Following FFAN’s meeting with the Environment Minister on 5th September and subsequent correspondence, the FFAN Chair, Dr. Carroll O’Dolan, wrote to the Minister of Health, Mr. Edwin Poots. He asked Mr Poots to ensure that the Department of Health be represented within the inter-departmental Shale Gas Forum, and to meet with FFAN to discuss the serious public health concerns arising out of fracking.
Mr. Poots replied (second page here), declining to meet FFAN at this time, but confirming that the Chief Environmental Health Officer had represented the Department at the first formal meeting of the Shale Gas Forum on 18th October.
Fracking Up, the new novel by frackaware.com’s editor Tanya Jones, is now available in paperback from Amazon. It tells the story of a fictional European island faced with shale gas extraction and of what happens when the book’s heroine, Jenny, and her friends start campaigning on the issue. It’s not a heavy book, in any sense; it was described on Amazon as “An enjoyable romance with a serious centre and lots of humour along the way” but we hope that it will help a wider audience to appreciate the likely effects of fracking in populated areas and beautiful landscapes. Tanya is happy to talk about the novel to book groups or at other events – contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
On 5th September, a delegation from the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network met with the Environment Minister, Mr Alex Attwood, in Belfast. During the meeting, they presented information to the Minister about the current proposals for shale gas extraction in the county and their probable impact, about the geology of the area and its consequent dangers, about Northern Ireland’s responsibilities under the Habitats Directive, (which protects endangered species and landscapes) and about the health implications of fracking in Fermanagh. The meeting was very positive and we are grateful to the Minister for his careful consideration of the facts provided.
Following the meeting, Dr. Carroll O’Dolan wrote to the Minister thanking him for his time and requesting that the Department of Health be represented in the inter-departmental Shlae Gas Forum. We were very pleased to receive a prompt reply from Mr. Attwood confirming that this would be the case and that he would use all efforts to ensure that the forum would address all relevant issues including health-related matters. For further news about FFAN and the Department of Health, watch this space …
Note: All the presentations and letters referred to are available on our Documents page or by clicking on the highlighted text.
At the Conservative party conference this week, George Osborne, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that he was “consulting on a generous new tax regime for shale”. If this proposal materialises, it means greater profits for the gas companies and even less potential revenue for the UK government.
As a representative from FoE pointed out:
“The chancellor clearly isn’t listening to the increasingly vociferous warnings from leading politicians, businesses and climate experts about his reckless dash for gas. With a fossil-fuelled economic strategy firmly rooted in the 1970s, George Osborne is looking increasingly incapable of dealing with the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.”
Meanwhile one of Osborne’s own colleagues, Laura Sandys, Conservative MP and part of the ministerial team at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), highlighted the problem of public opposition shale gas is likely to face: “Onshore wind is a walk in the park, by comparison.”
Read the full article here: Can George Osborne give shale gas a boost with a ‘generous’ tax regime? | Environment | guardian.co.uk.
“The independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) has today warned unequivocally that the government would breach the Climate Change Act if it pursues Chancellor George Osborne’s plans for a surge in new gas investment.”
Read more here:
UK dash for gas would be illegal, says climate committee | Environment | guardian.co.uk.
Tanya Jones, who edits this website, is also a writer and member of the Society of Authors and Crime Writers’ Association. She’s recently written a novel, Fracking Up, about the effects of fracking on a fictional European island. Read her thoughts about writing the book and its relationship with real life here:
Fracking Up @ decombustion.
An interesting article by the Guardian’s Damien Carrington, who, as he says, is ‘not opposed to shale gas in principle, if all the environmental concerns are addressed, especially methane leakage.’ Here he looks at three key claims for shale gas extraction; that it would reduce carbon emissions, lower energy prices and would not need public subsidies. He shows that all three of these assertions are false: that only renewable energy can lower greenhouse gas emissions, that gas prices in Europe are due to rise with or without fracking and that gas companies in the United States have received enormous subsidies and tax breaks. Read the full article here:
UK shale gas is more lead balloon than silver bullet
As reported by the Business Green news website yesterday:
“The chances of the European Union taking tough new action to regulate controversial Shale Gas projects received a major boost late last week, with the publication of three new in-depth reports that raised serious concerns about the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it is more commonly known.
The EU-commissioned reports from the EU Joint Research Centre and environmental consultancy AEA assessed the risks shale gas projects pose to the environment and human health, their likely impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and their effect on gas markets and energy security.
The reports argue that projections for the development of the shale gas industry in Europe are dogged by uncertainty, but they also warn that fracking presents a “high risk” to human health and the environment and as such the sector is badly under-regulated.”
Read the article in full here:
EU raises fresh concerns over environmental impact of Shale Gas .
As reported in the Irish Times (link below), a coalition of 27 groups, the Environmental Pillar, has called upon the government in the Republic of Ireland to put a stop to all fracking activity in the country. The coalition includes a wide range of specialist groups, from An Taisce (the Irish Natonal Trust) to the Zero Waste Alliance, including the Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association and the Irish Seal Sanctuary. For more details, visit their website at environmentalpillar.ie.
Green groups call for halt to fracking – The Irish Times – Tue, Aug 07, 2012.
(photo by Irish Seal Sanctuary)