No Fracking Way



By Suzanne Kelsey

The foot in mouth award must go to the shocking elitism and ignorance shown by Lord Howells George Osborne’s father in law, when he stated that fracking was fine for the desolate areas of the North East. He then further compounded this by stating he actually meant the North West, because presumably both are far enough away from his own landscaped back garden. Wherever he meant according to a recent article in the Independent, 64 % of the British countryside could potentially be exploited.

no fracking way

Michael Fallon the energy minister announced in Parliament in May 2013 that 300 licenses had been granted for on shore exploration and that the government expected to continue its push to develop the shale gas boom. George Osborne in June 2013 has reinforced this by announcing a huge tax break for the fracking industry.

I would like to remind people that fracking is a very controversial issue worldwide with some countries banning it altogether whilst others are calling for a moratorium. A couple of years ago fracking in Lancashire had to be ceased because of significant earth tremors but apparently the county has the potential to have 840 wells over the next 16 years and exploration has now continued. In addition fracking which is hydraulic fracturing of underground rock that blasts a cocktail of toxic chemicals, water and sand into shale underground is not without its dangers that have been well documented in America. First and foremost this use of chemicals can contaminate the domestic supply and it has been known for flammable gas to appear through taps. The countryside would be dotted with metre high naked flames due to flaring of leakage and which have caused fires in America but a necessary operation because of methane emissions. At a time when we are obliged to meet carbon reduction targets to mitigate climate change, why are we relying on fossil fuels when we should be investing in renewable energy sources? In fact research has concluded that fracking is much worse for the environment in terms of greenhouse gases.

I fully sympathise with the residents of the small village in West Sussex Balcombe, who are protesting, apart from all of the above imagine having enormous trucks travelling down a country lane carrying millions of litres of contaminated water that then has to be disposed of, loss of farmland and wildlife habitat and the worrying impact on health. America has had its problems despite having wide open spaces, in a densely populated UK this could surely have grim consequences. We need to protest now as once it begins I fear it will be too late because as usual we knew the price of everything and the value of nothing.

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