On the question of fracking, there is little debate to speak of.
Proponents, including industry and government officials, repeat the same arguments ad nauseam, while opponents point out the accumulating evidence of the harms caused by this technology.
It isn’t clear when enough evidence will be enough. Never perhaps, for the industry will argue that the technology keeps improving.
The Government will argue that regulations are gold standard.
More time and resources will be devoted to further studies that are unlikely to be more conclusive.
One should also be careful with words and talk about the ‘dangers’ rather than the ‘risks’ of fracking, for risks are taken but dangers avoided.
And who knows, perhaps the risks are worth it?
For without people taking risks, we wouldn’t have cars or planes, I have been told.
Yet I am not sure whether we are better off with either.
We got rapidly used to both, but certainly air quality has deteriorated and this is a high price to pay.
Of course such discourse will be branded heretical, yet I am not against technology nor innovation.
My contention is that the direction we want technological development to take should be given thought.
Once a technology develops, it loses flexibility as money is invested, hardware and infrastructures are built and social habits develop.
It is therefore crucial to make sound decisions at the initial stages. Thus the people are wise to oppose fracking and call for an open debate before its economic viability in the UK is ascertained.
However, the debate should not be an engineering debate about the ‘risks’ of fracking, which might never be settled.
It should be a political debate about the kind of society we want to live in, and how we go about building it. I believe that such a debate should be welcomed and encouraged by the government of any democratic nation.
Our heartfelt sympathies
I was deeply saddened to hear a child from Little Learners (Galgate) Nursey in Lancaster has died after he was struck down with meningococcal groupB disease and that a further case has been confirmed at the nursery.
On behalf of Meningitis Now, which represents thousands of families affected by the devastation caused by meningitis and associated diseases, I pass on our heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of the child who has died.
We also send our best wishes to the second child affected, and their family and friends, and wish them well for a good recovery.
I lost my baby son Spencer to the disease some time ago and can well imagine the pain that all those involved are suffering.
At Meningitis Now, we are fighting back against all forms of meningitis-related disease. Because it can strike quickly and be difficult to detect, we fund pioneering preventative research to wipe out meningitis, as well as provide support and care to those affected.
We also encourage everyone to learn the signs and symptoms of the disease and seek immediate medical attention should they suspect it. For a free symptoms information pack or further information, please call our freephone helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or visit www.MeningitisNow.org.
Offenders could clean up litter
I read with interest J Coldwell’s letter about how concerned she was about the amount of rubbish washed up on the banks of the Ribble, mostly plastic bottles and cans, during a recent walk (LP Letters, April 5).
This is an increasing problem that needs to be addressed before they are swept out to sea.
With the government encouraging more non-custodial sentences, surely a clean-up of this would be an ideal task for offenders sentenced to unpaid work (community service).
Probation services, please take note.