No Fracking in Barnsley – Please sign our petition

Petition Meme

Sign the petition here.

Fracking is a destructive, polluting, dangerous industry. It has caused real pain for communities in the USA and Australia and it is coming to Barnsley!

Exploratory fracking licences now cover most of the borough. Licences were granted in Dearne Valley last year and just before Christmas, a new round of licences extended coverage over Barnsley itself.

There are numerous concerns about the bad effects that fracking can be responsible for.

• Contaminate our water supply
• Pollute the air with hazardous chemicals
• Cause earthquakes
• Reduce the value of our homes
• Increase our household insurance premiums
• Make our roads less safe by increasing heavy traffic
• Leak methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide
• Cause illness in local populations
• Increase noise and light pollution from drilling operations and traffic movement.

Barnsley has an added fear, in that we can’t be sure what effect fracking will have on the old mine workings that criss-cross our area. A Keele University professor has suggested that fracking should be banned from former mining areas as being, “too dangerous”.

Now is the time to stand up against this dangerous industry, stand up for our communities and against those that would impose fracking upon us.

Please sign our petition to Barnsley Council, asking them to reject fracking in Barnsley.

Sign the petition here.


Boreholes in Misson voted through as fracking comes one step closer

This story by Jennifer Scott was originally published in the Nottingham Post.


Fracking could be a step closer in Nottinghamshire after a planning committee voted through plans to monitor groundwater in Misson.

The process has to take place for a year – under government legislation – before any attempts are made to extract shale gas, leaving residents fearful about what the next steps could be on the site off Spring Lane.

But members of Nottinghamshire County Council said they could only vote on the proposal in front of them at yesterday’s meeting, and may take a different view when, or if, applications for fracking are later submitted.

The plan, which was voted through nine votes to two, will see four 40 metre monitoring boreholes drilled into the ground. The company in charge of the process, iGas, will then monitor groundwater for levels of methane.

The works are expected to take up to eight weeks, with each hole taking two weeks to create, but monitoring of the site will then continue for the rest of the year.

Protesters filled the public gallery at County Hall yesterday to hear from all sides of the row – from local politicians and campaigners to the company itself.

Helen Mitchem, member of campaign groups Frack Free Nottinghamshire and Bassetlaw Against Fracking, fought against the borehole plans, claiming the noise levels would affect local people and wildlife in the area.

“We want to see our council put the health of local people; protection of the countryside and the conservation of wildlife ahead of the wishes of a business whose actions will ruin the landscape and contribute to climate change with little benefit to local people.”

And local MP for the area, John Mann, told the committee there were better sites for the eventual fracking process than rural Misson.

“Your critical powers as a council are about the location,” he said. “Uniquely, there is only one road through Misson… and at one end there is a quarry and a mushroom farm.

“If you put this on the other end, you will trap the village and industrialise it.”

But Spencer Warren, who represented iGas at the meeting, warned the Government was seeking to amend rules around boreholes, meaning eventually the company would not even have to go to the council for planning approval.

Councillor Stan Heptinstall, who sits on the committee, said: “We have been told that in the near future there will be no need for this planning so even if we turn this down it will be overidden in a few months time.

“I feel convinced by what has been said today that the [water] monitoring will be done properly.”

No Fracking Way: South Yorkshire

No Fracking Way

Campaigners will be making a noise about fracking across the country on the weekend of the 30/31st January, in a nationwide anti-fracking action.

No Fracking in Barnsley will be taking part in the national programme of anti-fracking events, called by ‘No Fracking Way’. This is an unmissable opportunity for us to raise awareness locally and to make a noise about fracking at a national level.

Barnsley: Saturday 30th January 2016
May Day Green (Barnsley Town Centre) at 11.00am

We will be leafleting at May Day Green (near Thorntons) and collecting signatures for our petition to Barnsley Council, calling for the rejection of fracking in Barnsley.

Please come along and help us to spread the word to the people of Barnsley, even if you can only spare half an hour. Everybody’s help is valuable and with a good turn out, we can engage with as many people as possible.

There are other events planned to take place across the region on the same day in Dearne Valley, Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham. Visit our event page on Facebook for more details as they are available, or check back here.

Tweetathon: Sunday 31st January 2016

In support of other events happening around the country, we will be sharing their tweets from our Twitter account under the hashtag #NoFrackingWay. Please join us, share as many posts as you can and help us to get the argument against fracking trending nationally.

Please share this message with anyone who you think may be interested in helping.


Scrap Fracking UK Wide: Petition ends Friday


CLICK HERE to sign the petition.

A petition calling on the government to scrap fracking across the UK, currently stands at a little over 42,800 signatures. The petition, which ends on Friday needs 100,000 signatures to stand a chance of being debated in parliament.

Please sign the petition and share it far and wide, with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues and ask them to sign and share too. Lets do all that we can to get this petition over the line.

CLICK HERE to sign the petition.


‘Driffield and wolds must be informed on fracking’

This story originally appeared in Driffield Times & Post.


A member of a newly established campaign group said more Driffield and Wolds residents need to be aware of fracking developments.

Ahead of a planned public awareness meeting next week in Driffield, Catherine Lodge, of Beverley Road, Wetwang, said she hopes the event will better inform residents.

Catherine, who is a member of the group Frack Free Driffield and the Wolds, said: “ We are delighted to welcome two speakers who have spent a huge amount of time and effort into researching fracking and its health and social implications.

“We hope that the talks will help to inform people in the Driffield and Wolds area, who may not be aware of how great the impact of this industry will be.”

The group are concerned about a recent licence 
allocations to energy firm Cuadrilla, who want to explore for shale gas underneath 
Driffield and the Wolds, 
extending as far North as Filey.

The meeting will take place at the Old Town Hall, the Bell Hotel on Market Place from 7.30pm next Friday (January 22).

Speakers on the evening will include North Yorkshire GP Dr Tim Thornton and Rev Graham Cray – Honorary 
Assistant Bishop at the 
Diocese of York.

Dr Thornton, a North Yorkshire MP of 30 years, will talk about the basics of fracking and “its potential risks to human and animal health”.

He has been frequently interviewed by the national press and has also appeared on Look North, Channel 4, ITC and Radio Europe.

Rev Cray, an honorary assistant Bishop at the Diocese of York, will talk about his time spent in Pennsylvania in the US, where citizens have been “severely affected by fracking”.

More than 100 people are expected to turn up to the event after a similar evening was held at Driffield Community Hall in November.For more information visit


Poland’s shale gas revolution evaporates in face of environmental protests

This story by Arthur Neslen originally appeared in The Guardian.

Fear and loathing stalk Poland’s shale fields, where a 400-day site occupation stopped a Chevron drill earlier this year


Whenever Chevron organised anything, we demonstrated,” said Barbara Siegienczuk, 54, one of the leaders of the local anti-shale gas protest group Green Zurawlow in south-eastern Poland. “We made banners and placards and put posters up around the village. Only 96 people live in Zurawlow – children and old people included – but we stopped Chevron!”

For 400 days, farmers and their families from Zurawlow and four nearby villages blockaded a proposed Chevron shale drilling site with tractors and agricultural machinery. Eventually, in July, the company abandoned its plans.

The Zurawlow blockade influenced the UK’s anti-fracking protests at Balcombe in the summer of 2013, and similar battles have flared across Poland since the country became Europe’s front line for shale gas exploration.

A soon-to-be-updated study by the Polish Geological Institute in March 2012 estimated that recoverable shale gas volumes under the country at between 346bn and 768bn cubic metres – the third biggest in Europe and enough to supply the country’s gas needs for between 35 and 65 years.

Bordering volatile Ukraine and heavily reliant on gas from Putin’s Russia, the promise of secure domestically-produced energy made politicians sit up. A year earlier, in September 2011, the country’s then-prime minister Donald Tusk made a bold claim that the shale industry would begin commercial drilling in 2014.

“After years of dependence on our large neighbour (Russia), today we can say that my generation will see the day when we will be independent in the area of natural gas and we will be setting terms,” he said, adding that well conducted exploration, “would not pose a danger to the environment.”

But things haven’t turned out that way. Plans for a shale gas-fuelled economic revival appear to be evaporating as test wells have not performed as expected or have suffered regulatory delays. Foreign investors have pulled out and sustained environmental protests like that in Zurawlow have hampered drilling plans.

Officials privately talk of the shale experiment as a ‘disaster’.

In September, 3Legs Resources became the latest firm to call a halt on investments after disappointing results. Six weeks before, its chief financial officer, Alex Fraser, had said they were “potentially on the threshold of a very significant result,” involving “potentially hundreds of wells”.

“Companies’ expectations were very high and now we learn that this is a long term process,” said Pawel Mikusek, a spokesman for Poland’s environment ministry. “The experience of the US is that it also took a long time to reach industrial use – 10-15 years – so we need to be more patient. We don’t have such high expectations as two or three years ago.”

But with falling oil prices, continued supplies of cheap coal and EU pressure to increase cost-competitive renewable power generation, the shale gas industry needs positive results fast, and less controversy. 2015 will be a “pivotal” year for the Polish industry, according to industry group Shale Gas Europe.

Multi-billion dollar tax incentives are in the pipeline and a new law should soon speed up permitting processes that can take years. But this has already sparked an EU legal action for allowing firms to drill at depths of up to 5,000m without first assessing environmental risks.

Seven of the 11 multinationals which invested in Poland – including Exxon, Talisman and Marathon – have already pulled out, citing permit delays and disappointing results. Most shale activity is now being led by Poland’s state-controlled PGNiG, and by Orlen and Lotos.

Just 66 wells have been drilled to date – 12 involving horizontal fracking – and permits for a further 27 drills were put on hold in the southeastern Tomaszów Lubelski region last month, pending the outcome of a lengthy inquiry.

Analysts blame regulatory hold-ups for fraying investors nerves, but in Tomaszów Lubelski, which is home to a forest protected under Europe’s gold-standard ‘Natura 2000’ scheme and a proposed Unesco biosphere, environmental protestors claim credit for throwing a pitchfork in the industry’s wheels.

Poland’s environment ministry says that shale gas is hugely popular but mobilisations against it were impressive and fuelled by claims that damage had already been done.

“Roads were damaged and destroyed when seismic tests were done with heavy machinery,” said Slawomir Damiluk, 50, a farmer in nearby Rogow. “The fact is that people’s houses had cracks in their walls afterwards. When Chevron tried to start up with their machinery, I was one who was involved. We blocked the entry roads.”

Supported by urban greens, anarchists, squatters and vegans, villagers set up a colourful protest camp – complete with a cinema, online live-streaming, samba bands and installation art – and occupied the site around the clock.

“The women who lived here began learning how to cook without meat because during the protest we had agreed that nobody would go hungry,” Siegienczuk said. “We opened our minds and hearts to people who looked and ate differently, from another culture.”

Dozens of activists are still facing a criminal lawsuit filed by Chevron, and many more were filmed by mystery cameramen whose stills were used in subsequent court cases. Siegienczuk believes that her phone was tapped.

“Once, I heard several people talking on the line and a male voice asked ‘are we going to tap this woman’s phone too?’ I was terrified and passed my phone to other protestors who heard the same voices. After that, my mobile phone turned off,” she said.

Sally Jones, a spokesperson for Chevron, told the Guardian: “Chevron respects the right of individuals to express their opinions, however it should be done within the law. Chevron remains committed to building constructive and positive relationships with the communities where we operate.”

But local people in the area covered by Chevron’s concession, claim that such relationships went beyond what might be reasonably termed constructive.

Villagers allege that one woman whose water well became polluted at the same time that seismic tests were being conducted in the area received a building renovation paid for by Chevron, and promptly stopped complaining about the issue.

Shortly after that, a local protest leader dropped out of the movement and took up work as a Chevron security guard, leading to accusations that he had been bought off.

Wojciech Zukowski, the recently re-elected mayor of Tomaszów Lubelski town, in Poland’s southeast, said that he saw no conflict of interest in accepting private or public gifts from multinationals. “I’m not trying to hide that some forms of sponsoring and support takes place here,” he told the Guardian.

“We are open for it,” he said, adding that a town sports club with 250 members would benefit from corporate sponsorship.

Chevron declined to respond to the villagers’ claims but insisted that “we comply with laws and regulations in all counties we do business in.”

The company has donated to several charities in the US and Romania, where it has also invested in shale exploration. In southeast Poland, it has provided charity services to villages at Christmas and offered gifts to residents’ children such as fluffy tigers carrying Chevron logos, and sweets.

“We demonstrate our commitment to the communities where we operate by creating jobs, employing local workforces, and developing and sourcing from local suppliers,” a company statement said.

The Tomaszów Lubelski district has been hard-hit by unemployment and jobs have been a key persuader for the industry.

Close to the exploratory shale drill in nearby Susiec, Jacek, a 40-year-old shop worker said that the shale gas plans “are going to be good as there will be jobs for us and gas will be cheaper. It’s a jobs issue. Possibly my kids might have jobs there.”

The town’s pro-shale mayor ran a campaign on the economic benefits that shale gas could offer the depressed town, hanging a ‘Putinologists – bugger off!’ banner in the town square. But in a regional trend, he was deposed in favour of a more shale-sceptic opponent in November, who advanced an alternative geothermal energy-based plan.

“We don’t need shale gas,” said Maria, a 39-year-old worker in the same store as Jacek. “It’s one big scam. Nobody informed us about what’s happening. The ex-mayor was useless. He just promised work for everyone but there was nothing. We are not going to work on the well. The people who have agro-tourism businesses know that it’s not beneficial as the environment will be destroyed and people won’t come here anymore.”

On the Natura 2000 site that borders the Susiec well, Narnia-style pine tree forests are frosted in ice and snow. Roe deers and eagles flit in and out of the fog like phantoms. But at the fence marking the shale well, the deer tracks abruptly stop and double back on themselves.

Fears that one of Poland’s last remaining redoubts of biodversity could be damaged have mobilised local feeling, as polarisation and bitterness have spread across the Tomaszów Lubelski district. Zukowski suggested that village protesters were being manipulated by dark forces.

“It could be said that their actions were inspired by the government of Mr Putin,” he said. “I don’t have such knowledge but [the protests] went hand in hand with the Kremlin’s intentions. Gas and oil are a useful tool for Russia to get involved in other countries’ energy security. It is a proxy to pressure authorities to take certain decisions along the Kremlin’s lines. It is like a political secret. Everyone knows it but no-one wants to name it.”

Jones at Chevron described such claims as speculation. But similar accusations have been levelled by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the secretary general of Nato, and by pro-shale officials in Romania and Lithuania, as cold war-style tensions have ratcheted.

Even the patriotic case for pressing ahead with shale gas has been dented by claims from campaigners in Pomerania that toxic waste from shale drills was dumped in a rural stream.

Environmentalists believe that water tainted by shale salts may have entered the Radunia river used for supplying water to Gdansk, the birthplace of Poland’s Solidarity movement.

In November, the French water company, Veolia, was ordered to stop processing shale effluent in a nearby water purification centre because of permitting infractions.

The Polish environment ministry denies that Gdansk’s drinking water was ever put at risk, but such allegations undercut the energy independence case for shale gas, and feed nationalist objections. “The people of Zurawlow might have liked shale gas investment but the issue was these were Americans,” Damiluk said. “We don’t want foreign investors on a land that belongs to us.”

Chevron, the last of the big multinational shale investors is still holding on to its sole concession in Zwierzyniec, which was extended for a year in December. However, the decision’s small print limits future drilling to a small parcel of land the company has already explored.

“If Chevron’s partner PGNiG wins permission to drill in Tomaszów Lubelski, I hope the people there will use the same tactics to block new drills that we did,” Siegienczuk said. “We are open and ready to give any support we can.”



Councillors’ solidarity bid against fracking plan

TRAFFORD councillors have condemned the decision to award an exploratory fracking licence in the borough – and is calling on the council to ‘uphold’ its opposition to controversial gas exploration.


Trafford Labour Party said it is deeply concerned that the Government’s Oil and Gas Authority has awarded a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) to the company Ineos covering much of the south of Trafford.

The licence is the first step towards fracking taking place in Trafford and opens up the possibility of a planning application for fracking to begin in areas such as Altrincham, Bowdon, Broadheath, Hale and Timperley.

Broadheath councillor Denise Western, the majority of whose ward falls within the licence area, said: “The Labour group is extremely concerned by the decision to award this licence. I have already been contacted by a number of residents really worried about what this will mean for the area.

“They are concerned about the safety of the process, the decision to award the licence in what is a highly populated area, and the potential impact on house prices.

“Everything I have read tells me that the technology is unproven and I absolutely cannot support fracking taking place in Trafford until we know for certain that the process is safe.”

Trafford Labour is planning to propose a motion that Trafford Council writes to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and to the Oil and Gas Authority directly, outlining the councillors’ concerns and asking that the decision to award the licence be reconsidered.

Cllr Catherine Hynes, deputy leader of the Labour Group, said: “The Labour Group will be raising this issue with a motion at the next council meeting, and will expect all councillors to uphold the council’s previous position in opposition to fracking until it is proven safe.”