Fracking: What Is It They Aren’t Telling Us?
“No Fracking Way” a protester’s sign outside of the County Hall in Preston, Lancashire, read just days before the environmental report entitled ‘Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts’ revealed what so many had suspected – that fracking does come with a significant number of health and environmental risks. Read more on the story below, and if you’re looking for environmentally-conscious specialist cleaners for your establishment, look no further than Julius Rutherfoord.
Environmental Issues: Report Reveals Suspected Truth About Fracking
After a freedom of information battle resulted in the Information Commissioner’s Office ordering that the Department for Environment release the full, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) report about fracking, a number of negative impacts about fracking operations to extract shale gas in Britain came to light.
The original published report had been heavily redacted, which led to the Green MP, Caroline Lucas, to accuse the government of censorship and of trying to hide the negative impacts of fracking. Sections that had been omitted reveal that:
- Property prices for households dependent on well water within a mile of gas wells are likely to decrease by up to 7%.
- Properties located within a 1 – 5 mile radius of the fracking operation may have higher insurance costs to cover losses in case of an explosion on the site. It goes on the say that whilst an explosion would have social impacts, ‘the probability is expected to be low if the regulator and company manage these risks effectively’, which, however reassuring it may like to sound, isn’t exactly what current residents are enthused to hear.
- It also warned that leakage of waste fluids could affect human health through polluted water, just as it had done in the US.
- Even if water wasn’t contaminated, fracking could affect human health indirectly though consumption of contaminated livestock, wildlife or agricultural products.
Again, it does attempt to reassure readers by pointing out that the USA and the UK ‘have different regulatory regimes for the treatment of waste water’, adding, ‘there are tighter environmental permit controls that will reduce the risks of ground and surface water pollution’. However, it concludes that ‘overall the potential impacts on water resource availability, aquatic habitats and ecosystems and water quality is “uncertain”’.
Energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, Tony Bosworth, said the timing of the report’s release was significant. “No wonder Defra sat on this explosive report until after the Lancashire decisions,” he said, referring to the surprise rejection by Lancashire county council of fracking by oil and shale exploration and production company Cuadrilla.
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