OF course the risks of fracking are manageable (Gazette, April 5).
The real question is, will they properly, and effectively, be managed?
To that end, Mr Grayling, of the Department of Energy and Climate Change is not reassuring when he talks about ‘being seen to be a light touch’.
It is not the obsession with either ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ touch that is the issue – it is whether the regulatory framework is effective in managing the risks.
The horror stories that have emerged from the USA clearly demonstrate what can happen when regulations are either incorrectly framed, easily subverted, or both.
At their regional conference in October 2011, North West Liberal Democrats debated this matter and concluded that the UK needs this gas; there is nothing fundamentally wrong about the technology – it is quite straightforward for companies to ‘do it right instead of do it cheap’; and the current regulations are not adequate to satisfactorily control the commercial development and properly reduce risk to as close to zero as humanly possible.
In dealing with the latter, it was recognised there are a number of operational issues that need to be resolved before anything other than very limited exploratory work is sanctioned. For now, I will raise just three issues – water, transport, gas processing.
Fracking uses massive amounts of water which, even in the wet North West, we do not have. And what about treatment of the recovered water from the fracking process? The technology is there, but the facilities required are substantial.
The Fylde road network is completely inadequate to handle the traffic if it is proposed to copy the USA and ‘truck’ everything.
The gas will need some form of cleaning before it can be fed into the network and used. Again, the technology is there, but to get some idea of the size of this task take a look at the facility in Barrow-in-Furness.
Finally, whatever the regulations are, how do you make sure that they are properly complied with?
You cannot ‘inspect’ such compliance.
NW Liberal Democrats
ONCE the hotheads have calmed down about all of the tweaks we needed to get Blackpool looking great again, I wonder what they’ll think?
Will they feel silly for moaning, and moaning, about changes that will attract thousands back to the town?
Will they feel silly for sitting in their homes and carping on, instead of being involved in the new vibrancy searing through the resort?
Or will they still moan, jealous of the success of something they’ve taken no constructive part in?
Never have I lived anywhere with so many naysayers.
Progress is exactly that – progress.
West Park Drive
LET’S all get behind the mighty Pool now as the final games of the season are upon us.
We’ve had the argy-bargy caused by the annual accounts and the players have responded – after a sticky spell – in magnificent style. Let’s get to Bloomfield Road to help make sure our boys secure that playoff place – the Premiership needs a hint of Tangerine again.
Come on you Pool!