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Fracking Controls ‘Not Enough’

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Are we fit to frack? Are we fit to frack?

Angling and conservation groups have given a lukewarm welcome to this week’s Government announcement on fracking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Source: Angling Trust


Angling and conservation groups have given a lukewarm welcome to this week’s Government announcement that National Parks and Areas of Natural Beauty will be afforded special protection and fracking developments will only be allowed within them under ‘exceptional circumstances’. Although a useful step in the right direction this definition remains unclear and will not prohibit all fracking in these areas.


Other wildlife sites which often include important fisheries, such as Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas for Conservation (SACs) and Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSIs) as well as nature reserves and Local Wildlife Sites, have been excluded from the new safeguards.


The Angling Trust, National Trust, RSPB, the Salmon and Trout Association, The Wildlife Trusts and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust earlier this year published a major review of the risks that shale gas extraction (‘fracking’) could pose in the UK entitled ‘Are we Fit to frack?’ which put forward ten recommendations to address these risks.


These included:

• Avoid sensitive areas for wildlife and water resources by creating shale gas extraction exclusion zones.

• Make Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) mandatory for shale gas extraction proposals.

• Require shale gas operators to pay for a world-class regulatory regime.

• Prevent taxpayers from bearing the costs of accidental pollution.

• Ensure monitoring and testing of shale gas operations is rigorous and independent.

 

The Angling Trust shares the concerns of other wildlife groups about the impacts of fracking and the potential for water contamination, close to a range of fragile ecosystems and habitats including vulnerable chalk streams. With many of the newly licensed fracking areas either on top of or close to the chalk aquifers of southern and eastern England the Trust has pressed for designating all sensitive areas as ‘no frack’ zones. Groundwater contamination poses a threat to all  river systems but the English chalk rivers are particularly vulnerable due to the permeable nature of their aquifers.


Angling Trust Campaigns Chief Martin Salter said:

“This is a missed opportunity to ensure that all designated sites, which are highly sensitive and of great value to wildlife and fisheries, are properly protected from the outset. The Angling Trust has once again joined forces with other conservation groups to strongly urge Government to review this decision and deliver meaningful environmental protection and a rigorous system of regulation.

As we said in our joint report back in March we believe that fracking should only go ahead in the UK if it can be objectively demonstrated that the regulatory framework for the industry is fit for purpose, and offers sufficient protection to the natural and historic environment. The government has simply not done enough to convince anglers and conservationists that the problems experienced in America, with groundwater pollutions and environmental damage, won’t now be repeated over here.”

 







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Comments (27 posted):

thecrow on 29/07/2014 11:48:03
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What are "exceptional circumstances" ?
greenie62 on 29/07/2014 11:53:58
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What are "exceptional circumstances" ? I googled it and Mikipedia says: "Circumstances the Crow takes exception to!" ;):eek::D - most things then ?! ;):omg::D
thecrow on 29/07/2014 12:14:47
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I googled it and Mikipedia says: "Circumstances the Crow takes exception to!" ;):eek::D - most things then ?! ;):omg::D Mike I am not for or against fracking as I don't know enough about it to have formed an opinion, I do however know enough about governments (any of them) to not trust a quote such as exceptional circumstances. One thing I do know is that if anything was to go wrong (not saying it will) it could end up as a massive ecological disaster possibly bigger than anything this country has seen before. I see Germany have banned it for the next 7 years.
greenie62 on 29/07/2014 12:27:40
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I am concerned with the lack of clarity in the weasel wording that accompanies the announcement: National Parks and Areas of Natural Beauty will be afforded special protection and fracking developments will only be allowed within them under ‘exceptional circumstances’. ... Other wildlife sites which often include important fisheries, such as Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas for Conservation (SACs) and Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSIs) as well as nature reserves and Local Wildlife Sites, have been excluded from the new safeguards. Does this mean that the 'other ... sites' being 'excluded' don't even get the safeguard of 'exceptional circumstances'? OR am I just being paranoid (again)? :rolleyes::omg:
dangermouse on 29/07/2014 13:31:33
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I wonder how much an "exceptional circumstance" costs these days...
greenie62 on 29/07/2014 13:47:19
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I wonder how much an "exceptional circumstance" costs these days... Probably less than a seat in the House of Lords - or maybe not - ? ;):rolleyes:
black kettle on 29/07/2014 18:57:19
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The Germans are simply waiting for other nations to test it all out first. Money money money, must be funny, in a rich mans world. I listened and watched some government dullard (don't know his name) spouting on and on and on about how we need this oil and how much it will benefit "us" and how we won't be reliant on other countries for our oil again blah blah blah to the point it was either switch him off or toss the telly out the window! I seem to recall many moons ago similar members of the then government ministry for telling porkies saying the same thing about North Sea oil? Thing is though, our politicians have wasted the incredible revenue gained from North sea Oil. Norway’s thrifty governments have stashed away $840 billion from their share of the North Sea’s treasure. Gavin McCrone, an economist and former government adviser, calls Britain’s failure to save its oil money “a serious mishandling of the greatest opportunity for the economy in the last half century”. Well whoop de doo dah. Hands up all those who think the latest crop of politicians will do any better? This mob will probably squander any profits quicker or sell off all fracking rights to foreign companies anyway. One thing I am sure of, is that the vast majority won't benefit from this oil adventure one bit. No matter how much crude goes down we still pay high prices for our fuel.
geoffmaynard on 29/07/2014 19:03:54
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I saw a Facebook graphic post the other day picturing the area of the Sahara in PV panels it would take to power a) Germany b)Europe c) The world. It was a relatively tiny area. Probably all BS though :)
Judas Priest on 29/07/2014 19:11:39
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Wether it is just mere coincidence I could not possibly tell, but when the Fracking was going to be confined to the North and North West there wasn't any mention of restrictions or exceptional circumstance. Couldn't be anything to do with the discovery of Fracking opportunities in the Home Counties or the affluent Southern Counties could it, surely not. I wouldn't trust any politician to tell me wether it was night or day without checking myself.
tom berry on 29/07/2014 23:27:27
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A method that been used for years to tap geothermal heat in places like Iceland, It'll be fine.
The bad one on 30/07/2014 02:36:30
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Lee as the saying goes "follow the money" to the investors and board of directors of these companies, Then see who they are related to. Then you'll understand why we are being had over backwards to swallow the line "It will mean cheaper energy bills!" Somewhat at odds with what Cuadrilla (principle Fraking Co in the the UK) has said "any savings on energy bills will be marginal at best!" Sounds to me very much like they will be looking for Govt subsidy....Err US to fund their activities.
The bad one on 30/07/2014 13:10:19
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Last nights BBC 1 Northwest Tonight had Cameron on for a soft interview about Fraking, where he peddled the cheaper energy bills line. This is the same programme where the Cuadrilla CEO stated any saving on energy bills will be marginal at best. But yet the cr*p interview failed to challenge him with the Cuadrilla statement. What an erection player!
black kettle on 30/07/2014 19:41:40
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This nation of ours, tolerant to the point of being patiently naive, are sick to its back teeth with lying scheming downright underhanded two faced politicians. I bet those dullards in Parliament cursed the day the ordinary masses got educated then got educated again when the internet was born. You see, we all know now that when you shake hands with any politician you'd better check that rings, watches and even fingers come back after having the wet lettuce experience. We simply don't trust them or believe a word they say. What is it? 43% of the population never vote?
Peter Jacobs on 30/07/2014 19:56:08
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Moderation note: Let's please keep comments non-political other than where angling politics is concerned.
The bad one on 01/08/2014 00:28:55
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Peter is it not angling related politics given the vast volumes of water that is going to service the 1000s of wells that may be bored? Then theirs the storage of return water, one spill of that's and a whole river’s gone! Again one failed well and the industry itself admits about a 10% failure rate and an aquifer gone along with the water supply for some and the same aquifer that feeds water into the rivers in limestone areas. And the people pushing and running headlong into this are who? Politicians Peter!
Peter Jacobs on 01/08/2014 05:44:45
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Peter is it not angling related politics given the vast volumes of water that is going to service the 1000s of wells that may be bored? Then theirs the storage of return water, one spill of that's and a whole river’s gone! Again one failed well and the industry itself admits about a 10% failure rate and an aquifer gone along with the water supply for some and the same aquifer that feeds water into the rivers in limestone areas. And the people pushing and running headlong into this are who? Politicians Peter! I agree that the topic is angling-related politics, but that should not open the flood gates for comments, pro or anti, against a single Party or politicians in general. It is a difficult line to tread and the moderation team have allowed some leeway and will continue to do so, within reason.
black kettle on 01/08/2014 09:25:18
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Fair comments Peter and respect given for your moderation skills but Phil does have a valid point. What do politicians know about the risks posed from fracking? I suspect that to be little to nothing outside of the "advice" they are given. But where does this advice come from? Independent experts or experts who are tied up with the fracking industry? If political angling find themselves negotiating in order to protect our watery environments from perceived threats from fracking, who will they be negotiating with? Domestic politicians. A short extract from the Centre For Research Into Elections And Social Trends (CREST) "Britain is widely believed to be suffering a crisis of democracy. Levels of turnout at elections have fallen. Cynicism about politics and politicians is thought to be rife. And nowhere are these problems perceived to be more evident than amongst young people who appear to comprise a new generation of the politically disengaged. In short, we no longer participate in politics and no longer lend respect, authority or legitimacy to our political leaders. " It is politicians themselves, by their actions, ( actions where some MP's have been handed out prison sentences no less) who have caused cynicism and mistrust among the electorate. So where grave concerns exist for angling over perceived threats to the watery environment via fracking, can we trust them? I feel that the trust issue is as legitimate as the concern itself. For me, the world of domestic politics is a world away from the quiet pastime we indulge ourselves in. But on occasion the path of the angler and that of the domestic politician cross. With fracking however, the threats do not merely effect anglers but life itself if our rivers and aquifers were to come under serious threat from fracking. For me, and many more like me, the rhetoric coming from domestic politicians is all too familiar as they talk endlessly about the so called benefits to be had for our nation from fracking but say nothing at all about the threats. Fracking has been going off in America for some time so data has been collected and verified by various bodies. So what are the threats from fracking that our politicians appear to have forgotten? Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside. Each gas well requires an average of 400 tanker trucks to carry water and supplies to and from the site. It takes 1-8 million gallons of water to complete each fracturing job. The water brought in is mixed with sand and chemicals to create fracking fluid. Approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used per fracturing. Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid, including known carcinogens and toxins such as… LEAD URANIUM MERCURY ETHYLENE GLYCOL RADIUM METHANOL HYDROCHLORIC ACID FORMALDEHYDE DOWN 10,000FT The fracking fluid is then pressure injected into the ground through a drilled pipeline. THE MATHS 500,000 Active gas wells in the US X 8 million Gallons of water per fracking X 18 Times a well can be fracked. 2 trillion gallons of water and 360 billion gallons of chemicals needed to run our current gas wells. SHALE FRACTURING The mixture reaches the end of the well where the high pressure causes the nearby shale rock to crack, creating fissures where natural gas flows into the well. CONTAMINATION During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate nearby groundwater. Methane concentrations are 17x higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells. DRINKING WATER Contaminated well water is used for drinking water for nearby cities and towns. There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water. LEFT BEHIND Only 30-50% of the fracturing fluid is recovered, the rest of the toxic fluid is left in the ground and is not biodegradable. The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, creating contaminated air, acid rain, and ground level ozone. So are our politicians deceiving us? Are they telling as "ALL" the fracking facts? And if not, WHY NOT? Given that the world generally is looking towards alternative methods of energy production with directives aimed at reducing threats to our planet is the practice of fracking taking us backwards to the days when we polluted our world with no thought as to the consequences. Money money money, must be funny, in a rich mans world. How does one keep comments in a non-political nature Peter when clearly its very much a political issue both in terms of angling politics and domestic politics? In this case they are inexplicably inter twinned surely?
The bad one on 01/08/2014 16:04:52
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My whole belief is that we should follow the “Precautionary Principle (PP)” where new and untested technologies come along. I hear what you say Peter about fraking offshore, but on land horizontal fracturing is untested in the UK. It has however, been done in the US and here’s the big but, the geology is entirely different and more difficult in the UK, acknowledge by the British Geological Survey. And for that reason we should adhere more rigorously the PP. However, this government appears to have dashed headlong into this, totally ignoring it’s own commitment to PP. Where as other EU countries haven’t and have followed it. In the above interview with Cuadrilla’s CEO I mentioned he said “We welcome tighter regulation on fraking because as it stands it isn’t there at the moment!” That concerns me greatly that we may be storing up yet again, an Environment catastrophe of the magnitude or greater that what we have done in the past. The PP was conceived and agreed by all parties, so that we don’t visit on future generations the legacies of past generations visited on us. From my viewpoint, we are dealing with the fundamental ingredient of life here the nations water. A resource that gets scarcer with each passing decade and a relentless upward pressure of population growth. Such a catastrophe of widespread contamination of it would have huge impacts on those future generations to come. And that I firmly belief needs more than a wing and prayer and/or seat of the pants hope it’ll all be OK and pious political promise of cheaper energy bills.
Peter Jacobs on 01/08/2014 16:34:18
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Phil, Across the whole of northern Europe there have been thousands of wells either tested or produced by the use of hydraulic fracturing, and in all types of geological conditions. Quadrilla are just one (really very small) company who utilise hydraulic fracturing. Personally I would rather read and listen to the CEO's of Shell, Exxon and BP who individually employ more scientific personnel than the whole of Cuadrilla company wide. I don't doubt the Precautionary Principle at all considering that we have been following it for decades here in the UK Offshore Continental Shelf, and indeed it is through honoring those principles that we have arrived at a position in our drilling and production programmes that are about as safe as is physically possible. Personally I believe that it wouldn't make a scintilla of difference as to which political party were in "power" concerning the need to develop Shale Gas in the UK as all the major parties realise the driving need and the reasons behind that need. Politicians, of all parties have taken advice and commissioned studies from most, if not all, of the accepted leading specialists in this field of drilling development, including the major oil and gas companies and come to the conclusion that the process is intrinsically safe. If you think about it, the risks to a political party are in all probability a thousand times more grave than to an individual production company. Any catastrophic incident would ruin that political party's chances of forming a government for many years to come. Given the impact of the relatively recent Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, (and the fact that is has virtually wrecked BP's economy for the next couple of decades), there is not an oil company on the planet that will not take every possible preventative precaution to ensure that we do not encounter a similar incident while utilising Hydraulic Fracturing processes. Today's world is engulfed by "whats" "ifs" "buts" "maybe's" and similar scares, but it is only by facing those potential problems head-on, finding solutions and putting them in place beforehand that we are successful. And that is exactly what we have done in the offshore industry and what is currently ongoing for hydraulic fracturing.
hyperdrive on 02/08/2014 04:02:19
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There is a little bit of misinformation or misleading information in Black Kettles post and I think what Peter has said is spot on. There is much information out there if you read both sides
thecrow on 02/08/2014 07:04:33
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There is a little bit of misinformation or misleading information in Black Kettles post and I think what Peter has said is spot on. There is much information out there if you read both sides Could you explain what it is please.
Peter Jacobs on 02/08/2014 07:44:02
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Could you explain what it is please. Here, let me try: I believe it was D.P. Moynihan who once said: “You are entitled to your opinions, but not to your own facts.” So, let’s try to review some of the “facts” that are so often (mis)quoted regarding the Hydraulic Fracturing Process Firstly, the “contaminants” contained in the water: Fracking fluid is 99.51 per cent water and sand. In the remaining 0.49 per cent there are 13 chemicals, all of which can be found in your kitchen, garage or bathroom: citric acid (lemon juice), hydrochloric acid (swimming pools), glutaraldehyde (disinfectant), guar (ice cream), dimethylformamide (plastics), isopropanol (deodorant), borate (hand soap); ammonium persulphate (hair dye); potassium chloride (intravenous drips), sodium carbonate (detergent), ethylene glycol (de-icer), ammonium bisulphite (cosmetics) and petroleum distillate (cosmetics). http://www.fishingmagic.com/forums/members/peter-jacobs-albums-h_f-picture3857-fracking-fluids-components.html Another claim is that Fracking utilizes far too much water in the process: Well, the volumes of water (and remember we are finalising recovery methods in order to re-inject up to 90% of it) still equate to less than that is used on our golf Courses and certainly much less that is used in agriculture. Fracking causes earthquakes: As for earthquakes, Durham University’s definitive survey of all induced earthquakes over many decades concluded that “almost all of the resultant seismic activity [from fracking] was on such a small scale that only geoscientists would be able to detect it” and that mining, geothermal activity or reservoir water storage causes more and bigger tremors. Furthermore, Britain experiences thousands of naturally occurring earth tremours annually and have done so for hundreds of years. Fracking can lead to groundwater contamination. Disregarding the technical and geological discussion, let’s just say that if shale gas reservoirs were not capped by impervious rock then there would be no reservoir, would there. Think about it . . . . . Regarding the migration of fracturing fluids reaching the ground water you have to realise that the fluid is, by design, quite viscous and as such does not flow, over great distances, very well at all. Remember that most hydraulic fracturing takes place up to a mile or more beneath the surface so the possibility of fluid seepage is not only remote but incalculable. In the well itself we use highly robust capping materials with several degrees of failsafe built-in not to mention the actual cemented casings used in the drilling process. When capping a well there are typically 4 different caps put in place at different levels thereby producing barrier after barrier as well as cementing the actual orifice itself when plugging and abandoning a well. [url=http://www.fishingmagic.com/forums/members/peter-jacobs-albums-h_f-picture3856-well-casing.html][url]http://www.fishingmagic.com/forums/members/peter-jacobs-albums-h_f-picture3856-well-casing.html The Gasland video That video has been peer-proven to be, as the good Colonel might have said, “Bull cookies” The privately owned water well on the owner’s property was drilled into a pocket of naturally occurring methane and has nothing whatsoever to do with any hydraulic fracturing activity in the area. In fact, it had already been proven to be farcical long before Mr Salter referred to it in his article, so much so that I am very surprised that the Angling Trust didn’t undertake peer review prior to publishing! The facts are (in the USA) that tens of thousands of wells have been drilled, and two million fracking operations completed and not a single proven case of groundwater contamination.
hyperdrive on 02/08/2014 08:20:43
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Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid, CONTAMINATION During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate nearby groundwater. Methane concentrations are 17x higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells. LEFT BEHIND Only 30-50% of the fracturing fluid is recovered, the rest of the toxic fluid is left in the ground and is not biodegradable. The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, creating contaminated air, acid rain, and ground level ozone. Peter has summed it up perfectly, I was going to mention the 600 chemicals whereas in fracturing fluid there is typically between 3 and 13, the list is in Peters post. The section on contamination, this has been proved to be untrue in tests carried out in the US. Waste fluid recovery figure is also incorrect as mentioned. The use of open air pits may have been used by some operators in the US but this practice is not employed in the UK. The water and golf course is good point, the water required for the fracturing process in one well is less than is used to water a golf course for a month, and remember that it is not a continual usage in fracturing. Perhaps we could also ask the water companies to put a stop to the 1.2 billion cubic metres of water that is lost through leaking pipes in a year. The problems encountered in the US have been through poor well design and as you will see from the diagram in Peters post the well design and construction used in the UK makes it virtually impossible for leakage. On another note, conspiracy theory, I read in a news report that someone in NATO is accusing the Russians of working with the "green" groups to make sure there is plenty of disinformation. Perhaps there is something in it so we and the rest of Europe will keep buying our gas from Russia
Peter Jacobs on 02/08/2014 08:28:29
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Regarding Cuadrilla's fracturing fluid used in the UK it is 99.95% Water and Sand This is what they say on their website: "So far, as additives to fracturing fluid, Cuadrilla has only used polyacrylamide friction reducer along with a miniscule amount of salt, which acts as a tracer. We have not needed to use biocide as the water supplied by United Utilities to our Lancashire exploration well sites has already been treated to remove bacteria, nor have we used diluted hydrochloric acid in fracturing fluid. Additives proposed, in the quantities proposed, have resulted in the fracturing fluid being classified as non-hazardous by the Environment Agency." It is also worth remembering that any recovery pits that may be utilized in the UK will have to be completely covered and continually monitored.
black kettle on 02/08/2014 15:26:45
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So all the opposition and scientific facts together with detailed evidence gathered in America is all entirely wrong then? This not not based upon supposition but facts. I know what I'd rather believe. And its not propaganda that can be traced back to the money and those who want this to go ahead in the UK.
thecrow on 02/08/2014 17:06:38
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I have no idea what to think, I don't trust governments and large companies to tell the whole story or be completely open, not where large amounts of cash are involved, the recent £100k before test drilling still looks to me like a sweetener to try and quiet the locals. I just hope that when this takes place us don't knows and the doubters are not proved right with some catastrophic incident.
hyperdrive on 03/08/2014 03:39:13
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So all the opposition and scientific facts together with detailed evidence gathered in America is all entirely wrong then? This not not based upon supposition but facts. I know what I'd rather believe. And its not propaganda that can be traced back to the money and those who want this to go ahead in the UK. But you will believe the propaganda from the opposition. Like I said some of these so called "facts" have been proved to be untrue


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