How the Government is endangering British water supply by pushing exploration that is giving even its proponents serious second thoughts.

tapwaterThe average human being is roughly 65% water. Our species can survive for a maximum of three days without water – longer in very cool conditions, but for only 3 hours without shelter in very hot conditions. It is by far the most important resource on the planet for sustaining human life, and it is already in short supply. In this analysis, The Slog demonstrates that not only is fracking a massive threat to our water sustainability in the UK, the essentially dead-end nature of the technology means that, if it goes ahead, we will pay a heavy price for going precisely nowhere in energy terms.

My position on fracking (until I see objective information to the contrary) is simple: I’m against it here in the UK. But not on any one dimension. My objections remain:

1. It’s a desperation measure being rushed through by politicians who failed to research serious energy alternatives or in the past – or conserve energy in the present – and now want to destroy a tiny Island they already overpopulated to ‘make good’ their errors of vote-centric stupidity.

2. The pollution and annoyance it causes in host populations is being skillfully covered up or glossed over.

4. Most importantly of all, its effect on the water available to drink in the UK would be appalling – but they’re going ahead anyway.

5.  It doesn’t make any economic sense in anything but the immediate short term. Its biggest drawback is the inevitability of diminishing returns. After we have dug up half our island, we will still have the same problem.

On those last two points above, new data is emerging to give further support to the core flaws in fracking. But for me, the water concern is more important.

 I have believed for over a decade that our wastage of, and poor collection of, water in the UK is storing up the same problems as those we’re left with after 20 years of pc bollocks about immigration.

Although much of the mounting public concern has centred on fears that underground water supplies could be contaminated with the toxic chemicals used in the well-stimulation technique that cracks rock formations and releases trapped oil and gas, a better documented and greater danger is that the more I learn about how water the fracking process uses,  fracking’s effect on the sustainable water supply becomes a serious factor.

Every fracking derrick requires 2 million to 4 million gallons of water per annum (more with octopus technology) according to America’s Groundwater Protection Council. Thus 35,000 oil and gas wells used for fracking will consume between 70-140 billion gallons of water each year. Even at the minimum projection, that’s about equal, say the US authorities, to the water use in 40 cities with populations of 50,000 people, or one capital city with a population of 2.5 million.

As we remember all too well, a month of hot weather in Britain is usually enough to have many of us on standpipes by August. Our woefully ageing water infrastructure (already in private incompetent fat cat paws) simply could not take that degree of pummeling.

Look at the numbers: you may already know them individually, but in unison, they present a frightening picture….more so when one converts the entire thing into one measurement system for proper comparison.

The average UK household uses 1,000 gallons of water a day.

At 18 million households (growing, thanks to Camerlot’s bribe from the construction industry) x 365 days per year, that’s a consumption level of 657 thousand billion gallons a year….in the top 5 of per capita consumption in the world.

But thanks to crap investment by private waterco owners, the UK loses 3 billion gallons of water each day through leaky pipes and accidental fractures during excavation – and just remind me here, what is it that fracking does….?

We actually import 62% of our water already in the form of foodstuffs from places abroad already short of water. Over the past 100 years, the UK has lost 75% of its ponds and floodplain grasslands as water supply. So as households, imports and industrial output load demand, supply is falling. Down that road lie lots of tears. Yet more wasted water the human body can ill-afford to lose.

Scaling down even the US levels to our size this side of the Pond, it is estimated we will need around 8,000 rigs in the UK – minimum. Octopus technology ensures that each one will use on average three times the older type of fracking rig – so that’s 24,000 units of rig consumption. That is going to load our water industry with 138 billion additional gallons of water usage per annum….the equivalent of 50% more leaks than we have now, or the entire water supply required for Manchester and Birmingham combined.

Do try not to dismiss this as fluffiness, please: you are being conned by the Government and exploration industry. Even the privately-owned water industry itself is having kittens about the chaos fracking will cause in the UK. A month ago, the Water companies warned the shale gas industry that:

‘…the quality of our drinking water must be protected at all costs…..The fracking process requires huge amounts of water, which will inevitably put a strain on supplies in areas around extraction sites. Also, the power of the drilling and fracturing process even risks damaging existing water pipes, which could lead to leaks and shortages to people’s homes and businesses.’

Water UK Chairman Jim Marshall laid it on the line:

“Provision of drinking water is a cornerstone of our public health and as such a service that cannot be compromised. If [fracking] goes ahead, we want greater clarity from the shale gas industry on what its needs related to water are really going to be, and a true assessment of the impacts.”

Or more succinctly, give us the facts, not the spin. Who is asking the Government at PMQs, for example, why a Government – so worried about water sustainability it is introducing near-universal metering – is about to introduce dead-end technology that will exacerbate the situation? Certainly not the Ed Miller Band.

But as usual with the Resistance in the UK, there is too much demonstrating and mindless placard-carrying, and far too little use of damning information to puncture the bubble of lies that is leading us at breakneck speed towards a drilling bonanza that is of little real use and could cause untold damage. Who, for instance, is giving a high profile to the early signs in the US that even the fracking industry itself is beginning to have doubts?

The fracking ‘rig count’ in the US has been flatlining since Spring 2012:

rigcountUsing up-to-date snapshots from the last few months, we can see just how big the drop off has been: drilling permit activity was down sharply in May/June, according to the North Dakota Industrial Commission, Department of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas Division:

Apr Permitting: 202 drilling and 0 seismic
May Permitting: 211 drilling and 0 seismic
Jun Permitting: 165 drilling and 0 seismic

This is from an all-time high in 2012 of 370. Partly this is the result of Octopus technology requiring fewer rigs, but nowhere near all of it: the key is that new applications are falling. There are very good reasons for this. Each rig drills a well every two weeks while active. Each well starts at 200 bpd and declines to 50bpd over the first two years, remaining at that maximum thereafter. Hence my central point: to maintain production growth, you need more and more octopus wells and more and more sites. Britain simply isn’t big enough to handle that…and the water supply system would collapse.

Cut the crap, Camerlot: the fact is that, under the surface of this crock of sh*t, the industry itself is beginning to lose faith in the cost/price relationship between the process and the market. And when the suits start to wonder, then the braindead will surely follow in due course.

You always know where you are with politicians: they always take the easy, myopic, potentially disastrous way out of future problems by making a stab today at things they should’ve done yesterday.

On a commercial and human survival basis, fracking is a terrible idea. We need to raise our game if we’re going to stop it.

Last night at The Slog: Moths and plums and rock n roll




  1. JW The Government will agree to fracking for one simple reason, it will generate 75% taxes on everything that is gained from above,


  2. The Church of England are staking their claim to mineral rights on all church land. And there’s a lot of church land. Let us hope their intention is to stop this madness.


  3. Perhaps if we had invested all the money we have wasted building stupid windmills on upgrading our water system, there’s enough water in Keilder to provide for all our natural gas exploitation, which we desperately require to obviate the need to shut down large area’s of the country when we no longer have sufficient power to supply them we would not have this problem. OK so water is a problem but please think of ways round it before coming up with these half arsed phoney solutions which by the way is merely pandering to the wishes of the lunatic liberals, fracking is not a terrible idea, building windmills is.


  4. I understand that you are against fracking but the opposition to it should be based on correct information. The fracking fluid actually water with grit and a small amount usually less than 1% of chemicals is recycled and used many many times. It is then disposed of in accordance with the local rules and regulations. There have not been cases of it affecting ground water as the fracking actually takes place 1 to 2 MILES below the surface. Even artesian wells only go down 300 ft or so. The bores have to be gas tight as that is the entire purpose of the exercise to extract gas.

    There are many descriptive sites on this for example http://www.energyfromshale.org/hydraulic-fracturing/hydraulic-fracturing-fluid

    It is getting difficult to sort the real from the unreal though as anti-fracking sites are set up. However, fracking has been used for decades it is not new apart from in the perception of the protesters.


  5. I think this is the perfect project for the City of London and our Government.
    It’s win-win all the way.

    This is how it probably will work. A company is set up with a number of politicians and bankers on the board. Subsidies will be needed to get the whole thing off the ground. Vast loans from the City will be needed to procure the water initially. Once the “fracking” is up and running the fuel will be used to desalinate sea water (whether it needs to be or not) and pumped into the ground for more “fracking”. Banks and the City will get huge earnings and bonuses. Politicians will get guaranteed jobs and brown envelopes. The City will be able to continue the boast that it provides great wealth for the UK.

    Losses can be picked-up by the taxpayer. Comme d’habitude.


  6. Hi JW and All
    My Moor is in a unique position, water travels from the moor as a source in two different directions, with the potential of affecting over 20 Million people in the event of contamination.
    Two years ago I recognised this threat following my understanding that shale gas existed beneath my feet from the then BGS information.
    Recently despite protests from the residents planning permission was granted to drill and extract coal bed methane, in my view this was always a first step to gaining access to the shale gas. The planning process seems to have been manipulated and the so called planning conditions abused.
    Now not content with ignoring the concepts of democracy and localism the site is now threatened with a 50kW wind turbine, and the planning department involved have given the ok.
    THIS IS A UNIQUE situation with a wind turbine placed almost directly above an active gas well, the planners refuse to recognise the risks involved, gas wells leak, the windturbine and electronic cabinet are not intrinsically safe and wind turbines fall over and catch fire.
    How would anyone volunteer or accept this situation to face living within a mile of this GAS BOMB, a disaster waiting to happen, with the potential of directly impacting on the water supply of millions.
    Please JW contact me if you would like further information leading to a full disclosure of this disaster…..The planning hearing is next week!
    Thank you


  7. Twaddle John, I’m surprised at you. You don’t seem to be aware that the fracking takes place WAY below the water table. And here for your delight, is the last head of the EPA, the UberEcoFascist Lisa Jackson, making it clear that there have been NO cases of water pollution from fracking in the USA. FYI, fracking commenced in the USA in 1949, some 64 years ago.


  8. The dash for fracking is surely part of a much larger problem. We in the UK (and Northern EU) are running out of energy generation fast….and just at a time when scientists are predicting a period of up to 20 years of Global Cooling, mainly due to the unusually low Solar Activity in Cycle 24. Thanks to the Greens in Germany having so much say, the EU is bent on closing Coal Fired Power stations and trying to cover the huge gap in power generation through renewables that simply do not work.

    Most Solar Panals now come from China, having undercut the Germans out of business, many shoddily built to keep costs down and are underperforming after only a few years. Wind Farms on land are nothing more than a sneeze into the national grid, you would need thousands more of them to match Didcot Coal Fired Power station (recently closed on EU orders). Offshore windmills are suffereing from rotting bases and many will need replacing in the next few years and thus making them stunningly uneconomical. (and offline) Hydro electric is better if you don’t mind flooding a few valleys and putting them where it rains a lot.

    Thanks to dragging their heels on Nucular Power (since we are not in an earthquake zone here, Nucular is fine by me) and the knee jerk reaction in Germany, anything built now in the EU, will be much too little to late. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has very little to do with temperature change by comparison with solar activity and ocean currents. Telling the EU to get stuffed on their disasterous (and outdated science) energy policies and re-opening some of our UK (mothballed) Coal Fired power stations would be a very good start. Plants breath CO2 and a smidge more in the atmosphere may help promote faster growth of crops during the shorter summer seasons to come. It will have far more effect on plants than temperatures ! Sorry Al Gore THAT is the inconvenient truth !

    It is going to get colder in winters in the UK and Europe certainly for the rest of my lifetime, and there is no viable Energy poilicy anywhere in the UK or EU to deal with this. Fracking in the UK is a total panic measure. I am not personally convinced by the Protestors, or even that Water Supplies will be contaminated, but would like to see a much better debate and a lot more facts on the subject first.


  9. The issues with fracking are water supply(insufficient),water pollution(unavoidable),what chemicals are used(poisonous),which companies doing the fracking(US/UK drillers who ruin the landscape?),and of course regulatory control.Apparently the latter is the best in the world-abit like financial regulation then!And as for lower fuel bills surely Camerlot jests,remember North Sea oil/gas promises-that was all bollocks too!!And not even lower taxes or a Sovereign Wealth fund-what a rip off.Finally water bills will roof it as our infrastructure is complete crap.
    My money says the politicos/corporate grubbers will soon be fracking everywhere whatever we all feel cos thats how democracy works!


  10. According to The Consumer Council for water website, the average water consumption for a family of four is around one hundred gallons per day, not a thousand. Ave not checked the rest of the maths, but are you sure your figures add up?


  11. JW, numbers were never your strongest topic. That 1000 gallons a day isn’t domestic consumption, that’s more like 50 to 60. The rest, according to your article, is external consumption. I agree your point, water is useful stuff. But don’t base your argument on dodgy numbers.


  12. To go 2 miles down one first has to pass through the 300ft zone. I find it very difficult to believe that a gas tight liner is put all the way down the fracking drill line (note that does not mean I think it impossible) – if that were the case how does the gas coming out of domestic water taps occur? We’ve all seen the video’s


  13. The point that needs to be born in mind when objecting to this at least in Balcombe is that currently they only have planning permission to drill not frack. The sensible course of action is ensure that they can’t get PP to frack, believe 38 degrees is already on the case.
    Given the water shortages that currently exist in the SE and that’s now excluding the shit load of new build that’s going on, persuading local planning authorities may not be so hard, however if they do refuse then the whole issue will be re-called to the house of the brain dead who will eventually over rule any local objections UNLESS there is so much national noise together with threats of litigation that it gets kicked in to touch, after all there is a General election on the horizon.


  14. Jump to: navigation, search

    Cuadrilla Resources


    Chris Cornelius, Peter Turner, Marc Bustin, Dennis Carlton, Mark Miller, Eric Vaughan, Andrewn Price


    Lichfield, England, United Kingdom

    Key people

    Lord Browne, Chairman, Francis Egan, CEO



    Cuadrilla Resources is an oil and gas exploration and production company with headquarters and operations in the United Kingdom. Its chairman is Lord Browne, former chief of BP, and the chief executive is Francis Egan. Cuadrilla holds licences for ten sites, of which it is currently operating at three. The locations include Anna’s Road in Westby and the Preese Hall site in Weeton, both in Lancashire, where two earthquakes were caused by its drilling in April 2011.[1] Cuadrilla claims that Lancashire’s shale gas could have a market value of £136 billion.[2]

    The company was founded in 2007.[3] It is owned 42% by the Australian engineering company AJ Lucas, with an approximately equal ownership by the Anglo-American equity firm Riverstone Holdings.[4] The remainder is owned by the company management


  15. Unfortunately most of the protesters are not local, i.e within a five mile radius.
    I understand from a real denizen of Balcombe that there was a public a meeting to discuss the whole issue and what was really involved, however my understanding was that every time somebody from the industry tried to explain things they were howled down by “rent a mob”. His take was that it was very difficult to come to any conclusions at all due to the fact it wasn’t possible to get answers to questions as regards water, quantities re-cycled etc simply because the proponents were not allowed to speak. My understanding that current fracking technology re-uses a substantial proportion of the water used so historical use of water may not reflect current use, even so…..I would want a lot more answers than we currently have before I would even consider it.


  16. Pingback: How the Government is endangering British water supply by pushing exploration that is giving even its proponents serious second thoughts. | Street Democracy - where it should reach

  17. “how does the gas coming out of domestic water taps occur? ”
    It doesn’t, you’ve been deluded by the greens again.
    You can make anything you want appear in a video.


  18. Contamination of water supplies by fracking can only occur if the casing strings are inadequately cemented. There are wireline companies that can run tools to test cementing integrity and plenty of independant consultants that can verify the results; Independant QA/QC is commonly used for landfill cell construction, the same process could be used for fracking, If your casing leaks, so does the gas and potential earnings. There is no advantage to anyone to have deficient casing programs.


  19. Agreed, the theory of fracking is all very rosey.

    HOWEVER. We all know that Big Energy very rarely does things by the book because that costs money which could be lining their own pockets.

    What usually happens is that they say everything is going fine, and then people start to die. Only then will we discover that they have cut corners, drilled too shallow, upped the mix ratios.

    There will be the usual pointing of fingers, sham enquiries, money being thrown at the grieving relatives and a quick veil drawn over the whole thing. Fracking will go on until the next disaster costs more innocent lives.

    These people do not care – its not their loved ones who suffer. Next time you look your wife or children in the eyes just think about how you would feel if they were poisoned or even killed in the name of profit.

    We are just livestock and if some of us happen to fall into a ditch and die a slow painful death, then its of no consequence to them – there are plenty more of us to milk or fleece.

    For too long we have let the lions prey on us, it is time for us to fight back:

    If a herd of dumb cows can do it so can we!


  20. Government and it’s oligarchies have consistently failed to invest in reservoirs, infrastructure.

    Large multi-nationals like Nestle are monetising water and telling us water is not a right but a commodity.

    What happens when demand outstrips supply?
    The supplier has cornered the market and gets considerably richer, considerably faster.


  21. Ultimately this comes down to ones belief system: One believes that the videos have been doctored and news stories of families with gagging orders against them are fabricated, the official report on the earth tremor near Blackpool being caused by fracking was false (strange that the system reports against itself) and that the politco’s and corporations say its all safe and been going on for years therefore its all OK, nothing to worry about.

    Alternatively one is deeply suspicious about anything being peddled by large corporate interests and corrupt politico’s


  22. This isn’t just a Balcombe issue, if precedent is set and this is rolled out over the country we will all rue the day. 82% of people in Balcombe don’t want fracking but their wishes were entirely ignored.

    Might be an idea to tell the real denizen of Balcombe to do his own research, the people shouting down the paid industry stooge probably have.

    Asking someone who fracks for profit if it’s safe is like asking BP or Shell etc. if their operation is safe… They always say it is, and constantly pollute the world with their enviromental rape and pillage.

    It is well established that the people of this country will not benefit from lower gas prices (even if they were to, it would be short-termism of the most foolish kind) so the risk FAR outweighs the benefits, which will go directly into the coffers of unscrupulous private companies.


  23. I think the chemistry of water is that it is also a finite resource, what is in the world is all that is in the world and ever will be. Once again we have taken abundance and limited use to mean ínfinite and never ending, Applies to nearly everything the planet provides but as bean counters and the avaristic rule and beat the bongos of death by ledgers, don’t expect them to understand either the laws of thermodynamics and exponential functions, they keep slapping us about the head and we keep pretending otherwise. Me thinks we will run out of useable water long before we run out of fossil fuels but as JMK said by then we will all be dead,

    Don;t know about you but I am really tired of being trussed up in a runaway vehicle where the only view of where we are going is through a rear view mirror. Seems no one noticed we went over the cliff back in the mid 80’s. Any more flat earth society members care to illuminate us on the cooling planet myth as well. The worse it gets the worse the bollocks!


  24. On the bright side any excess demand would be resolved in 3 days, maybe fracking is a blessing in disguise?

    As long as you can pay of course…

    Or have your own well, given that where there’s a well there’s a way.

    Eau the irony of it!


  25. Check your facts. Every single documented case of gas flowing from water taps has been proven to be from naturally occurring methane seepage. It has never been linked to fracked wells.


  26. Average household 1000 gallons per day?. I call bullshit on that. 8000 pints per day per household average is a crap tractor stat. Work it out for yourself, how many gallons in a bath, how many litres per second in a 10 minute shower, how many cups of tea, water used washing a car, watering the garden, a load of washing. There are some mega users out there ( not to mention ome mega leaks) and I can only presume that the country usage plus wastage has been divided by the number of households to come up with that crap.


  27. Can they do that – I understood that you might own the land, but you don’t necessarily have any right to what’s beneath it. Scotland and England may be diffirent here though. Open to being corrected on this.


  28. John, I normally enjoy reading your site immensely, generally agree with your opinions, and enjoy the colorful way you express them. I really think, however, that you should dig deeper on this one. Find the truth – it is missing in some of your narrative.

    Frack jobs are no more dangerous or harmful than most other forms of energy extraction when done correctly. We have witnessed millions of them here in the US and not seen evidence of widespread damage.

    I disagree with the notion that fracking shale is the most politically expedient avenue for your government. I actually think it’s a rather brave and bold call for the UK to depart from the rest of Europe and pursue shale gas. Not only is the bulk of the EU stacked against this form of extraction, but so is the UK’s populace more generally. They’ve been fed so many myths about fracking polluting water, destroying the countryside, and releasing methane into the atmosphere, that they will likely never see the truth. (Nor may they appreciate that fracking has been going on in the UK for decades without ill effect.)

    The truth is that you don’t have a lot of great options in the UK. Until we find that magical, safe, abundant, inexpensive, low/no carbon solution, we need to find the next best alternative. You do have some enormous unconventional reserves in your country and my wager is that if those aren’t tapped pretty soon, the UK could find itself in an uncomfortable spot.


  29. There is no shortage of water in the UK. We get more than enough rain. What we lack is adequate storage capacity to see us through periods of dry weather. Any shortages we experience are easily fixed by increasing reservoir capacity. Unfortunatley the Government won’t permit new reservoirs to be built as they are committed to forcing us to use less water. Of course at the same time they allow virtually unrestricted immigration which of course increases the pressure on our water supply.

    As other have noted, the fracking industry tends to recycle and reuse water. Even if it didn’t it didn’t we have more than enough water resources to support it.


  30. From the linked article-

    While the average UK household consumes almost 33 gallons a day for washing and drinking, it consumes about 30 times as much in “virtual water”, used in the production of imported food and textiles.

    Even worse than I suspected.


  31. That WWF article on “virtual water” is some of the worst agenda driven drivel I have ever read. John, I am surprised and yes a little disappointed too.


  32. The govt also seem committed to making us use less electricity, will making us pay more for it. My suspicions about the so called dash for gas are as much to do with the intentions of the govt and their pals in the energy business as with fears for water.
    Shame that the fracking headlines re being made by rent-an-ecoloon in Sussex


  33. Pingback: Exclusive : Real Fracking Threat To UK Water Supply Analysed In Full – 16 August 2013 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  34. Every time I post on fracking on the Telegraph up pops an industry shill assuring me that everything is just dandy. A quick check on their username always reveals they comment exclusively on fracking and are recent joiners. They vanish Brown when challenged on anything substansial.

    A Chinese report on investing in UK fracking concluded avoid, the UK is too small and the possible adverse consequences too large. Fracking is not allowed in China within a country mile of residential areas.


  35. The cement that is used after running the liner to case the well bore if not done correctly can fail, which once the well is fracked allows the gas to pass up the outside of the casing, which then will migrate into more porous formations, for example where your drinking water is….also reference the recycling of the frack water, you will never get 100% of the water back to surface, and depending on geology this water can be contaminated with a small amount of radioactive isotopes, which currently is not checked for, not good, but lets say that the water you do get back is all good apart from containing some extremely nasty corrosive chemicals and sand.You then get it hauled off to get recycled, assuming you can find a company that is willing to take it. Once you price all these costs in, it doesn’t work out so cheap after all….but hey frack on.


  36. Bang on. A bloody good article Mr Ward. I have been following the misery in the US over their version of our numbnut politicians scraping the barrel to satisfy corporate voraciousness and their own incompetence and outright stupidity.


  37. My first thoughts are these …


    1. The first thing is the volume of water we just do not have enough we can easily lay our hands on like shortages if the sun shines.

    2. Second the use of chemicals and any legacy and note fracking produces waste that has to be dealt with.

    The real cost now besides looking to supplement imports of water as everybody switches to bottled water is this.

    Looking at this as a cheap source of energy the true cost requires the 100% clean up after use. This would also require a substantial volume of energy to heat / condense so much water at 4200 J/Kg per 1 deg Kelvin change in temperature. If this part of the real cost of cleaning the waste water was applied then likely it would not be nowhere near worth it.

    You can conveniently ignore this in a nation 52x the size because you have loads of room to store the waste, but not on a tiny island. The waste is currently being shipped in the USA with violations suggests?

    There is waste that needs to either be 100% cleaned but if being shipped then likely it is being stored somewhere. Watch the company in the end go bust and the taxpayer made to pay for the clean-up seems to be the order of the day.

    The number of environmental violations suggests the residue and any leakage is not good for human health and why nobody wants a nuclear power station in their backyard.

    Cameron will do it anyway because water & energy with a 200K+ increase in population through immigration YOY puts pressure on both. Is it clever though to make the water component deteriorate for improving energy because this is what will happen.

    Not clever by half.


  38. I suspect that number is derived simply from the total amount of water consumed divided by the number of households. Conveniently overlooking leakage by the Water Crops., and usage by industry and agriculture – which together take the lions share of supply.

    As ever, beware statistics.


  39. Thankyou JW for getting to the heart of the matter and highlighting the fundamental flaws in the fracking story – namely the massive water use, potential for poisoning the water supply and longevity (lack thereof) of the wells (and their casings).
    The pro- and anti- group’s arguments are, as usual, pitiful, cherry-pocked and alarmist.
    As regards the lights going out, I will start to believe we are seriously short of energy when I see behaviour changing.
    Wandering around the Smoke at night, one can see endless office blocks with the lights burning away. Many corporate buildings with multiple floodlights buried in the pavement to light up their palaces in an act of corporate onanism and similar civic onanism around many public buildings and monuments.
    Furthermore it seems to be the trend that not only major cities but even the smallest Dingly-Dell village is required to burn a half-mile strip of Christmas lights every year for a month during the longest of winter nights.
    When that behaviour ceases, I will think about having a smart meter.


  40. The government will go ahead and lower the taxes to nil if necessary because George Osborne’s father in law tells him too. Take away the cabinet’s passports and they might think twice.


  41. Agree with all that. And wasn’t deep coal mining dangerous and bad for the environment, killing men with pneumoconiosis, gas explosions and mine collapse, leaving great ugly mountains of slag, killing children in Aberfan yet we are still nostalgic for a return to that industry. Christopher Booker in the Telegraph has been warning for a few years that the lights will go out due to the ineffective energy policies resulting from the 2008 Climate Change Act, binding the UK to the most costly and unachievable emissions reduction targets. Tony Blair should be held more to account for this than his Iraq war debacle.


  42. “Every time I post on fracking on the Telegraph up pops an industry shill”…………..

    Anyone else see the irony in this sentence?


  43. Pingback: Real Fracking Threat To UK Water Supply Analysed In Full | The Aquarius Paradigm

  44. Pingback: Real Fracking Threat To UK Water Supply Analysed In Full | Awakening to the DIVINE

  45. So what’s the plan for economic growth in the UK once the City of London boys blow up your financial sector completely? Do you have a plan beside drinking clean water?

    Now I like clean water as much as the next man however if my well becomes polluted due to fracking I know where to buy a good reverse osmosis filter.


  46. Ok I can see the point about the water consumption. Seems a lot of calculating needs doing there. Does the water use drop off after the initial period too?
    Is it possible to limit the fracking? i.e progress slower than balls out.
    The talking head science bod I saw the other day said the drilling goes way down below any aquifers and there is absolutely no verified evidence that there has been any contamination of water supplies.
    I recall your economic assessment of fracking a few months ago. It wasn’t viable you said because of simple economics, that it was a great ponzi scheme.

    As with global warming, entrenched views appear very quickly and they simply gainsay each other. This of course makes it ever harder for Joe Bloggs with his 2 minutes of attention, to take a position that doesn’t oscillate between views depending on which talking head is spouting on the box.

    As I said the water bit is serious. One wonders if they can use seawater?
    But the rest is contrary to genuine sounding information from elsewhere.


  47. +1 on both comments. Fracking has been banned outright in France for very good reasons and the Poles are now cooling significantly after earlier enthusiasm for the resource. Thorium powered nuclear power is the better solution (India and China are taking this route) and thorium is cheap and widely available. The Germans have recognised wind to be a farce and are commissioning new coal fired plant.


  48. It’s well-known there’s a revolving door between executive positions in the EPA and oil companies/pharmaceuticals etc. Thus any pronouncement by the head of the EPA should not be taken as gospel.


  49. Was not poor cement work a fundamental cause of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. From Wikipedia
    “Numerous investigations explored the causes of the explosion and record-setting spill. Notably, the U.S. government’s September 2011 report pointed to defective cement on the well, faulting mostly BP, but also rig operator Transocean and contractor Halliburton.[19][20] Earlier in 2011, a White House commission likewise blamed BP and its partners for a series of cost-cutting decisions and an insufficient safety system, but also concluded that the spill resulted from “systemic” root causes and “absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur”.


  50. Some counter ‘facts’ John, from Matt Ridley.
    This is where it becomes nearly impossible for ordinary folks to discern true from fiction. I suspect the only thing you’ll agree on is the damage wind turbines do.
    “The five myths about fracking
    Published on Friday, August 16, 2013, updated Friday, August 16, 2013
    Wind power does more environmental harm

    My Times column on the environmental effects of fracking and wind power:

    It was the American senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who once said: “You are entitled to your opinions, but not to your own facts.” In the debate over shale gas – I refuse to call it the fracking debate since fracking has been happening in this country for decades – the opponents do seem to be astonishingly cavalier with the facts.

    Here are five things that they keep saying which are just not true. First, that shale gas production has polluted aquifers in the United States. Second, that it releases more methane than other forms of gas production. Third, that it uses a worryingly large amount of water. Fourth, that it uses hundreds of toxic chemicals. Fifth, that it causes damaging earthquakes.

    The total number of aquifers that have been found to be polluted by either fracking fluid or methane gas as a result of fracking in the United States is zero. Case after case has been alleged and found to be untrue. The Environmental Protection Agency closed its investigation at Dimock, in Pennsylvania, concluding there was no evidence of contamination; abandoned its claim that drilling in Parker County, Texas, had caused methane gas to come out of people’s taps; and withdrew its allegations of water contamination at Pavilion in Wyoming for lack of evidence. Two recent peer-reviewed studies concluded that groundwater contamination from fracking is “ not physically plausible.”

    The movie Gasland showed a case of entirely natural gas contamination of water and the director knew it, but he still pretended it might have been caused by fracking. Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary, said earlier this month: “I still have not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.” Tens of thousands of wells drilled, two million fracking operations completed and not a single proven case of groundwater contamination. Not one. It may happen one day, of course, but there’s few industries that can claim a pollution record that good.

    Next comes the claim that shale gas production results in more methane release to the atmosphere and hence could be as bad for climate change as coal. (Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but stays in the atmosphere for a shorter time and its concentration is not currently rising fast.) This claim originated with a Cornell biology professor with an axe to grind. Study after study has refuted it. As a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology put it: “It is incorrect to suggest that shale gas-related hydraulic fracturing has substantially altered the overall [greenhouse gas] intensity of natural gas production.”

    Third comes the claim that fracking uses too much water. The Guardian carried a report this week implying that a town in Texas is running dry because of the water used for fracking. Yet in Texas 1% of water use is for fracking, in the United States as a whole 0.3% — less than is used by golf courses. If parts of Texas run out of water, blame farming, by far the biggest user.

    Fourth, the ever-so-neutral BBC in a background briefing this week described fracking as releasing “hundreds of chemicals” into the rock. Out by an order of magnitude, Auntie. Fracking fluid is 99.51% water and sand. In the remaining 0.49% there are just 13 chemicals, all of which can be found in your kitchen, garage or bathroom: citric acid (lemon juice), hydrochloric acid (swimming pools), glutaraldehyde (disinfectant), guar (ice cream), dimethylformamide (plastics), isopropanol (deodorant), borate (hand soap); ammonium persulphate (hair dye); potassium chloride (intravenous drips), sodium carbonate (detergent), ethylene glycol (de-icer), ammonium bisulphite (cosmetics), petroleum distillate (cosmetics).

    As for earthquakes, Durham University’s definitive survey of all induced earthquakes over many decades concluded that “almost all of the resultant seismic activity [from fracking] was on such a small scale that only geoscientists would be able to detect it” and that mining, geothermal activity or reservoir water storage causes more and bigger tremors.

    The media has done a poor job of challenging the Frack Off rent-a-celeb mob with such factual rebuttals. So the debate is not between two sincerely held but opposite arguments; it is an unequal contest between truth and lies. No wonder honest folk like the residents of Balcombe are frightened.

    Now it appears that the Diocese of Blackburn has circulated a leaflet about how fracking “has lured landowners to sign leases to drill on their land” and that it could cause lasting harm to “God’s glorious Creation”. Hang on, bishop [update: apparently there is no bishop in place in the Blackburn diocese at the moment. So: “Hang on, reverends”]. Did you say the same thing about wind power? Let’s run a quick comparison.

    Luring landowners with money: wind farms pay up to £100,000 per turbine to landowners and most of that money comes from additions to ordinary people’s electricity bills. What has the church to say about that?

    Spoiling God’s glorious creation: as Clive Hambler of Oxford University has documented, each year between 6m and 18m birds and bats are killed in Spain alone by wind turbines, including rare griffon vultures, 400 of which were killed in one year, and even rarer Egyptian vultures. In Tasmania wedge-tailed eagles are in danger of extinction because of wind turbines. Norwegian wind farms kill ten white-tailed eagles each year. German wind turbines kill 200,000 bats a year, many of which have migrated hundreds of miles.

    The wind industry, which is immune from prosecution for wildlife crime, counters that far more birds are killed by cars and cats and likes to point to a spurious calculation that if the climate gets very warm and habitats change then the oil industry could one day be said to have killed off many birds. But when was the last time your cat brought home an Imperial Eagle or a needle-tailed swift? Says Dr Hambler: “Climate change won’t drive those species to extinction; well-meaning environmentalists might.”
    [Here’s a video of a vulture hitting a turbine blade in Crete.]
    Wind turbines are not only far more conspicuous than gas drilling rigs, but cover vastly more area. Just ten hectares (25 acres) of oil or gas drilling pads can produce more energy that the entire British wind industry. Which does the greatest harm to God’s glorious creation, rev?

    Wind provided about 1% of our total energy last year. Last weekend I drove from Caithness to Northumberland. View after view was spoiled by the spinning monsters: alongside the Pentland Firth, above Dornoch, in the Monadliaths, in the Lammermuirs, in the Cheviots, on Simonside. I was looking at maybe one-tenth of one percent of all our energy production and an even smaller impact on our carbon emissions. Trivial benefit; vast cost.

    You see, in criticizing wind power on environmental grounds, you do not even need to lie. The truth is shocking enough.

    By: Matt Ridley | Tagged: rational-optimist, the-times


  51. I think your view is quite possibly not the rear view, but the one caused by imbibition of psychedelic cider reflected from a shiny surface pointing to the rear.
    I think water, like fossil fuel is far more abundant than we are given to think. Just to qualify, I do object to the globalization nutters reflected in most of what John writes, but as others have suggested here, the truth is being distorted by some real pro’s with suspicious political origins.

    The RSPB for example is a great supporter of bird and bat mincers.


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  55. Matt Ridley does nothing but talk bollocks if you think that is refutation of fracking then it shows his or his love or corporate PR. Covers nothing on the ecomomics corruption or actual reserves just parrot speak


  56. We have 3x 420foot bat mincers trying for permission on top of one of only 12 toxic waste tips in the country. They are on their third attempt.


  57. Before anyone says anything about facts or “science” lets have a rpeal of the Halliburton loophole (why is it needed if it’s so damn safe?) and rescind the thousands of NDA’s and study the evidence again. Incomplete facts only make for bad mistakes.


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  60. Tell that to Lord Browne, the person responsible for cutting back so hard on safety budgets at BP, even sacking one manager who advised it was reaching dangerous territory and replacing him with an accountant…his actions are directly complicit in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which is looking to have stopped the gulf stream reaching Britain, disrupting the jet stream with it and affecting global weather for the worse, not mention the introduction of a computer designed hydro carbon eating lifeform into the Gulf which effectively acts as a Vibrio Vulnificus in all flesh beings, note the lesions in fish caught in the gulf. Basically a flesh eating organism in the food chain…nice if you are a eugenecist… So if you think he is going to have any conscience apart from doing it as cheaply as possible, think again, with control of the media they can wreak havoc and hide it at will.

    Apart from the very real danger of pollutions, which when water is treated, the toxins are released into the air…apart from the onsite contaminations, then I agree that the use of water for this operation when it is now a precious world resource, looks more like designed chaos than progress.

    We have ways of splitting water to hydrogen very cheaply, at least since Stanley Meyer’s technology using specific frequencies and pulses to part the water with less energy. We could use some fresh water to start and then the hydrogen energy produced could be used in desalination process, which would give us more power and more water at the same stroke.

    Also looking at Japan and their wind turbine designs on sea floating platforms, utilising a shroud on the fan that creates an eddy behind the blades that multiplies exponentially the fan speed and energy output…

    Also looking at Australia, where 200ft poles collect atmospheric electromagnetic energy and collect that with EM coils as it grounds…completely free energy except for the equipment and maintenance.

    Also looking at wave generators…

    Why are our leaders such dunces when it comes to progress ? Petrodollar..


  61. Brilliant post, there are definitely many aspects of fracking that need to be thought through before it takes place. Groundwater testing should be a big part of this as we need to know all the effects that it is having on our drinking water and on the environment.


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