LETTER: No need for fracking

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You reported recently on the public meeting on fracking with government regulators.

Although the meeting was held in Dronfield, the licences held by multi-national company INEOS means fracking could occur anywhere around Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire.

Several members of Chesterfield Climate Alliance attended the meeting and were concerned in their opinion that the people responsible for regulating this new industry seemed unaware of the extent of activity proposed by INEOS. In a 10km by 10km area there could be at least ten and up to 30 well sites and nearly 400 subsurface horizontal wells. These well sites would require pipeline corridors, access roads, compressor stations and other infrastructure, blighting large areas.

Many people think that fracking will help meet our energy needs.

However the UK can be fully self-sufficient in safe, clean and cost-effective renewable energy without fossil fuels or nuclear by 2030.

Renewables are already meeting 25% of our electricity demand and in July 2015 generated almost enough electricity for every house in the UK.

The question is whether we can produce enough energy at all times from renewables.

Detailed modelling has shown that renewable energy sources would produce surplus energy over 80% of the time. We can ensure there is enough energy the rest of the time by cutting energy wastage and shifting energy demand using ‘smart’ appliances and storage using batteries, pumps or heat.

All of these technologies are proven and safer than fracking with its environmental problems and health and safety risks. Investment in renewables and energy efficiency will also create more skilled jobs than fracking.

Many parts of the world, including New York State, France, Holland, Tasmania and Victoria (Australia) have all banned fracking due to public health concerns.

The UK government assumes that the environmental and health risks that have occurred in the US can be regulated so they don’t occur. However, the British Medical Journal has stated that there is no reason to believe that the problems that have occurred in the US would be any different in the UK.

Chesterfield Climate Alliance is opposed to fracking locally and anywhere in the UK because this is likely to compromise the UK’s legally binding climate change targets. Britain should be leading the world in moving to clean renewable power, not aiming to extract ever more inaccessible fossil fuels.

Lisa Hopkinson

On behalf of Chesterfield 
Climate Alliance