I WANTED to respond to your recent article which stated that house prices will be devalued, and building insurance premiums will rise, as a result of hydraulic fracturing in Yorkshire. This will, naturally, concern your readers so let me offer reassurance to counter this speculation.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has stated that there is no market evidence that shale gas exploration has had any effect on property values yet. Currently there are few sales of property in areas directly affected by fracking so there is little data on which valuers can draw and any commentary on any possible effects on property value would be very premature,
JLL, the international property consultancy, examined house prices in two areas in Lancashire where onshore gas exploration had taken place and stated that there was no clear evidence to suggest that onshore gas operations had a material impact on local house prices.
Third Energy has stated it will begin exploring for shale gas before the end of this year and it received planning permission in May 2016.
The property websites Zoopla and Prime Location show house prices around Kirby Misperton have risen three per cent over the last 12 months and in the Vale of Pickering prices have remained the same between 2016-17. This is reinforced by Rightmove’s data, which also shows a general upward trend in sold house prices.
The ABI, the trade association for the insurance industry, has said that damage as a result of earthquake, subsidence, heave and landslip are all covered, in general, under buildings insurance. There is, at present, little evidence to show a link between fracking and seismic activity that could cause damage to a well-maintained property. However, insurers will continue to monitor the potential for fracking, or similar explorations, to cause damage. The ABI is not aware of any claims where seismic activity, as a result of fracking, has been given as a cause for damage.
These comments have been reinforced by similar replies from insurance companies to the All Party Parliamentary Group organised by Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton. It should also be noted that, as is the case with other industries, our industry will also have adequate insurance cover.
Mention was made of a Defra report but there was no mention of subsequent comment from Defra that the document was drawn up as a draft internal discussion paper – that it was not analytically robust, had not been peer-reviewed and was incomplete. A Defra spokesperson said at the time: “It, (the report), does not contain any new data or evidence, and many of the conclusions amount to unsubstantiated conjecture, which do not represent the views of officials or ministers.”
Over 2,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled in this country and 200 of these have been hydraulically fracked.
There is no evidence of house price devaluation or higher insurance premiums in these areas.
In fact, there are wells in production in some of the most highly valued property areas in the country from Surrey to the Dorset coast and in North Yorkshire itself.
It should be noted that Third Energy has been producing gas for 30 years in North Yorkshire with no reported impacts of this nature.
Don’t follow euro model
From: Lionel Pyrah, Cambridge Street, Normanton.
FORMER Leeds MEP Michael McGowan enthusiastically advocates a devolved Yorkshire. He indicates that ‘a single voice to speak on behalf of the whole region’ now has wide support from businesses, commerce, local authorities and a host of other relevant bodies.
All very well, but what about the county’s residents? And why also should we follow the European model of regions such as Bavaria and Catalonia?!
In my view, devolution for the Broad Acres is a misguided concept on four levels.
Firstly, it would not include the Sheffield City Region; secondly, it would introduce yet another level of unwanted bureaucracy; thirdly, we have no idea which local authority would distribute the extra Government money – it could be York – and fourthly, a new-style local authority based on the Leeds City Region, together with the one earmarked for Sheffield, would surely provide greatly enhanced economic growth and opportunities in those areas and Yorkshire with, arguably, better results than the plan now being championed by Mr McGowan and others.
Spin-offs aplenty from Leeds and Sheffield City Regions would soon be evident throughout the county once the city mayors and the cash bonanzas were in place.
Finally, in the interests of democracy, I suggest that we, the people, need a referendum to decide an issue too important to be determined by politicians alone; our lives are the ones that will be affected in the long term.
Just taxation is cornerstone
From: Philip Crowther, Beckfield Road, Bingley.
THE Paradise Papers are a continuation of the exposures of those amongst us who continue to enjoy their vast wealth either inherited or earned, but are too greedy to accept paying the just demands from HMRC that the rest of us agree to do.
A decent society with the services needed is dependent on this contract being fulfilled.
From business high-fliers, show business participants and the like, it is no surprise that some bad apples show their true colours like any cross section of society, but the reported inclusion of the Queen’s finances is a bitter pill to swallow.
For her accountants to invest one penny of her riches in anything other than supporting British industry and services is to me unacceptable.