A new piece of research has concluded that the prospect of fracking for shale gas in Lancashire has already had a profound effect on local people, leading to stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of disenfranchisement.
The study by Anna Szolucha, of the University of Bergan in Norway, found that residents near Cuadrilla’s proposed sites had a lack of confidence in the company, distrust of council officers and regulators and changed perceptions of the police. They reported community conflicts and an atmosphere of intimidation and fear. Link to DrillOrDrop report on the study
Both sides in the argument about fracking have responded to the research. DrillorDrop invited Cuadrilla to comment but it declined.
Opponents of fracking
Pam Foster, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking
“Dr Szolucha’s publication is a critical report containing the first peer-reviewed research based on the social impacts of fracking in the UK. It will join a huge library of 888 other peer-reviewed papers that reveal negative and unwanted impacts on water, air and health of people living close to fracking sites.”
Claire Stephenson, Preston New Road Action Group
“This comprehensive research marks a new level in our understanding of the destructive social impacts of fracking and the threat of fracking in rural communities. This is the first peer-reviewed evidence of its kind, and yet another nail in the coffin of an industry that deserves no place in our communities. It was interesting to watch one of the few pro-shale attendees, Stephen Tindale, actually fall asleep mid-presentation and he also left 30 minutes before the speakers had concluded.”
Halsall Against Fracking
“The event was organised by Dr Anna Szolucha PhD, Department of Social Anthropology University of Bergen to launch her peer-reviewed study. The pro-fracking “lifelong environmental campaigner” in attendance, slept through most of the presentations and left before the end therefore is able to make no reference to the subject of the study itself, only quoting the same old tired industry rhetoric.”
Supporters of fracking
“It’s no surprise that Fylde residents have experienced stress over local shale gas plans when you consider that they have been bombarded with scaremongering propaganda by anti-fossil fuel, anti-establishment and anti-capitalist activists over several years.
“It is these outside interests that have done the most to split communities, fomenting a ‘them and us’ culture of confrontation and making it impossible for shale gas companies to have meaningful, two-way dialogue. Professional activists, backed by Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, have cultivated an attitude of no surrender and no compromise, and it’s become a barrier to residents and operators that would like to talk more openly.
“We would also question the motives of the report author who, herself, appears to be an activist using her academic position in order to give credibility to her campaigning in much the same way that Professor Tony Ingraffea does in the United States.
“It seems odd that she should be so critical of UK shale gas when you consider that her own university in Bergen received over £5 million in funding from Norwegian oil and gas major, Statoil, just two years ago (The Guardian) a company that has fracking interests of its own in the Bakken Shale Oil fields (source)
DrillorDrop also invited Lancashire County Council to comment on the research. We will update this post it the council chooses to respond.
Link to report