Sunday, 2 March 2014

Fracking will lead to contaminated water, ground, and radioactive materials being transported along rural roads.

Letter from Shan Oakes, Hull and East Riding Greens , to the Hull Daily Mail.

Fracking will not lead to 'growth, jobs and energy security', but to contaminated water, ground, and radioactive materials being transported along our rural roads.

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, accused me of scaremongering about fracking (HDM 22.2.14). I accuse him of scaremongering about energy security to try to justify this appalling process. Scraping the barrel for the last fossil fuels will not give us energy security. Far from it. The only way to get energy security is to move firmly and confidently into renewables. I would also accuse Mr Stuart of culpable complacency and disregard for his constituency if he does not take seriously the very real threats from fracking - especially to our water supply.

Renewable energy (from sun, wind, tides etc) alongside reduction in the vast amounts of energy currently wasted in our systems would give us more than we need – safely and forever, as well as creating swathes of local jobs (prospecting companies are not local and import their own people). Shale oil and gas will run out however many wells they drill (and once started, they drill hundreds of them - very deep as well as horizontal). When they have poisoned the area, destroyed the integrity of our aquifer and destabilised the geology (earthquakes have been clearly linked with fracking) the companies will pocket the cash and run. Our energy bills will not be reduced. Other states, e.g. France, have banned fracking on their soil.

Our Tory MP seems more interested in glibly stating that fracking is fine rather than addressing the facts. ' Trust the system' he is saying. Is he really unaware of what has happened where fracking has taken place? If so he should inform himself, as he is in danger of a gross betrayal of his constituents - and their children and grandchildren. Just one well could poison the drinking water for 30-40 miles as we depend on an artesian (underground) reservoir in this region. His letter is full of phrases such as the 'regulatory roadmap' (!)...things being 'robust and comprehensive', licences, planning permission, permits and consent. So he tries to convince us that we can trust the 'authorities' but neglects to mention that his Party 'worked hard' to persuade the European Union to relax its regulation of fracking! The trouble is that no amount of 'permits' and 'licences' will guarantee that our water remains uncontaminated by an extremely nasty cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals pumped at high pressure into our underground water system. Wells all leak eventually.

And we know that local councils are, in general, ignorant of the implications of fracking. Councillors have been heard to say they know nothing about it and in the next breath allow licences for fracking companies to go ahead! They cannot be trusted on this issue and nor can the Government, since both are responding to intensive lobbying and incentives from the fossil fuel industry.

As far as companies 'engaging with local communities' – yes, Rathlin, for example, is very busy mounting a charm offensive in the villages around Beverley – to the point where some villagers of Bishop Burton refused to admit one solitary anti-fracking speaker into their recent meeting ... I call this heads in the sand. What were they scared of? ... And Rathlin got their original licence to drill on the promise that they would not frack. But now they have changed their minds - as we knew they would. ... But if some residents of Bishop Burton and other villages are a pushover for the frackers, they are likely to find themselves responsible for the contamination of the water for the whole of Hull and the East Riding

Mr Stuart purports to stand for rural communities. If fracking goes ahead in East Yorkshire there will not be much 'rural' left. Fracking will not lead to 'growth, jobs and energy security', but to contaminated water, ground, and radioactive materials being transported along our rural roads. It will also put paid to tourism and the rural splendour of the Wolds.

Unlike Mr Stuart I do not trust a system which is clearly causing mayhem on a planetary scale, and I will fight it on my patch.

Shan Oakes
Candidate for the Greens for Yorkshire and the Humber in Europe 2014

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