Shale could help us secure energy future
Plans revealed this week that Cuadrilla will fracture and flow test the second horizontal well at Preston New Road.
This has been greeted with an apathetic reaction from the general public.
So why am I writing this letter?
Having worked on many offshore projects which import huge amounts of oil, gas and electricity into the UK, I find that when returning home driving past the Cuadrilla site it depresses me, as three miles from my house in Kirkham we have the ability to extract our own natural gas.
Unfortunately, I fear it is too late, as the hurdles put in front of the UK shale industry have only brought about a shameful position the UK energy industry finds itself in, which this winter could very well test it to its limits and beyond.
The Beast from the East was a harbinger of doom, highlighting the fragility of the UKs energy mix.
There is a possibility Russia will shut off the Northern Ukrainian pipeline of gas feeding Europe this January. Gas storage across Europe is already filling up ready for such an event. Gas storage is something the UK lacks.
If this scenario wasn’t bad enough, let’s bullet point some more:
Will the UK still be part of the EU in January 2020, enjoying the security of energy sharing agreements through interconnectors?
Holland is greatly reducing its gas exports into Europe.
Increasing chances of conflict with Iran and the disruption of gas shipments from Qatar to the UK.
It is not likely that Greg Clark will be the energy minister come Halloween, but his legacy could be a very algid grey UK hoping for wind or a ship bringing gas on the horizon at considerable cost both environmentally and financially. How will the next energy minister feel having to explain why the country is left freezing while 40 years worth of gas is literally one mile under their feet?
Too little too late perhaps?
Dsappointed about Pride intervention
I’m very disappointed to learn that Blackpool Council has picked up the responsibility of around £68,000 for the Pride Blackpool event held in June. This seems an awful lot of money. It remains unclear how the Blackpool Pride organisers accumulated so much debt.
Whether you are a voluntary group, registered charity, promoter or profit-making production company, there is one golden rule: If you have a modest budget you simply can’t have delusions of grandeur. It would seem that the Pride organisers this year had unrealistic aspirations, some would describe as ‘Champagne Ideas’ with a ‘Lemonade Budget’.
Between 2015 and 2018, myself and several other volunteers worked very hard to bring Blackpool an annual fringe style jazz and blues weekend - something the town so desperately needed to help raise its cultural profile.
With the exception of The Winter Gardens, Blackpool Gazette and Blackpool BID, we received very little support to help move things forward. We invited high standard musicians from as far as Budapest and graduates attended from leading music conservatoires based from across the UK. The four Blackpool Jazz & Blues Weekends we staged proudly raised in the region £14,500 for Trinity Hospice .
Blackpool Council needs to support the creatives and help the town develop a wider range of annual events. From cultural fringe productions to large scale festivals which attract a wider demographic .
The Lytham Festival produced by Cuffe & Taylor for example is an absolute credit to the Fylde coast. Equally, the punk festival Rebellion is brilliant for Blackpool.
Blackpool Pride under the direction of Shaun Pickup between 2012 and 2017 was an annual diversity event that was growing and moving in the right direction. Regretfully, Shaun did not receive anywhere near the support or deserved recognition for the tireless voluntary work he did developing The Pride Weekend on what was a modest but sustainable budget.
Although it is no longer viable for me to present the Jazz & Blues Weekend as a free event without a sponsor, I have not given up on Blackpool. I will be presenting a small scale free music event in St John’s Square on Saturday August 24 between noon and 4pm. ‘Let’s Make Music’ will be a mix of jazz, pop, blues and grooves. It will feature some guest musicians invited from London and Manchester alongside Fylde coast-based musicians such as the legendary Mr Frank Flynn who has been performing around the Fylde coast for just over 60 years!
‘Lets Make Music’ will be funded by The Unity Music Arts Trust with bucket collections raised for Trinity Hospice .
Unity Music Arts Trust
All generations have their worries
Children and teenagers, when surveyed, recently said they were worried about various issues. Surely this is normal, and part of growing up? We cannot go through life without worries of some sort. Each generation goes through this situation, different worries for each generation, some the same. We worried in case Hitler invaded Britain after Dunkirk.