Scoping Opinion Concerns

Following Lancashire County Council’s scoping opinion (issued 22nd March) on Aurora’s plans for fracking at Great Altcar, we have contacted some consultees to determine whether the views they expressed were adequately reflected in the response. The Moss Alliance believes some issues have been glossed over. The full Scoping Opinion can be read by clicking on the image below.

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The Scoping exercise identifies issues for consideration in the impending Environmental Impact Assessment. So far we feel that the following were not adequately stressed in LCC’s Scoping Opinion, and do not therefore form part of the instruction to Aurora of issues they need to cover as part of their planning application.

Site Preparation

Aurora’s scoping request claimed that it will only take 40 days of daytime working to surface the dirt track that is Sutton’s Lane and construct the well pad (phase 1 works). It has been pointed out that this is grossly optimistic, inferring night time (or longer) working will be required to meet the timetable. LCC has not picked up the point.

Traffic

Sefton MBC specifically asked that Aurora should be instructed to provide an assessment of the impact of additional heavy traffic on the junctions on the Formby by pass. It was also pointed out to LCC that the B5195 provides the direct route to Ormskirk hospital and children’s A&E  from Formby, and that there is a risk of delays to emergency vehicles. LCC does not seem to have stressed either of these issues in its response and scoping opinion.

Seismic Events

Aurora’s scoping request made no mention of the 50+ disused oils and gas wells which lie within its footprint map of drilling intentions. It was pointed out to LCC that these provide potential pathways and conduits for the migration of fugitive Fracking fluid to fault lines and the surface. This prospect is not specifically covered in LCC’s response.

Other issues (e.g. ecology impact) are likely to be identified as inadequately dealt with once we get responses from consultees to our inquiries.

We have established who owns the land on which Aurora intends to build its well pad along Sutton’s Lane in Great Altcar, which was purchased in 2005 from the Leverhulme Estate along with a number of other large parcels of land to the east and west of the Formby bypass. We will now validate all the landholders and tenant farmers who will be affected by Aurora’s immediate drilling plans, and will be contacting them in due course.

The Moss Alliance will be employing expert advice to help frame objections to the planning application, and we are commencing on a fundraising campaign to raise the necessary finance.