Scarborough and Whitby Green Party

Fracking - is it worth it?

25 November 2016

DAvid Malone

In ward newsletters delivered in November 2016, local candidate David Malone writes:


The advocates of Fracking will tell you it will provide thousands of jobs, create wealth, be safe, clean, cheap and is essential for keeping the lights on and our national security.

 Oddly in those countries where Fracking has gone ahead none of these benefits has been seen.  Ten years ago in Pennsylvania, the industry claimed every well would create 1100 jobs. In fact it was closer to 400. Even that sounds good, but Fracking jobs are short lived.  Gas from a fracking well tails off dramatically, typically by 60% after the first year. As it does, so the jobs go.  What is left is the clean-up. There are thousands of capped wells in the US and Australia. Who looks after them when the companies have gone? Answer, you the tax payer does. The UK government passed a law saying tax payers would pay for any disasters.

 Will fracking create wealth? Of course it will. For those who own it. Do you think those companies will pay their taxes like you do or not pay them like Apple, Amazon or Virgin? There will be wealth, but for those who own the companies, not those who live next to their wells.

 The industry says it will be clean, because, it says, the UK has strict regulations. True. But we have a very, very poor record of applying those regulations.  We have hardly any inspectors and the plan is for the industry to mostly regulate itself with ‘inspectors’ relying on paper reports prepared by the industry.  In the US and Australia the fracking industry has an appalling record of polluting rivers and water tables.  Look it up for yourself.

 Is fracked gas cheaper? No it's not. The former chairman of BP and Caudrilla, the UK’s leading fracking company, Lord Brown, told parliament it would not be cheaper.

 Is it necessary? No. There is a world wide glut of gas. One of our allies, Qatar, owns the world's largest gas field. 

 Fracking is also a disaster for greenhouse gases. 7% of wells leak both gas and fluid. They leak methane which is 50 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2.

 Fracking is a political desire much like nuclear. Neither is cheap, and both have very long term clean up costs.

 Are there alternatives? Yes. The cheapest energy is that we don’t have to use . So the Green Party believe in cost effective energy efficiency schemes such as large scale insulation programmes which mean we have less energy demand  and lower energy costs. That is a far better option than fracking to simply meet demand.

  Last year 19% of the UK’s energy was supplied by renewables.  The next generation of solar panels have already been tested in Europe and America as well as the UK. They will be vastly more efficient and cheaper. The Green Party is often accused of being anti-technology. We are not. We are anti-the dirty and inefficient technologies that make money for the few and cost the earth, but very much in favour of supporting and developing clean and efficient 21st century technologies whose only disadvantage is that because they save you money, they won’t make global corporations rich.

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