Inquiry call to probe frack pollution link

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

Green activists have hailed a call for a new inquiry into fracking’s effects on health.

Senior figures including former health minister Norman Lamb and former President of the UK Faculty of Public Health, Professor John R Ashton, signed a letter calling for a parliamentary inquiry.

And activists blasted the Government for “burying” a critical report on the effects fracking could have on air pollution until after the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy gave final permission for Cuadrilla to carry out fracking at its Preston New Road site.

It warned fracking wells would increase levels of nitrogen dioxides and volatile organic compounds.

It said: “Impacts on local and regional air quality have the potential to be substantially higher than the national level impacts, as extraction activities are likely to be highly clustered.”

The lettter to Dr Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP who chairs the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, asks for “a comprehensive review of all current evidence related to the health and social impacts of fracking, with a view to delivering its conclusions in spring 2019.”

Claire Stephenson, for Frack Free Lancashire, said: “It is simply disgraceful that yet again, democracy and justice has been withheld from our community. How can it be that scientific evidence has been deliberately buried from the public and especially during planning inquiries?

"This is contemptuous behavior, and sadly, one we are used to seeing from the present government, who put their industry pals before local communities."

Shale gas industry body UKOOG said Britain’s tight regulations would protect people.

A spokesman said: “The potential hazards associated with onshore oil and gas are well understood; and are not unique to this industry. Appropriate design is the primary mechanism to control all potential hazards.”

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