Fracking is a real threat to Lancashire

It is good to see Burnley growing greener: the Forest of Burnley; the work done on the rivers and the wildflower meadows.

The Burnley Express published a fine article recently about fracking. I imagine it was only lack of space that limited all Mr Penney had to say about the problem. It is not just industrialisation of our countryside. Fracking is a real threat to Lancashire.

It is proposed that a mixture of water, sand and toxic chemicals will be forced under pressure into the ground where it will fracture shale beds and drive out gas. No-one has been able to tell what method or what fuel will be used to produce the water pressure.

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Coming back, the water will be heavily polluted and may have to be taken away by lorries consuming fuel, causing congestion and emitting carbon dioxide. Earthquakes, air pollution and toxic spills are also associated with fracking.

In Burnley we have the Straight Mile carrying the canal above the town centre and the railway carried by a viaduct, so it is not a good place for underground explosions. The Government wants to allow fracking under anyone’s property without asking consent.

Below ground there are two more problems. The pipes bringing up the gas and the linings of the wells are liable to fail. Secondly, Lancashire had a coalfield stretching from Everton to Colne. Underground, the county is honeycombed with old mining works, not all mapped. The Lofthouse mining disaster occurred when miners broke through to old workings, allowing an inrush of three and a half million gallons. What else waits down below?

And finally, shale gas is just another fossil fuel. It can’t and won’t reduce carbon emissions!

Avril Hesson

Burnley Friends of the Earth