Tag Archives: toxic waste

The Horrors of Fracking (2)      . . . Could it devastate our food supply?

Fracking water pumps

Water Tanks preparing from a Fracking job

By Joshua Doubek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) is to announce a new round of on-shore oil and gas exploration licensing with about two thirds of Britain potentially on offer to exploration companies. – Source Sunday Times 11/05/2014

Welcome to the National Parks    Britain’s breathing spaces

“There are 15 members of the National Parks family, beautiful areas of mountains, meadows, moorlands, woods and wetlands.

They are areas of protected countryside that everyone can visit, and where people live, work and shape the landscape.”

“Farmers are an important group of landowners and agriculture is one of the main land uses in National Parks”


I would suggest that “areas of protected countryside” is precisely what these beautiful areas are no longer, and it will not become as easy to visit them either. ‘Two thirds’ of Britain has now become the playing field for corporate businesses in what can only be described as volume shale gas production in its infancy, and therefore totally untested.

Vested interests would argue that this type of exploration has been around for 60 years or more without headline grabbing disasters and I would agree. However what has been practised so far pales into insignificance compared with the 21st century ‘gold rush’ that is now being pushed by government.

Let’s forget the science of the process for a moment and just look at practicalities. We are talking a resource that requires ‘oceans’ of water and chemicals for its extraction, with huge volumes of BIG Lorries to transport chemicals and toxic waste. They will require a road infrastructure that will make Spaghetti Junction look like a quiet country lane in a small hamlet. Sadly this is the environment these roads will need to pass through, creating untold pressures to the many communities, of which farming and livestock is an integral part.

Then there is the question of pollution of air and water. As far as air pollution is concerned methane leaks can come from the wells themselves, but let us not underestimate the emissions from the plethora of powered equipment, rigs pumps and compressors etc., necessary to pump the water and chemicals into the ground and extract the resultant gas/oil. In addition there is of course the exhaust emissions from the ceaseless movement across the country of the BIG Lorries mentioned earlier.

When we look at water usage the picture gets really scary because of the vast volumes of water necessary to the process. In America it has been estimated that during the lifetime of an average well something like up to 8 million US gallons of water will be used, which will be higher over here because shale depths are one and a half times further down. Not only will water be taken from streams and rivers that are already becoming challenged in their ability to provide for our basic needs, but also we will place our food at risk by having both arable and livestock farming competing for that same water supply.

Further potential threats to our food supply come from the fluids that return back to the surface with the extracted gas and these seem to range from 20% to 70% of what is injected. ‘Flowback’ water can be treated but it is an expensive time and chemical intensive process that profit driven corporations may become less motivated to remain involved with.

But all of this pales into insignificance compared with the long term dangers of pumping vast amounts of chemicals (which continue to remain a mystery) into the ground and their re-emergence at some time in the future. Although no scientist, I believe this re-emergence has to happen because of the sheer volume of chemicals being pumped into the ground through across the country. As these chemicals rise to the surface our food and water will become contaminated on an unimaginable scale, making us incapable of providing for our very survival.

Vested interests will argue that this won’t happen . . . BUT THEY DON’T KNOW . . . none of us do, and that is the honest truth – was climate change an issue 25 years ago!

Overall therefore it is essential for the necessary regulatory regimes needed to protect us and the environment to be put in place by government and rigidly adhered to. Here, worryingly, governments of every political hue have a poor track record of regulation, with the banking crisis still fresh in our minds, plus their ongoing relationship with corporate sponsors.

Driven by a government whose seriously depleted treasury coffers would benefit from 40% of corporate profits, (if they are kept in this country), the ability to apply responsible regulation of this industry is, I would suggest, a pipe dream.

How can any government contemplate handing over two thirds of the country to this type of commercial activity when official government figures for 2012 stated that 70% of Britain is used for farming. This is not thinking from visionary leadership but rather the short term thinking of ‘professional’ politicians seeking the means to repay massive debt they have incurred without seeking our authority so to do.

I’m not arguing we shouldn’t explore the possibilities of fracking, but we must do it responsibly over a period of years, to gain greater insight and experience before committing our country to a course of action that could become irreversibly destructive . . . climate change is quite enough for the moment!

Greenpeace are getting in the governments face with this issue and have a petition with nearly 250,000 signatures. I am writing independently of them but know they are the experts at making things happen and so you might like to add your name, if you haven’t already done so, or not, it’s up to you . . . I did. https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/frack-free-uk

Until the next time . . .

Fracking is Here – Now We Must Control It!

Fracking water pumps

Water Tanks preparing from a Fracking job

By Joshua Doubek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Queens Speech on 4th June is the worst case scenario for the people of this country. Our Prime Minister has sided with big business, over the electorate, by allowing vast volumes of chemicals to be injected into the ground under our homes without our permission. With over 70% of people against this invasion, how could he simply change established trespass laws by driving a coach and horses through the democratic process?

In his desperate attempt to rectify the Treasury’s budgets, after submersing this country in unprecedented levels of debt we have not authorised, he has sold out to pressures from the big corporations and turned over two thirds of our country to exploration. And it has all been done without reference to the electorate, relegating them to obscurity in the negotiations about a hazardous and toxic industry that could turn this countryside into something resembling a lunar landscape.

The stories now coming out of America are truly frightening as law suits begin to be settled for compensation to abused residents. Abused from toxic gas leaks, toxic water leaks and air pollution from the fracking equipment. And that does not include the need to endure the army of heavy lorries needed to move millions of gallons of water on to each site and remove the oil and gas as well as the toxic waste generated by the process.

One retired senior executive within the industry has gone on record by stating that current technology is not capable of making fracking safe at present. This, coupled with inadequate regulations are the reason for the escalating cases of human misery that the industry and media are trying to suppress. Already in this country we have experienced problems in Lancashire, where small earthquakes were experienced and which the resident fracking company accepted were down to their operations.

To add insult to injury our government are accepting only limited responsibility from the fracking industry to clear up afterwards and deal with any leaks of adverse effects from their operations. It’s the banking scandal all over again, where lose regulation led to corporate abuse which taxpayers are having to pay an obscenely high price for . . . and will do so for some time to come!

We are talking about the risk of chemicals that still remain a secret, being pumped in to the ground, only to resurface at some time in the future and poison our crops and animals . . . our food supply in other words. And don’t let anyone tell you it won’t happen BECAUSE NOBODY KNOWS.

Climate change and rising sea levels are shifting the very structure of our earth’s surface. The tectonic plates are moving and already causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and that is just for starters! What may appear encased in rock now may not be the case in the future . . . and do we want to gamble with our countryside on this one. You decide!

For my money introducing fracking into this country in the manner it has been done is the most irresponsible action by any government since parliament was introduce in 1296. If they really are this irresponsible then we have no option but to now take control before the whole matter gets out of hand. I am not arguing for the banning of Fracking, it could well prove a useful provider of some of our energy needs BUT we have to do it responsibly, and this government has proved conclusively that it is not interested in ‘responsible’ but rather gaining better polling figures by next year with a generous flow of income from a currently dubious source.

What I am advocating as responsible is a 5 year probationary period in which a total of 100 square miles of land, decided by business and with our approval, is designated for the sort of intense fracking procedures the government currently has in mind for the majority of the countryside.

During this time we would gain a valuable insight into what is entailed. What road infrastructures are needed, the effect upon our water supplies and what health risks manifest. It took less time than this in America for the reality of fracking to appear, but nothing is controlled over there and so compensation is the simple name of the game. We don’t have to follow like sheep but rather learn and take greater precautions. We are a small island that is incapable of surviving a mistake of this nature to two thirds of its countryside.

Fracking is not a national issue but international. We are currently in an unbalanced fight as electorates come up against the power of global conglomerates. It seems to me that the electorate must fight globally as well, by supporting voters in other countries with similar issues. It increases numbers on petitions, thereby worrying governments, and redresses the imbalance causing so much of the abuse today.

We have to make a stand now or corporate needs will become a dominant and permanent feature of a seriously weakened democratic process that is now leading to our own self destruction (the Planet will survive because it can fight back!).

Until the next time

If you would like to sign my petition demanding a more responsible approach to Fracking please follow this link https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fracking-limited-and-responsible-testing