UK fracking tsar resigns: accuses ministers of putting UK energy security in peril by caving in to green zealots

Posted: April 28, 2019 by oldbrew in fracking, News, Shale gas
Tags: ,


No surprise here. She is only saying what the leading industry players have been complaining about for months at least, i.e. the absurdity of some of the rules forced upon them.

Natascha Engel says the government’s approach to fracking has created a de facto ban on it, BBC News reports.

The UK’s shale gas commissioner is resigning after just six months, saying fracking is being throttled by rules preventing mini earthquakes.

Current government rules mean fracking must be suspended every time a 0.5 magnitude tremor is detected. But according  to a mail online report by David Rose, Ms Engel said that “The same rules do not apply to quarry blasting or construction piling, which can cause much bigger earth movements. They are also thousands of times weaker than the level 4 or 5 quakes geologists say are the smallest likely to damage buildings.”

The success of fracking in the US and Canada has led to an economic boom in these countries but also, crucially, lower emissions – because burning gas produces far less CO2 than burning coal, which it has partly replaced. In America and Canada, the limits imposed on the tremors that can legally be caused by fracking are much greater, according to Ms Engel: between 2 and 4.5 on the Richter scale.

Mr Clark has claimed that when Britain’s 0.5 limit was set in 2012, it was done ‘in consultation’ with the industry, implying that fracking firms supported it.

This, Ms Engel says, is untrue. ‘At the time, geologists and the industry fiercely objected,’ she said.

Today, UK drillers say they could operate with a limit of 1.5, ten times less than the lowest American ceiling (a level 2 tremor is ten times stronger than a level 1). When Mr Clark’s predecessor, Liberal Democrat Ed Davey, introduced the restriction, he issued a statement saying it would be reviewed when there was evidence that increasing the 0.5 limit would be safe.

Ms Engel says: ‘We have the evidence, but the only thing that’s stopping a review is the Government. Yet Mr Clark is refusing to budge and time is running out. If the Government continues to listen to campaign groups rather than science, then he is effectively putting an end to fracking in the UK.’ She adds: ‘Firms have invested hundreds of millions of pounds. They did all this on the basis that Government policy would be rational, that it would be scientific. But it’s not.’

Full report here.
Earthquakes Today Richter Scale Table

Less than 2.0 = Micro – Micro-earthquakes, not felt.
2.0-2.9 Minor = Generally not felt, but recorded.

  1. Has the so-called Government of Treason May ever got anything right? It is a Government full of totally incompetent Ministers, backed by a biased and traitorous civil “service”.

  2. tallbloke says:

    More choice quotes from the Mail article. Go Natascha!
    A small minority of residents are opposed to fracking, she says.

    ‘But they are heavily outnumbered by people who want the benefits fracking could bring. In the areas where experimental wells have been drilled – Yorkshire, Lancashire and the East Midlands – historic industry has been destroyed, causing high levels of deprivation, and people tell me they desperately want industry jobs.

    ‘They are now very, very angry that a bunch of campaigners in London, backed it seems by the Government, say they can’t have them, because of almost undetectable earthquakes. Yet the Government is not listening to them.’ The irony, she says, is that by wrecking the shale gas industry, which the British Geological Survey says has the potential to supply Britain with gas for many decades, the Government is certain to increase emissions.

    ‘If you look at energy use as a whole, including heating and transport, gas accounts for 40 per cent of the total. There is simply no way renewables can fill that gap at the moment. We get less than five per cent of our total energy from wind and only 0.5 per cent from solar.’

    Hence, she says, the inevitable consequence of killing the shale gas industry is that the quantity of gas burnt in UK homes, businesses and power stations imported from abroad will soar – and with it, the far bigger carbon footprint caused by the process of making liquified natural gas and transporting it here. Ms Engel says imported gas already costs £7 billion a year.

    Moreover, by denying ourselves shale gas, ‘we are also depriving the Treasury of huge tax revenues, which could be spent on schools or the NHS’.

  3. tallbloke says:

    And the rest:

    Ms Engel says she is also dismayed that groups such as XR, along with Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg, had no concrete solutions other than to say we need political upheaval.

    ‘I cannot understand why politicians would rather listen to a teenager who tells children not go to school because they will soon be dead rather than looking at ways of reducing our emissions by taking gas out of the ground here.

    ‘We should be giving our children a positive and hopeful message: telling them to go to school, go to university, to become scientists and innovators who can find the answers to climate change.’

    As fracking tsar, she says: ‘I was really excited to be part of a vision for the future, that would help restore Britain’s reputation as a creative, forward-looking country which took both emissions targets and prosperity seriously.

    ‘But for reasons I cannot fathom, the Government’s approach is not leadership, but paralysis.’

  4. tallbloke says:

  5. Saighdear says:

    I listen, I look, I read, I see, I watch, I am, and I do, ….. but I DIDN’t take that woopeee stuff years ago. Is that why I am left out of the circle of agreeing with the Socio-Elites etc and their agreements on daft rubbish eco religous dogma?
    What is it about People, that those who DO KNOW their subject, absolutely know, are never listened to by the ruling classes? Why did we ever set the ball in motion by electing and promoting folk to manage & rule, beyond their capabilities, …. and then complain about their behaviour.
    Swamps fill with sh.. , by virtue of where they are FACT Time it was drained and exposed to the Cleansing of Sunlight and Air.
    Here endeth the Sunday word.

  6. Phoenix44 says:

    Ministers goverming us based on nothing but their own opinions and preprejudices – from Brexit to fracking, taxation to education. Pretending to use “evidence” but only what suits them.

  7. Dave Ward says:

    @ Saighdear “What is it about People”

    Slightly off topic – A family member owns a decent sized yacht (with the obligatory diesel “auxiliary” engine). I have tried, without success, to explain the utter futility of wind turbines as a power source but she won’t listen! If someone who KNOWS how variable the wind is – and has back-up available – can’t see the truth, what hope is there for the ordinary “Man in the street”? – Yeah, I know, that’s a sexist comment…

  8. phil salmon says:

    Cuadrilla and other fracking investors were wrong to have ever set foot in the UK. Sad as it is to say this, the UK is not a serious country in regard to science, technology and industry. Or almost anything else for that matter.

    Government is a shower of muddle-headed luvvies who destroyed their mental and logical faculties by recreational drug-taking and are totally dominated by Khmer Vert Luddite activists. The nation – our nation – is a sick joke. The activist – aristocracts want the country returned to the Stone Age, and they will get what they want. Let them have it.

    But when these morons get what they want and the economy and infrastructure collapse, a troubling problem will arise. Where will they get their cocaine and fentanyl from?

  9. stpaulchuck says:

    paid off pols and astro turf “protesters” all in aid of Russian gas and oil with some help from the Arabs. Yet, the man on the street fails to grasp this for fear of being called a polluter.

    ” to become scientists and innovators who can find the answers to climate change.” The answer is that same as it has been for thousands of years – adapt. The lunacy of ‘preventing climate change’ is beyond reason. Only the room temperature IQ types fall for this scam. Them and the hollow people looking for a pat on the head for being SJW’s.

  10. oldbrew says:

    The SNP takes policies from school kids these days – you couldn’t make it up.

    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has declared a “climate emergency” in her speech to the SNP conference.

    The SNP leader told delegates in Edinburgh she was inspired after meeting young climate campaigners who had gone on strike from school.

    Ms Sturgeon said “they are right”, and pledged to “live up to our responsibility” to halt climate change.
    – – –

  11. phil salmon says:

    The Russians and Chinese must be laughing into whatever Russians and Chinese laugh into.

    The opening quote in Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” spring to mind:

    “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within” (W. Durant)

  12. hunterson7 says:

    Adults being led by the fear of disturbed children makes me wonder when the war against under bed and closet monsters will kick off?

  13. tallbloke says:

  14. oldbrew says:

    Date: 29/04/19 John Hinderaker, PowerLine

    Given the Greens’ rejection [of fracking], how does Britain generate electricity? It simply imports gas that was produced elsewhere, thus increasing CO2 emissions and outsourcing jobs and tax revenues to other countries.

    Britain has a fracking industry–or could have one, anyway, if it weren’t for the Greens’ political clout. It finally became too much for Natascha Engel, Britain’s “fracking czar,” who quit with a blistering letter of resignation:

  15. tallbloke says:

  16. hunterson7 says:

    Phil salmon,
    Thank you for bringing up that quote.
    Deeply disturbing, terribly sad.

  17. oldbrew says:

    Date: 29/04/19 The Times

    Stephen Elliott, chief executive of the Chemical Industries Association, said the resignation revealed an administration that was “all over the place”, adding: “The government appoints a champion to lead a campaign and then deliberately, not accidentally, makes the job impossible to do.” He described the seismicity threshold as “absurd”.

  18. oldbrew says:

  19. oldbrew says:

    BBC: Fracking boss Jim Ratcliffe hits out at ‘pathetic’ government
    1 May 2019

    Mr Ratcliffe said he agreed with Ms Engel’s criticism. “I think the government has been pathetic on the subject, frankly – honestly, I do,” Mr Ratcliffe said.

    The government was listening to “a very vocal, but a miniscule, minority of people, and I think there’s a high degree of ignorance”.

    Mr Ratcliffe, whose company is carrying out tests in Nottinghamshire and has exploration rights in Yorkshire and Cheshire, believes the UK could emulate the shale gas boom in the US.

  20. Saighdear says:

    As I’ve said so often …’I listen, I look, I read, I see, ‘ .. THIS Morning in the Emails ‘From the Office of the Traffic Commissioner :- Complete ignorance of rules leads to revocation and disqualification. ‘ and in the past, from similar HM Gov. departments – looking for a Society where there is a ” Hunger for Compliance ” . This makes me Sick. I cannot plan ahead and play ‘Keepie Uppie’ on Rules n Regs when the Politico MSM Elites etc play games with our businesses, yet THEY THEMSELVES fool around with their antics on Brexit and Climate Change Life-changing regulations. When and as they are doing, at some daft whim, affect the lives of us by responding to Kids (i.e. progeny of GOATS) ill-informed demands, whilst our Children are having their education and mental needs WARPED by these dopes, -I HAVE TO ASK: Before the Politicians and their allies ( Civil servants too? ) condemn us to their policies, Where do they stand in the terms of ignorance of rules leads to revocation and disqualification ?
    I’ve received a good Positive & Practical Education, taught & Passed 9 “O” Levels in 4th year ( now children get maybe only 6 ( poor things) with much debate about that ) and COULD cope with whatever life threw at me, BUT NOW? I would not like to be a Child on the Brinnk of leaving school and entering FE – For what, where to go, etc a future of sitting at desk in call centre instead of actually Producing something…… ( as I write Bombardier is selling up in N Ireland) Fracking was hoodwinked into wasting time, etc. Jings man, the Waste recycling station along the road causes more vibration from handling skips and large machines on Concrete as does the large Brake Press punching through steel plate. – but that’s all OK…..

  21. […] is a very strange way to run a country – to say the least. The government’s former ‘fracking tsar’ is not impressed, and neither is the House of Lords. It appears that most members of Parliament […]