How very sad that the Campaign to Protect Rural England is now ‘realistic and open to debate’ on fracking. Proof, if we needed it, of the clout of Government and industry misinformation.
It is noteworthy that CPRE groups in areas under immediate threat, such as Sussex, have until now opposed fracking – they, of course, have researched the subject independently. Evidence in North America and Australia reveals air and water pollution and serious health impacts for residents, farmers and livestock around oil and gas wells.
A glance from a plane or satellite over the frackfields of Pennsylvania would show these would-be ‘saviours of our countryside’ the scale of industrialisation that shale gas extraction would bring. Fewer wells per pad would mean more pads, denser industrialisation, greater proximity to residents. ‘Brownfield sites’ are where fracking should be done, say the CPRE. Where do they think they are going to find brownfield sites far enough from human habitation and agricultural land? The CPRE should study the volumes of precious water required to frack one well,S and multiply that by the thousands of multi-well pads promised by our Government. They might then wonder whether our ecosystems can spare so much water – the more so because frack water comes back laced with subterranean contaminants and radioactivity that make it impossible to treat and to return safely to the water cycle. Our Government and its industry friends currently have no policy for disposing of a future tsunami of fracking waste. Our regulations are not strong. They were developed after Piper Alpha, for off-shore drilling, where ‘environment does not exist’ and nor do neighbours. The CPRE believes that methane is the ‘least worst’ option amongst fossil fuels for generating electricity. Yes, burning methane makes less CO2 than burning coal, but methane itself is many times worse a greenhouse gas than CO2, and so much methane escapes around gas wells and in transportation and processing that the final balance comes out against gas.
Please do send wind farms to rural Balcombe.
London Road, Balcombe charity