Saturday, 26 October 2013

Birdingbury residents have organised a community meeting. This will be at 8pm in the Village Hall on Wednesday 6th November, it is scheduled to last around an hour. We will be doing a UCG specific presentation with a focus on the plan for Warwickshire.

On the subject of community and public meetings - Until the County wide umbrella organisation is finalised, if you live in the license zone (or anywhere outside it actually) and you wish to have your own community meeting - can you let us know if you are intending to arrange something on any particular date? This way we can let you know if it clashes with other events and avoids them competing. Besides, we may be able to help you arrange and promote it, help with materials and assist with Questions and Answer's.

Here is a message from Gas Field Free Leamington:

Plan to write to your councillor this weekend ? Here's a list of UCG risks to help ...

Irreversible pollution of the aquifer and waterways
Uncontrolled underground coal fires...
Subsidence and seismic activity
Methane gas escape (potent greenhouse gas) & increased carbon emissions
Toxic spills on the land – accidents and lapses in controls happen
Surface and subterranean explosions
Air pollution with associated health risks

Natural habitat destruction
Massive infrastructure development of the land, including a chemical or power plant
Increase in heavy traffic
Light, noise and odour pollution
Devalues homes

Underground fires can burn for decades
Wells last 'forever'. Many fail and leak poisons as they decay.
Health impact on residents can occur over the long term

Thursday, 24 October 2013

We have a project coming up but may need some assistance. If there is anybody that lives in Eathorpe that might be willing to help us we would be thrilled to hear from you as soon as possible. Please email us at Full details published here very soon so please do check back in.

This week it has been announced that amongst other projects, of which 24 are shrouded in secrecy for commercial reasons. The Government has agreed to underwrite the cost of UCG company FiveQuarter Energy's gas plant in the 'desolate' North East should it not attract the required investment. This means, they have been gifted some of the nations coal reserves and will operate a plant, for profit, for which we will have paid. During these dark days of austerity, does it seem slightly crazy that this Government will support this dirty, dangerous and experimental UCG by using our money in this way? As has been pointed out on Facebook, the renewable projects are and should be commended, which makes it all the more tragic that a UCG project should be bundled quietly along with them. The majority of the Directors of FiveQuarter energy are academics from Newcastle University who have wrote many pro-UCG papers but critically lack the experimental data and only have theory for the most part. One must assume that FiveQuarters UCG projects will provide them the experimental data they crave, as well as a significant cash lump sum if they sell the projects to commercial developers.

It is also worth pointing out that massive UK landowner, the Duke of Buccleuch own a 5% stake in Five Quarter and have expressed an interest in cashing in on the dash for gas. Chiefly by allowing unconventional gas operations on their land. If you are aware of any land owned locally by the Dukes estate, then of course we would be happy to hear from you.

Also this week, news that French energy firm EDF have bailed out the Governments ambition to build the new nuclear power plant at Hinkley point by Chinese contractors. This is another one of those magical plans that politicians claim will lower energy bills. They decline to mention that the plant will not come online for at least another 10 years by which time current energy prices will already have doubled.. at least.
Today it has been anounced that another French company GdF Suez (merged Gaz de France with Suez - who also own Sita waste have taken a stake in UK fracking prospectors Dart Energys UK licenses. Dart now has the capital available to execute its UK licenses, alongside its Scottish operations it is also exploring the Marches and South Wales.
We already know that British Gas owners Centrica have a large stake in infamous frackers Cuadrilla, now GdF Suez have joined the club by taking a stake in one of the other major UK frackers. Igas and Shale Gas plc have also been looking for investment.

Topical this week with all the coverage about energy prices, and especially if your concerned about any of the extreme energy so called unconventional gas methods and policies then please do consider 'unfracking yourself', the major energy providers are involved and I highly recommend considering switching suppliers - in fact it could be your first step. This site : is very good.
The big 6 do not neccessarily mean the cheapest or reliable 6, I have switched to a supplier not in the big 6 committed to investing 100% into renewables, which is where it sources 100% of the energy it currently sells. they have also just improved their guarantee of matching big 6 prices by promising to be consistently cheaper. If you do switch please do feedback to your traditional supplier why you decided to do so.

Just in today, and as usual the headlines are always about Fracking and not often enough about the 'nuclear option' of UCG. The National Trust talks to The Times about its land and policy to unconventional gas. Please do contact them if you are a member and let them know your opinion.

As always please do continue to share our petition, it has come alive again recently due to people informing others of it. If we all continue to do so it will only get bigger.

Many thanks to Chuck in the USA who agreed to modify the Warwickshire coat of arms into a banner / group logo. The latin remains from the original - Non Sanz Droict - Not Wthout Right. The bear chained to the ragged staff has been changed bear and a drill derrick from which the bear has broken its bonds.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

As you may be aware, Warwickshire County Council is writing a new Minerals planning policy. This of course is the focus of our petition at
The current out of date policy does not deal with unconventional gas because at the time of preparing it, it was not considered likely that anybody would approach them to conduct it. Fast forward to 2013 and here we are with an out of date wholly inappropiate policy.
 At the Leamington meeting, a rather hostile man in the audience tackled me about 'fracking' in Warwickshire not being an issue as there is 'no shale in Warwickshire'. Well thats not actually true..

'Of the main potentially prospective shale gas rocks, none are present in Warwickshire in thicknesses or depths that would be expected to be commercially viable'
 Ed Hough, Geologist at British Geological Survey.

15 years ago, nobody would expect that a company would be proposing to exploit unmineable coal under Warwickshire by setting it on fire, so how about 15 years from now in the future??
 To suggest that fracking or CBM is not a threat here is both foolish and arrogant. If government policy continues as it is into the future it is not difficult to imagine that ALL and ANY exploitable gas resources will become fair game. In any case, who is to say that it will not be commercially viable even 5 years from now.
 Warwickshire County Council are well placed to write the best achievable Minerals policy that covers all of the so called unconventional gas and oil technologies. Indeed, now armed with advance warning of this UCG threat and residents concerns we believe it is there duty to do so.
Please do sign and share our petition.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Update on local affairs

It has been a while since any blog posts have appeared, apologies for that.
To those that do not use social media sites it must seem like we have vanished into thin air, nothing can be further from the truth. We have remained busy locally on a number of fact finding and other initiatives.
It is a promise that from this day forward (until a better website is in place) that important local information that would get posted on social media will also be reproduced here on this blog. We are fully aware that many do not use Facebook etc and that this blog is perhaps the best vehicle to keep people informed.
Facebook is quick and helpful in building social contacts but will never reach all the people that we hope too in this particular scenario.

So.... what has been happening locally?
Firstly, as a result of the first Warwickshire meeting held in Rugby in September- two new groups have been founded. Significantly the historic Spa town Leamington which is just a stone throw to the West of the proposed license zone has formed 'Gas Field Free Leamington' and held its first public meeting last week. Additionally a group 'GasFieldFree Rugby' has also been founded. Both groups can be found on social media.
Between us we are supporting people who have expressed an interest in forming their own groups within their own communities.
We will, in future, have an Umbrella parent group that represents all the local groups as they emerge.
To compliment this we will be launching a website as a resource for all. Stand by for further news on this.

The Leamington meeting was a good useful launching night for the new Leamington group, attracting plenty of media interest. Many thanks to the organisers for all the hard work and time in putting an event like that on and finding time to speak with the media, its harder than it looks!
Gas Field Free Leamington have produced some postcards which can be smply filled out and mailed to your Councillor expressing your concerns about the potential for UCG here. I know they have many so please contact them directly if you can help distribute any.

The most significant thing to report in regard to the Cluff license bid is that Councillors in Warwickshire have begun organising 'educational' seminars on UCG. Recently one was held at Shire Hall in Warwick where a representative of The Coal Authority explained the UCG process, it was also indicated that it was LIKELY THAT THE LICENSE WOULD BE ISSUED, PERHAPS AS EARLY AS CHRISTMAS, it was also indicated that any future commercial UCG operation MAY be for the purpose of producing gas as a chemical feedstock for industry and not as a fuel for any power station.
The council were also given a presentation on the entire licensing / permit process right up to planning application and beyond.
The minerals policy currently being written by the Council and which will be published and become effective next year is clearly critical. Many people will be hoping and expecting that an appropiate policy will be constructed that makes life difficult for the gas developers in future. Not just this UCG plan but ANY potential threat in future.

To that end please support our petition by signing and sharing as widely as possible so that we may deliver it to the council in good time. The petition can be found on the following link:

It is unclear at this time if the Council intend to hold more of these seminars, we would certainly hope so to give them the best grounding in this insidious technology.

We would like to reiterate our offer of assisting with local meetings, so if you think your  community deserves one and you want some help setting it up, please DO CONTACT US. We are only to happy to help, we can help arrange speakers if needed and/or do it ourselves. We would like to focus now on UCG specifically and where we are with it locally and most importantly what we might do about it, rather than just discussing the bigger picture nationally which includes the 'frack' word and CBM (coal bed methane). Do not wait for somebody else to do it, where nobody does. If you want one, tell us and we will help. This thing is creeping up and although we were fortunate to have been alerted early it does not mean we can afford to waste time waiting to see if the license is granted or not. It is far better to take the precautionary approach and assume this threat is real.

Thats all for now, keep an eye out for future updates as this blog will now be used much more regularly.