Expert Raises New Fears Over Effects of Fracking
Bath Chronicle, England, UK, December 27th
A Bath university expert has expressed concerns about the wider environmental implications of a controversial gas extraction method, shale fracking.
Dr David Packham, senior lecturer in materials science at the Claverton Down university, has spoken out about the impact that fracking could have if it was given the go ahead in Bath and north east Somerset or on the Mendips. He said very little was known about what exactly would happen to Bath’s hot springs and he was concerned about the wider impact on the environment generally.
The Government has put its full support behind fracking, while at the same time trying to reassure communities that the necessary regulations will be in place to protect the environment. It has allowed drilling to resume at a site near Blackpool which had been blamed for minor earth tremors.
However, both Bath and North East Somerset Council and Bath MP Don Foster have said they are worried that any local drilling could have a devastating impact on the thermal springs. The nearest site being eyed for drilling is at Hick’s Gate at Keynsham.
Dr Packham said: “Certainly environmental damage has occurred in the past in the vicinity of wells and drilling sites, and could occur again. “This would be local, but in my opinion, a greater environmental threat is the acceleration of climate change which the large scale use of shale gas would produce.
“Government scientific advisers have been emphatic in issuing this warning. This to my mind is very serious indeed. “It opens the way for climate change to approach the point of no return, leading to an environmental domino effect where in a volatile and unpredictable dynamic, things such as melting ice and the release of carbon from the planet’s surface are set to feed off each other, accelerating and reinforcing the warming effect.”
These concerns have been echoed by Alex Hart, from Frack Free Somerset, who said the public was being sold a myth about the potential benefits of fracking. She said Prime Minister David Cameron should think again: “It is utterly depressing that the country’s leader is demonstrating such a lack of imagination and proving how short-sighted he is.
“Cameron and other fans of ‘natural gas’ are using a lower prices myth to sell a toxic product. Prices will only ever go up as wells produce rapidly falling amounts of gas.
“Shale gas and coal-bed methane supporters are also ignoring one (among many) glaringly obvious fact; all wells leak eventually. “So, regardless of whatever regulatory mechanisms, licenses or permits that the government put in place, prevention of pollution can never be guaranteed.