I’m delighted to see that Lancashire for Shale is getting ready to hear all about the fantastic employment potentials in the shale gas industry and has invited speakers from Scotland’s offshore business to contribute to the seminars.
I hate to pour cold water on such shining, expectant faces but when prospecting for oil and gas offshore, having identified the site, it is then necessary to survey for tides, current, wind drift and the geological stability of the sea bed. Next a bespoke drilling platform is constructed which takes all these factors into account. Finally, usually in spring or summer – certainly a weather-dependent operation – the rig is towed into position, ready to be stocked and staffed so that exploration may commence.
This operation has provided some 2,000 men two years’ employment, all in the supply sector.
When Cuadrilla made their one disastrous attempt at exploration at Preese Hall, it took five men six weeks.
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You will note Cuadrilla’s conditional promise: “Where possible, it would like to see Lancastrian businesses maximise the benefits from its activities.”
I fear the benefits that Lancashire businesses may hope to maximise will be miniscule.
Cuadrilla has already admitted that many of the 4,000 jobs talked about must come from outside the area. What the company fails to mention is that all around the world, wherever fracking has happened, for every 10 fracking jobs created, 18 are lost in agriculture.
So even if the figure of 4,000 jobs created were correct, it will be at the expense of 7,200 existing jobs employing Fylde residents, and that’s before considering the effect that – what Cuadrilla themselves have boasted will be –“Europe’s Largest Onshore Gas Field” has on our tourist industry. People don’t go to gas fields for a holiday.
The Government’s response is that this won’t happen in this country. Really? Why not? It’s happened everywhere else.
Again, the politicians tell us that we have “Gold Standard” regulations – our offshore regulations are far better and more relevant than those onshore regulations developed by America, Canada and Australia. Somehow we’re expected to believe that America, Canada and Australia are third world when it comes to regulating hazardous industries.
I’m sorry but Lancashire businesses voting for fracking is like pheasants voting for an extension to the shooting season. And some of those pheasants survive!
Jules Burton, Roseacre
Fry gone but not forgotten
The other day, I was given an old £5 note showing Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker. Her extraordinary life is not well remembered.
The Quaker movement began in the 17th century with the visionary George Fox.
Unlike the hierarchical ‘church’, they sit in silence as equals, to focus on God within. Anyone inspired by that focus can speak.
The name Quaker was coined in ridicule, when Fox had the courage to tell the taunting King Charles that he should “quake” before Almighty God.
Charles had many Quakers tortured, imprisoned and martyred, but before Elizabeth was born in 1780, they’d found ways to pacify the state, and Elizabeth shared her empathy among prisoners in the horrendous London jails. Her nursing school later inspired the work of Florence Nightingale and, after her death in 1845, the Lord Mayor of London helped establish an asylum for the destitute.
Her likeness on the £5 note was an insufficient but fitting tribute to one of the greatest heroines this country has ever known.
Now, that note shows only the plastic likeness of one of the greatest warmongers this country has ever known.
I take that as a warning.
But, meanwhile, we must never forget Elizabeth Fry.
Beryl Williams, address supplied
Is it 4,000 or 64,500 jobs?
In your article, Shale gas supply chain events call, (LEP October 27), you report that delegates at the North West Energy Task Force (NWETF) supply chain conference heard that a shale gas industry could support 4,000 supply chain jobs.
Wait a minute!
Hasn’t NWETF repeatedly told us that shale could support 64,500 jobs?
This figure was also quoted by Sajid Javid when he announced the outcome of Cuadrilla’s appeal.
So, NWETF, why this 15-fold discrepancy?
Where are the other 60,500 jobs?
We need a full breakdown in the public domain.
Opponents of shale have never trusted anything the industry and its cheerleaders have told them – and here is yet another example of why.
Dr Stephen Garsed, Preston
Tom Finney came to rescue
A while ago, I wrote about Preston’s Chain Caul Road in the 1950s (LEP September 14).
Back then, Esso, Fina, National Benzole, Power –all had fuel storage facilities on this road.
Shell Mex and BP owned the last site, together with their canteen where my mother worked.
The site was quite remote, so Mum would be picked up at home and returned by Shell’s service van.
This was a Ford 10cwt van (E83w).
The transit of its day.
Occasionally, the van would fail to show. The tanker drivers, not wishing to miss their tea and toast, would dispatch a fuel tanker to collect Mum at home.
One day the canteen kitchen developed a plumbing fault. As you can imagine, this would need fixing as soon as possible.
Now guess who should come to the rescue?
No prizes on this one, yes, the “Preston plumber” Tom Finney.
Well, all the lads were over the moon, to see their hero attending to the fault.
Once chap remarked that Mum was lucky to have such a celebrity as Tom Finney fixing it.
Mum, having no knowledge of football, said: “Who’s Tom Finney?”
She did get her leg pulled after that.
I bet she made him a “brew” though.
Errol H Simister, Bamber Bridge