Fylde anti-frackers hail critical UN report

Cuadrilla's fracking rig at Preston New Road
Cuadrilla's fracking rig at Preston New Road

Anti-fracking campaigners have welcomed a United Nations report that warns that the Government is “flouting” its duty to protect its citizens from illegal and dangerous levels of air pollution.

The report centres on traffic pollution but makes special mention of fracking, linking pollution to human rights.

It says: “Regulations on fracking are complex and split between several regulators, and do not appear to be sufficiently stringent.”

It also says that it relies too much on “self-monitoring by the oil and gas industry.”

A spokesman from the Preston New Road Action Group said: “It is significant to note that the UN’s special rapporteur highlighted Lancashire in his report.”

"He also identified that the UK’s fracking regulations are ‘complex, split between several regulators and do not appear to be sufficiently stringent.’

"He indicated this would increase the risk of water pollution.

“Preston New Road Action Group has repeatedly drawn attention to the UK’s disconnected fracking regulators and potential loopholes for the industry to abuse.

"Cuadrilla has already demonstrated it will flout the rules for its own benefit by bringing the rig onto site outside the permitted hours.”

Campaigner Dr Frank Rugman said: "Fracking will require numerous on-site diesel compressors, working day and night, which will generate toxic clouds of diesel exhaust fumes. Diesel exhaust emissions will also result from the cumulative trips of thousands of HGV trucks to and from the site."

However, a Government spokesman said: “We have been clear that shale development in the UK must be safe and environmentally sound.

"Any proposals for hydraulic fracturing activity must be approved by the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, the Oil and Gas Authority, and the Mineral Planning Authority through the planning system. As part of this, Public Health England (PHE) will look at any impacts on health.

"Our regulations have been independently reviewed by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, and Public Health England. Their reports considered a wide range of evidence and looked at the UK regulatory system.

"The UK has a strong regulatory system which provides a comprehensive regime for exploratory activities. It uses existing regulators with long-standing experience of regulating against different sectors in their area of specialisation.”