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Russia threatened yesterday to disrupt gas supplies to Europe within days, opening a new front in the showdown over Ukraine. President Putin demanded immediate advance payments from Kiev to keep the gas taps on in the depths of winter. Cutting off gas would be likely to hit transit flows to Europe. His ultimatum came on the day that the EU announced ambitious plans for an “energy union” to end Russia’s energy stranglehold over the continent.

The Times, today (£)

Lancashire county councillors have rejected plans for fracking company Cuadrilla to carry out seismic and pressure monitoring at a county site.

Planning officers, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency recommended approval.

But the development control committee turned down the application which had received more than 300 objections.

The BBC, today

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Reader Comments (56)

It's a mad mad mad mad mad world.

Feb 26, 2015 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterCoalsoffire

Deep cowardice from the coucillors. Pressure monitoring in a well is completely passive, and seismic is hardly new to Lancashire or anywhere. I watch from a great distance (NZ) with sadness the deterioration of the country of my birth due to the weak minded actions of its elected leaders. It's like the fall of Rome, a slow, long slide into decay caused by moral turpitude and the decay of rationality

Feb 26, 2015 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterErnieb

It is brilliant the way Green Luvvies are wrecking the chances of maintaining cheap energy prices.

Mr Putin is feeling the economic pinch, and must be very grateful to the Green Luvvies. Wars are expensive, and he needs all the financial help he can get.

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Good to see the EU seeing this as another opportunity to create Green jobs with an energy union.

Perhaps if the EU stopped meddling with the price of energy, and market forces, they might reduce conflict.

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

The rise of the mindless Green/Left lobby has gone hand-in-hand with increasing prosperity, so that for the first time in history, we can afford to be stupid.

It is going to take a cataclysm, such as the one that Putin might be able to bring about, to make much of a dent in that march to complete dominance by morons.

Go for it, Vladimir Vladimirovich.

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

It will have to come to Europe running out of gas before the politicians wake up to the elephant in the room...

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

I read recently, somewhere, that Russian money was going to anti-fracking groups. I will search for that.

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

NY Times:

"Gazprom, a state-controlled energy giant, has a clear interest in preventing countries dependent on Russian natural gas from developing their own alternative supplies of energy, they say, preserving a lucrative market for itself — and a potent foreign policy tool for the Kremlin.

“Everything that has gone wrong is from Gazprom,” Mr. Mircia said.

"This belief that Russia is fueling the protests, shared by officials in Lithuania, where Chevron also ran into a wave of unusually fervent protests and then decided to pull out, has not yet been backed up by any clear proof. And Gazprom has denied accusations that it has bankrolled anti-fracking protests. But circumstantial evidence, plus large dollops of Cold War-style suspicion, have added to mounting alarm over covert Russian meddling to block threats to its energy stranglehold on Europe."

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Normally they pass wind turbine applications with 900 objections..

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo Smith

So much uncertainty over gas supplies from Russia to western Europe is deeply troubling. Imagine if they really did shut down supply lines? Uncontrolled chaos would ensue. If only we could source our own supply from underneath our own land. That would eliminate uncertainty and allow us to control supply, while allowing us to dictate terms to Putin if we ever needed Russian gas. We'd truly be masters of our own destiny rather than potential hostages to fortune. Gosh, that would be all-round superb for Europe and the UK....

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Leo Smith
Normally they pass wind.
Windmill objectors are ignored.

See I fixed that for you.

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterpatrick healy

It would be interesting to see on what sound planning grounds Lancashire county councillors refused the application. Otherwise they might face paying the costs of an appeal.

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

And as anybody who knows anything about pipelines knows, he also ruined the metier.

Feb 26, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Green Luvvies love to cultivate an air of respectability, and don't mind masquerading as slightly eccentric, if it gets them what they want, with media support.

I have just listened to the latest Jimmy Saville revelations, clearly loads of people knew what he really was like, but their protests were ignored.

Some people are so selfish.

Feb 26, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

The anti-fracking greenies are helping Putin so much, I am sure he is proud of them!

They deserve the Order of Lenin for all their hard work!

Feb 26, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

So much uncertainty over gas supplies from Russia to western Europe is deeply troubling. Imagine if they really did shut down supply lines? Uncontrolled chaos would ensue.

At short term, it would not be a chaos, but EU members would be very, very much learning a lesson on the Evil Empire. There should be no dependency on Russia. Putin is a person whose personal traits most resemble 20th century dictators. He can not be trusted.

EU must start producing its own energy. EU must throw away ideas on using wind power and start the currently closed power plants again.

EU must stop dreaming. It must stop forgetting it has mad dictator driven nuclear weapon state as a neighbour.

Feb 26, 2015 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterHugh

The original concept of the Common Market was to reduce the possibility of future conflicts and civil unrest due to food shortages.

It evolved into the EU which has created the conditions for civil unrest and conflicts via energy shortages.

A great example of Progressive policies, working against the best interests, of the people.

Progressives love all the money making opportunities, that they have fabricated.

Feb 26, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

1. He was democratically elected, and is a patriot.

2. Note to EU: Do not prod the bear!

Feb 26, 2015 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterRightwinggit

Don B.

You could start with the NYTimes article

"Russian Money Suspected Behind Fracking Protests"

Also an earlier article

"NATO Head: Russia Is Funding Anti-fracking Movement"

Be careful what you believe on both sides though!

Feb 26, 2015 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

I hope Putin does halt the gas supply. It'll focus minds here a bit more on realities versus green-dreams and Russia will be the big loser anyway as 50% of their budget is based on oil & gas. Germany of course will be forced back into coal and nuclear as the energiewende proves to be just a 'gaswende + white elephants'. Of course it's all BS; Putin needs Europeans to buy gas at least until the Chinese pipelines are built. He is just playing poker.

Apparently the swine ordered the destruction of gas pipelines to East Ukraine, then blocked the repairs, then supplied 'humanitarian' gas and took the cost of it from the gas money Ukraine had already paid upfront. Then he has the gall to accuse Ukraine of attempted genocide for the temporary, forced halt of gas that was caused by him in the first place and moreover he asks Ukraine to pay yet more upfront for now half the supply that was promised.

So here we are, dealing with a mendacious and deranged personality who has either murdered or imprisoned every opponent, funds anti-fracking campaigns, supplies Iraq with nuclear tech and Syria with weapons, thinks fomenting unrest abroad is a great substitute for his economic failure at home and yet some clods still manage to conclude that the EU is to blame for not appeasing him!! And btw yes the EU has kept the peace all this time. Not that right-wingers seem too keen on peace of course, as it wasn't that long ago they were all wearing 'pro-war' tee shirts. And how well the right-wing think-tank inspired idea of invading Iraq turned out!

Feb 26, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

This in the week in which the future of Longannet is looking very bleak. Also this week with scarcely believable stupidity David Cameron has announced that UK troops are to be sent to western Ukraine - it seems that he wants some sort of proxy war with President Putin; presumably the views of the people of Eastern Ukraine (and Crimea) are irrelevant. It would hardly be surprising if President Putin reacts to this belligerence, indeed shutting off the gas supplies could be the greatest favour that he does us if it starts to bring some sense to UK power generation.

Feb 26, 2015 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex. Sinclair

Further to above comments...if it really IS shown that anti-fracking groups have knowingly taken Russian money to fund their protests against UK fracking, those people could by any serious interpretation be considered as acting as enemies of the state, and should be prosecuted accordingly. Just saying.

Feb 26, 2015 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

James G,
Several very good points.
Up to where you got a big mixed up.
One of the main reasons for the eastern European turmoil was the stupid EU/NATO expansion up to Russian borders.
That imo (and wiser one's than me) provoked the inevitable response from Moscow.
Poke a stick in a bag of weasels and what do you expect.
Yes, cutting off the gas should be just deserts for the Euro green lunatics.

Feb 26, 2015 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterpatrick healy

The 2011 census shows the population of Lancashire to e 1,460,893 therefore the 300 objections must be outweighed by the 1,460,593 people who couldn'd give a ***k. Nice to see democracy at work......

Feb 26, 2015 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

Dave_G But you are not giving proper credit to those mere 300 people to defeat over 1, 460, 500! Makes the Spartans seem like a bunch of amateurs. And the Spartans lost. This is Progressive power in action.

And all achieved without a drop of blood being spilled on British soil. Obviously Ukrainian blood on Ukrainian soil doesn't count, as they are fighting against Soviet/European Union interests, as decreed, by the few, to the many.

Feb 26, 2015 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Is the government so collectively thick it can't find a way to penalise Lancashire County Council through the grant system? A reduction in government financial support to the council would soon have the councillors reviewing their unwise planning decisions.

Feb 26, 2015 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby
I made much the same point when this was first raised a couple of weeks ago. The only valid planning reasons that I could see for rejecting the application (I'm assuming we are still talking about the same one) were traffic and disturbance, the planners having comprehensively rejected all the environmental objections.
It was evident from the photographs that the disturbance argument was spurious and the same appeared to be the case for traffic which could in any event have been overcome by planning conditions.
So I would expect Cuadrilla to appeal with a high expectation of success and a very good chance of being granted an order for costs.
Regrettably, Billy Liar, there is no provision for penalising a LA for making a faulty decision and anyway it's pointless. All you are doing is penalising local people, many of whom could well be equally opposed to the council's decision.

It would be interesting to see an analysis of those 300 objectors. The data ought to be on file with the relevant papers.

Feb 26, 2015 at 5:11 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson, having jumped the gun a while ago, I agree.

Is this likely to be resolved prior to an election, and does this demonstrate the art of passing the buck?

Feb 26, 2015 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Cuadrilla had applied to use an existing well at Grange Hill, Singleton to carry out seismic and pressure monitoring after which the well would have been plugged it with cement.

This is the register of comments for this particular planning application:

It seems that there was some sort of coordinated protest using a common letter:

Feb 26, 2015 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Thermopolyae was only the beginning wait until Salamis.

Feb 26, 2015 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

I'm not sure how the English system works (as opposed to the Scottish one) but there is no way any appeal can be decided before the beginning of May. It will probably take that long for Cuadrilla to get the application lodged.
In my view (and still assuming the application is the same one we were discussing previously) it is almost certainly buck-passing.
The number of objectors is only marginally relevant. The fact that (a)the professional opponents are well organised, and (b) there is local opposition because they "don't like the idea" does not constitute a good reason for refusing planning consent if there is no good planning reason for doing so.
Which may seem a bit tough sometimes but that is why you have planning experts and councillors all of whom can (supposedly) see the bigger picture.

Feb 26, 2015 at 6:11 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Hmmm. Imagine, if you will, that Russia actually has nothing to do with the mess in Ukraine - all the accusations, accompanied with hot air but no proof from either EU or the USA - and say to yourself - WHY should Russia be concerned if Europeans butts get cold? Did the EU help in the process of running gas lines AROUND the Ukraine bottleneck, where they typically syphon off gas being sent to Europe? Did I hear someone say, "actually, no, they didn't?" Did they place economically crippling sanctions on the Russian economy? Did I hear someone say, "well, actually, they did?" So, exactly HOW is it that the Russians are "bad" for not giving gas to Europe, but the Europeans are "good" for trying to cripple the Russian economy? I am sure there must be some scholarly answers our there some where, but not if you can't consider the "possibility" that the screwed up mess in Ukraine lies at the feet of the EU and its apparent "overlord," the USA.. And no, I'm not Russian, I'm American, and it still burns me to a crisp that the "West" continues to destroy governments and countries that "work," all for the sake of "imagined democracy," which, by the way, we don't have ourselves.

Feb 26, 2015 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom O

Mike Jackson, thanks for that. It does seem like upward delegation, irrespective of the cost to the local authority, let alone the local community.

I write without knowledge of the political palette in that area, and whether a change to a different colour combination is possible, but a review of some of the written complaints might reveal if they were all completed without outside assistance and/or guidance.

It is sometimes amazing to observe the literacy levels demonstrated by people, who struggled at school. Green Luvvies have miraculous abilities in adult education.

Feb 26, 2015 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Tom O The Ukraine has been seduced with offers from the EU. Russia, in response has stirred up ill feeling towards pro EU factions in the Ukraine. The EU is quick to point all the blame at Russia.

EU stupidity now allows Russia to extort.

The Russians, unlike the EU, are not faced with wholescale regime change every 4/5 years. The Russians are far better at playing strategy out, over longer periods.

I do not trust Putin, but I show him respect.

I do not trust the EU. I show it contempt. I think Putin feels the same way, but it makes him happier than me.

Feb 26, 2015 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

O/T here but related to the sceptic witch hunt in US and worth reading IMO

Feb 26, 2015 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

This is what you get for letting Vivian Westwood dictate Britain's energy policy! while the Crown estates & prominent land owners build wind farms to collect taxes from the plebs ... nothings really changed in hundreds of years
If Putin does turn off the taps, it may give politicians the opportunity to flush the Green Blob crowd down the toilet and display some backbone on energy procurement, instead of having to follow the scent of every bloody vote to keep their jobs.

Feb 26, 2015 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBLACK PEARL


In a nutshell, governments everywhere have failed to pay due diligence in checking the claims of climate scientists. This very matter was discussed last night where I spoke to a group calling themselves the "Climate Realists of Five Dock" at a meeting which lasted four hours. I was impressed with the knowledge and understanding of the group, some with a background in physics. In general they could see the validity in my hypothesis which is the only one in the world which uses valid physics to explain, not only the temperatures in all planets and moons above and below any surface, but even more importantly, the heat transfer processes that ensure there is energy balance.

Their group had long ago realized that carbon dioxide does no warming at all, and neither does the most prolific "greenhouse gas" water vapor. If water vapor did warm by at least 15 degrees for each 1% in the atmosphere above, as the IPCC claim, then rain forests with 4% would be 45C° hotter than similar but drier regions with only 1% of water vapor above them.

Another glaring error is the fact that in Pierrehumbert's "gold standard" climatology book he determines that 255K figure for an Earth without water vapor, carbon dioxide etc by using 30% albedo instead of about 10% as the albedo would be without clouds that reflect 20%.

But of course the biggest mistake of all is to assume that water vapor and carbon dioxide cause the surface temperature to be warmer (despite a study showing the opposite) by sending radiation which supposedly helps the Sun to raise the surface temperature each morning. If a temperature is rising (as happens each morning for the surface of every planet that has one) then there must be an input of thermal energy. But all the radiation between the atmosphere and the surface only causes a loss of thermal energy from the surface to the atmosphere and Space.

So the whole paradigm that radiation is the primary determinant of a planet's surface temperature is wrong. The Sun's direct radiation into the surface is nowhere near enough to explain the observed temperatures.

Only the new 21st century paradigm in climate change science explains how the required thermal energy actually gets into a planet's surface, and it will blow your mind when you realize that is what correct physics tells us.

It's all at and there's an email address there to which you may send any questions, as I will not respond here, and nor will I respond to alternative suggestions that are probably already refuted in our group's website now being visited by over 800 per week.

Feb 26, 2015 at 10:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterPlanetaryPhysicsGroiup

The Groan tries to spin the pause, interesting...

Feb 26, 2015 at 10:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterc777

You can be sure that it was not just the first story that Putin was involved in

Feb 26, 2015 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen

I have a very simple new way of determining good/bad when it comes to matters environmental. If Natalie Bennett, leader of the green nutcase brigade, thinks it is a good idea then it is bad and vice versa.

Feb 26, 2015 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Lancashire councilors prove the the old chestnut, people rise to the level of their incompetence. Guaranteed, their decision will bite them at the level innervated by S2.

Feb 27, 2015 at 1:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

Surely the EU could easily get the upper hand by banning imports of Russian gas before Putin turns off the taps ;-)Does anyone know how the Russia/China pipelines are progressing, I assume China is a potentially huge market?

Feb 27, 2015 at 1:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Rightwinggit @ 2:48PM

Was that an attempt at black humour (I hope)?

If you were serious, then that has to be the most cynical comment I have read in quite a while.

And if so then either you're either an admirer of the botox'd dwarf zek, or you're spending far too long with your mates from the FSB pocketing the roubles and drinking the cool aide.

Feb 27, 2015 at 4:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

I think Putin probably plays more chess than poker!

Feb 27, 2015 at 7:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeospeculator

Tom O at 6:22: A good new view on this.
Golf Charlie at 7:19: I agree with you almost 100% - but we don't get a change every 4/5 years. Remembering that "our" policies are those of the EU we get new names / faces that frequently, but the new people are the validated clones of the previous incumbents - so, no change at all.

Feb 27, 2015 at 7:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Spilligan

Is there no way to object to the objections ?

Feb 27, 2015 at 7:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterTuppence

Aren't we already governed by Putin here in the UK ?

Feb 27, 2015 at 7:58 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"Aren't we already governed by Putin here in the UK ?"

It's very hard to define just who is actually in charge of UK governance.

However, in the aftermath of the May plebiscite - you'll observe that the governance and administration of the UK carries on regardless. Irrespective of having no functioning executive; until such time as one is cobbled and the people hence are tightly stitched up again - and of the shenanigans and horse trading going on down Westminster way. Whitehalls' writ looms large and its sway is pervasive, this, coupled with regional government ruling their own fiefdoms and in cahoots with quango-shire - pretty much the civil service-bureaucracy runs the country.

Certainly, the big money whether it be the corporate shills and advocacy and influence of Gulf Araby, the Russians - oligarchic oil money buys much influence in the UK, most definitely President Vladimir Putin is yanking some chains in the UK and remember the UK imports 12 million tonnes of coal into its coal fired power generation units - Russia is pulling.


Brussels, meddling in the internal affairs of a nation in the Russian sphere, was a geopolitical mistake which is causing global repercussions, at every turn President Putin has finessed the EU and its insincere attempts at diplomacy, we had a model, if Georgia was a rehearsal - the EU [and Nato] fell into a bigger trap.


On Salamis - didn't the Persians blame climate change?

Feb 27, 2015 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Yes more outing of objectors would not be a bad tactic, as it would probably show many of them being serial objectors, semi-professionals, turning up at every new proposed site, usually posing as a concerned local or some thing equally mendacious. One thinks of the Greenham wimmin, posing as concerned mothers, lesbians and members of greenham W.I when most of them were Trade Unionists, socialist traitors and Moscow stooges of one kind or another, part of the touring Cirque du Protest. It would also demonstrate how relatively small the number of protesters actually is - same old ones at each site, not spontaneous local outpourings of rage and grief about future of environment, kiddies, whatever sentimentalist crap...

Feb 27, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

On Salamis - didn't the Persians blame climate change?

Wasn't it their super computer and the tide-surge forecast model?

Feb 27, 2015 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

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