1976 Thu 13-Jun-13 22:34:16

the government is not exactly going to be objective, even without donations

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