Monday, 12 May 2014

Frack Free Somerset and the ASA


Earlier this year I was contacted by a local Somerset resident. He'd attended a meeting hosted by Frack Free Somerset, and had concerns about the accuracy of the promotional materials they'd used.

The resident was intending to submit a complaint to the ASA regarding these materials, and got in touch with me for some advice about some technical details, which I was happy to provide.

The ASA began their investigation, but the issue has now been resolved as FFS have agreed to withdraw the offending literature without rebuttal (Informally Resolved Cases, Date 7th May 2014). By doing so, there is no requirement for formal investigation.

As far as I see it, this represents tacit acceptance that all of the original complaints are valid. However, by withdrawing rather than making a challenge, FFS have managed to avoid the media fanfare associated with a full ASA investigation.      

There is an obvious comparison here with Cuadrilla's ASA investigation. Of the 18 complaints made by anti-fracking groups, only 6 were upheld by the ASA. In contrast, it would appear that FFS are not even prepared to try and defend the contents of their own promotional materials.

I have re-posted the original FFS brochure here, and the complaint from the local Somerset resident here.




The complaint cites a number of supplementary materials. These are as follows. Attachments 1a-e were data sheets taken at random from Barnett shale wells on the FracFocus website, summarised in attachment 1f. Attachment 2 was DECC's document about fracking and water. Attachment 3 summarised cancer incident rates in Barnett Shale counties (Denton, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant, Wise) taken from http://statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov. Attachment 4 detailed key health indicators for Denton County taken from Mickley and Blake. Attachment 5 was the DECC document on shale gas regulations and safety. Attachment 6 shows US natural gas prices and shale gas extraction rates (easily available just about anywhere), and Attachment 7 compares coal and CCGT power station efficiencies, Figure 6 in this EIA report.

21 comments:

  1. This is great. Perhaps we should do the same for RAFF's Shale Gas the facts which was handed out in March

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  2. That leaflet must surely be a contender for an award for 'The most errors in a 2-page pamphlet'.

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  3. The complainant presented a lucid, fully cross-referenced justification to the ASA.

    In fact it was understated.

    "16. Page 4. Claim: “It (fracked Nat Gas) does nothing to improve the efficiency and sustainability of our energy systems”."

    Besides the efficiency vs coal that was mentioned, OCGT & CCGT provide the predictable, dependable reliability 24/7. Using the engineering definition, it is wind & solar which are not sustainable.

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  4. Will FFS organise another meeting now to say sorry?

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  5. Only six complaints against the fracking industry were upheld. Is that not a lot then? I would have hoped an industry that wants my trust would have no complaints upheld against them.

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    1. It is worth looking at what complaints were upheld by the ASA.
      - Such as the complaint that an earth tremor of 0.5ML may cause structural damage. It is usually accepted that earth tremors 100s of times more powerful are unlikely to cause structural damage - and then trivial amounts such as lose bathroom tiles dropping off the wall..
      Or that despite there being no proven evidence of aquifer contamination due to the fracking process itself, the ASA accepted that "scientific" opinion was divided. The cited believers in aquifer contamination were the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change. There are hardly qualified geologists are engineers, but they do have a vested interest in preventing shale gas.

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    2. Agreed, I am the person who put the complaint in. FFS have done another local advert and this time I could only identify 9 complaints. I have sent them to the ASA through my MP as the ASA, like FFS do seem to have certain difficulties with science. One of the complaints that was upheld was the HCl is 'toxic'. Not according to COSHH and the HPA, who were quoted as a source. You can also see the Wells Journal letter I had printed, which attracted quite a few responses, some of them with almost comprehensible grammar and speling.
      http://www.wellsjournal.co.uk/Anti-fracking-campaigners-scaring-good-people/story-20898719-detail/story.html
      In fact I live in Bristol.

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    3. The Tyndall Centre have a vested interest in preventing shale gas? Are you quite sure about that ? That's a new one on me, would love to know how you support that statement.

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    4. Tyndall are against shale because they are against CO2 and anything fossil fuelled makes AGW worse - in their opinion.

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    5. KW, I can see from the comments in your Wells Journal item that the antis are fixated in their views so much so that nothing will change their mind, not even a massive 10 year global cooling - they'll still blame it on fracking.

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    6. The Tyndall report was funded by the Co-op, which had already made opposition to fracking part of their policy.

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  6. SadButMadlad - you do get about - mind you with anti-fracking groups starting on your own doorstep you'll be busy at home in Burnley soon. Please do stop telling us all what we think and what we will say. We are not all as predictable as you with your UKIP inspired rantings.

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  7. Hello John. I'm not telling you what to think or say, unlike you who want to force us to suffer from power black outs and destroy our economy. Blackpool isn't doing so well and you want to deny it a boost from shale gas? As for UKIP, I only support their anti EU bit, I'm not a UKIP supporter, and nor am I Tory or Labour as you will see I rant against them too. Its amazing how you always get things soo wrong.

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  8. @ KW

    Well done.

    FFS are obviously concerned about the visual impact of gas wells on the countryside.

    Perhaps you should invite them & commenters to your article in the Wells Journal to 'Spot the gas wells' in the foreground (lower half) of this image:-

    http://tinypic.com/m/i1z3uv/3

    Offer a prize if they point out a dozen.

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  9. Thanks SadButMadLad. Yes that would be a stance but it's not a vested interest. A vested interest is one where the subject has something to gain . I'm asking Manicbeancounter why he thinks the Tyndall Centre has something to gain from preventing Shale gas.

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  10. Frack Free Somerset have replied, with very little science and fact - http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/2014/04/10/a-response-to-ken-wilkinson/

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  11. Exaggeration, hyperbole and even outright dishonesty (as in this case) are the trademarks of the Frackahobes. Even when they have a legitimate case to be made, all these wing nuts no is how to shoot their movement in the foot with their ridiculousness.

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  12. Could Ken Wilkinson be taken to the ASA for wrongly describing himself as a "local Somerset resident"? By his own admission he lives in Bristol which is most definitely not in Somerset. Mr Wilkinson must be very public spirited indeed to travel some 20 miles to attend a fracking meeting. There are, I believe plenty of anti-fracking groups in his native city for Mr W to get his teeth into, so why did he feel the need to go to Wells? Just asking.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      You'll have to ask Mr W why he was at the meeting in Wells, but I can re-assure you that some of Bristol's suburbs do lie in North Somerset.

      I have little interest in Mr W's address, the comment above being the first I've known of it - this was an assumption on my part given his interest in, and attendance at, local fracking meetings. You make 20 miles sound like a long distance - I work with and know many people who commute this distance and further every day, and presumably some do the same in the other direction as well.

      If the best you can come up with is that the author of the ASA complaint to which FFS where unable to muster a single response to, is that he lives 20 miles away from where the meeting was held, then I respectfully suggest that you're priorities are not what they should be.

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  13. Blackpool Resident15 June 2014 at 06:05

    Fracktivists would appear to have the upper hand, as scientific credentials behind judgements appear to be lacking. I only have to be reminded of this episode: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/02/neals_yard_bogo_scientists_asa/

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