Letters September 17: The real cost of neglecting sources of renewable energy

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From: A Killelay, Main Street, Hovingham, York.

Shale gas extraction, or fracking, threatens to disfigure large areas of Northern England.

You could take a pragmatic view and say that it is an expediency to produce a quick source of energy to uphold our present lifestyle.

But that ignores what it will cost us in the upheaval and disfiguration it leaves behind in the ordinary countryside, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or even our national parks.

Not only that but it contributes yet more to the damage caused by global warming. However fracking is only the latest example of how we mismanage our energy needs. We have been here before.

It seems that to produce energy, areas of humanity, wildlife and countryside can be sacrificed regardless. Look at the ugly legacy of spoil tips left by the mining of coal and the number of miners killed in the process. Consider the hazard of nuclear explosions and contamination or the storage of waste matter said to be dangerous for hundreds of years. Oil production also causes many problems from frequent and damaging oil spills. Worst of all, these are mostly carbon based fuels and we have only just begun to feel the effects of global warming. The pattern of short term expediency repeats itself. Will nothing stop the relentless urge to produce energy regardless of the true cost?

Renewable sources of energy – wind, solar and water – could probably provide the majority of our requirements given the right encouragement and development. Why then has so little been done to develop green energy? But despite much talk, little real progress has been made and in some ways is in decline:

A few years ago there was a focus on harnessing the rise and fall of tidal power. Very little appears to have happened from this research, whether through lack of funds, inertia or opposing vested interests.

If consideration is given to the funding of renewable energy it must be miniscule compared to the investment in oil.

The Government has recently announced that the subsidy to encourage people to install solar panels will be reduced from 2016 from 12.92p per kilowatt hour to 1.63p per kwh. Fracking is ugly and potentially damaging to the areas it is inflicted upon. The Government should reconsider their strategy or lose credibility and support.

The neglect of renewable energy in favour of short term advantage should be reversed. When will we have the courage, foresight and determination to do the right thing for both ourselves and our children?