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.

Further Reading

10 thoughts on “No Fracking Way

  1. What we need is drilling and fracking going on all around Chipping Norton. Where ever you look a drilling rig can be seen in all directions. Bet Cuadrilla never get permission to drill anywhere close to Chipping Norton.


  2. Hi, pleased you are picking up on this truly terrible solution to an energy policy that started by bankrupting nascent renewables companies and looks like ending by poisoning our water and air.

    But a warning – once you start looking for raw data on this fracking process the more appalled you will become. For example, you have picked up on flaring: Caudrilla’s planning application for their current ‘testing only’ operation includes flaring for up to seven days via a 13 metre high burner with a flame 2.4m WIDE at release point. This exploration at Balcombe will use ’12 Olympic pools’ worth of water to drill its single point test, the water that returns via the site cannot be returned to the ground as too dirtied with lubricants, cleaners and deep ground contaminants and has to be locally stored in sealed ponds or tankered out – to somewhere so far unspecified (or that info seems unavailable) for treatment so far not fully developed.

    Sussex faces the industrialisation of its ancient forests (the planning process has been rigged to allow whatever is needed for the national ‘good’) with miles of pipelines, thousands of tanker and equipment truck movements, and a relentless patchwork of drilling pads over the area, each with up to 16 deep radial horizontal frackings of a kilometre or so length. The test drill at Balcombe (in an AONB) is within about a mile (crow or pipeline) of Ardingly reservoir which serves 85,000 people; its cleanliness (eg no bubbling of flareable methane) depends on that theoretically impermeable rock layer and 100% success and longevity of deep underground concrete casings.

    This is not a nimby protest, it is in the front line (along with Lancashire & Ayreshire) of environmental destruction of the entire UK. And I haven’t mentioned global warming yet.

    All the Best!


  3. Thanks folks for your comments and for the additional useful information. I do however need to correct something in that article it should say ‘flammable’ gas not ‘inflammable’.. Apologies for the typing error….


  4. Pingback: Fracked if we do, Fracked if we don’t! | Portfolio Penguin

  5. Check out this article which highlights the other underlying problem that is being perhaps ‘brushed under the carpet’. This article raises the issue that countries like America are driving their shale gas industry advocating its more carbon-friendly credentials and yet there is no net reduction in emissions due to their exports of coal overseas, which in turn are being burnt by economic powerhouses such as China and India. As the article from The Guardian within the post suggests, it should perhaps be carbon extracted that is considered rather than just national emissions. There is an argument that might say that carbon extracted might not necessarily mean that what is extracted is burnt, but it does make us rethink how the finer details of this debate are considered. Portfolio Penguin have an exciting new book coming out in November all about the origins of the shale gas industry in the US.


  6. Pingback: Great News! Lancashire slams the Fracking Door in Cameron’s Face | Think Left

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