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Mar 15th, 2015

Tips for talking about fracking

By Megan Bentall

Tips for talking about fracking

Fracking has had a lot of press in Lancashire recently – with arguments from both the pro and anti camps. Below are a few common myths about fracking. They should help you make the case against it to people.

Why could fracking happen in Lancashire?
Energy company Cuadrilla have applied to frack at two sites in Lancashire – at Roasecre Wood and Little Plumpton. After months of opposition from local people the council seemed set to vote against the applications at the end of January. But legal pressure from Cuadrilla forced them to delay the vote. The new decision should be made by the end of April – but before that the council will be opening up a new consultation to hear from the public.

Will it cause climate change?
The only way to stop climate change is to stop burning fossil fuels – and not dig up any more. So getting gas from the ground through fracking – instead of developing renewable energy in Lancashire – will mean more carbon emissions, which cause climate change.

But fracking creates new jobs and will boost the economy right?
Cuadrilla has admitted the 6 year project in Lancashire would only lead to 11 jobs at each site – 22 in total. In comparison a separate study shows that a renewable energy program of home insulation would make 10,000 jobs in 5 years in the North West alone.

So why are businesses in Lancashire pro fracking?
This isn’t true. Whilst some media reports have suggested businesses are pro fracking Frack Free Lancashire – Lancashire resident groups united against fracking – signed up over 240 businesses in Lancashire to speak out against fracking.

Will it reduce bills?
No. Cuadrilla has admitted that any impact on bills would be “basically insignificant”. Claims from US shale company, Breitling Energy, that fracking would “lower energy bills for millions” in the UK were labelled misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Will it pollute water?
Yes. Former Chair of the Environment Agency, Lord Smith, said that “groundwater contamination is the biggest environmental risk” caused by fracking. Last summer officials in Pennsylvania, US, released a report showing there were 243 cases of fracking causing water contamination in the state between 2008 and 2014.

Does fracking actually cause earthquakes?
Two earthquakes were felt outside of Blackpool in 2011. Cuadrilla, who had been testing fracking at the time, hired earthquake experts to see what caused the quakes. Their own experts ruled that it was “highly probable” that the earthquakes and aftershocks were caused by Cuadrilla’s fracking operations.

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