Archive | August 2014

Fracking is sheer folly

Councillor Ioan Richard is mistaken when he says that fracking is not used for coal bed methane extraction (‘Energy debate ‘hi-jacked’ by anti-fracking protests’; South Wales Evening Post; August 22). 

There is ample evidence of the use of hydraulic fracturing to stimulate the flow of coal bed methane, most often in the sorts of conditions that are likely to be found in the South Wales coalfields.   

Far from “hijacking” the energy debate for some unspecified devious purpose, anti-fracking campaigners seek to open up that debate and lay the full facts before communities and decision makers, as a counter balance to the spin and misinformation propagated by those who have a vested interest in the unconventional gas industry.  

Methane may be the “cleanest of all fossil fuels” – but it is still a fossil fuel.  

If we are serious about dealing with climate change we need to leave around 80% of the known reserves of fossil fuels in the ground until such time as we have adequate processes for dealing with the greenhouse gas emissions that they create. 

To do anything else at this critical time for our climate would be sheer folly.










Misquoted – again!

Reporter, Rachel Moses-Lloyd, seriously misquotes me in her article ‘Divide over plans to tap into gases” (South Wales Evening Post, Tuesday 12 August). 

I did not say, “They are not likely to be fracking in Wales, because that’s what they do for shale gas, and South Wales hasn’t got any”. 

What I did say was that there isn’t much shale in South Wales, so extraction of Coal Bed Methane is likely to have more of an impact in this area.  I also pointed out that Coal Bed Methane extraction could involve fracking in certain circumstances. 

The presence of shale in South Wales is borne out by the fact that companies are now applying for permission to test drill in order to ascertain where the shale is and how much gas it might contain.  This is certainly the case at Pontrhydyfen in the Afan Valley, where UK Methane has recently applied to extend the depth of their drilling in Foel Fynyddau Forest in order to explore for shale. 

But even if they don’t find suitable shale beds, and even if they can extract the Coal Bed Methane without using fracking, we would still be presented with significant industrialisation of the countryside bringing with it the risks of water pollution, air pollution and hundreds of extra vehicle movements creating noise, dust and damage in rural areas. 

If Councillor Ioan Richard is so intent on reducing our reliance on imported gas, then he should be supporting the development of renewable energy rather than unconventional gas, which will do far more damage to the communities and environment of South Wales. 

The Pickled Gherkin

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Christopher Patrick Ross

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