Posted by: westlancashirerecord | October 27, 2016

Vociferous Complaints About Gas Exploration “Unfounded”?

An unknown “Aughton Resident” suggests in Champion  championlogo letters “there was a good [not quantified] turnout at the oil and gas regulators’ drop-in meeting held recently in Aughton. The Environment Agency, HSE and the Oil and Gas Authority were all present to explain their respective roles in regulating what could become an important future industry in West Lancashire. [The writer does not mention Public Health England and Lancashire County Council who were also present as statutory public bodies].

The writer “was impressed by the professional approach taken by the representatives from all the regulatory bodies [no surprise there, most need professional qualifications to be regulators], and like other local residents was left in no doubt that the vociferous complaints of a small minority of protestors are largely unfounded [the writer does not define an unfounded complaint].

“Gas already plays a vital role in all our lives as a fuel and as a feedstock for industry. The UK is dependent on fossil fuels for over 80% of its energy needs and will require sources of gas for decades to come.

“Far better to produce it here in the UK, so that the jobs and economic rewards benefit UK citizens than to rely on costly energy imports”.

What’s missing from the above letter? What needs to be regulated? “Shale” and “Fracking”? So why not say so. The drop-in meeting was an “informal” event. It was to discuss risks with representatives of public bodies having no commercial interest in fracking and to learn about the realities beyond the industry hype.

Strangely enough the writer seems to ignore the land that might be explored and developed. Agricultural land that already provides the jobs and economic rewards mentioned are long established where these sites might be. PEDL 164 pedl164 is “prime agricultural land”. Does anybody want to be referring to it in the future as “prime shale land”? And, food for thought, what part should local democracy, ie voters, play in these shale gas decisions?

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