The case for fracking is not proven
(Letter to South Wales Evening Post
K Clements’ assertion that “the claim that fracking causes water and air pollution is not proven” (‘Danger was exaggerated’, Have Your Say, 31 July) only holds up because insufficient research has been carried out.
Given the strong correlation between fracking operations in the USA and Australia and incidents of water and air pollution, plus a mounting catalogue of health issues in the surrounding areas, it would be foolish to ignore the risks.
I am reminded here of the long battle to get the authorities and industry to accept the link between smoking and cancer – something we now take as a given.
In such a situation it would be sensible for government to adopt the precautionary principle, which states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an act.
In other words, we need to know that exploitation of unconventional gas will not cause harm before we allow it to go ahead, and not just accept the vague and unproven assurances of the industry and politicians with personal and financial connections to that industry.
This view is supported by the fact the Government’s own consultation on plans to loosen planning rules for unconventional gas drilling contained a catalogue of potential disasters. It warned of noise, dust, air pollution, “visual intrusion into the landscape”, traffic, the risk of landslides, flooding and soil contamination.
Or does Mr Clements feel that this is an acceptable risk for the people of Llangyfelach and other areas surrounding Swansea?