While it's certainly the case that licences have been granted for fracking in the Beckingham Marshes area of Nottinghamshire, so far as I know, no actual fracking proposals have yet come forward in this particular area yet.
As you observe, the reserve sits on top of a productive oilfield and IGAS (and previous companies like Star Energy) have been extracting oil (rather than gas) for many years. We even have a water injection well in the middle of the area of land that we lease from the Environment Agency - water is forced into the oilfield to keep the oil pressure high and allow more to be extracted. And there are “nodding donkey” oil extraction wells just a few metres from the edge of the reserve.
We have had a good relationship with IGAS, as neighbours with different interests and rights over the same piece of land. However, drilling for oil is not the same as fracking, which is a substantially new method of fossil fuel recovery. I expect we will see our first fracking proposals in north Nottinghamshire quite soon, and when that happens we will be looking carefully at the merits of each case. You can read more about our general position on fracking here:
If you’ve got any follow-up queries, happy to chat.
(Senior Conservation Planner in the RSPB Midlands region)
In reply to Colin Wilkinson:
In yesterday's Mail on Sunday, IGAS stated that there has been 53 occasions were the oil companies operating in this area have fracked wells.
They stated one well close to the reserve had been fracked four times.
They also state that they produce 300 barrels of oil a day and I million cubic feet of gas a day, which is piped under the reserve to a local Power Station.
In reply to Pete R:
Thanks Pete. Now we're aware of the Daily Mail story I've asked our national policy advisor on fracking to advise on what the differences are. Notwithstanding the comments by the IGAS spokesman, I'm sure there must be some differences, otherwise (given the area is already producing fossil fuels) why would there need to be a new licencing round? I'll update this when we know more.
I do not read the Daily Mail but my neighbours have pointed out the letter "bird-brained protest" about my own local reserve RSPB Saltholme. Before we entered a highly charged, politicised debate did we evaluate all possible effects including adverse publicity which would alienate support? Have we evaluated all the evidence. I note that our national policy discusses (inter alia) the risk of release of naturally occuring radioactive isotopes into the environment from fracking. This already happens inevitably with coal so are we not scare-mongering?
Climate change is happening due to increasing consumption from a steadily rising local and world population who are expecting better standards of living. Until we can control population, and find a reliable, acceptable zero carbon energy source then perhaps we must keep an open mind and aim to discuss all options while trying to remove some heat from the debate and not take a firm stance.
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