Residents from regions under threat from ‘fracking’ (hydraulic fracturing) will today deliver a letter to David Cameron calling for a ban on shale gas and coal bed methane exploitation in the UK. In an effort to step up the focus of attention on this harmful technique and its effect on people, landscape and ecosystems in Britain, residents of Sussex, Falkirk, Belfast, the Fylde, the Ribble Estuary and the Vale of Glamorgan have come together as a UK-wide deputation to ask for action, not words, on this crucial subject.
The credentials of the ‘Greenest Government Ever’ are already in tatters and to allow fracking in the UK would be the final nail in the coffin for Cameron’s green agenda.
Fracking is a technique used for extracting natural gas from shale rock or coal seams. Shale gas is released by causing underground detonations and injecting millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals into the earth at high pressure to create fissures. Test fracks in Lancashire in April and May 2011 caused earthquakes of magnitude 2.3 and 1.4, one of which caused structural damage to a house 10 miles away. Unconventional methane extraction poses many actual and potential environmental concerns, including impact on climate change, groundwater pollution, air pollution, water depletion and earth tremors.
The current narrative about energy has heavily featured a new ‘dash for gas’ in the UK as a major strand in energy policy. This week the government launched their long awaited Energy Bill and today’s action shines light on a problem that is not featured in the thinking around energy policy: that there will be massive local opposition to the destructive practice of fracking. This local opposition will make the dash for gas even more of a pipe dream.
Today’s action takes place amid a weekend of anti-fracking and climate change protest which is occurring across the country, while a recent YouGov poll showed overwhelming
support for renewable energy development in the UK.
Vanessa Vine from BIFF! (Britain & Ireland Frack Free) said “Fracking for shale gas and coal bed methane is an uneconomical and ecocidal attempt to address Britain’s critical energy needs. It might “keep the lights on” for another fifteen to twenty years – but we would then find ourselves in a worse energy predicament than we are now. Landscapes would be despoiled, water courses irreparably contaminated and we would have poured countless tons of methane and CO2 into the atmosphere. When will our Prime Minister stand by his claim of leading the “greenest government ever”, order an immediate ban on
this unintelligent and short-sighted dash for gas and invest instead in safe and truly renewable energy generation?”
Fracking technology has enabled the USA to overtake Russia as the world’s largest natural gas producer and has covered large areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wyoming, Colorado, West Virginia and other states with thousands of concrete aprons the size of football pitches. Chemicals used in fracking have been linked to diseases in humans and livestock, soil toxicity, algal blooms and ‘dead river’ syndrome in the USA and Australia.
According to the anti-fracking website Frack Off, recent claims of declining US carbon emissions being due to shale gas exploitation are in fact due to a drop in US economic output. Once fugitive emissions of methane and heavy tanker traffic are taken into account, fracking for shale gas has a higher carbon footprint than coal.
Letter to David Cameron: David Cameron Re Fracking Ban 1.12.12
Vanessa Vine – BIFF! (Britain & Ireland Frack Free) / Frack Free Sussex 01342 810238 07597 970360
Gayzer Tarjanyi Frack Free Fylde 07761 544179
For technical information and news on fracking in the UK and around the world see frack-off.org.uk and Facebook Page: BIFF! (Britain & Ireland Frack Free) tinyurl.com/bq4ce4m