UN urged to ban fracking to safeguard UK women

180403 100 women march Dan Harvey5

Women opposing Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool, 3 April 2018. Photo: Dan Harvey

The actor and UN human rights champion, Amber Heard, is among a group of campaigners, academics and environmentalists who are urging the United Nations today to ban fracking to protect the health of women in the UK.

The former wife of Johnny Depp makes the call in a letter to a meeting in Geneva on the Conventional of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The letter’s signatories also include the environmental campaigner, Dame Vivienne Westwood, and Wenonah Hauter, of Food and Water Watch, as well as action groups, academics and the National Union of Students.

The meeting will be attended by senior civil servants from the UK government’s equalities office, Ministry of Justice and the Department of Work and Pensions

In summer 2018, CEDAW asked the UK Government to provide information on the measures being taken to mitigate and address the health and environmental impacts of toxic substances from planned fracking activities on women and girls.

The UK Government replied in November 2018, saying there was “a robust regulatory system which provides a comprehensive regime for exploratory activities“. It also said there were “tough regulations in place to ensure on site safety, prevent water contamination, and mitigate seismic activity and air pollution”.

Amber Heard tweet

Tweet by Amber Heard on fracking ban

Activists have said the UK government’s measures were not sufficient to protect women.

The signatories to today’s letter argued that women’s rights were compromised because they said:

  • There was evidence that fracking was linked to higher rates of cancer and nervous, immune and cardiovascular problems in women
  • A study by Concerned Health Professionals of New York found that pregnant women living near active fracking operations in Pennsylvania had a 40% increased risk of giving birth prematurely and 30% had obstetrician-labelled ‘high-risk pregnancies
  • Fertility and menstrual problems in women could be caused from exposure to chemicals associated with fracking, including benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX chemicals).
  • Miscarriages and still births could be caused by the heavy metals found in fracking waste water.

Amber Heard said on Twitter:

“Only a comprehensive ban can protect women and human rights from the destructive impacts of fracking in the UK.”

181016 vivienne westwood and joe corre AnneThoday1

Dame Vivienne Westwood with her son, Joe Corre, at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 16 October 2018. Photo: Anne Thoday

Vivienne Westwood said:

“We want to highlight the harm fracking causes pregnant women.”

Referring to the study by Concerned Health Professionals of New York, Dame Vivienne said:

“This is an example of the virulent, poisoning effect of fracking to all life and we therefore want to support Amber Heard and the group asking for CEDAW to demand that it stops.”

Wenonah Hauter, founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe, said.

“We’ve experienced the negative impacts of fracking on rural women in the US. The UK Government still has the opportunity to prevent this and must ban fracking.”

The letter on fracking is among many expressions of concern submitted to the CEDAW meeting from the UK and it may not be considered. If it is, the issue could be included in a set of recommendations due to be released next month.

43 replies »

      • KISHENY,

        GOOD POINT , to bring up .

        NOW as we are certain that widespread , expensive to extract Fracking will NOT bring down energy costs one single penny to hard pressed families……..Because as you know doubt will be aware , any gas extracted will be sold on to the international open market to the highest bidder .

        Are we agreed that a determined effort by all political parties is needed to drive through policies to insulate our old housing stock and create more energy efficient homes ?

        • Expensive imports are increasing energy prices year on year as we import more and more Gas, LNG especially being twice the price as piped Gas…
          Any U.K Government can’t keep a lid on any promise of an energy cap as all the energy companies do is show the price of the wholesale product they are buying has gone up and this is passed onto the consumer. LNG is a perfect example, coupled with hardly any Gas storage in the U.K. The price for LNG on the day you buy can be many times the regular price and this will be passed on.
          By producing more of our own Gas the security of supply coupled with tax revenues will smooth this peak demand headache and provide a stable base for consumer prices.

          Good news today that Ineos is investing in the future of U.K energy even in the light of Brexit uncertainty…


          • Simon Hinks you seem to be conflating “piped gas” with UK fracked gas. Now give us your forecast for the expected differential between imported LNG cost and UK fracked gas please along with your data sources.

            If it helps you Francis Egan has already explained his take on it this matter.

            He told the House of Lords economic affairs select committee in 2016: “We’re probably competing in shale gas with imported LNG [liquified natural gas]. And so if you look at US gas prices at about $3 a unit, add $1 or so to liquefy, another $1 or so to transport, another $1 or so to translate it back into a gas, you’re talking about $6 landed in the UK, ish. Which is what we have to compete with.”

            $6 per MMBTU landed is about 45p a therm at today’s exchange rates.

            He said this a while back, but this month the Henry Hub Natural Gas Spot price has floated between $2.54 and $2.84 so if anything imported LNG is probably cheaper than when he said this as he was talking $3.

            Are you really suggesting the CEO of Cuadrilla doesn’t know what he is talking about and mislead the House of Lords Simon?

            As to security of supply, how many reports to the Government have to put out explaining we have no security of supply issues before you stop scaremongering about it?

            Funny how Ineos investing £1 billion sets you all aquiver yet I don’t recall you posting this link


            “Britain’s richest man, the Brexit supporter Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and two of his key lieutenants at chemicals firm Ineos have reportedly been planning to save up to £4bn in tax after moving to Monaco.”

            • And its been reported Elvis, rather than Sir Jim, was working in a chip shop! This is the same Government that has put out reports on all sorts of issues that have been incorrect?

              Well, I am sure there are some gullible people out there reaction, but you seem to assume they are significant numbers rather than a minority.

              The majority will recall USA would not be able to make fracking compete with imports. Even OPEC believed that. But, US Energy Information Administration shows US domestic production hitting 12.1 million barrels per day, a record. There is knowledge and truth outside of Giggle.

                • No better, no worse informed than John who said just before the Beast from the East that there was plenty of cheap oil and gas sloshing around the world, reaction.

                  Until Francis knows what the optimum solution, or pressure, or whatever, to extract shale gas in UK, what the world situation will be then and what volumes of gas are produced he might as well search for the answer in a bush. He might find some of the answers that the USA found are useful, he may not. But, speculate away. You don’t have much else left.

                • Oh Martian – so you can only speculate and burble – you can’t offer anything concrete at all, and you can’t explain why you disagree with Mr Egan without making both him and you look rather silly.

                  Sometimes you’d do better just to zip it. 🤐
                  That way you’d at least look less desperate.

                • Oh dear, reaction. You want the site free to post without having to defend your posts?

                  Not going to happen. Get used to it.

                  There will be some, probably many, who understand what testing is all about. Shame really, but there you go. The personal insults show who is desperate. Put on the smiley face, it can’t be that bad!

                • No Martian

                  I just want you to say something logical and supported by facts or to stop wasting my/our time with your collywibble.

                  Don’t be angry. Here’s a smiley face for you. Enjoy! 😀

                • Why would I be angry, reaction? You clearly show you have a problem with what I post.

                  Two suggestions:

                  1. Just do not read my posts.

                  2. Don’t expect to be able to post without being challenged. Maybe if you checked your own posts you would find where the fact free zone exists.

                • Well you clearly are angry Martian

                  Tell me where you get this idea that I don’t want my points to be challenged from. I merely suggested you try using facts not wibble and now you are throwing a hissy fit.

                  Martian, you can’t fill a void with more emptiness.

                • 6.16pm on 27th, as starters, reaction.

                  Shame that the printed word persists.

                  Me, angry? No, a content sort of chap. Bit annoyed that my new car is delayed, but I can live with that knowing that whilst delayed, I will still be doing my individual bit, as per the UN recommendations (compensating for others inaction.) Bit annoyed about Business Ministers stating they would have to resign if a no deal Brexit because business is not ready for that without explaining that has been part of their responsibility so why have they not resigned long ago as the job was beyond them? Bit annoyed the BBC reporter was too thick to point that out.

                  But, all of that overcome by managing to sort the better half and her birthday present today, also double digging the last part of my veggie garden even with Achilles tendonitis (my physio suggests gritting teeth is the answer, but that’s why I was at the dentist yesterday!) , and some decent sport to look forward to this weekend. Always something to be glad about, although some seem to have a problem even with that, although, strangely, the happy meter is pretty high within the UK at the moment according to research. (One to keep Jack Giggling over the weekend),

                  All very much glass half full-but Sauvignon Blanc as we had pork tonight!

                  Enjoy your weekend. I will be “off air” helping the better half become acquainted with her Panasonic.

                  But, “I’ll be back”!!

                • Oh Martian

                  6.16pm on 27th, was just me wondering why you were leaping in where Simon Hinks fears to tread.

                  As to the rest – maybe you should try to sell your autobiography to one of the cheaper tabloids rather than self-publishing here. We have more interesting stuff to think about you know.

  1. I think others control this site, reaction. But thanks for your interest and attempts to edit. We are all equal here, even those with labels, old chap. Shame, I know. But once you get used to it, you will find the challenge of it exercises those little grey cells.

  2. MARTIN ,

    Of course you have sons in the building trade….

    Is there anything you and your family haven’t done ??????

    ((( Yes I’m also in the building trade and I’ve also walked on the moon , words are cheap without evidence. ))))

    That’s why I post links from reliable sources and until you back up what you say with evidence, people must consider that what you say could be nothing more than a good old fashioned yarn.

    By the way , one of the links I posted was from the BBC, dated the 28th February 2017, hardly old is it ?????

    If it will help you to accept the facts that in the UK we have some of the most poorly insulated properties in Europe , I can post you many more links.

    Will that convince you, or will you continue to pretend that what the experts say is not true ??????

  3. No, it will not convince me Jack, because I can see, and so can everyone else, how now it is “some”. Which means, of course, anyone can then post similar for ANY country in Europe. (I know of this shepherds hut in Italy-absolutely shocking insulation-but the sheep do a good job through body heat. Still many houses in what was Eastern Europe still follow the same system.)

    You post with links-yes. Do they support what you state-yes. Do they mean what you state is the correct or whole picture-NO! I know it is shocking that Giggling doesn’t mean education and many find that when they arrive at University, but reality has a habit of doing what it always has.

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