From: Christopher Pickles, Gilling East, York.
MATT Ridley (The Yorkshire Post, March 11) is greatly to be thanked for the insight he provides into the mindset of those who support fracking.
It is not to be denied that if it works – and one must bear in mind that it failed to work in Poland – the extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing could bring about an energy revolution.
But whether it is the kind of energy revolution we need or want is entirely another matter. The issues are these:
We are in a climate change crisis.
We shall have to achieve a near to zero-carbon economy by 2050 or soon afterwards.
It is clear that, as a nation, we shall not be able to start up two major new industries in that time.
Only renewables can give us a zero-carbon economy.
The only course that makes sense is to put maximum effort into renewables right now, particularly at a time when methods of storage and transport of electricity are being developed exponentially.
Such, in a vastly over-simplified form, is the case for solar, wind and tidal generation.
It is not true, as Viscount Ridley suggests, that Friends of the Earth has conceded the case before the ASA that it had misrepresented the health impacts of fracking in a leaflet.
It simply became too expensive to carry on the argument before the tribunal, and they had no intention of reissuing the leaflet anyway.
There is plenty of evidence from peer-reviewed papers that there is a connection between residence close to a fracking site and hospital admissions. The connection of the use of sand in the fracking process and cancer is not a joke. We’re not talking about beach sand here, but silica sand which can cause the much-feared silicosis.
I can assure Lord Ridley that I have not seen any Russian money to encourage me to campaign against fracking. We do not need to seek information on the health impacts of fracking from Russian propaganda, when there are much more reliable sources, such as papers emanating from the world-renowned Johns Hopkins University in the USA.
Yes, we shall continue to need gas, but does anyone think that if we produce shale gas here, other countries will reduce their production to compensate?
Finally, I fail to recognise the “tiny group of middle-class southerners who go north to protest about this stuff”. I can assure Lord Ridley that the overwhelming majority of campaigners are local residents.