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Back when they were opposing the extension of the coalbed methane operation in Falkirk, I remarked upon the evidence from witnesses for Friends of the Earth, which didn't echo any of the claims the group was making in public about health and environmental impacts of unconventional gas operations. Indeed, as Dart's QC noted at the time, neither of FoE's witnesses even opposed permission to drill being given.

It's one thing giving evidence to a fully lawyered inquiry, but quite another to sound off in public, and today Friends of the Earth have returned to the fracking fray, trying to persuade the SNP to turn the moratorium on new developments into an outright ban, backed up with lurid claims about what gas wells mean for health and environment. Interestingly, FoE Scotland boss Richard Dixon seems to have delegated the task to a young lady who is barely out of her teens.

Flick Monk, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, added: “Local communities do not want their health and environment damaged by energy companies aiming to extract gas at any cost."

I suppose Dr Dixon wouldn't want to get caught misleading the political classes himself. Still, it doesn't seem very chivalrous to me.

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Reader Comments (50)

Poor misguided girl!
She thinks she is a force for good in the world, i don't doubt it. And who can blame her really? If you get fed all the wonderful stories since childhood and never hear or read contrary information, 9 out of 10 would do the same. And then now she gets to work for the larger than life FOE!! not just any old NGO!
I genuinely feel sorry for her and I blame the older wiser people in those organisations who should know better...

Sep 17, 2015 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

She's the result of a highly politicised and dumbed-down education system.

Sep 17, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Why doesn't the unreasonable creature love the smell of shale tar in the morning ?

Sep 17, 2015 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

I think you are being too critical. If the young lady really does know what every single local community in Scotland wants, she must have mental powers that can only be described as super-human. Surely this is a huge credit to her and the education system?

Sep 17, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex11

When the naive are led by the naive, the innocent always lose.

Friends of the Earth are very good at exploiting gullible fools, and making them poorer. It does sometimes cure them of gullibility, but by then they are too poor to do anything about it.

Sep 17, 2015 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I firmly believe that nobody should be allowed in any position of power until they have reached the age of 25.

The reasons are:

At 18 they are filled with the biases and indoctrination of the education system.
At 21 they are filled with the idealism of the University system and the mistaken belief they now know everything,
At 25 their frontal lobes have finally reached maturity and they are now more likely to make rational decisions rather than emotional ones.

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

They only show her face. Is she wearing a Brown shirt?

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterClimateOtter

Here is some information about Felicity:

>I firmly believe that nobody should be allowed in any position of power until they have reached the age of 25.

At 24, Flick has probably run out of time.

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

If you do a Google search for "dash for gas" you'll see how much greenies hate and fear it, cos with North Sea gas, LNG, fracking, Underground Coal Gasification and an already existing gas infrastructure, its pretty obvious that the UK (and much of the rest of the world) does not really have an energy problem.

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Have listen to a deluded MSP named Iain Black on the "Good morning Scotland" radio programme at about 0715 this morning.
His group of fantasists are lobbying the so called Scottish Parliament to ban hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells in Scotland.
Go to

Then "good morning Scotland" about 1 hour 15 minutes in and weep.

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterpatrick healy

She knows that local communities in Scotland want electricity only when the wind blows strongly and the sun shines brightly. She knows that local communities in Scotland want to return to the pre-industrial revolution era when life was short and brutal - when people traveled by foot or on horseback, when people heated their hovels and cooked using wood harvested without the benefit of a chain-saw.

Sep 17, 2015 at 11:01 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

From "Brownedoff's" second link, she obviously has little concern about her carbon footprint:

"Have travelled to Canada and around Europe before - but want to travel more!"

Sep 17, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Suppose Friends of the Earth in Scotland take their orders from the head office in London.

Sep 17, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

She is quoted as saying communities don't want fracking whatever the cost. How very noble.

Communities do not want power cuts, if they have paid for wind turbines that do not work, whilst Green racketeers still rake in money for doing nothing, producing nothing and contributing nothing back to the communities they are exploiting.

Being "Green" does not provide immunity from prosecution for fraud.

Being "Green" does not provide immunity from public condemnation for ripping off the public, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.

Ignorance of the Law is not a Legal Defence under UK law. Being naive, Green, gullible and innocent, is no defence for being ignorant.

All it will take is a TV consumer watchdog programme to run a few stories about Greens ripping people off, and the public will wake up. Solar panels would seem a good place to start ........

Sep 17, 2015 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Having observed Sky News I have learnt that there is no field in which the most readily available expert is not a beautiful, young woman.

It is inevitable that FOE will have to call on such people too.

Not only are all experts beautiful, young women.
But also all experts who can get publicity are beautiful, young women.

Sep 17, 2015 at 12:03 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

M Courtney, con artists tend to be attractive people. Organisations trying to pull wholescale con tricks, need attractive people. Attractive people often work for con artists, even if they do not consider themselves to be con artists.

The con artists in political correctness, who use political correctness to hide the fact that they are con artists, still do not realise how politically incorrect their con artistry is.

Sep 17, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

No education, not much of a clue, I bet they don't pay her either.

Student internships, they're exploitative of children.

Sep 17, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Jamspid - "Suppose Friends of the Earth in Scotland take their orders from the head office in London."

There's a significant body of opinion in Scotland that anything heading in their direction from London doesn't have their best interests at heart.

If at some point Scotland finally votes for real independence, it's supposed to be financed by North Sea oil. Given that fracking for it only cost a fraction of drilling for it at sea, banning fracking would seem suicidal. Scotland, like some other countries, needs to start weeding out the foreign and domestic enemies within.

The Indians are on the warpath.


Sep 17, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

The comment quoted by his bishopness is perfectly proper and correct:
"Local communities do not want their health and environment damaged by energy companies aiming to extract gas at any cost"
What is missing is the claim that this is happening.

Sep 17, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Everyone is of course entitled to go back to peat fires and Arran-knit jumpers if they want of course but most of us believe in progress, well-paid jobs and reasonable comfort in the 21st century. Around 85% of the homes in Scotland are heated by gas and that won't change any time soon so the gas has to come from somewhere, the only question is where. If communities are simply asked that question then they might be forced to think about the bigger picture. And if Ineos has to close down then I'm sure the folk of Falkirk would be up in arms.

The biggest risk we take with gas is to pipe it into our homes in the first place but we all accept that risk for the benefits it brings. As for water supplies - I'm pretty sure Falkirk gets its water from Carron reservoir anyway. The ground around Letham and both sides of the Forth is already contaminated by large reserves of coal and peat: Hence why Blackness has a black beach. Occasionally lumps of coal still wash up on Culross beach. Of course the untreated sewage pipe leading directly to the sea was even less fun to regard. And of course Dalgetty bay is still radioactive from the nuclear subs ejecting their detritus. Hence surely FoE can find more important issues in the Forth Valley to pursue if they really followed their mission statement rather than a pure anti-capitalist manifesto.

Global warming could only be good for Scotland by the way as it would reduce the need for the gas in the first place. Alas it is a phantom notion spread by linear-minded, blinkered pessimists. I first heard of this notion in 1980 - just a few short years after the same crowd had tried to scare us with a new ice age from exactly the same fossil fuels. After all these years the people of Scotland are still yearning for some of that projected warming that never came.

Sep 17, 2015 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I still can't get to grips with the SNP both promoting (and relying on) North Sea oil, which they say deserves tax breaks, and putting a moritorium on shale gas. Both are fossil fuels and therefore both must be 'bad' if renewables are the way forward. Why aren't FoE castigating the SNP for wanting tax breaks for North Sea oil?

Sep 17, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterhebe

Scotland can ban fracking for all I care, because at some point sense WILL prevail down here in England. When that happens the Scots (and Welsh too, if their current moratorium is anything to go by) will have excluded themselves from even exploratory fracking never mind drilling and actually securing commercial quantities of gas, thus leaving the market wide open for England to corner.

Energy independence, jobs, money, balance of trade / payments, and even the chance to export the stuff to Scotland and Wales too. There's nothing not to like.

Sep 17, 2015 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

[Snip - manners]

Sep 17, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

The SNP are still stuck with the political views on energy that they bought into for partnership in coalition with Miliband, which he bought into because Bryony Worthington seemed nice.

Baroness Worthington has now rethought her views on fracking, Miliband is 'he who must be forgotten', and the SNP can't remember what the problem was, that made them forget the needs of the people who elected them.

An Independent Scotland will have to depend on the energy coming from England, unless an Independent Scotland can rely on the power beneath Scottish feet.

Friends of the Earth are relying on a fresh faced charm offensive in Scotland, on the assumption that what worked with Miliband, will work with the SNP. Will the SNP be proposing Scotland's Climate Change Act to achieve equal stupidity with the rest of the UK after Independence?

Sep 17, 2015 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Local communities should not have their lives, economies, health, welfare and futures, damaged by failed political dogma. It is very sad that the Greens are still corrupting young innocent minds in this way.

Sep 17, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Before UKYCC I was: volunteering with a range of environmental organisations, focusing on divestment and community empowerment as well as studying international politics at the University of Edinburgh.

Sep 17, 2015 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

@TerryS I firmly believe that nobody should be allowed in any position of power until they have reached the age of 25

I think that should be 30.

At 25 they are just learning that they have to actually work for a living unless daddy has a lot of money or they want to live on the dole.

By 30 they have learned that ideology does not pay the bills.

Sep 17, 2015 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

The SNP had no intention of any fracking moratorium (only on new permits btw) until dumbass Jim Murphy of Scottish Labour made it a key election issue and the SNP therefore had to head him off at the pass to avoid the campaign being diverted into areas nobody wanted to discuss. As such it was 100% opportunistic. However it has been made clear to Ineos that the SNP is not anti-fracking and is very sympathetic (barring the odd reactionary loony like the deputy leader) to the pro-fracking arguments for the salient reason that most heating still comes from gas - and yes the red-greens at WWF, FoE & greenpeace are hopping mad about that. I presume this new moratorium will stay in place until after the next Scottish elections.

As I've pointed out before; eventually the UK copies the US in everything after a decent amount of pointless procrastination - usually 10 years. And then the EU copies them. Of course, everyone beyond the anti-capitalist loonies must eventually realise that ever-more gas is essential if we have no new nuclear and no coal by 2023 and I'm seeing a few creeping signs that real greens and media pundits are being more sensible about shale gas's a slow process to overcome the huge amount of disinformation.

Meantime some seem to have forgotten that already had a moratorium for a full year after minor tremors in Blackpool. Does this mean they were just quicker to be stupid?

Sep 17, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Barry Woods, environmental organisations that empower communities, are encouraging businesses to divest from Scotland, the UK and EU, and exploit poor people somewhere else. But I expect that is what you learn studying International Politics.

It is great to know that people have been correctly educated in how to wreck a nation's future, and it does not always happen purely through incompetence.

Sep 17, 2015 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Scotland's behaviour on this is very similar to Quebec's which is not surprising.
If you are a country (or province as is the case in Quebec) which:

a) Has a strong independence movement
b) Is guaranteed financial transfers/support from the country from which they wish to separate until separation and
c) Find yourself sitting on top of massive natural resources...

...then why on earth would you move to exploit the natural resources right now?

Keeping them in the ground for future use makes much more sense from their perspective. Especially when there is political capital to be made right now by taking the 'green' position.

Only independence will see exploitation of these resources in both cases.

Sep 17, 2015 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJud

Jud, the art of politics. First, say whatever is required to get power. Second, try and work out how to deliver sufficient to keep yourself in power, and scrap the crap.

The Tories are scrapping the Green crap, and so far it is going very well. The only people upset, produce their own Green crap anyway.

Sep 17, 2015 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

So Flick-Monk from the UKYCC greenshirts graduated to Fiends of the Earth? No suprise there. Following the career path of Byrony Worthington. Next stop the House Of Lords.

I tried to engage with her and her deluded comrades back in 2013 on the UKYCC site but they just banned me from commenting:

Sep 17, 2015 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Last night BBC Horizon Documentary


"Horizon goes beyond the Hype and the Headline and asks are Video Games really that bad".

Shame they cant beyond the Hype and the Headlines about Climate Change.

Sep 17, 2015 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

OT, that "video games are bad fer you" crap is such a load of bollocks.
I played violent videogames all my life and I never hurt a fly...

Sep 17, 2015 at 7:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Chilli, Baroness Worthington has recently announced she has changed her mind about fracking, and the House of Lords. Without Miliband, her life and career is worth less. She is stuck with her mind and we are stuck with the damage the Climate Change Act has caused.

Sep 17, 2015 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

A classic demonstration of the empty-headed blonde bimbo in action.
She, regrettably, will be listened to.

Sep 17, 2015 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

I expect she'll be an empty- headed dame or baroness before too long.

Sep 17, 2015 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Here is the website for FOE Scotland showing Flick Monks activities as the ';unconventional gas campaigner' for FOE. There are contact details there.

Why not invite her to write an article here setting out her case which would enable us to question her facts and figures? It would also be useful to know what methods of energy production she proposes for the UK if we are not to experience rolling power cuts in the near future.


Sep 17, 2015 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

What has this girl Flick got herself into?

Closing submissions Sept 2014

The closing submissions for the planning inquiry into Dart Energy's coalbed methane project at Airth have been published:-

"neither of the two Friends of the Earth witnesses argued for refusal".

Was it suprising when one was Professor David Smythe

Sep 17, 2015 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Please folks, let's not get overheated (pun intended).
The young lady in question doesn't deserve to be criticised on the basis of being young, or female.
What matters is the substance of the arguments made.
From a personal perspective, people like Flick Monk make my skin creep.
They aren't engaged with the detailed reality of the issues they 'stand for', it's all about social positioning, political correctness if you will.
Just read the material on the page and try not to explode with rage.
If you criticise the person, you make yourself open to attack.
I too like to let off steam, but I prefer to do it over a pint.
Doing so 'in print' can discredit the critic, or the channel through which they de-pressurise.
Channels such as this shouldn't be de-valued.
Standards, please. They enemy don't have any, and that is their weakness.

Sep 17, 2015 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered Commentermorebeerplease

UKYCC was - when I looked at it - a financially v.murky and to my mind organizationally odious (eco-Tarzans and some Janes ...) crew which reeked of shady + utterly corrupt student politics - it claims to be variously a charity (nope) , a community not for profit (well, sort of) and unwilling to disclose funding.

Given the MO it comes as no surprise to see acolytes graduating to NGO Premier League.

I see Flick can "strip a bike" .... likely not a fossil fueled one?

Anyway ... things are looking up - I heard Marcus Brigstock has a new R4 series - that should be good for a larf eh?

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:18 PM | Registered Commentertomo

morebeerplease, did the people who dropped the young lady into the deep end of the Green cesspit, do so, simply to attract the sympathy vote, and immunise themselves from criticism? If so, she really ought to be standing on their shoulders, for support, and to keep her head above the crap.

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Golf Charlie:
1. Yes
2. Agreed, but the rotters will be 'unavailable for comment' when she's drowning in it.
Which is precisely why standards matter.

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered Commentermorebeerplease

I repeat for the umpteenth time that we were fracking around Falkirk (Airth) for coal seam gas when this young lass was in nappies.

So, too late to save Scotland from fracking! It's already DOOOOMED!

Strangely enough, the local people, when confronted with real CSG development instead of the fictional "controversial process known as", loved us.

And there was plenty of gas emanating from the fields naturally.

What's the bet somebody rediscovers that gas contamination once drilling starts and the media run with another anti-development scare?

Sep 17, 2015 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

She's a;so too young to remember the bings left over from Scotland's first shale oil boom which were a distinctive part of the West Lothian landscape when I was much younger. To my mind fracking is a much more environmentally friendly way of extracting gas/oil.

Sep 18, 2015 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

'Childhood's End'.

H/t A. C. Clarke.

Sep 18, 2015 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Indeed Scotland had the worlds first oil refinery and so kick-started the modern oil industry via oil from shale. The use of natural oil from the ground instead of whale oil saved the whales from extinction. Much to be proud of!

Sep 18, 2015 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

The next moneyspinner for the ScotsNats Spetsnaz should be the Oracle racket-- look at all the classical brass Greek gals raked in sniffing ethylene in the name of Apollo.

Sep 18, 2015 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

And it was the removal of the bings that made West Lothian an infinitely more attractive place than it was in the days when I worked there. Also contributed mightily to the construnction of the M9 and the city by-pass. Tons of bottoming within what you might call a stone's throw(!) of the construction site.
For those interested (and the story is a fascinatiing one) visit the Museum of the Scottish Shale Industry web site. This link goes directly to the obituary of Dr James "Paraffin" Young, which is as good a starting place as any.
Compare people like him with the intellectual pygmies that think they know it all today!

Sep 18, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The climate extremists depend on child abuse and youthful ignorance implicitly.

Sep 18, 2015 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

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