UK MPs put on legal notice of fracking risks

Medact Notice 1

Jojo Mehta and Gayzer Frackman

A group of environmental campaigners hand-delivered warnings to every UK MP yesterday that they could be in breach of their code of conduct by supporting fracking.

The group visited Downing Street to serve a legal notice on the Prime Minister. On the same day boxes of personally-addressed copies of the notice were delivered to the House of Commons mail room for the 649 other MPs.

Medact Notice 3

Each notice was accompanied by a copy of a report by the charity Medact (link) on the health impacts of fracking. This drew attention to more than 450-reviewed publications and said “a significant majority indicate potential risks or actual adverse health effects associated with shale gas development”. The report recommended halting shale gas development in the UK until a more detailed health and environmental impact assessment had been carried out.

This is the second time MPs have received formal warnings about fracking and their duty of care. In January 2015, during the passage of the Infrastructure Act, Jojo Mehta, of Frack Free Five Valleys, mailed letters to them containing a warning about risks and harms of fracking. (Link)

Yesterday, she was joined by the Lancashire anti-fracking campaigner, Gayzer Frackman. He was on the 22nd day of a hunger strike in Whitehall calling for a ban on fracking.

Ms Mehta said:

“All public servants in the UK have a duty of care and that is to act in the public interest. It means not doing any harm. So if they continue to promote fracking in the knowledge that it can bring harm then that can constitute a breach of their duty of care and their code of conduct.”

“We delivered to House of Commons mail room so that we know that they will actually be delivered to each of our MPs. That means that they have legally been served. Legally they cannot claim that they have not seen these reports. They cannot claim that they did not know that fracking is dangerous.”

The MPs’ Code of Conduct (link) requires:

“Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents.”

“Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest.”

Gayzer Frackman, who spoke at the inquiry into Cuadrilla’s applications to frack in Lancashire, said:

“My community has been living in fear now for over two years and these are just regular ordinary people.”

“I don’t want any other community to have to go through it. We still have a chance to end it in this country. There’s been no fracking going on for over five years now and that’s just down to communities.

“They’re the backbone, they’re the people that work many hours a day. Why? Because they’re fighting for their communities and they’re fighting for their children’s futures.”

Ms Mehta and Mr Frackman were joined by Emily Shirley, of Safety in Fossil Fuel Exploitation Alliance, and Shahrar Ali, deputy leader of the Green Party.

19 replies »

  1. Which I am sure would apply if pretty much every geologist and scientific institution hadn’t said it could be done safely and if the Medact report hadn’t been highly criticised itself.

    More paper for the waste bin…

    • Gary, do you require another copy pasting on this webpage, of the long list of medical professionals, Engineers and Scientists who say that fracking is highly dangerous to public health and that it should be banned ???

      • I think all reports and studies you mentioned jackthelad concluded that shale and fracking is potentially harmful if unregulated and no measures to monitor. All concluded that these concerns can be addressed and mitigated under planning and environmental protection law.
        If it’s as doom as you said million of fracking wells in the US would have killed or damaged public health of hundreds of thousands people in US over the past decade already and all the companyies would’ve been sued and out of business.
        So most of claims by the antis are extremely and exaggerated.

      • I’m afraid you cannot hide the truth like that Jackthelad. Geological consensus is clearly that it is low risk and can be done safely if regulated. I struggle to think of any scientific institution not saying the same. The only groups saying the opposite are the likes of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth or those funded by anti fossil fuel groups, i.e. those doing partisan and biased science. Its really as simple as that. Just open your eyes and look at the science honestly. Stop choosing only those that agree with you and ignoring wider scientific opinion.

      • Shame Garry couldn’t post all those links to the ”experts” reports he says exist showing fracking is safe……I keep asking and asking for these reports on the safety of fracking and yet instead hundreds more showing how dangerous it is keep being published globally on a daily basis.

  2. TW,
    The bad news coming from America regarding fracking is relentless and thats in a country where it would appear that the chips have always been stacked in favour of the Oil and Gas industry. ( As everyone knows, over there, money talks in politics )

    To take one of these multi million dollar corporations to court is near impossible, as most people would run out of cash for legal fees before it even reached pre trial.

    If you want to read about the dangers of fracking, don’t take my word for it ladies and gentleman, just Google search a few different combinations of words like, Fracking Dangers, Doctors and Fracking, Health risks Fracking, etc, etc.

    Then ask youself, who do you believe ??


    Some of the worlds leading medical institutes, research centres and health organisations chaired by Nobel Peace Prize Winners, Professors, Doctors, Scientists, Engineers and leading academics who strongly warn about the dangers of fracking


    The heads of a few fracking companies who have their own personal vested interests in the progression of fracking within the UK. Who hold their meetings behind closed doors beyond the reach of public scrutiny.

    I leave it to you to decide.

    • The even worse news is after Scarborough yesterday, where scarily one vanity lead, ego centred, hubristic neanderthal fracker told the small audience, not to worry about dangers, leave it to me…that’s my job…….

      Clearly he is a bloke who hasn’t yet joined the rest of the human race in equality and accountability and transparent public accounting……………..

      Left to him countless offshore PEDL accredited drillers have decimated marine environments, blown up gas platforms and killed sperm whales, etc etc, and yet this neanderthal imagines none of us read the disasters of offshore drilling…and imagines none of us happen to know or be related to those connected with them…………………..yet expects us to delude ourselves that because he is neanderthal man all is right in his world of denial and he can just as appallingly troll out the same levels of pollution and damage onshore……the mind boggles………

  3. I have been studying the American plight under a track friendly policy which has few controlls . There are lawsuits in *every* state, in every town. The cost to the system in lawsuits between town and state are in the billions. This does not include significant drops in property values. No insurance or title company protects homeowners against subsidence, pokuted groundwater, illness,Damage to business (HorseHill) or related medical issues because the risk is TOO HIGH! If the ppl cannot be orotected by insurance then it is not viable at all!!!

    Further it is careless for MPs to allow a practice where harmful acid and other chemicals bubble up to the surface and methane gas clouds are allowed to exist and there us no safe way to do hydraulic or acid/chemical fracking!

    Finally fracking is a shady business where local citizens lose their voice over state control because it is easier and cheaper for tracking cos to control a few MPs or just the prime minister vs debating mps throughout the country. One example is where power companies in Florida were recently permitted to charge customers for exploratory fracking projects in other states with the customer absorbing any loss. I would be sick yo learn that I am forced to finance a project which I am morally against.

  4. Regulation will be by the Environment Agency, who are already on notice of 20% budget cuts over the next two years while their already stretched maintaining their existing statutory duties.
    Regulation is just a comfort blanket.

  5. The most frightening aspect is the fact that, as with the US, our water industry is now privatised, and as with the US is now open to as much spin and corruption as recently found in Ohio where the mayor, EPA and water industry shareholders failed over decades to act upon serious levels of lead in water supplies………

    Erin Brokovitch is now collecting case studies and calling on the Mayor to resign as she pursue a lawsuit,…….coming soon to a town near you……………….

    ”Water is an essential resource and should never ever be seen as a source of profit”, wrote one person on her blog about the issue….too true, but when the tories sell even their own granny……………………water is an easy target for their shareholding sponsors …..Frackers will not only use most freshwater, but will pollute it wholescale for generations to come, and leave little for future generations..

  6. Fracking is a corporate miasmic monster, with no social or environmental conscience. Let’s just leave it at that.

    • That report blatantly, 100% reads like an article that has come straight from the pages of the fracking industry. It’s laughable.

      Had anyone else read it ?? No points for guessing who paid for that study.

      ONE thing they are certainly wrong about, the EPA did find evidence of water pollution. Strange how they chose to ignore that.

  7. TW, regarding your above link.

    That report blatantly, 100% reads like an article that has come straight from the pages of the fracking industry. It’s laughable.

    Had anyone else read it ?? No points for guessing who paid for that study.

    ONE thing they are certainly wrong about, the EPA did find evidence of water pollution. Strange how they chose to ignore that.

    • I read it. Thought about posting it but decided not to as Newsweek has also written articles saying the opposite. As I said earlier, for every negative article there appears to be a positive one. There is an EPA article linked on the same page and one about increased hospitalisation rates.

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