Trust the experts on fracking watch
I am disappointed to see the recent article in The Gazette on fracking.
The protesters seem to believe that their raucous action will bring about some change of heart from the public, the politicians or the drilling companies.
So far, this has not turned out to be the case.
We have a democratic process in this country which allows everyone to express their views.
By its very name, that process will cater for the majority view, and not everyone will be happy with the outcome.
I have disagreed with some recent new legislation, have made my views known through the normal channels, and have ultimately accepted the views of the majority.
The anti-fracking lobby has, however, made some valid points about the need for regulation of the industry, and these seem to have been accepted and acted upon by Government and the industry.
Wouldn’t it be good to have a national source of energy where we are not dependent upon the whims of other, less democratic, countries who see it as a power tool to achieve other objectives in areas not related to energy.
Of course, it needs to be regulated and controlled by a national authority, like other industries, to ensure that undue risks are not taken.
The people who work in this industry are similar to those in other industries. They are experts in their field, and understand the problems of the risks better than you or me. I am happy to trust that the aeroplane pilot knows what he is doing, as does the train driver, the guys in charge at Sellafield, medical staff, the coal mine manager, etc. All of the foregoing can cause an immense amount of damage if they get it wrong, so we have regulations and controls in place to prevent such events.
The fracking industry will be much the same.
There is some consternation in your pages about the possibility of a protest camp being set up in the Blackpool area, to highlight concerns about shale gas and fracking.
Letters from the NW Energy Task Force suggest that people should use the ballot box and other such democratic processes instead.
The ballot box, in 2015, is far too late to be effective, as Cuadrilla hope to be drilling long before then, and for me personally the democratic processes are simply not working:
My ward councillors refuse to answer my emails;
The MP tends to respond in a high level non-specific way;
I am still waiting for a reply from the regulator, almost four weeks after I asked some basic questions about radioactivity;
And questions I raised at an engineering forum recently were edited out of the subsequent broadcast.
One of the letters last week, goes on to say that the government seem to have accepted and acted upon the need for regulation and control of the industry.
In 2012 the Royal Societies carried out a review of hydraulic fracturing and their Final Report made 10 recommendations to the government.
And yes, the Government ‘accepted’ these recommendations, but two years have passed and yet only one of these recommendations has actually been implemented.
So while I understand a concern about the arrival of protesters, it is the lack of democracy and the lack of onshore-specific regulation that keeps me awake at night.
Fund raising delight
Fylde has a heart
British Heart Foundation shops in Lancashire have raised £2,193,000 in the past year to help fund life-saving research into heart disease thanks to Lancashire residents.
Those who have donated items, purchased goods or given their time to volunteer have all contributed to the Lancashire shops’ success.
This staggering amount has enabled the BHF to fund 381 defibrillators, five healthcare professionals and life-saving diagnostic equipment, such as ultrasounds and ECG machines, in the local area.
In addition to this, the BHF has helped to fund a research grant worth over £100,000 at Lancaster University.
Around 2,847 people die from coronary heart disease (CHD) in Lancashire every year, but with continued support from local people, the BHF can fight harder to reduce this figure.
British Heart Foundation
I would like to thank everyone at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Ward 16 for their help.
I was admitted to have two tumours removed on July 18. The high level of care, attention and kindness from the ward staff and nurses and the consultant Mr Islam. They were absolutely brilliant.
We are so lucky in the North West to have a superb hospital with such great and kind staff.
For all who helped during my stay, I can’t thank them enough.