I would challenge the UKIP NW MEP’s assertion that the NW needs fracking. (Readers’ View: “Invest in New Energy”, October 18th).
In particular, he claims fracking will create loads of jobs. The figures he quotes are less than potential jobs in other sectors of the economy.
Over 100,000 jobs are expected to be created in offshore wind and 70,000 in energy efficiency over the next decade. The 2010 Climate Jobs Report shows how one million jobs could be created to tackle the challenge of climate change, at a net investment cost of £18b.
He ignores other important factors in promoting shale gas. The latest scientific evidence shows that as much as 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. The widespread use of shale gas is incompatible with the UK’s commitments to keep global warming below 2%.
Further, the European Parliament has revised legislation on Environmental Impact Assessments to ensure member states must carry out detailed EIAs for non-conventional fossil fuel projects, such as shale gas exploration and extraction. They must also engage in public consultations before any licences can be granted. France and Bulgaria have already banned fracking in the light of its environmental damage in the US.
There are the proven risks of highly toxic pollution (e.g. methane and radon emissions). In addition, essential water supplies could easily be contaminated at source while vast volumes of water are wasted in the fracking process. With so many wells, there would be an inevitable shortage of safe drinking and irrigation water.
Finally, readers should be reminded it is considered unlawful for fracking companies to drill underneath homes without the permission of the owners. They can register their objection by going to Greenpeace’s website at www.wrongmove.org/ and entering their postcode to see if their area has been identified for fracking.