On 21st July the onshore oil and gas company Igas applied for planning permission for an extended well test at the Portside site in Ellesmere Port. Residents’ coalition Frack Free Dee resolutely opposes this development as a threat to human health and the environment.
You can object to this planning application! In order to do so please follow the link to the council planning portal https://pa.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/online-applications/ and use the reference code 17/03213/MIN in the search box. The current deadline for objections is 28th August. Details of how to effectively object to the application will be published by Frack Free Dee soon.
In 2010 Igas secured planning permission to drill a well 900m vertically for coal-bed methane exploration and production. Igas exceeded this distance by drilling to 1,949m vertically into the shale bed.
The recent planning application includes the employment of hydrochloric acid under high pressure to fracture and dissolve the shale to release any trapped gas. The process of testing the well involves burning the released gas in a ‘flare stack’ at ground level to ascertain the volume of gas available. This gas is untreated and will contain unburned methane, oxides of nitrogen, particulates, and BTEX chemicals, which are known carcinogens. The testing process is intended to last 88 days. A further planning application would be necessary to develop the site for full production.
It is important to note that the Portside site is 1.7 km from the centre of Ellesmere Port, 400m from residential properties, 270m from the Mersey Estuary SSI site and less than 100m from an industrial unit. Ellesmere Port hasalready been registered as an ‘Air Quality Management Area’ due to significant levels of air pollution.
Exploratory drilling and well testing is a hazardous process. It is the precursor to full scale gas production using high volume fracking and would lead to the further development of numerous other sites throughout Cheshire and the region as a whole. The consequences of fracking include the industrialisation of the surrounding countryside, negative impacts on health, increased risk of water and land contamination, a further increase in already poor air quality, considerable increases in HGV movements, additional use of precious resources such as water, and the advancement of climate change. It is a short-term industry that brings long term negative impacts to the communities who are forced to live with it.
Frack Free Dee is committed to opposing any such developments. We note a joint statement issued by some of our local MP’s to oppose fracking and we strongly support their comments. We demand that all those involved in the decision-making process take seriously the growing and damning evidence in relation to fracking and the negative health, environmental and climate change impacts that it brings. We also condemn any misinterpretation or misrepresentation by any party or body of the planning process which allows due process to be accelerated or bypassed to bring an unwanted and unnecessary industry into our communities. We urge all those who wish to oppose the application to do so by commenting on the planning application itself.
Energy production and sustainability has become an important issue at all levels of government. If done correctly it can provide us with clean air, skilled jobs, and a healthy secure future for generations to come.
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