October 19: Failure of regulation raises fresh fears over fracking

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From: Geoff Smith, Hovingham.

IN the light of the latest evidence that the UK’s regulation of the motor industry has failed completely, what evidence can Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake give us that the UK’s regulation of fracking will be any less of a failure?

So many of our industries either rely on self-regulation or companies are allowed to engage specialist companies to “prove” their compliance to regulations. Both of these systems allow a situation whereby there may be a conflict of interest. When this happens, at some stage regulations are either circumvented or allowed to be breached.

Recent history is littered with instances where the authorities have failed to regulated either organisations or whole industries properly. Regulatory problems have been exposed in banking, policing, Parliament, the NHS and now the car industry. The point is that there are always victims when this happens. These victims are often ignored and thus failed until there is such a tide of bad news that it can no longer be kept quiet. This must not be allowed to happen with the unconventional gas extraction industry.

In view of this, please can Mr Hollinrake, after his recent visit to America, explain how the current regulations will ensure past failures will not be repeated with regards to this industry?

From: Dr Tim Thornton, Middleton.

THERE are three quality papers that help us decide if fracking is right for the UK. The first is by Joanna Hawkins, Fracking – Minding the Gaps’ that looks at the ‘strong’ regulations supposed to protect us from harm. Her research reveals the imprecision of the regulations which, she concludes, are unfit for purpose.

A hefty piece of work from California (Government, Department of Conservation final EIR) examines the ability to reduce or avoid the impacts from fracking. It finds that many impacts cannot be mitigated to less than inevitable and significant.

Finally a paper from John Hopkins University, Department of Public Health, which looked at 9,384 mothers living near fracking wells and found there was a marked increase in prematurity and complicated preganancies.

This is now the third paper that shows there are impacts from fracking on the outcomes of pregnancy and the viability of babies.

Unfit regulations and unacceptable risks to health should make the Government pause in the ‘dash for gas’.

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