Fracking CEO may rethink his plans to drill for gas in Stonebridge

PUBLISHED: 17:40 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:40 12 July 2017

The Third Energy facility in Yorkshire where fracking is planned to take place. Local London Energy wishes to dig in Harlesden  (Picture: PA/Danny Lawson)

The Third Energy facility in Yorkshire where fracking is planned to take place. Local London Energy wishes to dig in Harlesden (Picture: PA/Danny Lawson)

PA Wire/PA Images

The chief executive of a fracking company has said he will not explore sites in Brent in the event of huge opposition.

Artesian Close in Stonebridge (Picture: Google) Artesian Close in Stonebridge (Picture: Google)

Nick Grealy, ceo of London Local Energy (LLE), has said he will apply for a licence to explore fracking opportunities in the borough once the Oil and Gas Authority opens its 15th Onshore Licensing Round, the date of which is not yet known.

He has identified Artesian Close, in Stonebridge, as an area he would like to “drill a hole in the ground”.

Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, and environmental groups are urging Brent Council to throw out any proposals it receives, which it has said it will.

Cllr Lia Colacicco, chair of Ms Butler’s “Green Cabinet”, has set up a petition to stop LLE from fracking which has so far gathered 49 signatures.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial process used to extract fossil fuels locked in rock formations thousands of metres below the earth’s surface.

A mixture of water, sand and chemicals is injected deep underground at high pressure to fracture the rocks and release the shale gas or shale oil.

Mr Grealy, whose company is six weeks old, said: “All we are trying to do is produce natural gas. It should be best for the environment, best for the climate and something we should pay ourselves, not Qatar.”

He added: “There are 218,000 people in Brent, and 8.4 million in London. You and me and Friends of the Earth all own that gas. We have a very considered plan to sell people, give people, provide people, something they use every single day of the year.

“I’m not going to go where I’m not wanted, there are plenty of other places in London.”

Ms Butler said: “I won’t let any company put the health of my residents and students at risk, not on my watch, I am urging Brent Council to throw this laughable proposal out immediately.”

Cllr Colacicco added: “If LLE think the residents of Brent are going to put up with seismic testing and the contamination of their drinking water in order for LLE to make profits at our expense, then they have seriously underestimated us.”

Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala, who represents Stonebridge, said: “I am very concerned about the prospect of fracking happening in Stonebridge as it’s in such a built up area. We don’t know if this track is safe or not and people rightly have safety concerns.

“We should be investing in clean energy for the future and using that to provide jobs and opportunities for our community, especially young people.”

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, lead member for environment, at Brent Council said: “Any approach by would-be-frackers is not welcome.”

To sign the petition visit

1 comment

  • Well, I can see how there's a groundswell of public opposition forming against LLE. Irony Nathalie. After mine is the only comment so far. Yes I would reconsider if there was a majority, against . But I don't see any signs of a majority except among Green Party members. Who got 1.5% of the vote in the 2017 election. The Brent Times chose not to publish my reaction, so here it is: 1. The initial exploration efforts of LLE will result, at worse, in drilling an ultra slim hole, 3 inches in diameter at the surface.The drill rig will be about 3 meters taller than a double deck bus. Only afterwards, if we discover anything worth pursuing, would we then consider further development. Any arguments over “fracking” at this stage would be premature, and we suggest that politicians would better spend their effortson the greatest issue of our time, and the one that is the biggest threat to both LLE investment and the future of London, that of Brexit. 2. As regards to Ms Lambert’s intervention specifically, we firmly believe that our activities will inevitably improve air quality in London as they reduce CO2 emissions, city, country and world-wide. We would be happy to back up this assertion in a fact based public debate and the public who own the resource deserve to hear our side. We don’t believe that disposition of the resource that belongs to the many should be decided by the few. 3. LLE’s views on shale are identical to those of the UK Committee on Climate Change report on shale gas. We’re surprised that the UK Green Party, of all people, reject the CCC’s work, and point out how the battle against climate change denial is only made worse when otherwise well meaning people reject the science on onshore natural gas. 4. London Local Energy proposes that we can save one million tonnes of CO2 and contribute many millions of pounds to local and national government instead of buying gas from Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or the Emir of Qatar. We refuse to apologise for proposing this. Simply rejecting our efforts out of hand, while refusing to provide an alternative plan for London’s three million heat customers, does not equal a debate. 5. We note that the petition has been running two weeks and gathered 70 signatures as of Friday morning. It is unclear if signatories need to be Brent residents. LLE point out that during the same two weeks, 3,850 Londoners have replaced or newly installed a central heating system. I also note that in the 2017 GE the Green Party polled 1.5% of the vote in Brent Central. It's a shame they don't get the benefits of natural gas, I even voted for the Green MEP myself, but democracies run on elections. Elections are decided by debate, and just saying no without a counter proposal helps no one.

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