The West Wolds Labour Party opinion column with Andrew Boothroyd

Fracking is not the way forward.
Fracking is not the way forward.

The Government is desperate to roll out fracking across the north of England.

Much of the countryside around Pocklington is an area licensed for exploration, but will this benefit residents of East Yorkshire?

Fracking involves pumping very large volumes of water, and other chemicals, at very high pressure into a deep well to make methane gas flow.

Methane is used as a fuel and as a feedstock for the chemical industry.

You may think extracting gas on your doorstep will mean lower bills.

Alas, the estimated quantities of gas from fracking will not be large enough to lower gas prices.

Fracking companies are required to set up a fund for the communities that are affected. This is good, but will not compensate local residents for a reduction in house prices, estimated in a study for government, to be up to 7%.

The wider community won’t be compensated for damage, noise and air pollution caused by large increases in traffic on our roads.

Air pollution at Kirby Misperton, where a well-pad was prepared for fracking, went up from levels typical of a rural location to those of an urban area.

Pollution also affects health, increasing risks of problems with pregnancies, respiratory difficulties and stress and anxiety.

Home insurance premiums will rise too, not least because of earthquakes caused by fracking.

There is no limit to how close a fracking site is to a house or school and drilling under your home is allowed without your permission.

East Yorkshire gets much of its water from an underground aquifer. Fracking wells will pass right through this layer of water bearing rock. Water, from the fracked rocks, carrying toxic and radioactive substances, could get into our water supply.

Normally your local councillors will protect areas near your home or child’s school from unsuitable development such as fracking exploration wells. But not if the Government gets its way.

Conservative ministers propose to allow shale gas companies to drill test sites in England without planning permission.

Furthermore fracking production wells will be designated nationally significant infrastructure, meaning approval would come at a national rather than local level.

We should stop fracking in East Yorkshire, just as it is currently not allowed in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Leeds, York, Wakefield and Manchester, all Labour controlled local authorities, have also rejected fracking in their area plans. Our council should follow their example.

We should develop a low-carbon economy, creating thousands of new jobs and opportunities for businesses to develop new technologies to sell worldwide.

This will reduce burning of methane as a fuel and make the UK’s energy supply more secure, as we import less gas.

Global Warming means that ‘the collapse of civilisation is on the horizon’, to quote Sir David Attenborough.

Extracting, and using fracking gas, adds to Global Warming.

We should abandon fracking and invest in a safer and more secure future.