Fracking opponents deliver petition calling for fresh health study

Frank Rugman and Claire Stephenson with the petition calling for a new health study
Frank Rugman and Claire Stephenson with the petition calling for a new health study

Campaigners opposing fracking have handed in a petition of  6,000 names calling for a review into the health effects of shale gas extraction.

The opponents of Cuadrilla’s plans to drill and frack for gas at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton visited Public Health England, to hand-deliver the appeal which urges the body to take action over its report on health and fracking.

Lancashire campaigners Claire Stephenson and Dr Frank Rugman, a retired haematology consultant, delivered the petition to the office of Professor Paul Cosford CB, the Director for Health Protection and Medical Director, at Wellington House in London. In 2014, Public Health England published their final version of a health report on fracking.

The campaigners say the report was narrow in its contents and missed out significant evidence that indicated fracking has impacts upon public health and since hundreds of other health reports have been published that need to be taken into account.

Claire Stephenson said: “Public Health England has a mission statement ‘to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities’. If they are to fulfil their public duty without breach, then they must acknowledge the mounting evidence against fracking and health.

“Isn’t it enough that our communities have had fracking forced upon them, let alone leaving residents unprotected and vulnerable? We are asking, as a matter of urgency, to review the latest evidence and create a new, comprehensive and more importantly, independent report.”

Dr Rugman said: “The UK Faculty of Public Health has endorsed the call for an immediate moratorium on fracking due to the possible serious public health risks involved, which include potential health hazards associated with air pollution and water contamination; these include toxins that are linked to increased risk of cancer, birth defects and lung disease.

“Fracking activity could pose additional risks in the UK when compared to experiences elsewhere, because of the proximity and size of surrounding populations.”