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SALFORD CAMPAIGNERS SLAM FRACKING ON BARTON MOSS
 

Star date: 20th February 2013

FRACK OFF!!!

"Fracking is a disaster waiting to happen…but they just want the money" Stephen Hall

The financial and environmental exploitation of land around Barton Moss continues with future gas and methane mining proposals confusing residents and councillors alike.

As Chloe Glover tries to unpick the mining mess, residents argue that the Salford City Stadium, Port Salford and now possibly fracking will bring nothing to the area apart from more traffic and pollution – and, so far, not a job in sight.

Full details here…


BARTON MOSS ANTI MINING BANNER SALFORD Fracking Map North West
click image to enlarge

"The Council keeps authorising developments around us and says they'll bring jobs…but we don't see them; like the ones they promised for the Salford City Stadium and Port Salford. There's nothing for us." Paul, Barton resident


Campaigners have stepped up their fight to try prevent a controversial mining process from being brought to Irlam.

Members of the Say No to Fracking on Barton Moss campaign believe that energy company IGas, which owns a football-sized pitch of land near to the aerodrome and new Salford City Stadium, may try cash in on a government Act that could become law as early as March to conduct gas exploration and production through a controversial mining process called fracking.

They believe that if the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords, is passed, developers such as energy companies would be able to apply directly to the Secretary of State for planning permission under one of the proposal's clauses - if deemed to be in the `national interest'. This would allow them to circumvent applications to local councils for planning approval.

In 2011, IGas purchased the site and associated planning permission from Nexen Exploration. Salford Council had already permitted it to be used for exploratory drilling and for coal bed methane production two years earlier.

Last month it was revealed that IGas had invested millions of pounds in shale gas exploration at its sites. It plans to drill two wells in the North West in the wake of discoveries of substantial shale beds in the region, one of which could be at Barton Moss.

Fracking, also called shale gas extraction, was given the green light by the UK government last December. It overturned a suspension on the process which was widely believed to be responsible for the 2011 Blackpool earthquakes. Despite ministerial approval, worldwide debates are currently raging on its effect on pollution, health and local economies.

A relatively cheap form of gas extraction,  fracking involves drilling deep into shale beds before injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressures to fracture the shale and release natural gas.

Critics of the process have highlighted fears over water pollution, radioactive contamination in food and respiratory problems for those living near sites - issues the Coalition Government believes could be mitigated if fracking is properly regulated.

Their considerations that the Government's push towards the process seriously undermines efforts to encourage the growth of more environmentally friendly renewable energy sources, and does not offer clean-cut gains for local communities, remain absent from studies conducted by British scientists.

The number of jobs available for local people is disputed, whilst there are fears that mining in the area could push up the cost of living for residents.

Stephen Hall, a member of Say No to Fracking on Barton Moss, predicts IGas will ride roughshod over local opinion if the area is found to be a potentially profitable shale gas site.

"I think IGas will just say `Fuck the local councils' if they think mining there is worth their while" he argues "Fracking is a disaster waiting to happen that could badly affect the environment and communities. These big companies want to tell us how fantastically beneficial it could be but to me that's a load of bollocks. They just want money.

"Instead of this potentially highly dangerous resource why don't we concentrate on developing jobs in safer and more sustainable renewable energy?" he asks "It could create up to fifty times more jobs for the area, it's a no-brainer as far as we're concerned."

Whilst Salford City Council has since stated that the company does not currently have consent to carry out shale gas extraction under its existing planning permission, some local politicians were very quick to praise the news that shale gas may be coming to the city. This could suggest the likelihood of the Government approving future applications by the company.

Derek Antrobus, Assistant Mayor for Strategic Planning, also did not rule out the possibility that the site would be refused planning permission in the future. He said: "Further planning approval from the Council, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and consultation with the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive would be required to extract gas through hydraulic fracturing."

The speculative comments have led to a situation of confusion and claims in the city that residents and campaigners are being kept in the dark by both Salford Council and IGas.

The majority of those spoken to by the Salford Star who live near the Barton Moss site still have no idea that a gas company is operating on their doorstep.

Paul, from Rochford Road said: "We didn't know anything about the site being bought in 2010, despite the Council saying it had consultations with residents. The only thing I've noticed is the noise at night and how the road traffic has massively increased, it's terrible.

"The Council keeps authorising developments around us and says they'll bring jobs" he added "But we don't see them; like the ones they promised for the Salford City Stadium and Port Salford. There's nothing for us."
 
Steve, from the same street, said: "We should all be consulted on the site if it's going to affect us so we know the full picture, especially when all these worries have been raised. I think the Council likes to plough ahead with plans regardless as to whether we'll actually get the jobs they suggest at the start. You can't really trust them.

"I think we should be concentrating more on renewables rather than fossil fuels", he added.

Roger Jones, Councillor for Irlam, stated that he wants to get answers from IGas about their exact plans.

"We want to meet with them in the next few weeks to ask them if they've found sufficient quantities of coal bed methane to extract it commercially, have they any evidence  of shale gas and if so, what they plan to do" he said "I'd like them to tell the public what is happening to clear up the misunderstanding."

Say No to Fracking on Barton Moss are organising community meetings and training sessions in Greater Manchester. They believe that effective opposition to future fracking threats will only be possible by galvanising region-wide public support.

Friends of the Earth is holding a fracking planning and training day on Saturday 23rd February from 11am-4pm at Green Fish Resource Centre, 46-50 Oldham St, Manchester.

More information on the Say No to Fracking on Barton Moss can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/SAYNOTOFRACKINGONBARTONMOSS/?ref=ts&fref=ts 


Words by Chloe Glover.


 

wrote
at 14:52:04 on 24 February 2013
Mark Armstrong l take exception to your comments about the SAY NO TO FRACKING ON BARTON MOSS group We are a closed group to stop spammers and Trolls like yourself from posting inappropriate comments and links,,,,,,,you were a member and were constantly posting NONE FRACKING posts amd links ,,,l deleted you for your lack of discipline in such a broad open group,,,,,,,,,if you have any beef then take it up with me not the group We have no contact other than on the FB page with ANY council members from any party We are nobodies mouthpiece and if the need to question decisions made by the Council , Individual Councillors , or the Labour Party comes up then we will run with that thread,,,,,, We have seen people who try and use the entryist method of gaining control over campaigns and groups and when unsuccessful sit on the sidelines sniping..... l have attended 2 meetings recently concerning fracking One last week organised by Greater Manchester Anti-Fracking & Climate Activists Meeting ,,,and one on Saturday organised by Friends of the Earth Campaign workshop: Using the planning system to fight fracking l dont remember seeing you at either of them , so much for your committment ,,or are we dealing with another "armchair activist" who criticises everyone but never gets involved....... If you know how FB works you will see a lot of Campaign groups protect their members by changing from Open to Closed ...and at some time switch back when the nuisance has gone away..... We are open to anybody who OPPOSES FRACKING and Allied Extraction Methods....... We dont need posts like yours to distract from the real fight ,we have a campaign to organise and are working towards a public meeting with our true Allies..............
 
Mark Armstrong wrote
at 07:17:38 on 22 February 2013
The Facebook group SAYNOTOFRACKINGONBARTONMOSS is a closed group and they have more concern about their political affiliation than anything concerned with fracking. If labour SCC said Igas want to store methane up you arse they would agree. Absolutely weak bunch of political muppets controlled by the views of the 6 labour councillors in the area. THEY ARE CLUELESS
 
Alex Freeman wrote
at 12:49:52 on 21 February 2013
Create jobs ? Just the usual bullshit spewed by politicians . How many jobs for Salford people did the BBC scam create ? A few cleaning jobs !
 
joe oneill wrote
at 21:51:06 on 20 February 2013
Gloves off stories like this worry me Gas 'fracking' plan is safe and will create jobs, say politicians 20 Jan 2013 14:18 Politicians have welcomed news that Salford could host a controversial ‘fracking’ plant – insisting it is safe, will create jobs and cut fuel bills. Share on print Share on email 'REASSURED': Irlam councillor Roger Jones 'REASSURED': Irlam councillor Roger Jones As the M.E.N. revealed, energy firm IGas plans to invest millions of pounds exploring for gas near Barton Aerodrome. If it goes well, it is expected the firm will then seek permission to start fracking to extract the energy resource. Fracking – where gas is extracted using high-powered underground jets of water – has been blamed for two minor earthquake tremors in Blackpool in recent years and has been heavily opposed by environmentalists worldwide. They say it can lead to unexpected explosions, fires and pollution. Neighbours of the proposed plant have also raised fears the firm would ‘ride roughshod’ over their views. But local councillors and a senior MP believe the plant would be safe and have a positive impact on the local economy. They say the implications of fracking have been fully investigated – and ultimately the plant would be good news for Salford. Graham Stringer, MP for nearby Blackley and Broughton and a member of the government’s science and technology select committee, said: “The government, Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency have spent two years looking at the safety implications and the pollution implications of fracking and came to the conclusion that with the right regulation, which they have got, it is a completely safe process. “While local people have to be properly consulted about their views, I think it’s a real opportunity to create jobs and start to reduce the price of domestic fuel.” Canadian energy firm Nexen was granted planning permission in 2010 to investigate the possibility of gas extraction on land off Barton Moss Road. Its exploration arm has since been taken over by IGas, which says it is ‘very excited’ about the plans. If its search is successful, the firm will then need to get a fracking license from the government, as well as further council planning permission. It is expected that process would take at least a year. Irlam and Cadishead councillor Roger Jones said he would be asking for further information on the plans. He said: “Planning permission was given for the exploration to see if gas extraction was commercially viable. Local councillors were concerned about safety issues but we were satisfied with the explanation and advice given. “I have now asked for a further report but I have been reassured by Graham Stringer MP.”
 
Gloves off wrote
at 20:05:16 on 20 February 2013
Which local politicians exactly were in favour, then?
 
Joe Oneill wrote
at 19:48:09 on 20 February 2013
We have questioned the original planning application and have been told it is not for fracking,the issue does concern us that some Labour Councillors seem supportive of a system that in reality could cause immense environmental problems, we have spoken with colleagues within the party to ask for support on the ground if fracking rises it's head, and our colleagues in Blackpool are available to offer information and facts on the process and the issues they are facing. This process should concern all Salford residents and not just those isolated around the Drill site.
 
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