We have a partial success to report.
The Environment Agency have accepted our view that the old permit didn't offer sufficient control and have moved to issue a new permit. Crucially, this new permit doesn't allow acid stimulation or continued reinjection of contaminated waste water. Full report here:
To: The Environment Agency & Sir. Paul Beresford (Local MP)
Stop new Oil extraction at Brockham in Surrey
We urgently call on the Environment Agency to:
1. Stop shale oil production and waste fluid reinjection at Brockham in Surrey’s Green Belt, until a modern Environmental Permit is in place.
2. Require proper baseline monitoring of air and water quality before shale oil extraction is allowed on the site, with ongoing monitoring from day 1 of these operations.
3. Require full disclosure of the type and quantity of acids and other chemicals to be used, along with details of waste fluid reinjection before shale oil extraction starts.
Brockham is operating in an environmental loophole which must be urgently closed.
Why is this important?
Brockham, in Surrey’s Green Belt, is about to be subject to a new and controversial type of oil extraction and production. This involves the use of chemicals, acids, reinjected waste fluids and gas flaring which can release toxins into our air and water sources. These risk harm to our health and environment.
Astonishingly, no statutory body is monitoring air or water quality, nor have they required disclosure of the type and quantities of chemicals to be used. This is because the site is being allowed to operate under an old-style environmental permit appropriate for a simple nodding donkey type pump – NOT the new technique about to be deployed. The Environment Agency has been in the process of putting in a modern-style permit for over 2 years, but it is still unclear when this will be completed. The Environment Agency wrote last year: “We are in the process of bringing their permits up to a modern standard, including a declaration of chemicals used. As a result that information will only become available in time.” The time has surely come.
The new 'sidetrack' hole was drilled without authorisation or planning permission in January 2017 when Angus Energy misled Surrey Council into believing they were simply performing maintenance work. Despite being misled, Surrey County Council shockingly issued retrospective planning permission in August 2018. We have serious concerns over the operator's competence and integrity. Angus Energy now have carte blanche to commence extraction from unconventional geology using new methods that are neither properly regulated or monitored.
Brockham is in an area with much groundwater and numerous water courses and we are highly concerned about the water pollution risks this new activity presents. During a recent test from the same rock formations at Balcombe in Sussex, the same company Angus Energy hit "unexpected high-pressure water" through "fractured communication" with other layers, highlighting the reality of the risks we face.
We are also concerned about the impacts on public health from the gas flaring and gas engine combustion, which are projected to produce significant emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and undetermined quantities of Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S).
Brockham will be amongst the first sites in the country to attempt commercial production from shale rock. The target Jurassic Kimmeridge layer has been compared by the authorities to the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, where the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling brought about mass industrialisation and thousands of wells.
In the interests of people's health and the environment this new activity should not be allowed, at the very least until a new Environmental Permit with stricter modern regulation and control is in place.
We simply seek to properly respect and protect our health and environment and are asking the Environment Agency and Government to do the same.
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 Brockham Oil Watch are raising funds to commission professional baseline air and water monitoring.