Fracking Concerns Ignored By Local Authorities And Government
There is a great deal of speculation and controversy surrounding the latest methods for extracting natural gas from under our feet, a process known as “Fracking” where a toxic mixture of chemicals are pumped into well heads to release gases trapped in the underlying bedrock.
The process is designed to fracture the rock strata, allowing gas to escape and rise to the surface and the controversial method is already being exploited widely in some states in the USA, with alarming results. Minor earth tremors are being caused and ground water is becoming saturated with methane and other flammable gases and some residents living near the remote drilling sites have to rely on bottled supplies to be able to drink and water cattle, however the companies controlling the drilling are happy to pay people off and ignore what they are being told.
Here in the UK, gas companies have identified potential sites that they reckon hold enough natural gas reserves to last for the next 30-40 years, unfortunately these areas are also heavily populated, not like in the USA.Many UK residents fear earthquakes caused by the drilling and extraction processes will result in their property becoming damaged by land slips and subsidence as well as damage to the environment and water supplies, however the Government and local authorities do not appear to be interested in listening to what the public are worried about.
iGas have set up a test drilling site no more than 3 miles from my house just outside our local village of Irlam due to the nature of the land being rich in peat and the protests by residents have been widely reported in the news.
The area of Chat Moss where the latest test drilling site has been set up is a peat bog and the water table is quite close to the surface, with many parts of Irlam being on or below the highest point of the water table, a point ignored by energy bosses.
I along with thousands of local residents are opposed to Fracking on our doorstep and we are not alone, residents in Blackpool and Lytham St Annes in Lancashire are already facing alarming issues, with earth tremors already recorded and with more test sites planned in other areas of the UK in the next few months, this concern will soon be widespread.
If there are reserves of natural gas under our feet, then we need to find a way to extract them without damaging the environment and without endangering the lives and properties of local residents.
There are many parts of the North West of England that have already been extensively mined for coal, including under Chat Moss and Irlam back in the 1960’s and 70’s from mines in Astley and Agecroft. These mine workings may no longer be operational but they will have some residual fossil fuels trapped in them along with a more deadly cocktail – Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). The liquid trapped in old mine workings is potentially more devastating to the environment than DDT is to insects, but this potential problem is being ignored by corporate bosses.
What would the outcome be if the cocktail of AMD is released into the environment, would the public be compensated or relocated? I don’t think so, instead we will just get an apology and the matter would be kept quiet so that corporations can devastate huge areas of the UK in the name of energy sustainability.
Protesters are taking extreme peaceful measures to highlight concerns but still the money men are refusing to listen. Local residents don’t want fracking sites on their doorstep and landlords with rental properties in the area are already witnessing a drop off in tenant demand, because no-one wants to live near (never mind on top of) drilling sites.
Buy-To-Let used to be popular in the surrounding area but now tenant demand has started to fall away, with prospective tenants looking outside the locality for somewhere to live.
iGas don’t appear bothered about any impact that they may have on the locality, they insist that residents have a right to protest but they won’t allow the public access to planning or local authority meetings and they are using government authority to push ahead with their plans.
Will it take an environmental disaster to make people sit up and take notice? If so then it is already too late!
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