Medact, the organization of health professionals for a safer, fairer and better world, has called for a five year moratorium on fracking due to its serious hazards to public health, writes Paul Mobbs. Their new report is a powerful challenge to government policy that cannot be ignored.
The arguments against fracking on public health and ecological grounds are overwhelming. There are clear grounds for adopting the precautionary principle and prohibiting fracking.
Medact, the UK-based public health group concerned with the social and ecological determinants of health, have published their long-awaited report on the impacts of fracking upon public health. First announced last year, following Public Health England’s questionable report into the impacts of shale gas, Medact’s review considers a number of existing reviews of the evidence of ‘fracking’ on public health. Given the likely public health consequences of climate change, it also examines claim that shale gas might aid the transition towards a low carbon energy system. The conclusion of the report, which is likely to beget further vitriol from the UK’s pro-fracking lobby, is clear: “On the basis of our existing knowledge, it would be both prudent and responsible to call for, at the very least, a five year moratorium on all activities related to shale gas development … ”
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The financial and environmental costs of shale extraction in Europe outweigh any benefits from a decade of energy supply, according to a study from New Energy Watch.
The study, which particularly focuses on Germany as it consider its fracking regulations, claims that the environmental impacts are “in no way proportionate” to the resources available to be extracted through hydraulic fracturing.
Werner Zittel, the author of the study, said that when debating European fracking it makes no sense to compare the situation with the US. He argues that because the areas in Germany and Europe in general are more densely populated, with residents in closer proximity to drilling sites.
Hans-Josef Fell, president of the Energy Watch Group said that “unlike in the United States, which is the only country conducting fracking at a commercially relevant scale, the method cannot achieve a sufficient result from extraction in Europe”.
Fell suggests that Germany lacks the infrastructure to properly exploit its shale reserves and that the costs to support the industry would be too great for an energy source that he believes will only be viable for ten years.
He also expresses concern that fracking poses too great of an environmental risk to be seriously considered: “it is completely incomprehensible that government policy in support of fracking predominates from Brussels to London and all the way to Berlin, at the burden of environmental protection and against the will of the population affected.”
Hubertus Zdebel, a member of the Bundestag says “the only ones who will profit short-term from growth in this kind of natural gas are big energy companies… instead of continuing to intensify gas extraction, we need sustainable solutions for our energy needs.”
A star in the making!!!!
I think it is safe to assume that the outcome of the LCC planning meeting in late April will have a massive impact on the future of the shale gas industry in the UK and possibly the election results in May
We know that thousands of people have already spoken out against Cuadrilla’s fracking proposals and Lancashire Council’s Planning Officer recommended that its previous application should have been rejected.
During the period of time since Cuadrilla’s application Scotland and Wales have both suspended fracking because of climate change, and environmental and public health worries.
We must hope that the Lancashire Councillors will continue to stand up for local peoples’ health and environment and not let their county become the UK’s guinea pig for this unnecessary and polluting technology
Please take a look and make your feelings known directly to LCC, the outcome will impact throughout the UK, so it is especially important that we continue to increase the number of representations to an all-time high.
Just in case you have not already had the opportunity to visit the link below please take a look at the Consultation statement detailing the revised submission data issued by Cuadrilla
Consultation is due to take place on extra information submitted to Lancashire County Council as part of planning applications for shale gas development at two sites in the county.
In June 2014 the council received applications from Cuadrilla to drill, frack, and test gas flows, with associated separate applications for environmental monitoring, at Preston New Road at Little Plumpton, and Roseacre Wood at Roseacre.
In January 2015 the Development Control Committee decided to defer determination of the applications after Cuadrilla asked to submit further proposals intended to mitigate concerns raised by planning officers.
Further information on both sites has now been provided by Cuadrilla and Lancashire County Council will carry out consultation from Friday 20 March to Friday 17 April to allow representations to be made.
The further information for the Roseacre Wood site relates to noise, traffic, air emissions and visual impact. The extra information for the Preston New Road site relates to noise, air emissions and visual impact.
The information will be published on the council’s website and made available at libraries in Lytham, St Annes, Ansdell and Kirkham, and at the offices of Fylde Borough Council in Lytham St Annes.
Following the consultation the council’s planners will assess the new information and responses to the consultation before making recommendations to the Development Control Committee.
The following link takes you to the LLC site and the links to each of the new submissions made by Cuadrilla on noise, pollution, traffic etc
Anyone who wishes to make representations should write to the county council at
The Development Management Group, Lancashire County Council, County Hall, PO Box 100, Preston, PR1 0LD,
By email to DevCon@lancashire.gov.uk by Friday 17 April 2015 or via the ‘Have your say’.
All representations that have been received to date will still be taken into account.
Consultation begins today on extra information submitted to Lancashire County Council (LCC) as part of Cuadrilla’s planning applications for shale gas development at Preston New Road at Little Plumpton (Application number LCC/2014/0096), and Roseacre Wood at Roseacre (Application number LCC/2014/0101). You can find the new information on theLCC website here.
Advice on the objection process can be found at http://frackfreelancashire.org.uk/. It’s not rocket science.