New fracking law sparks anger

Lord Cowdray

Lord Cowdray

First published in News by , Business editor

Fracking companies could be given the freedom to drill under private land without consent in order to kickstart the controversial shale gas industry.

The Government is considering a change to trespass laws to allow companies to run shale gas pipes underground without landowners’ permission, in return for nominal compensation.

The changes are part of an Infrastructure Bill set to be included in the Queen’s Speech in June.

Three applications to test for shale are pending in Sussex with Celtique Energie applying to drill in Fernhurst, in the South Downs National Park.

Campaigners including Lord Cowdray, the tenth largest landowner in the country, have previously launched a legal bid with Greenpeace which argues drilling underground without consent is illegal.

Reacting to the announcement, Lord Cowdray said: “I find it a surprising decision to make when there is an election looming within a year and this decision |is going to affect millions of householders.”

Celtique has a second application pending to test drill at Wisborough Green, near Billingshurst.

Decisions on both applications have been delayed after the South Downs National Park Authority and West Sussex County Council requested further information from Celtique.

Nick Alderton, who lives yards away from the proposed site near Wisborough Green said: “Farmers and landowners in the Weald are very concerned about fracking under their land.

“Sussex is simply unsuitable for the hundreds of wells required to exploit this resource, it is too densely populated, water is scarce and the narrow country lanes are totally unsuitable for the heavy plant and chemicals required for these operations.”

Meanwhile Caudrilla, subject of the protests at Balcombe involving Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, has announced it could return to Sussex.

Vanessa Vine, of Frack Free Sussex and a Balcombe resident, added: “If our government gives these international corporations free reign to drill under our homes and our agricultural land they will be putting our seismic security and our health at serious risk.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: “Like any other industrial activity, oil and gas operations require access permission from landowners.

“But there is an existing legal route by which operators can apply for access where this can’t be negotiated.

“We’re currently considering whether this existing route is fit for purpose.

“Similar access issues apply to deep geothermal energy projects.”

Comments (6)

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7:23am Thu 24 Apr 14

HJarrs says...

A certain irony that old money land owners are now being out gunned by corporations, just shows you how the Conservatives have changed. Now they are in the pockets of banking, financial services and energy companies. Old money clearly haven't been paying off the Tories sufficiently.

We need to keep unconventional gas and oil reserves in the ground to have any chance of avoiding devestating levels of climate change, yet the Tories are hell bent on changing the law solely to help their friends, whom they went to school and university, make a killing.
A certain irony that old money land owners are now being out gunned by corporations, just shows you how the Conservatives have changed. Now they are in the pockets of banking, financial services and energy companies. Old money clearly haven't been paying off the Tories sufficiently. We need to keep unconventional gas and oil reserves in the ground to have any chance of avoiding devestating levels of climate change, yet the Tories are hell bent on changing the law solely to help their friends, whom they went to school and university, make a killing. HJarrs
  • Score: 3

8:03am Thu 24 Apr 14

To baldly go says...

The only thing Lord Cowdray is concerned about is the nominal compensation!
The only thing Lord Cowdray is concerned about is the nominal compensation! To baldly go
  • Score: 0

8:17am Thu 24 Apr 14

pachallis says...

HJarrs wrote:
A certain irony that old money land owners are now being out gunned by corporations, just shows you how the Conservatives have changed. Now they are in the pockets of banking, financial services and energy companies. Old money clearly haven't been paying off the Tories sufficiently.

We need to keep unconventional gas and oil reserves in the ground to have any chance of avoiding devestating levels of climate change, yet the Tories are hell bent on changing the law solely to help their friends, whom they went to school and university, make a killing.
@HJarrs - 'We need to keep unconventional gas and oil reserves in the ground to have any chance of avoiding devestating levels of climate change'.

Says who? Not the UN who see a migration to using natural hgas as a realistic, pragmatic way of moving to a sustainable renewable energy future - especially moving from dirty coal and diesel vehicles to CNG; potentially lowering costs; moving jobs and manufacturing back to the UK, and reducing our dependence on other countries for our energy which is apparently nearly 40% at the moment and increasing.

Based upon your previous comments you seem to think we can solve everything (i.e. reducing our energy usage by 40%) by improving insulation in our homes and walking or cycling everywhere.

So please tell us what we need to do and when to move to a renewable energy future. Please explain what lifestyle differences we will have to make. How do we provide energy on dark windless nights?

Please come up with a green solution rather than returning to you usual policy of attacking everyone else,. You really are a very poor spin-doctor!

And this from a 'progressive' green party that has managed to increase city centre pollution levels over the past 4 years by their ideological, ill conceived and badly implemented policies.
[quote][p][bold]HJarrs[/bold] wrote: A certain irony that old money land owners are now being out gunned by corporations, just shows you how the Conservatives have changed. Now they are in the pockets of banking, financial services and energy companies. Old money clearly haven't been paying off the Tories sufficiently. We need to keep unconventional gas and oil reserves in the ground to have any chance of avoiding devestating levels of climate change, yet the Tories are hell bent on changing the law solely to help their friends, whom they went to school and university, make a killing.[/p][/quote]@HJarrs - 'We need to keep unconventional gas and oil reserves in the ground to have any chance of avoiding devestating levels of climate change'. Says who? Not the UN who see a migration to using natural hgas as a realistic, pragmatic way of moving to a sustainable renewable energy future - especially moving from dirty coal and diesel vehicles to CNG; potentially lowering costs; moving jobs and manufacturing back to the UK, and reducing our dependence on other countries for our energy which is apparently nearly 40% at the moment and increasing. Based upon your previous comments you seem to think we can solve everything (i.e. reducing our energy usage by 40%) by improving insulation in our homes and walking or cycling everywhere. So please tell us what we need to do and when to move to a renewable energy future. Please explain what lifestyle differences we will have to make. How do we provide energy on dark windless nights? Please come up with a green solution rather than returning to you usual policy of attacking everyone else,. You really are a very poor spin-doctor! And this from a 'progressive' green party that has managed to increase city centre pollution levels over the past 4 years by their ideological, ill conceived and badly implemented policies. pachallis
  • Score: 2

8:21am Thu 24 Apr 14

NickBrt says...

The balcombe mp will come to our aid fear not.
The balcombe mp will come to our aid fear not. NickBrt
  • Score: 1

10:40am Thu 24 Apr 14

clubrob6 says...

I worked offshore on oil and gas rigs in the north sea for years,wells are not just drilled straight down they can curve and go anywhere you want them to go.I thought this was common knowledge.
I worked offshore on oil and gas rigs in the north sea for years,wells are not just drilled straight down they can curve and go anywhere you want them to go.I thought this was common knowledge. clubrob6
  • Score: 4

7:52pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Trojan Horus says...

So if someone decides to drill under his own land and his bore hole then gets damaged by the frackers bore hole, who is liable for what? The whole notion of making this practice possible despite opposition from local councils and landowners, is a gross violation of property rights Britain has cherished for centuries and it's going to create all kinds of weird and wild legal predicaments and precidents. Poorly conceived ideas usually end in a legally uninforcable mess.
So if someone decides to drill under his own land and his bore hole then gets damaged by the frackers bore hole, who is liable for what? The whole notion of making this practice possible despite opposition from local councils and landowners, is a gross violation of property rights Britain has cherished for centuries and it's going to create all kinds of weird and wild legal predicaments and precidents. Poorly conceived ideas usually end in a legally uninforcable mess. Trojan Horus
  • Score: 4

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