Reader’s letters - Thursday August 20

Anti-fracking protestors in Lancashire

Anti-fracking protestors in Lancashire

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Concerns over dash for gas

In his letter (LEP August 5), Michael Roberts asserts that most people are unable to understand the complexities of the technology and the widespread public distrust of fracking is based on misinformation.

Unlike him, we in the Lancashire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) believe the public have good cause to be concerned about the government’s dash for gas.

CPRE Lancashire’s Policy on fracking, which takes account of the nation’s climate change commitments as well as local issues, is available on our website (at www.cprelancashire.org.uk).

Also on our website are our submissions to Lancashire County Council relating to Cuadrilla’s planning applications for their two newly proposed drilling sites in the Fylde and much else concerning fracking.

We believe that your readers, including Michael Roberts, will find it an understandable, objective and balanced account of the issues, and how we have worked to protect the interests of people living in the countryside together with its fauna and flora.

An important cause of the growing hostility to fracking by the public is evidence of a strengthening movement in the government in favour of fracking.

The Coalition Government gave a strong assurance it would observe the independent recommendations of the Joint Committee of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering for minimising the risks associated with the extraction of shale gas in the UK.

Regrettably, however, these recommendations have never been codified to form the basis of effective statutory regulation. Instead, piecemeal regulation is divided between diverse government departments and is largely on an ad hoc basis.

This present fragmented weak regulation is far from the strong, transparent, regulation that CPRE Lancashire advocates, and which would reassure the public; indeed, we would like to see the creation of a new, unified, well-funded, and expert regulatory authority for the fracking industry (comparable to the Civil Aviation Authority).

The issue of climate change is fundamental to the exploitation of shale gas.

If the UK is to comply with its statutory (cf. Climate Change Act 2008) and international commitments to limit global warming to no more than 2 oC relative to the pre-industrial level, exploitation of shale gas must be for only a short transition period while existing sustainable energy technologies are installed and new ones developed. However, independent analysts argue convincingly that current global market forces and the lack political purpose by the great polluting nations are likely to mean that fossil fuels will continue to be exploited long past the end of the safe transition period.

Finally, CPRE Lancashire and other NGOs, like the public, are very concerned that the environmentally protective amendments to the fracking part of the Infrastructure Bill, which were accepted by the government in the Commons, were immediately rejected by the government when the Bill returned to the Lords, with the result they are missing from the 2015 Act.

Even more worrying are the statements made last week by the secretaries of state for Communities and Local Government (CLG) and for Energy and Climate Change in which they insist that councils should determine fracking applications within sixteen weeks.

Further, the government has told The Planning Inspectorate to fast-track fracking appeals.

More worrying still is that the secretary of state for CLG is considering the routine call-in of all fracking applications for his determination, which leaves unanswered the question: “Has the government abandoned its claim to believe in Localism?”

Lancashire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)

Speed up the water process

Speed up the fracking process!

Sixteen weeks of smoke and mirrors to arrive at a ‘Yes’ decision – ‘no’ is not acceptable to government.

Well, for now, forget the fracking process.

How about some clean water for our kids? Speed that one up guys. Fix the water supply in a timely manner.

Free kettles all round by now, I’d say. Mine’s burnt its backside out, who’s paying for that?

Not United Utilities that’s for sure.

Joseph G Dawson, Chorley

Fracking in Oxfordshire?

I notice from the internet that there are sites earmarked

for fracking in Oxfordshire.

I wonder how these proposals are progressing, bearing in mind that the PM has property there as well as his constituency!

Just a thought.

“Interested”, Ashton, Preston

No gold awards for city centre

I noticed recently that Preston Parks department had won a gold award at the Tatton Park Flower Show.

I would have thought that the money and time would have been better spent tidying up Preston.

For example Preston Docks is a disgrace,­ full of weeds and overgrown bushes.

Also the raised beds in the town centre, between the mobility centre and ringway, are also overgrown.

I wonder what impression of Preston visitors get.­

A concerned resident, Preston

Nightmare of the flyover

Sadly, my neighbour became the sixth car crash victim, at least, on the nightmare they call the Penwortham flyover. I have no confidence to think they would ever consider that it was, at least, a bad idea or, more accurately, a stupid idea but, whatever, how long is it going to look like the entrance to a building site?

There are temporary signs, painted out markings, and the long row of bollards.

I try to use this road as little as I can these days. Getting my neck and wing mirror angled to see the oncoming traffic is a pain I can do without at my age.

Allan Fazackerley via email