The regulators can’t regulate

If you ever wonder if Mark Menzies much hyped “gold standard” of regulation is going to save you from Cuadrilla’s ineptitude here on the Fylde consider this sorry tale:


No FiBS (No Fracking in Balcombe Society)

Cuadrilla admitted yesterday that they have been in breach of the noise restrictions attached to their planning permission, and have agreed to suspend drilling in Balcombe. They must now erect sound barriers before drilling can continue.

Although Cuadrilla’s own monitoring had established that noise from drilling was exceeding the 42 decibel limit, neither they nor the county and district councils had made this information public. Distressed by the noise of drilling, the Balcombe community bought their own monitoring equipment and sought the help of our MP Francis Maude to obtain Cuadrilla’s figures. Suspension of drilling was agreed last night (Saturday) at a meeting between Cuadrilla, the Environment Agency and Cuadrilla’s new acoustic consultants.

Village mother of two Louisa Delpy said: ‘A noise survey was meant to be carried out within five days of drilling. Yet the noise report was released after almost five weeks, and then I believe only after the intervention of our MP at our request. Despite repeated complaints about excessive noise, Mid Sussex District Council and West Sussex County Council have failed to act. Clearly they have neither the tools nor the skills to carry out the enforcement on noise that they are supposed to. It seems they have asked the EA to do it despite it being a condition in the planning permission.’

Balcombe resident Robert Greer added: ‘We’ve been complaining to the local authorities for weeks, while having to suffer this unbearable noise day and night. This is yet another instance of Cuadrilla not sticking to the terms of their permission. And it illustrates yet again how wrong it is to drill so close to a village’.

No FiBS asks that the noise levels be monitored again as soon as drilling starts, and that the data be released immediately.

Cuadrilla already faces a tight deadline, and erecting sound barriers will delay drilling by three to four days. They plan to complete drilling the well under the terms of the original planning permission, which runs out on September 28th. On September 27th they will apply for new planning permission to test the well. They must cap the well and have cleared the site by the 28th.

So now we know they have failed to report the earth tremor damage at Preese Hall, exceeded their planning permission at Banks, exceeded their noise limits at Balcombe – that’s not a great track record with only a couple of wells drilled is it?.

Cuadrilla really are destroying the government’s push to make us all accept fracking single handed

The sad thing is that our official bodies have no appetite for making sure that the regulations put in place to protect us are observed. It seems that it takes the actions of a dedicated few to make sure that the regulations are not ignored. That is simply not acceptable and it is time that our local MPs started to ask some probing questions. If they don’t then their implicit support for fracing will be undeniable.

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