Teaching union calls for ban on fracking

Fylde teachers leaders have concerns about fracking
Fylde teachers leaders have concerns about fracking
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Teachers’ leaders have called for fracking to be banned on the grounds it could pose a health threat to pupils at Fylde schools.

The Fylde branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) voted unanimously at its annual general meeting in favour of a motion that fracking should not proceed.

Members raised concerns following a study carried out in New York State in the US.

The December 2014 New York State’s Public Health Review concluded “until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF (high volume hydraulic fracking) to all New Yorkers and whether the risks can be adequately managed, DOH (Department of Health) recommends that HVHF should not proceed in New York State.”

The study recommended further investigation was needed into a number of health-related issues.

All 12 members of the Fylde NUT branch voted in favour of the motion.

Steve Nolan, the Fylde NUT Secretary said: “The US has been fracking for a while now and the health concerns are growing there.

“Lots of schools will be relatively close to fracking sites. The health of school communities is at risk.

“If they don’t think it safe on health grounds to proceed with fracking in New York State, then it certainly should not happen here either.”

Ken Cridland, Fylde assistant secretary said: “We cannot take risks with the health of school communities near fracking sites or in a 10 mile radius, or indeed with anyone’s health.”

However, a spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “We are very confident that our proposed exploration activities will not adversely impact people’s health and that schools and other communities are not at risk.

“At a national level, a Public Health England report concluded that the risks to public health from exposure to emissions from shale gas extraction are low.

“Regarding the New York study, which it appears Fylde NUT has based its decision on, the majority of that literature has been either discredited or shown to have exceedingly faulty methodologies, and none of the negative conclusions are applicable to our proposals for exploration for exploration in the Fylde. ”

The motion will now go before the Lancashire NUT executive when it meets at County Hall in Preston on Monday.

It has also won the support of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Trades Union Council.

Mr Cridland added: “They felt the health concerns trumped any jobs issues, and they are going to write to all the candidates standing in local seats in the General Election asking for their support for the motion.”

Among the concerns of the Fylde branch of the NUT are the impact of fracking on the respiratory health of pupils, drinking water contamination and the effect of potentially increased road traffic.