Reader’s letters - Thursday 03 April 2014

The proposed new fracking site in Elswick but the last drill in the village caused controversy

The proposed new fracking site in Elswick but the last drill in the village caused controversy

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Remember fracking rap

Regarding the article by Michael Roberts about fracking (LEP March 27) I would invite readers to look at a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority released on March 24 2013 following a complaint about a “community newsletter” posted to thousands of households in Lancashire in July 2012 by Cuadrilla.

The full ruling can be seen on RAFF’s website or by going to www.refracktion.com. The ASA ruling identifies 21 ways in which the eight page leaflet breached the ASA’s advertising code on grounds including being misleading, misleading by omitting material information, making subjective claims, making claims without adequate substantiation, and exaggeration.

For example the ASA found the statement that “Cuadrilla uses proven, safe technologies to explore for and recover natural gas” could not be supported by evidence and this statement breached their code on three counts.

The statement “Cuadrilla’s fracturing fluid does not contain hazardous or toxic components” breached the ASA code on two counts. The statements, “We also know that hydraulic fracturing does not lead to contamination of the underground aquifer” and “There is no evidence of aquifer contamination from hydraulic fracturing” breached the ASA code on four counts.

Cuadrilla constantly points to the site at Elswick as being representative of what they are planning for Lancashire. There are major differences between that small conventional, vertical well which was never “fracked” and the huge unconventional, horizontal wells that Cuadrilla are proposing.

With regard to the Elswick site Cuadrilla stated “Our permanent site at Elswick has been quietly producing natural gas since 1993... The Elswick well was hydraulically fractured in 1993 and extracts gas from the sandstone formation.”

The ASA concluded this statement was intended to provide a falsely reassuring comparison between what had happened on a vertically fracked well and what would happen in future using horizontal fracking. The ASA found this statement breached their code on three counts.

So, given the industry, the Government and the Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil all speak with one voice my conclusion is you cannot trust any of them and this smells like the next big miss-selling scandal waiting to happen with our tourism and agricultural industries, our countryside, our environment and our health at stake.

This scandal regrettably will not be fixed by repaying people’s premiums, we will pay a much higher price than that.

Ian Roberts, chairman

Residents Action on Fylde Fracking

Bedroom tax is not working

It was the anniversary of the bedroom tax on April 1. One year on the policy has clearly failed. A BBC investigation suggests the government’s controversial changes to housing benefit have failed to achieve one of the main aims of the policy. The Government said the ‘bedroom tax’ would encourage people to downsize and reduce housing benefit costs.

Ministers claimed cutting the spare room subsidy, described by critics as the “bedroom tax”, would free up under-occupied homes and reduce over-crowding.

However, a year on, figures suggest just six per cent of tenants have moved with 28 per cent of tenants falling into rent arrears. One in four households affected have fallen into arrears for the first time.

Many folk now fear eviction as the bedroom tax bites. The British National Party has always opposed this unfair tax. We pointed out people can’t move into smaller properties because they are in short supply. Simple facts like these seem lost on our ConDem government! We say it is time to scrap the bedroom tax.

Nick Griffin, North West MEP

Use casino to kick start city

Tremendous news regarding the casino- this is the first piece in the jigsaw, (LEP April 1).

Next is the regeneration of Winckley Square bringing the Church Street development closer, the bus station to be brought up to standard and fit for use, a statue to be erected to Sir Richard Arkwright (a very real possibility) and probably the most important thing off all, PNE promoted in successive seasons to the promised land of Premiership football. Let’s all get together to make these things happen and not have to wait for the next Preston Guild.

Congratulations to Edgar Wallace and his team for their hard work and tireless energy in making this venture a reality.

Oh, for more entrepreneurs like Edgar, a man who believes in the future of the city and is prepared to put his money where is mouth is. Proud Progressive Preston

Tony Slater, Preston

Eyes down for a bingo budget

Bingo duty cut and a penny off a pint with George Osborne, the millionaire Chancellor, declaring “This government is on your side”. Thanks a lot George! But try telling that to the 642,000 public-sector workers who have lost their jobs since the coalition government took power in 2010.

Tell it to the 912,000 young people unable to find work. Tell it to the half a million people now reliant on food banks to survive. Tell it to those hundreds of thousands with no security who are trapped in zero hours contracts.

Tell it to the under employed who would like full time jobs but are struggling to make ends meet because they can only find part time work. Tell it to an average worker who earns £2,000 less in real terms than they did in 2010.

With the real value of average earnings down 13.8 per cent since 2008 tax breaks on savings aren’t much good to workers with no money to save.

This austerity budget was presented to the British people at a time when the richest five families in the country own more wealth than the poorest 12.6 million people combined. So what does the Chancellor do? All he can to worsen this rampant inequality. Well done George. Millionaires’ fix, number six. BINGO!

Mick Mulcahy, Longridge, co-ordinator-Lancashire People’s Assembly Against Austerity-Cost of Living