September 2016 – Fracking licences in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire ‘will not be used’
Somerset coast still under threat from South Western Energy.
FROM BBC NEWS – Licences to carry out fracking in parts of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, will not be used by a company they had been granted to. South Western Energy said it had decided not to pursue licences which were awarded to explore for gas.
A spokesman said it was because energy costs were currently low and future prices were uncertain. The decision has been welcomed by environmental campaigners who said it was “brilliant news”.
Gerwyn Williams from South Western Energy, based in Bridgend, said they had also decided to “relinquish large areas of existing licences in South Wales”. “The main reason is to minimise financial exposure during a period of low energy costs and uncertain future prices.
‘May re-apply’ “We have retained the more prospective areas in Wales, Dorset and Somerset.
“If matters improve we may re-apply… for some of the areas.”
Licences to explore for oil and gas, including fracking in various parts of the UK were offered to several companies by The Oil and Gas Authority last year. However, whether exploration can actually go ahead is subject to local planning consent.
Owen Adams, from the group Frack Off Our Forest, which had campaigned against the idea, said it was “brilliant news” and “a victory for people power”.
“We have achieved a major goal,” he said.
The Somerset coast areas under are shown below:
Our region is under threat from Fracking with licences granted in Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire
The licences covering parts of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire include some highly environmentally sensitive areas including Special Conservation Areas, Special Protection Areas, RAMSAR Sites and an AONB.
Do you live in one of these licence areas?
Click here to Download detailed maps of each local licence area shown above.
Click here to Download completed government habitats assessments for each local licence area.
Click here to Download the latest OGA map showing all current and potential UK licence blocks.
If you would like to get involved with resisting this potentially damaging form of fossil fuel extraction taking place in your local area then here’s a list of groups operating in or very near the licence areas shown above:
Forest of Dean – Frack off our Forest
Somerset – Frack Free Somerset
Exmoor, Quantocks, Sedgemoor – Frack Free EQS
Banwell & Weston – Frack Free Banwell & Weston-Super-Mare
Frome – Frome Anti-Fracking
Wiltshire – Keep Wiltshire Frack Free
Westbury – Frack Free Westbury
Trowbridge – Trowbridge Area Frack Free
Bradford on Avon – BoA Frack Free
Devizes – Frack Free Devizes
Box – Box Against Fracking
Other local groups:
Chew valley – Frack Free Chew Valley
Midsomer Norton – Frack Free Somer Valley
Bruton – Gas Field Free Bruton
Yeovil – Frack Free Yeovil
Mendip Hills – Gas Field Free Mendip
Bristol – Frack Free Bristol
June 2015 update – PEDL 227 Now relinquished by UK Methane
We have confirmation that PEDL 227 which covers part of the Mendip Hills between Bath and Shepton Mallet has now been relinquished by the licence holder UK Methane. This is excellent news for our area as it now means there are no active oil and gas companies seeking to explore possible reserves in Somerset! We are Frack Free!
This follows the relinquishment last June of the 3 previously held licence areas in Somerset. So for the time being the threat of immediate unconventional gas exploration has been removed.
We feel this move by UK Methane is at least in part due to the amazing efforts of local people and groups to make Somerset an unwelcome place for oil and gas exploration, showing that any moves to explore in Somerset will be strongly resisted.
A word of caution here though as we are soon expecting the government to announce the results of the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licencing Round, which could mean that another oil and gas company could have bid for any of the licence blocks in our area and attempt to commence exploration.
Click Here to Download the latest map from the Oil and Gas Authority showing the UK areas currently under active licence (June 2015)
Click Here to Download the DECC 14th Round Licence Area Offer Map (July 2014) showing all the licence blocks available to exploration companies.
Candidates from North East Somerset and Wells constituencies taken on awareness tour of potential North Somerset Gasfield
In early December we invited candidates from all political parties on a brief tour of the Mendip Hills and Somerset Coalfield, visiting stream sinks, resurgences and mines of PEDL 227 in particular the East Mendip region, believed to be the source of the water for Bath Hot Springs. The trip included a short visit to the magnificent Shatter Cave between Stoke St. Michael and Oakhill.
The intention was to ensure that candidates were aware of issues particular to the cavernous, fractured geology of the Mendip plateau and Somerset Coalfield. In particular the possible dangers to our reservoirs and water supply if drilling were to take place amid the area’s’ countless underground streams.
Documentary lifting the lid on fracking spin, investigating environmental and health issues associated with fracking in Australia, the US, and Lancashire and UK Methane’s plans to drill near drinking water sources in Somerset.
Potential for 300 Coal Bed Methane wells across Mendip & Chew Valley
Unconventional gas companies are interested in Coal Bed Methane (CBM) in Somerset because of the Westphalian Coal Measures associated with the Bristol‐Somerset Coalfield.
The current licence holder (PEDL 227) is UK Methane which holds a 50% share of the licence with Shale Energy plc, although it is understood that full ownership may soon pass to UK Onshore Gas Ltd which intends to list on the London Stock Exchange in the near future.
An “American style” gas revolution necessitates transformation of entire landscapes into gas fields which in parts of the Mendips and Chew Valley could mean about 300 wells for Coal Bed Methane alone (excluding shale gas) according to CBM specialists GeoMet UK in a full development scenario. This would herald whole‐scale industrialization of parts of the Mendips and Chew Valley.
For much more info Click Here to Download a report by Frack Free Chew Valley reproduced from a Geomet report (2000), showing the potential for CBM in the Mendip and Chew Valley area.
Below is an illustration of the distribution of wells across the Coalfield in a full development scenario.
Why Fracking or Coal Bed Methane Exploration on the Mendips is High Risk
There is no place safe for fracking, shale gas or coal bed methane exploration on the Mendips.
The Mendip caves are among the biggest and most important cave areas in the South of England. The Mendip Caves are also the most intensively studied Karst (cave bearing limestone) area in the world.
The caves act as a conduit for rain water which feed our springs, agricultural boreholes, rivers, reservoirs and the World Heritage Bath Hot Springs.
Historical incidents of pollution have proven that the caves and water systems within them are highly susceptible to any contamination, which can be transported for miles from its original source via the underground waterways.
Any pollution caused by radioactive waste water or toxic flowback water from drilling activities could have a devastating impact if it were to enter the mendip cave system, from either drilled boreholes or surface spills.
Download our presentation which highlights the vulnerability of the Mendip cave system to pollution incidents.
More information on the Mendip caves can be found at the Mendip Cave Registry & Archive.