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I will edit and organise this list of useful information about fracking as I receive your feed back.
Elizabeth (07543281999,,


Planning meeting 29/11/13 at 10 am, committee room 1, County Hall, Dorchester

Dear Planning Committee,
We ask you to delay this decision regarding the planning application: “Underground drilling corridor of an exploratory borehole to be drilled for oil and gas from California Quarry”, Panorama Road, Swanage, BH19 2QS and urgently request that a full risk assessment is carried out together with a comprehensive specification of the exact methods that are to be used and of those which may be applied for later. We also need to understand the financial advantage to us of allowing the possible contamination of air, soil and water which is our local environment, so we would also like a financial report which would demonstrate the benefits of this to the local people.
We have deep concern about the planned project at California Quarry in Swanage. We can see that it could lead to hydraulic shale fracking in future. Here are some of the reasons for our concerns:

We are informed by the authorities that "fracking is safe", while there is an abundance of well substanciated evidence available that it is not. How thick would a protective layer of concrete have to be in the hundreds of meters deep and miles long drill hole in order to withstand the pressure of the natural movements of the subterrain? There is an agreement among scientists that all hydraulic fracking wells will eventually fail. We are concerned about the leaking of toxic, radioactive and carciogenic chemicals into the water table. Other concerns related to the project are heavy traffic, poisonous waste, air and soil pollution and CO2-levels. To say nothing of seismic activity undermining properties. Santander for example, will not give mortgages to areas that are licensed for fracking, without first passing the applications on to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The information from the authorities about the unconventional exploration procedure, hydraulic shale fracking, is incredibly insufficient and even in places incorrect.

The information about fracking is to a large extent given in the form of campaigns, which is an unbelievable way of handling a very risky technology which should be completely secure and controlled by scientific facts.

It must be the responsibility of those in the job to clearly explain in a comprehensive report which can be understood and seen by local people how the method of "fracking" is safe - and to convey this very clearly and base it on sound evidence.
It is our tax money which pays for the test drilling. We also deserve to be part of controlling why, how and when, especially when it is clear there is in no way sufficient expertise and control with these projects to secure what should really be in everyone's interest: to keep our environment prosperous and inhabitable.

No money on earth can compensate for the loss of clean fresh water and clean fresh air which are threatened by this process. Why is it that the French won’t allow it in their country?

If fracking, which has been commented on in major established financial reports world wide as a financial hoax, is named as the solution for our energy and financial challenges, it's a disgrace. And it is high time that a real solution is found and no more time and resources are wasted.

On behalf of Swanage locals, Elizabeth Thomsen, Date : 27. November 2013


Some of the issues of concern/objections that have been highlighted are as follows:

Great Concern: Although The AONB, DCC and others, have highlighted this area to be of high environmental significance and an important and valued protected area, DCC are of the opinion that an Environmental Impact Assessment in not necessary.

Clarity: Highlight that-Hydraulic Fracturing (stimulation) into shale and ‘tight’ sites is different to the Hydraulic Fracturing process that has been carried out at Wytch Farm. (The argument from some is that BP/Parenco have been fracking for years. So need to define the difference.)

Clarity: confirm that concerns are from a wide range of people. Acknowledge that the media (conservative papers/media) focus on making derogatory comments about ‘left wing’, hippies, yobs etc, when in fact there are a wide range of people. And the concerns are right across a wide spectrum of people. !

Negative visual and environmental impact: on the AONB, SSSI, Jurassic Coast, World Heritage Site, Marine protected Coast

Negative impact on the surrounding area, the planned rig is very near to the ancient, valued and protected ‘Priests Way’. Also near to popular footpaths and footpath to Durlston.

Negative impact to Durlston and the surrounding area – Durlston has recently been renovated, and has attracted huge lottery funding. It relies on visitors, and is a protected country park. The rig would be out of character and detrimental to the surrounding landscape.

Negative Impact: It has been confirmed that climate change is speeded up by human kind, and this application is not meeting the government requirements to reduce carbon nor mitigate climate change.

Negative impact: taking away subsidies from renewable/sustainable energy. This is unsustainable, it is not a long term solution. Hydraulic Fracturing is a short term, temporary solution.

Negative impact: Increased erosion and sedimentation

Negative impact: Increased risk of water contamination from chemical spills and equipment

Negative impact: Extremely high volume of water (millions of gallons) are used in the process. It is pumped into the borehole and the rocks are blasted.

Negative impact on marine and land wildlife – reduction of groundwater levels-degredation of ecosystems

Negative impact: Increased traffic through adjacent villages, the road infrastructure cannot cope and vibration from heavy vehicles can damage roads and buildings

Negative impact: Increased carbon emissions from additional vehicles associated with the site – causing a decline in air quality

Negative impact: Highways - Transportation of contaminated water, access to site, via narrow and busy roads and built up family housing area.

Concern: The fracturing process relies on the contaminated water to be contained in the particular layer of rock, but there is no guarantee that the water remains in this layer, it may escape into interconnected aquatic ecosystems.

Concern: Layers of rock can be unstable and continue to settle which can also effect the reliability of containing the contaminated water within the borehole

Concern: Where will this water come from – sea water is not used owing to its salt content and abrasive nature

Concern: Of the total volume of HF fluids injected into the well, between 10% and 70% may return to the wellhead.

Concern: Leaking of contaminated water into the aquifers. There is no guarantee that this will not happen

Concern: During the HF process gas and water find the least resistance and may not be recaptured via the borehole, it may spread and escape and take the path of least resistance to the surface.

Question: The public and councils are being reassured that safeguards will be put in place. What are these safeguards ?

Concern/question: How/where will the contaminated water from Hydraulic Fracturing/exploratory drill site be disposed

Concern: That Swanage Town Council’s policy is not to comment as the council owns the road leading to California Quarry. Who then, can represent the concerns of local people ?

Concern: That many of the environment agencies are government/DCC paid agencies, and in the case of Hydraulic Fracturing the government are subsidising and are supporting HF. These agencies are concerned with protecting the environment are voicing ‘no objection’.

Object: This is not the time to "wait and see". It is happening, in the UK, and world wide. A process that is so senseless to you and me, that we cannot comprehend it. Businesses are destroying our fresh water supply.

"Water is more valuable than gold" (Pope Francis against fracking)

I find it ironic to realise that if an exploratory rig is placed on the hill above Swanage the reality of far away places is suddenly moved all the way into our beautiful sea side village. Like elsewhere in the world it will be up to the locals to protect their environment and in this case ensure that every truck going up that hill is checked for toxic and radioactive chemicals.

Some of my questions, that has not been answered at this point, would be:
How many trucks per day will be going through Swanage?
What route will they follow?
What do they weigh, going in and going out?
What will happen to the already very digged and tunnelled hill west of Swanage, if a situation that causes tremors occurs?
How can we control that this exploration project does not make it possible for the natural resource explorers to pump toxic and radioactive chemicals into the ground?
Who will monitor and control the project and with what means?
Will the oil rig be visible from Swanage beach?
Will there be gas flares burning from the top of the rig at any time?
What risks of pollution, negative visual impact and damage to buildings and road systems does the project involve at this stage and at later stages that are intended by the natural resource explorers?

You know fracking is not safe, you know that it is likely to pollute our water, soil and air, and now I am reminding you that you cannot control what goes on on the top of Swanage, if you let it begin.

There is no Hydraulic Shale Fracking taking place at Wytch Farm. They are not fracturing rock, which is "Hydraulic Shale Fracking”. The meaning of the word fracking has been misused and the articles in The Daily Telegraph and Bournemouth Ecco implying that there is Hydralic Shale Fracking at Wytch Farm are not accurate.
( has been compiled with the help of experts and it is also stating the reasons why I and many others here in Swanage are very concerned.


Dear Swanage Town Council, Purbeck Council, Dorset County Council, MP and MEP

Hydraulic Shale Fracking is not possible without irreversible unacceptable consequences. Experience in Blackpool suggests that it causes earthquakes, and despite the government’s propaganda there is significant risk of groundwater poisoning. There is also a significant risk of subsidence of the hill on which Swanage is built, due to tunnels bored in it for quarrying over the centuries, which will be interfered with as the drilling takes place and heavy traffic is significantly increased.

I have compiled a website with the help from friends and have been gathering and filtering material about fracking for the past 8 months, and I really hope you will see my work as a useful toolkit or assistance for you.

Please also find on this website a link to the flyer that we have distributed.

I appreciate that you will be going through the legal process that is about to begin at California Quarry. It worries me that you do not feel the need, or consider it relevant or beneficial, to inform the public of the risks that we all take if we let the government push fracking through in our area.

As I understand it, the power of this type of planning applications will be transferred from Dorset County Council to a government authority some time in the future. How can we secure that this exploratory well, which is applying for permit, does not turn into a hydraulic shale fracking site?

Here are a few important points. Please find many more on the website:

A local geophysicist, who does not wish to be named at present, says that we cannot control how the sub terrain moves, we cannot secure any drill hole from leaking toxic and radioactive chemicals, because the earth always moves. Essentially, the assertion that our groundwater is safe is a very unsafe claim.

Swanage is a "cheese hill". Large parts of the town are tunnelled from stone mining. With the boring and fracturing of the rocks beneath, as well as pumping water and chemicals into the ground during the process, there is significant risk of subsidence in the area. What would happen if houses collapsed as a result of the fracking?

Hydraulic shale fracking requires wast amounts of fresh water. There is very low water pressure on the hill as it is and if water was to be transported in, it would add to the volume of heavy traffic.

A geophysicist on a project in Denmark explained to me that we do not know what is underground until we look. It is not predictable. The science presented to you by the fracking company is not incontrovertible.

Can we at least commission a risk assessment on the geological risks posed by hydraulic shale fracturing on Swanage? The risk assessment that the local government base their decision on should be independent of a very high quality and totally public in every detail.

I would look forward to hopefully read some responses from you to my email. I thank you in advance.

:) *
Kind regards
Elizabeth Thomsen
Art Director, Film Maker

Mobile UK: +44 (0)7543 281999
Mobile DK: +45 42676766
Skype; eli7abeth


Elizabeth Thomsen's letter to the Advertiser - January 2014:

Fracking is not safe and it cannot be made safe in a way that is profitable and at the same time prosperous for the British people and the British Isles. Calculating the price of bottled water at 50p per liter, what would it cost to replace the water we would loose, if we consented to frack and the aquifers got polluted?

2 reasons why fracking cannot be made safe in a profitable/prosperous way:

The fracking well is secured by a layer of concrete like material. This layer will never be thick enough to withstand the pressure from the natural subterranean movements. And therefore the well will eventually leak and the around 80% of the toxic, carcinogenic and radioactive chemicals in fluids and gasses, that are left in the fracking well, will leak into the environment.

The cracks caused by fracking in the shale rock, and in other composites in the subterrain, are up to 100m high and deep. Let us pair this information with the fact that the fracking company will not be able, with their given budget, to monitor exactly what composites are present in the part of the subterrain that they frack. They will not know, if there are already cracks or other conditions in the bedrock that could cause the 100m high fracked crack to cause a leak into other cracks or layers the of subterrain that could be a channel for the around 80% of the toxic, carcinogenic and radioactive chemicals in fluids and gasses, that are left in the fracking well, to leak into the environment.


If fracking was proven safe, why was it necesarry for British Royal Society to hint at (and be misunderstood) and for news media to publish the information that Perenco at Wytch Farm have been fracking succesfully and without consequenses for decades? This information is not true. Ask Perenco. Perenco tell me that Wytch Farm have not been fracking ever and that they are not intending to. Dorset County Council has recently extended the permit for oil/gas exploration at Wytch Farm with the condition that fracking is not allowed.

If fracking was proven safe and the industry performing it so very professional and well regulated, why is there such a significant difference between the approaches to informing the communities of Navitus and Infrastrata? Have a look at their websites and compare.
* Navitus applying to establish windmills at sea.
* Infrastrata was granted permit 29/11/2013 for an exploratory drilling for an oil and gas well on the hill above Swanage and for which a permit for fracking will most likely be granted directly from the government bypassing Dorset County Council and the communities of Swanage/Purbeck.

We should move on from wasting our time and communities' and government offices' time dealing with the question of fracking because:

It is not possible to frack with a profit without causing serious pollution which will be irreversible.

We need to spend our time and resources working for a prosperous future with an attractive, prestigious, clean environment, effective house insulation and boilers, fair energy prices and modern technology like energy from endless resources like tide, wind, sun and other new technologies, just like other modern nations do. France has banned fracking entirely. Why should French businesses like Total be allowed to frack in Purbeck?

- - - -

John Wheeler's letter to Swanage politicians and others:

I just spent three days in Swanage after traveling from Worthing to view a house that is for sale at the top of Jubilee Road in Herston (7 Victoria Terrace). I placed an offer that was accepted. On returning home, I have since discovered that this property is approximately 1 km from an approved oil and gas exploratory borehole. In addition, the route for heavy vehicles to and from this site runs along streets that are a matter of a few feet from the house (up Steer Road and Priest's Road and Panorama Road). 

While I am aware that this is an exploratory well and that it is not "fracking" at this point, I have examined planning documents and other relevant documents including those of InfraStrata. InfraStrata has stated that, should the well be successful, they would then apply for further permits to expand the drilling operation.

As a result, I have suspended my interest in the property pending further investigation. I will likely abandon my dream of living in Swanage. I hope you can see that my experience is a microcosm of what could happen to the economy of this community. Many businesses and millions of dollars that could be brought into Swanage are at risk. The trickle down effect of a home purchase is a great economic driver not to mention the impact on tourism. 

I intend to widely publicize my disappointing experience and warn others about the lack of candor from the professionals who were asked specifically about these types of issues.

I would welcome your comments on this matter. 

Many thanks,
John Wheeler


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