Guest's blog

Documents Reveal Council Twice Told Angus Energy it Didn’t Have Permission for Brockham Oil Well

Brockham oil well site

By Ruth Hayhurst, Drill or Drop.

Documents released yesterday confirm that council planners told Angus Energy that it did not have permission to drill a new side-track well at its Brockham site in Surrey.

But the company went ahead with the well and told investors the work was covered by existing planning consent.

Surrey County Council has now asked the company to apply for retrospective planning permission and is waiting for a response. It has also said oil production from the side-track would need a new planning application, which would be subject to a public consultation. It may also require an environmental impact assessment.

The side-track has become a source of contention between the council and the company. Last week, the council said in a statement it was “extremely disappointed to find that Angus had acted without planning permission”

Judge Grants Injunction for Cuadrilla’s Fracking Site – But Rejects Protest Area Proposal

Manchester civil justice centre

By Ruth Hayhurst, at Drill or Drop.

A High Court judge has granted an injunction outlawing public access to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool.

But his honour Philip Raynor QC refused the company’s application to exclude from the injunction a protest area on land about 175m from the site entrance.

He said the area, measuring 25m by 25m, was too small to be reasonable and could be a source of “increased anger” if protest was limited to it.

Government is Trying to Put Itself Above Environmental Law, Green Groups Warn

Smog over London

The UK government hates to be held accountable in court when it breaks environmental laws like those on air quality. So it has created new rules – coming into force this week – that expose environmental litigants to unlimited financial liabilities, writes Oliver Tickell of The Ecologist. Now three leading NGOs have gone to the High Court to argue that the rules themselves are in breach the UK's international obligations.

New rules coming into force today will make it virtually impossible to bring a public interest case - like ClientEarth's air pollution challenge - to protect the environment.

The new rules weaken financial protection for people or organisations bringing a case against the government, meaning they risk having to pay the government's full, unlimited legal costs in return for going to court to protect the environment.

Court Date Set for Anti-Fracking Challenges Against Government Ruling on Cuadrilla Site

Work begins on Cuadrilla Lancashire fracking site

By Ruth Hayhurst, Drill or Drop.

Legal challenges to a ministerial ruling giving the go ahead to Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire will be heard next month (March).

An order issued today by the High Court has listed the case for three days, starting on 15 March 2017. The court had previously agreed to hear the case in Manchester.

The two challenges have been brought against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, by Preston New Road Action Group and Gayzer Frackman.

How a Speedy Trade Deal and Trump’s Attack on Environmental Protections Will Affect Britain

Trump and Theresa May at the White House

By Stephen Devlin, senior economist at the New Economics Foundation

President Trump’s shocking travel ban may have dominated headlines, but another insidious executive order was slipped out under its covering fire – and one with major implications for the UK economy and climate action.

While many of us were on the streets protesting his offensive ban on refugees, the new president signed an executive order authorising a rule dubbed One In, Two Out.

What sounds like a nursery school game is actually the starting gun to a miserable race to the bottom for the USA and UK. It puts legal protections we all depend on – to be able to eat food safely, or go to work without fear of unfair dismissal – on the line.

Fake News You Can’t Use, They’ll Abuse, We All Lose. Except Putin. Putin Wins.

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup  

Along with “alt-right” and “post-truth,” “fake news” has become the latest and greatest term to describe the bizarre media landscape we all now inhabit. Sadly, it’s a home we’re comfortable in, as we’ve been exploring it for the last five years. (That said, Politico’s Simon Van Zuylen-Wood does a good job chronicling a two-week fake news diet.)

Since we’ve called out Breitbart’s fake climate news on numerous occasions, we’re encouraged that other outlets are now debunking its propaganda, too. Case in point, both AP and Guardian covered a Breitbart story which falsely claimed that on New Year’s Eve, a mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” attacked police and “set fire” to Germany’s oldest church. It was shared nearly 17,000 times on Facebook.

A more realistic version of the story is that a stray firework lit some netting outside a scaffolding around the church on fire, and it was put out in just 12 minutes. And there was no damage to the church, which isn’t actually the oldest in Germany at all.

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