Health professionals urge PM to “secure her green legacy by banning fracking”

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Anti-fracking protesters outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 13 October 2018 Photo: DrillOrDrop

A group of 143 doctors, nurses and health specialists has called on Theresa May to ban fracking in her final fortnight in office.

In a letter delivered this morning, the group warned the prime minister that her government’s support for fracking puts the health of communities at risk:

“The scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that permitting fracking in England would pose significant threats to the air, water and the health and safety of individuals and communities here.”

Concerned Health Professionals of the UK, which coordinated the letter, called for an immediate ban on the fracking.

It said there were “fundamental data gaps” in health evidence on fracking and the “best imaginable regulatory frameworks fall far short of protecting our health and environment”.

The group, inspired by Concerned Health Professions of New York, said:

“In the UK it appears we have no structure or will to consider studying and monitoring the health impacts on the communities where fracking takes place. We will not be able to detect harms until it is too late.

“Given the lack of any evidence indicating that fracking can be done safely – and a wealth of evidence to the contrary – we consider a complete and outright ban to be the only responsible decision.”

A spokesperson for Concerned Health Professionals of the UK said the letter aimed to build on last week’s launch of the manifesto by the Conservative Environmental Network (CEN), which included a ban on fracking.

“We are inviting Theresa May to ban fracking as part of her green legacy project. We want to remind her of the CEN manifesto and encourage her to announce a ban on fracking before she leaves office.”

Copies of the letter have also been sent to the Conservative leadership contenders, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, as well as environment, business and energy ministers.

Mrs May has said she will stay in office until there is a successor. The result of the Conservative leadership contest is expected on 23 July 2019.

Last month, Concerned Health Professions of New York published the sixth edition of its Compendium of scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking. The document is based on 1,500 reports and concludes that fracking “poses significant threats to air, water, human health, public safety, community cohesion, long-term economic vitality, biodiversity, seismic stability, and climate stability”.

The UK government continues to quote the finding of a 2012 report by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society which concluded:

“the health, safety and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (often termed ‘fracking’) as a means to extract shale gas can be managed effectively in the UK as long as operational best practices are implemented and enforced through regulation.”

The government also refers to a review in 2013 by Public Health England of evidence on air quality radon gas, naturally occurring radioactive materials, water contamination and waste water. This concluded

“the risks to public health from exposure to emissions from shale gas extraction are low if operations are properly run and regulated.”

65 replies »

  1. No, Fifi. What I am suggesting is that if UK fracking doesn’t work-which the antis have been declaring constantly for years-there will be no concerns about health issues.

    That is pretty evident.

    The alternative is that the antis have been speculating and fabricating about it not working, and it may. In which case, if they have been speculating and fabricating about the economics then the probability is they have not stopped there and have been speculating and fabricating all other issues.

    That is pretty evident also.

    I have no problem with something being banned when evidence based, but a ban based upon speculation and fabrication is not my cup of tea. Oops-sorry, we have probably banned that today because of the cancer risk.

    How about banning electricity? In which case, alternatives are out the window-which we can also ban as people fall out of them.

    • Martin, you say that it’s pretty evident that the antis have been speculating and fabricating about the health issues, where is the evidence for that?
      There is plenty of evidence that fracking does cause health problems, you are just choosing to ignore that evidence (and have a go at NHS staff at the same time).
      The local community will become guinea pigs if the advice from the medical profession continues to be ignored.
      [Edited by moderator]

  2. There is no evidence that fracking in the UK has caused ANY health issues, Fifi (unless you include over excitement amongst a minority). Please correct me if you can find some. You sound like an echo of the selenium debate re PNR which was all speculation and a little fabrication, and then it was identified no selenium was found! There was an expectation that no one on DoD had much experience regarding selenium. Unfortunately, I had, having traded tonnes of the stuff. Inconvenient.

    There is plenty of evidence that the manufacture of solar panels in China causes serious health problems. I would hope and expect if made in UK that could be eliminated, except that would not be economic and fulfill the antis agenda so antis continue to promote that. Then I could ask you to look at mining for cobalt in the DRC and the serious health issues that produces, often in children, yet the antis will pontificate about health issues and children whilst pushing an alternative agenda that causes serious issues in both respects! And, now, with cobalt land sources looking stretched, marine mining is planned, yet you routinely use Sir David!

    [Edited by moderator]

    • MARTIN , that’s right

      No fracking in the UK has caused any health issues .

      BUT let’s LOOK in to this a little closer for FIFI.

      The ONE pitiful, extremely short attempt by Cuadrilla was so light on fracking , that they had to……………..

      Now your not going to believe this FIFI , Cuadrilla had to go and BUY a bottle of GAS to flare their stack .

      Cuadrilla is now officially, in the business of buying in gas to burn, NOT EXTRACTING IT.

      Although I suppose their promotional video did keep a few investors on the hook for a little while longer ..

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

      • For a start Martin, I did not say that fracking in the UK has caused any health issues, all I said was there is plenty of evidence that fracking does cause ill health, a subtle difference.
        Where in my argument have I mentioned Sir David? [Edited by moderator]

  3. Oh dear Fifi. Sorry you can not answer the points I raised. But as expected, reality does seem difficult for the antis to deal with.

    In respect of health issue, let me simplify it for you. I feel quite comfortable crossing the road in UK, not so much in other parts of the world. The reason for that are some false rumours, some different ways. But, in respect of your evidence, where are the huge pay outs from litigation? Don’t try the nonsense of the little guy against the big Corporation. That is not the case in USA where there are plenty of lawyers who will, and have, obtained huge pay outs for the little guy from the big Corporation. I have worked for US companies and know how careful they are because of that.

    By the way, there is plenty of evidence that fracking causes BIG IMPROVEMENTS in health-especially in communities where good health care is not free to all. So, be careful with how you try that one, outside of the anti circle. There are two sides to that coin. The kids in the DRC don’t get that benefit from digging cobalt as the Chinese buyers rip them off to make electric cars cheaper and a better margin for them.

    You may wish to avoid the real collateral damage some of the anti alternatives bring, yet speculate about the damage fracking will bring. I know that makes it easy, but the reality is different. That has been pointed out before on this site and your reaction is typical of what has gone before. [Edited by moderator]


      In the USA this is how it works EVERY TIME .

      The little guy take on a big corporation using his own money .

      The big corporation drags out a lengthy court process.

      The little guy runs out of cash .

      The big corporation wins ..

      That’s a fact

      • MARTIN may be able to cherry pick the odd case over the last 100 years, where the little guy on his own, has had a lucky break ….

        BUT , let me refrase this for the benefit of MARTIN , 99.99% of the time, the little guy don’t stand a chance ON HIS OWN using his own cash .

        The method I put forward above, is a tried and tested method used by big corporations in the USA to defeat the little guy without having to answer to him in court .

        LET’S not forget , the little guy has everything he owns on the line if he loses the case .

        The big corporation may lose 0.0001% profit for that one year if they lose

        [Typos corrected at poster’s request]

  4. Just because I am against fracking, does not mean that I am in favour of the appalling conditions of the cobalt mines in the DRC or the health and safety issues regarding the manufacture of solar panels in China.

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