Call on Scottish Government to ban fracking after process found to cause Blackpool earth tremors

Environmental campaigners have called on the Scottish Government to ban a controversial technique for extracting gas deep underground after an industry report concluded it was the “highly probable” cause of earth tremors in Lancashire earlier this year.

The report by shale gas firm Cuadrilla Resources found that the technique is likely to have triggered earth tremors near Blackpool earlier this year. Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, involves injecting water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into shale rock or coal beds to release trapped gas.


Planning Committee Meeting 12 Jan 2012

The next meeting of the Planning Committee is on 12 January 2012 ,
details are on:

Planning Committee Details

This does not leave people much time to comment!

In order to comment on the plan people need to write to them quoting
the planning reference 11/04441/STPLF


write to Planning and Development Management, Cross Street, County
Hall, Beverley, HU17 9BA

use the Make Comments section on

See for guidance on commenting on the application, for example they will not take loss of a view or property value into consideration, but will consider impact on the area and access.

Chance to have your say on proposal

THE next chance for East Riding planning committee to discuss the Rathlin proposal will be on Thursday, January 12.

Highways officers will look at the plans and a report recommends that if they feel there will be no impact on local roads then the plans can be approved.

But councillors will also have to decide whether the national benefits of potentially discovering a source of petroleum outweigh the impact on the local area.

Because the work is highly specialised, any future drilling operation is unlikely to create many jobs or much extra investment in the area.

To view the Rathlin proposal and have your say, visit and enter the 11/04441/STPLF reference number.

Risks to the aquifer

The following is a copy of comments sent to the Planning Committee about the risks to the aquifer:

I have some concerns relating to potential for both harmful and malodourous gas emissions, plus possible contamination of the local water supply with cancer inducing chlorinated organic products.

Whilst it is highly likely that any reputable company will be well aware of these potential issues, I think it is well worth emphasising the potential risks and I strongly suggest that all members of the
planning committee are completely satisfied that adequate precautions are in place before any approval is granted

1) Gas emissions

Very many natural oil and gas deposits will contain the element sulphur in one form or another. Sulphur can react easily to produce many different compounds one of which is hydrogen sulphide ( the ‘bad egg’
gas). The presence of hydrogen sulphide in oil gives rise to the term ‘sour oil’. This is a highly toxic and foul smelling gas even in minute quantities, and the prevailing wind will blow any such fumes in the
direction of both Walkington and Bishop Burton.

The other range of compounds that may be formed come under the heading of mercaptans. These are even more toxic and foul smelling than hydrogen sulphide, although likely to be present in much lower
quantities. Mercaptans are normally produced commercially as an additive to processed natural gas (odourless) to make it smell as a warning of leaks.

Any such emissions can easily be dealt with by the use of chemical scrubbers, but these themselves involve the use of harmful chemicals with consequent concerns over safe handling and disposal in a rural

Before any planning application is approved I would suggest that ERYC ensure that air quality ( particularly the amount of hyrdrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide) is being monitored 24/7, that all monitoring equipment is calibrated accurately and regularly and that all records are available for public inspection at any time

2) Contamination of water supply

All oil and gas bearing strata will contain a range of organic chemicals ( chemicals based on carbon) If these chemicals leach into the water supply it may be in the form of phenols ( based on the benzene ring)

As Yorkshire Water chlorinate the water, which they are legally bound to do, there is the potential for the formation of tri-chlorinated phenols or TCP in the water. Whilst this product is harmless when used
for gargling, it is designed to kill bacteria and prolonged exposure at even very low levels can be considered harmful and possibly carcinogenic.

The formation of TCP or other trihalomethanes (THMs) is a widespread problem in old industrial areas such as Bradford due to oil contamination of the water bearing aquifer. This is why Yorkshire Water carefully monitor the amounts of THMs in the drinking water supply

Procedures should be in place to monitor drinking water quality at at least 5 sentinel outlets in both Walkington and Bishop Burton on a weekly basis by independent Companies. The most important parameter will be the level of organics in the water

It should also be borne in mind that any contamination of the aquifer will affect an area stretching from Market Weighton, through Pocklington amd Stamford Bridge and into Beverley

3) Carbon footprint

The use of drilling equipment will produce carbon dioxide – Rathlin have conceded that diesel engines will be running 24 hours per day.
Have they provided information on the likely CO2 output over the expected lifetime of the project? There are strict Government guidelines on such emissions – without this essential information any planning application of this nature must be considered incomplete.

4) Life cycle anaylsis

All installations of this nature will have a quantifiable cost to the environment to set up, operate and break down. Any reputable company should provide such analysis before any consideration can be given to
approval – this is standard practice within the NHS for example (sometimes known as ‘cradle to grave’ costings)

5) Water abstraction

How much water will be required to formulate the drilling muds? Where will this be drawn from and what is the likely consequence on aquifer levels, particularly during times of drought?

6) Effluent disposal

What types and volumes of effluent are likely to be produced? What are the likely hazards of such effluents – have COSHH sheets been provided for any chemicals that may be stored on site. Without COSHH sheet data it would probably be considered illegal for any operation of this type to continue.

Further information on these points can be gained from a simple internet search.

I would suggest that if the above points are not addressed any planning application must be rejected. Incidences that may arise where sufficient precautions are not in place could lead to involvement of the HSE with consequent costly claims by both the HSE and any residents that may be affected.

Peter Rolinson

safeguarding beautiful yorkshire wold villages