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Contacting Your MP - Help Required
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Murf



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:17 am    Post subject: Contacting Your MP - Help Required Reply with quote

Anyone got any experience of this? I want to contact my local MP here in Liverpool to ask him to support his Labour colleague (Worsley and Eccles South MP) Barbara Keeley in opposing IGas's exploritory fracking job about 30 miles down the road from here in Barton Moss.

I've never written to my MP before but I feel I should over this issue, even though I have a sneaking suspicion that it would be just as useful to write to Santa Claus instead.

In any case, if anyone has experience of corresponding with MPs before, could you please advise me on the content of the email I'm planning?

How far should I go in to explaining the details of why I'm opposed to fracking? Should I do any/all of the following:

1) Ask him to bring it up with someone higher up (e.g. Minister of State for Energy, Shadow Minister of State for Energy, etc.)? Any other suggestions as to who?

2) Ask him to publicly oppose fracking, perhaps specifically to this new site in Barton Moss?

3) Point him to any You Tube links to documentaries like "Split Estate" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj1Am482zlo) or "The Truth Behind The Dash For Gas" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kruG8sTZy6g)?

If I write an essay about it will he not be arsed reading it? If I'm too succinct, will he not take it seriously?

Any advice or inspiration welcome! Thanks in advance.
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Blue Peter



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 1936
Location: Milton Keynes

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know about the other aspects of your post, but actually contacting your MP is very easy, e.g. use the site: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

which allows you to type your message and send it to your MP.

Ken writes very eloquant and well-argued letters to his various representatives, though I am more skeptical and suspect that they don't read, consider and inwardly digest, but simply register that there's someone for/against some issue. If they see that enough people are for/against it, they will act (in their own interests, i.e. votes), otherwise they have many more things to deal with.


Peter.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a few links to start you off:

Here, here, (scroll down the page to get the letter), some ideas here, here and there are plenty more out there in webland.

My tips - keep it short, one side of an A4, put your salient points at the top, make sure your grammar and spelling are impeccable (enlist someone to proof read) and your wording is unambiguous.
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Murf



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response Peter. I was just going to email him. Is there any advantage to doing it through that site (e.g. does it get recorded that he's been contacted)? My wife emailed him a while back about a different issue and a fortnight later received a postcard back saying "thank you for contacting us" and that was that.

So keep it short and sweet, you reckon or it'll get ignored?
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Murf



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks emordnilap. I have a load of links to articles, videos, reports, etc. lined up. I don't know whether to bombard him with them all at once at the risk of over-facing him with information or go for the gradual reveal over a correspondance. Which of course could fall flat if all I get back is a postcard off his secretary.

My main worry is that I'm emailing him about something happening thirty miles away. Of course it would help out his party colleague and also may potentially reduce the appetite for any applications closer to home if there was a demonstrable opposition before any plans were even discussed.

Anyhow, I've added your links to my cache and will be sure to use them. Thanks!
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Blue Peter



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 1936
Location: Milton Keynes

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murf wrote:
Thanks for the response Peter. I was just going to email him. Is there any advantage to doing it through that site (e.g. does it get recorded that he's been contacted)? My wife emailed him a while back about a different issue and a fortnight later received a postcard back saying "thank you for contacting us" and that was that.

So keep it short and sweet, you reckon or it'll get ignored?


The site has some software behind it, and I think it does register things like whether the MP responds (they email you a few weeks later to ask if you got a proper reply).

I am certainly not an expert. My gut says short and sweet, others say more detailed and well-argued (but still concise). It probably depends upon the MP, and the issue, but put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would respond to various emails from your constituents (most of which you personally can do very little about),


Peter.

P.S. I doubt that any are ignored. They all register in some sense (unless the MP is a fool or has a huge majority or is retiring), but they may fail to respond for whatever reason.
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Murf



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blue Peter wrote:
P.S. I doubt that any are ignored. They all register in some sense (unless the MP is a fool or has a huge majority or is retiring), but they may fail to respond for whatever reason.


Well it has been said of my ward that you could pin a red rosette on a donkey and it would get elected. I'm sure that's not the case here though!

I guess I may just have to badger him about it.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murf wrote:
My main worry is that I'm emailing him about something happening thirty miles away.


30 miles? What about CO2 emissions? Laughing And where does your water come from?

Not only that, this isn't a 'nimby' thing. It's a 'niaby' but don't use that. Cool I'm against fracking in England and I don't live there.
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cubes



Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 565
Location: Norfolk

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the MPs is genuinely interested in the subject already you may get a decent response. Otoh, you'll get a stock answer "from the minister responsible" if there's no interest or good press for them.
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kenneal - lagger
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Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 9815
Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can get contact details of your MP from the Parliamentary website here

Who you get a response from to your email or letter, I always email as its easier and cheaper, will depend on how you word the letter and who is competent to answer the questions. My MP sometimes answers and sometimes sends the letter onto the correct Ministry. Sometimes I get an answer from both. If you want an answer from a Ministry send your query to your MP because the Ministry is bound by law to answer an MP whereas they can ignore you for as long as they wish.

As Blue Peter says in a very complimentary way, thank you BP, above I usually set out my reasons for or against something as I consider it my duty to ensure my MP knows the background to my request. My MP does read most of what I send him because I usually get a reasoned reply back. This was less so when he was a Minister when I sometimes got a typical Ministry reply - the official line even if it was completely irrelevant to what I had asked!.

I would give him your reasons for opposing fracking because he may need educating about the full limitations and disbenefits of fracking. All he may know is what is said officially which is probably just industry propaganda.

By all means ask him to come out against it. You want to know where he stands.

Give his as much information as you can for the reasons laid out two paragraphs above.

Good luck!
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Last edited by kenneal - lagger on Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Murf



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again everyone. Here is what I've got so far. All suggestions welcome!

(note some personal details have been changed)


Requesting Your Support for Barbara Keeley MP (Labour - Worsley and Eccles South) Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing

Dear Santa Claus,

Firstly, to introduce myself, my name is The Grinch and I live with my wife and two children in an enchanted tree house, about a quarter of a mile from your constituency office.

I am contacting you regarding the drilling operation about to commence in Barton Moss, Eccles. I ask that you lend your support to your Labour colleague Barbara Keeley MP, who is opposing the exploritory drilling for shale gas and coal bed methane by IGas[1]. (please see references below)

Why am I contacting you regarding something happening twenty-seven miles down the road? There are several reasons why residents of Lapland should be concerned about this.

Hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") uses millions of gallons of fresh drinking water per well to fracture the rock strata deep beneath the earth. Wells at the recent Balcombe site (where drilling was stopped following massive protests) were going to be spaced at four wells per square mile[2].

Obviously if this process was to be repeated around the region, this would put a huge strain our our fresh water supply. I fear that water scarcity, if not problematic enough in itself, would also lead to increased costs for our water supply.

Additionally, water used for fracking is mixed with toxic chemicals before being put into the ground which, along with minerals and salts picked up from deep underground, renders the water unusable and untreatable. Around half of this produced water is generally recovered to be stored in tanks, while the rest stays underground. Where, along with the methane released from the fracturing, it has been shown to seep into the water table and aquifers[3][4].

This fracturing of the rock strata also leads to increased seismic activity. This has been shown recently in Blackpool[5] and also in the USA[6] and Canada[7].

What would happen to the value of my house and the cost of (or likelihood of obtaining) home insurance if my family and I suddenly find ourselves living in an area experiencing regular earthquakes caused by nearby industrial activity?

You can also see that Barton Moss is not an isolated case of potential fracturing in the region if you look at the map found on http://frack-off.org.uk/the-big-picture/. The coloured boxes show areas under licence for coal bed methane and shale gas drilling.

As you will see from the map, this includes most of the Wirral (IGas are looking to start up another test well in Ellesmere Port[8]) and along the south side of the Mersey all the way up to just inside the M60. This is all licensed to IGas. From there back east along the M62 up to J5 (the one just before the Rocket), all land between the motorway and the river is carved up into licensed areas for IGas, Dart Energy and Alkane Energy.

These areas include Netherley, Gateacre, Halewood, Hunts Cross, Speke, Garston and Allerton. Even Calderstones Park is covered by one of the license blocks.

Further north, there is also a block in the Mersey estuary (Riverside Energy) and one square block running from Crosby to Kirkby along its southern extent and north to up past Formby and Ormskirk (EDP). Further north again, most of West Lancashire is licensed to Cuadrilla, who failed to drill at Balcombe.

As you can see, this is not just a problem for a few isolated rural communities far away from Lapland. By standing with Barbara Keeley MP, you will be directly helping your constituency, plus demonstrating a lack of social licence for such drilling in our area, should this practice move even closer to home.

As several companies have already paid to acquire licences in our area, it would seem likely this will happen before long. By declaring opposition to this now, you could potentially deter this drilling from getting closer to Lapland.

Finally, I would just like to point out that there is great opposition to fracking from a diverse range of sources worldwide. Moratoria are now being placed on fracking in many parts of the US due to the environmental damage that has been incurred and that is now coming to light.

Bans on fracking are enforced in many countries worldwide, including France [9], Germany[10], Bulgaria [11], Czech Republic[12] and Netherlands[13]. Also areas of Switzerland[14], Spain[15], Canada[16] and Australia[17] are outright banning or restricting the use of this technology.

A good documentary on the experience of a community in the US who have experienced fracking at close quarters is "Split Estate". This is far from the only such documentary, but it can be viewed freely on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj1Am482zlo. If fracking can cause such problems in very sparsely populated areas of the USA and Australia, these problems would surely be greatly magnified in a country as densely populated as the UK.

Please stand with Barbara Keeley MP in Worsley and Eccles South and against fracking in our region.

Regards,

The Grinch


References:

[1] http://www.barbarakeeley.co.uk/barbara-objects-to-drilling-permit-application-

[2] http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2016997/the_uks_anti_fracking_movement_is_growing.html

[3] http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/02/fracking-radioactive-water-pennsylvania/2904829/

[4] http://sites.nicholas.duke.edu/avnervengosh/files/2012/12/PNAS_Jacksonetal2013.pdf

[5] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-15550458

[6] http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/11/us-science-fracking-earthquakes-idUSBRE96A0TZ20130711

[7] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/fracking-causes-minor-earthquakes-b-c-regulator-says-1.1209063

[8] http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/worsley-mp-barbara-keeley-have-5937945

[9] http://www.thelocal.fr/20131011/breaking-france-upholds-ban-on-fracking

[10] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=new-german-govt-would-put-moratoriu

[11] http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=150254

[12] http://www.petroleum-economist.com/Article/3085328/Czech-Republic-nears-fracking-moratorium.html

[13] http://blueandgreentomorrow.com/2013/09/20/the-netherlands-puts-temporary-ban-on-fracking-ahead-of-further-research/

[14] http://coalseamgasnews.org/news/world/switzerland-joins-worldwide-ban-on-gas-fracking/

[15] http://news.msn.com/world/spain-votes-unanimously-to-ban-fracking

[16] http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/critics-say-suit-against-quebec-fracking-ban-show-perils-of-free-trade-deals-1.1482083

[17] http://www.resources.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/458018/TOUGH-NEW-RULES-FOR-COAL-SEAM-GAS-ACTIVITY.pdf
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cue the troll(s).
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Murf



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
Cue the troll(s).


Why, what's wrong with it? I'm hoping to get a positive response from Santa, so if you think I've put it in a way that is going to be dismissed by someone less sympathetic to the cause, it'd be useful for me to know.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murf wrote:
emordnilap wrote:
Cue the troll(s).


Why, what's wrong with it?


Not you. Cool
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the letter was to Santa Claus, fine. If you were to send it to your MP it will fail.

Yours sincerely

A. Troll (probably).
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