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Welcome to the EKAF website home page. Here you will find the latest information regarding EKAF activities and the most recent newsletter. Many local news updates are also published on our Facebook pages here

Drill or Drop

National and International news is updated almost daily on Ruth Hayhurst’s excellent “Drill or Drop” website here.

Government & Frackers

Confirmation of the Government’s close links with the frackers is contained within this excellent interactive infographic:

Green energy Suppliers

It’s now very easy to switch from the traditional energy suppliers to a green energy supplier. Obviously EKAF does not have any kind of financial stake in any energy provider, but the following link might help you switch to a renewable source of energy:  www.unfrack.me

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Bore Free Eastry has become actively involved in supporting the campaign groups opposing drilling in Surrey (see recent news below) and have changed their name to “Bore Free South”.  Full information is on their website: http://www.borefreesouth.org.uk

You can support the Surrey campaign via the BFS site at the following link: http://www.borefreesouth.org.uk/donate/

Greenpeace is running a petition urging Theresa May to abandon the fracking agenda:

https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/petition-theresa-may-dont-frack-uk

Latest Newsletter

newsletter-5 October 2016

Recent news

7/12/16

At the last EKAF committee meeting on 30th November it was agreed that we should assist the Leith hill campaigners with a donation of £500. This will enable the campaign camp to purchase solar panels to provide some heat and light. This is because the camp on the proposed drill site is in forestry land where any fires, open flames etc are prohibited. Of course, the planners and other authorities are seemingly happy for the oil industry to drill and if oil / gas is discovered then gas will be flared by burning in this so called protected forest area!!

The following is the press release issued by EKAF.

EAST KENT AGAINST FRACKING ‘Powers Up’ opposition to drilling in Surrey (in support of the Leith Hill Protectors’ Camp) 

The government dash for gas and oil means that the Weald countryside is under serious threat of industrialisation, particularly in Surrey. Over the past three years, East Kent Against Fracking (EKAF) has been helping to start up other groups in Kentish villages to oppose drilling in the Dover/Deal/Sandwich area. The result of this joint campaign is that ALL drilling licences in Kent have been relinquished and, ironically, the last site earmarked for drilling is now a solar farm.  One of these groups, Bore Free South (BFS – previously known as Bore Free Eastry) is now actively fundraising to support opposition to drilling – including aiding protectors’ camps in Surrey.

EKAF has very generously donated £500 to help BFS with the purchase of complete solar panel kits (from Bimble Solar near Lewes) to enable protection camps to have lighting and a power supply – especially critical over the dark winter months.

Spokesman for Bore Free South, John Buckingham, said: “As our county is currently safe from the threat of drilling, it is only right that we should help other counties affected. We are very grateful to East Kent Against Fracking and the first panel will go to the Leith Hill Camp near Dorking, protecting an area of outstanding beauty heavily frequented by hikers and cyclists.”

As far back as March 2009, organisations including the National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Surrey Hills AONB Board have all formally objected to the initial planning application for drilling in Leith Hill. After two planning inquiries and two court cases and Surrey County Council rejection of the application for a deviated well at Bury Hill Wood, the decision was overturned by the Secretary of State. Local celebrities such as Brian Blessed and Virginia McKenna (Born Free) have also lent their support. Therefore, residents have now mobilised to defend their treasured landscape. There are currently 4 active local groups:

Frack Free Surrey (Horse Hill), Surrey against Fracking, Leith Hill Action Group (LHAG) and A Voice for Leith Hill. The camp is also supported by Bore Free South, Friends of the Earth and the local community.

There is a rota of locals to help with cooking food, washing clothes and providing hot showers for the residents of the camp. A welcome gazebo is in place by the roadside as well as a well-being caravan (donated) to provide first aid and herbal healing – manned by a local practitioner. Local councillors had been approached to organise portaloos but until this arrives, the camp has put a composting toilet in place. The atmosphere in the camp is upbeat (despite the current cold weather) and hearts were further warmed on Saturday 3rd Dec when over 350 people came for a Celebration Walk to Leith Hill Tower to support the protection of the area.

People asked questions such as: “Is this drilling worth sacrificing our health, our water supply and our landscape?” “Who will want to hike or cycle in this area when it is covered in drill pads?” “Who will help when my house value decreases, my insurance premiums rise and the health of my family and the local environment is endangered?” Many local people are asking why such a beautiful place should be desecrated when there are other safer technologies available to supply power?

Despite the statement that such drill pads will only be conventional ie vertical (at first), extreme methods like fracking are likely to be used at some stage (ie stimulated horizontal wells) with the all the dangers that have been encountered in other countries as well as revealed in the Government DEFRA report on the specific risks from fracking to the rural economy. All main democratic processes of opposition seem to be flouted by the government – notably, with the council’s decision being overturned by the Secretary of State – therefore, organising peaceful protest and protection camps appears to be the last option available for ordinary citizens to exercise a democratic right to protest against the current policy of fossil fuel extraction and to protect our landscape for our children’s future.

There are over 500 residents’ groups in the UK, Frack Free Sussex alone has over 10,000 followers, and people are uniting  to fight drilling all over the UK. John O’Houston, a supporter of Leith Hill protection camp said “I would like to thank EKAF for the kind donation. The camp, established since 29th October, has endured sub-zero temperatures due to Forestry Commission rules prohibiting fires in the woods, which is ironic since Europa Oil would need to be flaring off excess gas if they were to drill there. EKAF’s show of solidarity demonstrates the unity in this country that exists to prevent more fossil fuel extraction and to help keep to the promise of reducing carbon emissions which the UK signed up to in the Paris agreement earlier this year.”

 

If you would like to help support this campaign, go to the donation page http://www.borefreesouth.org.uk/donate/ ENDS

Please help us to fight the dangers of fossil fuel extraction – Bore Free South / Anti-Fracking Campaign

www.borefreesouth.org.uk

Find out more about our fight to stop fracking & any form of unconventional gas extraction in the South & elsewhere in the UK. Join our fight against the gas/oil industry & let’s keep our air, water & countryside pollution free.

 

 

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Green gas could heat majority of homes in Britains, says Ecotricity 

Ecotricity has revealed new plans that could heat 97 per cent of homes in Britain using green gas made from grass. The plans were released today within a new report from the independent green supplier. The report found that, by 2035, almost all homes in Britain could be heated by the green gas from grass – creating an industry worth £7.5 billion annually for the economy. The supplier has received planning permission to build a prototype of the first-of-a-kind green gas mill at Sparsholt College in Hampshire. Ecotricity said the green gas production will be “virtually carbon neutral” and could play a significant role in Britain meeting its climate targets.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “As North Sea reserves run out, the big question is where we’re going to get our gas from next. The government thinks fracking is the answer, but this new report shows there is a better option.“Recently, it’s become possible to make green gas and put it into the grid, in the same way we’ve been doing with green electricity for the last two decades. The current way of doing that is through energy crops and food waste – but both have their drawbacks. “Our first green gas mill has just been given the go-ahead, and we hope to build it soon – though that does depend on whether government energy policy will support this simple, benign and abundant energy source. I call on Theresa May to review the government’s plan for where Britain gets its gas – post-North Sea.”The supplier also highlighted in its report that the green gas could help Britain to become energy independent, support food production by improving soils, and allow farmers to financially diversify following Brexit.  Author: Saffron Johnson,

The full report is available on the Ecotricity website HERE

Igas given go-ahead to drill in Nottinghamshire

The Planning and Licensing Committee gave the go-ahead subject to 37 planning conditions and imposed a legal agreement on the developer. The application concerned two wells at a site off Springs Road close to the village of Mission. It was submitted by IGas last October and did not cover the use of hydraulic fracturing.

The decision was originally scheduled to be made at the beginning of October. However, it was delayed after Friends of the Earth submitted a letter to the committee warning it against “granting planning permission to IGas to commit unlawful acts”. The campaign group has been acting on behalf of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust which owns the nearby Mission Training Area. The former military bombing range has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, in particular because of the birdlife. The letter drew attention to a “restrictive” legal covenant from 1969 which prevents the carrying out of any “noisy, noxious, or offensive trade” which could cause “nuisance, damage or annoyance” to the occupier of the site. The decision on IGas’s application was delayed whilst Nottinghamshire’s Planning and Licensing Committee sought legal advice. Today’s (15 November) decision was welcomed by the chief executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, Ken Cronin, who said: “This follows the successful applications for onshore oil and gas developments in North Yorkshire and Lancashire and shows positive momentum towards finding out what natural gas resources we have beneath our feet that can be developed for the good of the whole of the UK. “84 per cent of our homes use gas for heating and by 2035 four fifths of that gas will come from outside the UK – that is why this is important”.

Third Energy was granted permission to hydraulically fracture an existing well near the village of Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire in May.

In October, the government overruled a local council to give the go-ahead to Cuadrilla to drill and fracture four exploratory wells at a site on Preston New Road in Lancashire. A decision on an application to drill a further four wells at Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood site in the county was deferred by communities secretary Sajid Javid.

Author: Tom Grimwood, (Utility Week)

Call for fair subsidy for solar development

Quarterly deployment of solar power is at its lowest for six years and the Solar Trade Association (STA) has called for “modest government intervention is needed to enable large-scale solar to access the UK market again”.   

The dropped deployment and difficulty financing projects comes after cuts to support for large-scale solar including the closure of the Renewables Obligation (RO) in April last year.

A detailed new analysis from the STA argues that since most support for large-scale solar has been removed in the last year, a new auction round is needed for the cheapest renewables to compete on a level playing field for Contracts for Difference (CfD).

The STA has also urged government to reform Feed-in-Tariffs to boost solar deployment on large commercial rooftops which would cost “£6 million this parliament”. The industry is also asking for fair tax treatment for rooftop solar which combined with CfDs, could “get the solar industry back on track to zero subsidy by 2020”, according to the STA.

STA policy manager and report author David Pickup said: “The UK solar industry has been challenged to deliver subsidy free solar but, as our detailed analysis shows, this is not yet possible for mainstream projects. Even terrific financial innovation cannot get around hard economics; large-scale solar still needs just a little support from Government to provide consumers with one of the cheapest sources of clean power.

“The industry cannot invest for cost reductions tomorrow without decent market volumes today: a vicious circle. With only a third of the costs coming from panels, local supply chains and skills are vital for bringing costs down further to benefit consumers. The danger is that we risk losing these skills, financial confidence and supply chains that enable us to deliver the cheapest solar power.”

The analysis is part of an EU-wide financing project which examines how the solar market could adapt to a low-subsidy world and shows the costly escalating risk perception amongst investors as a result of reducing support schemes and Brexit.

STA chief executive Paul Barwell said: “Solar beautifully answers the energy trilemma of tackling climate change, security and affordability, but it is being cut out of the market and prevented from competing on a level playing field with other technologies.

“It doesn’t help consumers to inhibit the cheapest source of clean power in the UK and the competitive pressure it can provide right across the power sector. We hope new ministers will act quickly to open the UK market up again to the cheapest applications of solar power.”        (Utility Week)

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