Letters: Fracking

Anti- fracking notice at Bleasdale
Anti- fracking notice at Bleasdale

Possible fracking in the area.

On January 12, more than 500 activists, trade unionists and environmental campaigners joined a march and demonstration against fracking on Barton Moss, Salford.

IGas have been carrying out ‘exploratory drilling’ for several months.

The average fracking well has a short production life leaving the English countryside a pin cushion of rusting rigs as we will be back to importing gas from abroad.

While the system is banned in France, the French energy giant Total is to invest in the UK.

Unlike the establishment parties, plus UKIP, the Socialist Party links the struggle against fracking with the struggle against council cuts and austerity.

Our members would greatly welcome and give their full support to a local No Fracking Campaign.

Derek Evans

Regent Avenue, Harrogate

Re: Fracking. Why we mustn’t.

The main reason fracking should not be pursued is that it releases yet more hydrocarbons in to the atmosphere.

This is indisputable yet the conservative politicians and others never address this in any of their comments on this subject.

Yet, whether or not you agree that climate change is occurring doesn’t really matter - it is just never a good idea to contaminate one’s environment with such substances when other options exist and could be at least as well supported.

Governments are and will indeed bribe communities and councils (with short-term promises about more employment, profits to councils etc) because people are hard up and politicians want to be elected or re-elected; because they have interests in big business and it is much easier to buy people off quickly than worry about developing a properly thought out energy policy which is less polluting, more sustainable and which would care for the environment we all live in - which is perfectly possible.

Why are people who want to protect the environment always characterised as wanting us all to live in mud huts and become tree huggers?

I don’t want either; but I do believe it is completely possible to live in an environment which is sustainable without having all the heating and lights go out etc.

You just need to think and plan properly, something which seems alien to most British politicians.

But, as has been happening in China recently, pollution levels have risen so much that in some areas there are extremely serious health problems occurring and it is now questioned: what good rising prosperity when you cannot breathe?

Matt the cartoonist has it right when his couple staring out of their window comment: thank goodness dear, the fracking chimneys are obliterating our view of the wind turbines. If it is too good to be true then it usually is.

Dr Friedy Luther

Beech Lane, Spofforth

Fracking presents a number of problems, especially water supplies and closing down exhausted wells.

Fracking uses enormous volumes of water. Where will this water come from? And more importantly, how will the contaminated water be stored, cleaned and recycled?

You can’t switch off a gas well like turning off a tap.

Eventually there will not be enough gas coming out of the shale to cover the cost of extracting it.

The well must be capped so that the gas never never leaks out into the surrounding rocks and into the water supply.

Who will be responsible for these capped closed wells? For how long? Ten years? Twenty years? A hundred years?

The contracts offered to the energy companies must cover these long-term liabilities.

Valerie Smith

West End Avenue, Harrogate


Your headline article is very pertinent in view of the government’s untimely haste in pursuing the development of this industry not just on a local but also on a national basis.

May I first of all say that, contrary to what the government and the fracking industry would have us believe, ‘fracking’ is not the same animal as the more aggressive ‘shale gas fracking’ so we must not be misled by the pro-propaganda which seeks to imply that it is.

There are many myths generated by the government, hand-in-glove with the industry, that need to be exposed, for example, on jobs, cheap energy, community benefits and safeguards and so on, but in the interest of brevity, I am highlighting just one and that is in relation to Water, both its usage demands and its disposal.

I will use figures provided by the European Union to emphasise the concerns:

1. The operating site, called a ‘Pad’, on which the well is sunk is equivalent in surface area to five-six football pitches,

2. Fracking a well for shale gas requires, on average, 5 million gallons of fluid pumped-in under extremely high pressure. This fluid is 99.5 per cent water and sand and 0.5 per cent chemicals,

3. At the above rate 0.5 per cent equals some 25,000 gallons of chemicals mostly benign but some toxic and some carcinogenic,

4. Each Well is usually fracked several times,

5. Each Pad can and usually does accommodate between eight-10 Wells,

6. Due to the nature of the strata in which the gas is located it is usually necessary to open-up more than one Pad. Experience elsewhere has shown that up to eight Pads per square mile is not uncommon,

7. The prospect, based on experience in USA and Australia, is, therefore, eight Pads per square mile on each of which there will be 10 Wells each likely to be fracked between eight-10 times bearing in mind that each frack requires an average 5 million gallons of mainly fresh water,

8. Perhaps the most disturbing feature of the operation is that of the 5 million gallons of fluid pumped-in only some 40 per cent (2 million gallons) is actually recovered leaving 3 million gallons (including some 15,000 gallons of chemicals) underground to freely migrate to who-knows-where. Can any right-minded person regard this as acceptable?

9. Consider also that the recovered fluid (which cannot be used again) then has to be disposed of. There are very few suitable treatment plants in this country that are able to deal with this toxic waste so what will happen to it? No-one knows (many can guess), not even the fracking industry or Water UK, the umbrella organisation for the water industry.

10. Water UK have expressed grave concerns both in regard to the demands of the fracking industry on water supply, fearing adverse effects on domestic supplies, and the complications associated with the disposal of the toxic waste.

Once more, can any right-minded person regard this as acceptable?

Politicians, be they local or national, need to take this issue seriously and investigate it thoroughly as the damage to our lands and our environment are irreversible once the frackers are given the green light. The surface damage is what will be first noticed but the real damage, which cannot be seen, is likely to be found deep underground to emerge in five, 10 or 100 years from now.

Politicians must be prepared to take personal responsibility and not merely parrot propaganda issued by party headquarters, the future is far more important than that!

Finally, I urge everyone, including our MP and our council leader, to view two documentaries namely ‘Gaslands’, graphically demonstrating the experiences in the USA, and ‘Split Estate’, doing the same for Australian experience. Both can be viewed on YouTube and may just explain why I and others around me are concerned about this subject.

John Lawrence

Euclid Avenue, Harrogate