Fracking report reads like industry shopping list – campaigners

Opponents of fracking in North Yorkshire have criticised the report by the Shale Gas Task Force published this morning for not representing their views.

Frack Free Ryedale

Frack Free Ryedale rally in Malton

A statement from Frack Free Ryedale said aspects of the report read like “an industry shopping list” with very little input from local communities.

The Task Force said the report was based on research with industry, academics, campaigners and communities.

But Frack Free Ryedale said:

“It is telling that when the Task Force were in Ryedale, they spent a whole day with fracking company Third Energy, but did not bother to contact the communities that would be affected by fracking or the local campaign group, Frack Free Ryedale.

“It is therefore not surprising this report contains a lot of what the industry wants, and very little from the communities affected.”

“Government and industry spin”

The group raised questions about the independence of the industry-funded Task Force. It said many people saw the Task Force as “yet another attempt at Government and industry spin, designed to persuade people that this toxic industry should be given free rein to industrialise the countryside up and down the land.”

“Aspects of the report read like an industry shopping list, such as removal of full planning consent before boreholes can be drilled, and the establishment of a single body to oversee regulations.”

“Glaring omission”

Frack Free Ryedale also said the report had a “glaring omission” because it failed to give any serious consideration to the growing body of evidence relating to negative health impacts.

“There have been over 175 reports on fracking and health published since the Public Health England report in 2012, and by far the majority of these conclude that fracking causes serious health problems.

“However, The Task Force merely recommends the outdated PHE report is only updated once the UK has a ‘statistically significant’ number of wells – by which time it will be too late for those unlucky enough to be living nearby. It seems essential that PHE revise their very limited document immediately, based on current evidence, and not wait till the UK itself has been fracked.”

“Last week Holland joined Scotland, Wales, France, New York State and many other places by banning fracking due to health concerns – what do they know that we don’t?”

Regulation not strict enough

Friends of the Earth said the report recognised the struggle to make controversial fracking technology acceptable to the British public. It also confirmed that regulation of shale gas was not strict enough, the campaign group said.

“Despite reassuring words from a Government and industry desperate to get fracking, UK regulations are not tough enough.”

“But tougher rules can only make fracking safer, not safe. This dangerous technology will always carry risks for the local environment and people’s health, as well as adding to climate change – so no amount of regulation or industry-funded task forces will make people embrace fracking.”

FoE added: “It is crazy to be digging up more fossil fuels when we need to leave four fifths of reserves in the ground to avoid runaway climate change”.

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