Increases in air pollution linked to preparations for fracking in North Yorkshire could happen anywhere the operation is planned, shale gas opponents said today.
They were reacting to a study, reported by DrillOrDrop yesterday, which showed that air quality in Kirby Misperton deteriorated as Third Energy mobilised fracking equipment at its site in the village.
The research, by the University of York for the British Geological Survey, showed that a rise in levels of nitrogen oxides coincided with increased traffic movements and the operation of equipment at the KMA wellsite. The authors concluded that the air quality changed from that typical of a rural setting to what you would expect in an urban area.
In a statement, Third Energy told DrillOrDrop:
“This comprehensive, academic monitoring report published by the British Geological Survey highlights the complexity of measuring and monitoring baseline environmental conditions and the multiple local and non-local factors that contribute to movements in the baseline.
“As expected and identified in our Environmental Statement, as the KMA well site in Kirby Misperton became “operational” there were increases in emissions but these did not exceed any air quality limits.
“The report sets out that increases came from traffic associated with local protests and policing and not only from Third Energy Operations.”
But campaign groups warned that the decline in air quality could happen wherever fracking was carried out.
Tony Bosworth, of Friends of the Earth, ssid:
“Increased lorry movements leading to an increase in air pollution levels was an inevitable outcome. If we drill and frack the 6,100 wells needed to replace half our estimated gas imports it could mean 6 million more lorry movements, many on rural roads, so this could happen wherever fracking is proposed.”
Daniel Carey-Daws, senior infrastructure campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said:
‘Fracking risks industrialising the English countryside, and these findings are a clear indication of the risks of widespread fracking.
“Heavy goods traffic, on-site machinery and the resulting increase in air pollution are key concerns of people affected by fracking, and one of the reasons it faces such strong opposition amongst local communities – concerns that are currently being side-lined by the government’s headlong push for fracking.
“As the government makes a final decision on whether to continue their push to fast-track fracking, they would do well to heed the concerns of local communities and drop these proposals.”
Steve Mason, of Frack Free United, said:
“The potential impacts of fracking on local communities are exposed by this report – a report based on the science collected around the site.
“Preparation for fracking at Kirby Misperton changed the air quality from rural to urban.
“The clean air in rural areas is a precious resource. Imagine the cumulative impact of multiple sites and the associated industrialisation and the associated pollution that will bring to areas that rely on the purity of its air for its economic future.
“This study is based around a small site in North Yorkshire. The government wants to roll out thousands of wells and pollute the green and pleasant lands of England.
“Enough is enough. Fracking is uneconomical, strangled by the inability to operate under the regulations and now it has been shown to pollute the bread baskets of the UK.”