MEP’s Dud Fracking and Energy Polls

In the West Country we have six Members of the European Parliament (MEP) to represent us on issues including the development of unconventional gas and renewable energy. The South West MEPs include members of the Conservative, UKIP, Labour and Green parties. No matter what their political affiliation we should expect them to form their opinions on the basis of credible evidence and represent our best interests accordingly. Let’s have a quick look at how two of the South West MEPs form, reinforce and communicate their opinions:

Ashely Fox MEP (Conservative) conducts his own online polls including the questions Should Britain be accessing it’s shale gas reserves? and  Is onshore wind power worth investing in as part of a diversified energy sector? He then publishes an annual summary of the survey results including the percentage of respondents who answered in different ways and matches the results with his own views.  However, he provides no information on what measures were taken to ensure that the surveys are representative or how many respondents answered each question.

The result for Mr Fox’s shale gas question was 92.9% in favour and 7.1% against. 

The result for Mr Fox’s wind power question was 73.7% against (not worth investing in) and 26% in favour and 0.3% Don’t Know. 

Are these poll results indicative of public opinion nationally or in the South West or are they just self-selecting and self-serving nonsense? In stark contrast to Mr Fox’s poll results a national poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times shows that in May 2015 43% (Fox 7%) of respondents were against the development of shale gas and 32% in favour. Similarly the same YouGov poll shows that the public still supports onshore wind development with 61% (Fox 26%) of respondents supporting the industry.

So, are Mr Fox’s poll results representative or just self-serving? Mr Fox supports fracking and is a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. ashley@ashleyfoxmep.co.uk

Here is another take on this issue – Fracking support falls as Tory government promises to ‘deliver shale’

Dr Julia Reid MEP (UKIP) doesn’t have her own polls but rather favours sound-bite videos of her speeches in the European Parliament to communicate her views. Dr Reid doesn’t let her scientific qualifications get in the way of UKIP’s climate science denial based energy policy. In this one minute video she says “Since 1995 global warming has not been happening” ignoring the fact that it is a well established scientific fact that global warming has not stopped and that more than 90% of warming is in the oceans not the land surface air temperature.


Here is a more authoritative 1 minute video on global warming from the Royal Society.

A visual depiction of how much global warming heat is going into the various components of the climate system for the period 1993 to 2003, calculated from IPCC AR4 5.2.2.3.  Note that focusing on surface air temperatures misses more than 90% of the overall warming of the planet.

A visual depiction of how much global warming heat is going into the various components of the climate system for the period 1993 to 2003, calculated from IPCC AR4 5.2.2.3. Note that focusing on surface air temperatures misses more than 90% of the overall warming of the planet. (Source http://www.skepticalscience.com)

Climate Myth – What has global warming done since 1998?

Strangely Dr Reid seems to accept what the UN has to say about ozone depletion and the need for global action but rejects what the UN, the world’s Science Academies and NASA have to say about human made global warming.

Dr Reid supports fracking and is on the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. julia.reid@ukip.org

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UK estate agents say fracking plans already affecting home sales

It is welcome news that PEDL licence 227 is being relinquished but as this article by PropertyWire points out the new government is about to launch a new round of PEDL licenses and that estate agents are warning properties near potential sites are likely to have “tens of thousands” knocked off their values.

UK estate agents say controversial fracking plans already affecting home sales

Having been evaluated twice three times and relinquished twice three times it is surely time that the Chew Valley and other areas in the Somerset were excluded from further unconventional gas exploration. The government’s 14th Licensing Round may herald further years of uncertainty over fracking for Coalbed Methane. We are writing to the Oil and Gas Authority to try to ensure that Somerset is excluded from further pointless evaluations.

PEDL 227 – “in process of being relinquished”

According to the Oil & Gas Authority Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) 227 which is held jointly by UK Methane and Eden Energy is in the process of being relinquished, see https://www.facebook.com/FrackfreeSomerval. This is the last remaining PEDL in Somerset and with its relinquishment Somerset will be Frack Free! Unless that is other gas exploration companies have applied for Somerset licences in the 14th Onshore Licensing Round, the results of which have been delayed until after the election.

Considering that over the last 20 years the Somerset coalfield has been evaluated for unconventional gas twice (by GeoMet Inc and by UK Methane/Eden Energy) and twice the licenses have been relinquished without any drilling taking place this area should now be excluded from further petroleum exploration licensing.

Australian Eden Energy and UK Methane have for some years been trying to consolidate their shared PEDLs into a merged company but without success. The terms of the deal were that Eden would be entitled to receive “£1.14 million together with a 33.33% shareholding in the merged company“. Eden reported on 30th April 2015 that “it is now highly unlikely that this merger will proceed on the terms previously announced“.  Eden Energy and UK Methane relinquished their other Somerset exploration licenses last summer “due to both environmental and social reasons“. Whilst Eden Energy is still listing PEDL 227 in their Interests in Tenements it looks like “environmental and social reasons” mean that it won’t appear in their next quarterly report.

This is a watershed moment in which by shedding its petroleum exploration licenses Somerset can transition from the fossil fuel age into a renewables future by leaving its fossil carbon in the ground, thereby playing its part in averting dangerous climate change.  Climate change is a scientific reality not a matter of political opinion and in election week our politicians need to grasp this opportunity to make sure that Somerset’s fossil carbon stays in the ground and isn’t licensed out to the next highest bidder.