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Reaction to BBC fracking debate at Fernhurst – “wilful blindness to risk”; “disinformation and innuendo”; “beating climate change”

16th July 2014

Industry’s “systemic, wilful blindness to risk”
Jeremy Leggett, green energy entrepreneur and chair of Solarcentury, the UK’s largest independent solar electric company, told BBC Sussex:

“I have a lot of sympathy with the points being made in the debate. Look at the record of the oil and gas industry. There is a systemic and wilful blindness to risk by this industry. They are focussed in on what they want to find and what they want to bring in to market. That’s what we have to worry about with fracking.”

He said deregulation by the Bush regime allowed fracking to happen in the US and it was only now that the real stories of environmental damage were emerging.

Gas to “beat climate change”
Greg Barker,the Bexhill and Battle MP, told BBC Sussex there should be calm, rational debate about the country’s future energy needs. The former climate change minister, who resigned yesterday, said the debate about fracking was polarised with both sides of the debate putting forward “extreme views”.

“We need to make sure that each application for drilling for gas is looked at on a case by case basis, on a site by site basis, and that we employ the very highest environmental standards. In itself, gas can play a very useful role, helping to keep our bills down and helping to beat climate change because the thing that is driving the change in our atmosphere is the use of coal.”

“Disinformation, innuendo, lack of care”
Nick Riley, geologist and panellist at last night’s debate, said he would have preferred a format where audience members put questions to experts on the panel.

He accused environmentalists of using fear to oppose fracking. “It is based on things coming out of America and what you find on the internet”, he said. “The big problem with a lot of the information generated from America is that they have no baselines.” He added:

“There is a huge amount of disinformation, a lot of lack of care, a lot of innuendo, a lot of statements that can’t be substantiated, a lot of things that are clearly wrong.”

Report of last night’s meeting

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