Bernard Ingham: Fracking is small price to pay for future prosperity

A fracking rig. Bernard Ingham argues that this is a small price to pay for the guarantee of future energy supplies.A fracking rig. Bernard Ingham argues that this is a small price to pay for the guarantee of future energy supplies.
A fracking rig. Bernard Ingham argues that this is a small price to pay for the guarantee of future energy supplies.
LET me be clear: I wish my ancestors had not had to go down a coal mine to earn their living in a consequently blighted environment.

It would have been much better if we could have had our iron, steel, pottery and the wonders of engineering without the accompanying satanic mills.

I wish my parents had not had to work in weaving sheds to the deafening clatter of shuttles being shot across the warp and back.

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As one who only ever wanted to be a farmer – and prevented from becoming one by a portfolio of allergies – I wish every man and woman could have the luxury of life in the open air.

But it would not bring the prosperity – and we are among the richest in the world – delivered by our inventors and industry.

This material comfort has come with many bills and our present enviable condition results from many compromises in man’s restless drive to explore nature.

Otherwise, we would still be peasants working our bit of England and subject to every risk from weather to pests, not to mention landlords.

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Progress has its price and one of the cheapest may well prove to be fracking in Ryedale.

The risks and threat to a countryside that can easily hide the exploration site in its greenery seem pretty low in view of experience in the US.

In any case, gas exploration is not new to Kirby Misperton where, incidentally, I once spoke after a splendid baked potato dinner.

Let us therefore salute the courageous majority of North Yorkshire councillors who braved the mob and paved the way for exploring the rock beneath the area.

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They adopted a rational approach to a new opportunity. Let’s see if North Yorkshire has anything to offer the country by way of energy security.

Their rationality contrasts starkly with the illogicality and hypocrisy of the green lobby who are now thinking about challenging the decision in the courts.

First, they say there is no possible doubt about the West’s responsibility for global warming through its production of greenhouse gases, even though many scientists dispute whether the globe is warming at all.

It is one thing to construct computer programmes in an area of science – weather and climate – that is by no means understood.

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But it is entirely another to find solid evidence on land, sea and air for their computer projections.

In short, the basis of their opposition to fracking is at best flimsy.

That does not, of course, prevent them for political reasons from campaigning for the West to hand over £100bn to the developing countries as compensation to help them protect themselves from the ravages of global warming, assuming there is any and further assuming their corrupt leaders don’t appropriate the lot and bank it somewhere offshore, if not with the gnomes of Zurich.

In the meantime, they wish to impoverish us further by banning the use of all fossil fuels – and hence fracked gas – and forcing us to rely on totally unreliable wind, waves, tides and solar power.

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Their fossil embargo curiously excludes imported biomass (wood chips) subsidised at Drax because theoretically its CO2 output will be soaked up by replanting. But surely their urgent message to us is to cut CO2 output now not tomorrow, sometime, never.

As I say, environmentalists have never been consistent. Indeed, fracking exposes their fundamental inconsistency.

They rail against the impact of fracking on the environment while gazing lovingly at every alien, obtrusive wind turbine erected on our once green and pleasant hills, not to mention offshore.

Indeed, Greenpeace and its hangers on are in favour of everything that does not work – at least until we find a way of storing electricity in bulk – and against everything that does which is coal, oil, nuclear and, of course, gas.

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They have battened on to Ryedale to try to prevent Britain possibly acquiring a new source of energy without knowing – or, I suspect, caring – how Britain is to be powered.

The evidence shows that it is not energy security that they yearn for but energy insecurity – all the better to promote their useless “renewable” forms of energy.

Already electricity supply is on a knife- edge and the gap between supply and demand met at exorbitant and damaging cost to consumers.

It is irresponsibility of a high order – governments please note – consciously to put a nation at risk of blackouts.

Overall, the threat to Britain’s economy from remaining in or leaving the EU is miniscule compared to that from the anti-frackers of Ryedale and their ilk.