COLUMN: To frack or not to frack?

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The debate on fracking is probably one of the worst out there at the moment.

Those who are for fracking will tell us it’s safe without really giving us much evidence, and those against tell us our local water supply will become highly flammable and our houses will shake from uncontrollable, major earthquakes.

I have been disappointed by the arguments I’ve heard as an Eckington resident, and did my own research. I wanted to know if fracking up the road from my house will be safe and controlled, or will my local community be transformed into a fracking, industrial estate?

We are an old mining community, we had no issues digging coal out of the ground in our area. So as an old, proud mining community are we being too hasty to say no?

I will be honest and say that fracking will most likely come to our area whether we protest against it or not. Our local Labour controlled council have kept very impartial on the local issue and MP Natascha Engel has kept very quiet.

The methods of using fracking can vary, some sources claim just to use sand and water to pump into the ground. Others claim to use fracking chemicals. According to ‘Care2’ which has a petition against fracking, the chemicals used are described as ‘carcinogenic’, yet provide no evidence to back up this claim. I honestly cannot imagine a fracking company using such chemicals and then so irresponsibly allowing them to leak into our water supply.

Another worry and claim we hear about is all the earthquakes fracking can cause. We can all be safe in the knowledge that there are no major fault lines which run through Derbyshire and the area which will be tested. According to INEOS drilling only takes a week and can be rather noisy but after this everything calms and quietens down.

The area that will be used to test for fracking is a large field on Bromley Moore Lane. If INEOS finds shale gas they will then have to apply for a planning permit to commercially frack on the site. According to Derbyshire County Council’s website this could take up to several years.

But the economic gains to our local area could be potentially huge. At a time when local councils are running low on money, this could be a huge gain.

I would also be hugely interested to find out how many local jobs would be created if INEOS starts fracking in our area. So like many of you I am on the fence, but as a local community we should start to look at the issue logically.