Anger at ‘sham’ fracking report

Residents and neighbours of Roseacre village gather to protest against fracking in the area.  Pictured is Barbara Richardson, chairman of Roseacre Awareness Group.
Residents and neighbours of Roseacre village gather to protest against fracking in the area. Pictured is Barbara Richardson, chairman of Roseacre Awareness Group.
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Campaigners in Lancashire have blasted a report which urges fracking to start, providing safeguards are in place.

The Task Force on Shale Gas, led by former Labour MP Lord Chris Smith, has been looking at the controversial industry.

It has concluded that shale gas can be produced safely and usefully, and can help the UK with the transition to a renewable economy, provided the strictest environmental standards are in place.

But the group, which says it is independent but is funded by shale gas industry companies, has been blasted by opponents of fracking who say the process is polluting and will damage communities.

Lord Chris Smith, chairman of the Task Force on Shale Gas said: “Our conclusion from all the evidence we have gathered over the past year is clear.

“The risk from shale gas to the local environment or to public health is no greater than that associated with comparable industries provided, as with all industrial works, that operators follow best practice. ”

But Barbara Richardson from the Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG), which is opposing a bid by Cuadrilla to drill and test frack near the village, said the report was a sham.

She said: “Having just returned from the climate change talks in Paris to then see this report from Lord Smith I am appalled.

“RAG want to disassociate themselves from this report. We believe this is a sham set up to fool the general public. The fact that it is industry-funded says it all.”

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “The independent report also confirmed that shale gas can be undertaken safely and securely with the UK’s robust regulation and not be a risk to the public as with other industrial work.”