POLL: Should fracking be banned in the UK?

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The RSPB is issuing its first objections to fracking proposals over concerns that the controversial drilling technique will harm wildlife and the climate.

The charity has lodged a letter of objection with Lancashire County Council to a proposal by Cuadrilla at Singleton near Blackpool in Lancashire. The drilling site is close to an internationally important protected area for pink footed geese and whooper swans and could cause disturbance to the birds.

The RSPB is also officially objecting to the contentious plans to explore for oil and gas at Balcombe in Sussex on the grounds that no Environmental Impact Assessment has been carried out, and because increasing oil and gas use will scupper our chances of meeting climate targets.

Harry Huyton, RSPB head of climate and energy policy, said: “Balcombe has hit the headlines as the battleground in the debate over fracking. The public there are rightly concerned about the impact this new technology will have on their countryside. These are not just nimbys worried about house prices – there is a very real public disquiet about fracking.

Pink-footed Goose © Bruce Mactavish, from the surfbirds galleries.

“We have looked closely at the rules in place to police drilling for shale gas and oil, and they are simply not robust enough to ensure that our water, our landscapes and our wildlife are safe.

“Former energy secretary Lord Howell claims that when he made his much publicised howler about fracking the ‘desolate North East’ he actually meant the North West. Singleton in Lancashire is right in the heart of the North West and is on the doorstep of an area which is home to thousands of geese and swans who will arrive from as far away as Siberia to roost and feed next month and stay for the winter.

“There may not be as many local residents as in Sussex, but this area is protected by European law because it is so valuable for wildlife and Cuadrilla has done nothing to investigate what damage their activities could do to it.”

The RSPB has called on Lancashire County Council to ensure Cuadrilla has carried out a full Environmental Impact Assessment before it goes ahead with any work. The charity has also joined with other wildlife and environment groups to call on the Government to rethink its shale gas policies.

Mr Huyton added: “Figures suggest that in the north of England there is potential for 5,000 sites and a total of up to 100,000 wells. The idea that these will not have an impact on the countryside is very difficult to believe.

“Fracking is technology largely untested in the UK and we really have no idea what the impact will be on our wildlife. We do know, however, that concentrating our resources on extracting fossil fuel from the ground instead of investing in renewable energy threatens to undermine our commitment to avoiding dangerous levels of climate change.”

We invite you to vote FOR or AGAINST the banning of fracking in the UK. Even if you’re not from the UK, please vote and also leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should fracking be banned in the UK?

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The editorial content of this article was written and published by Surfbirds.com


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Ken Billington

Rick, I don't recall seeing your comment. Could you post it again please? Thanks in advance.

Ric Zarwell

Why was my fairly comprehensive description of what fracking and frac sand mining has done within the U.S. quickly eliminated from this webpage?

Chris Sharpe

That's a pretty one-sided post, skewed towards hydrocarbons and away from renewable options without much supporting argument – and you're calling renewable energy an ideology! You don't mention what would happen if we burned all the hydrocarbons we could burn. Fracking has not been properly presented, analysed or debated in the UK. The arguments on both sides need to be a lot more nuanced and evidence-based if we are going to take responsible decisions. The government has got its energy and climate change policy pretty mixed up (and not just fracking – look at forestry, national parks, planning, badgers, neonicotinoids,… Read more »

Alan Petrie

Enough of short term fixes like fracking which will only pollute and cause climate change. Time for some lateral thinking to reduce our emissions and concentrate on green energy.

Susan Lee

fracking should be totally banned EVERYwhere. The process of it makes the land UNinhabitable and water permanently UNdrinkable. Your LIVES will all be "bankrupted" if you stupidly allow ANY fracking on ANY property! Time to start harnessing solar power and wind power much more seriously.

Clive Richardson

The United Kingdom is bankrupt! There will come a time when the option to keep importing fuel is not available. If we delay to establish this industry with high quality planning, impact analysis and training at this time the problem will be that there will be panicked unplanned knee jerk rapid development at some time in the future, as a response to stave off an energy crisis. I have engaged with alternative renewable sustainable energy ideology for the past 20 years and it is always the case that there are problems be it food V/s fuel, meaningless yet complex anthropogenic… Read more »