THE need for total transparency over fracking – and its impact on the environment – is further re-enforced by the latest earth tremor to be detected over the weekend in Lancashire.
Though energy firm Cuadrilla said this was only a “micro seismic event” after a tremor measuring 2.1 on the Richter scale was detected at its plant near Blackpool, it will do little to allay the fears of nearby residents – or families living in the vicinity of proposed sites in Ryedale and other parts of Yorkshire.
And this is compounded by weekend revelations that a non-disclosure agreement existed between Cuadrilla and the British Geological Survey, the official organisation which monitors tremors, to erase “confidential information” at the firm’s request.
This was not denied by the company whose spokesman said: “A confidentiality agreement is fairly standard practice between private and public sector organisations. Cuadrilla is committed to open and transparent operations.”
If this, then it will commit to complete openness about its work at the UK’s only operational fracking site. And so, too, will the rest of the industry if it believes that fossil fuels, namely the extraction of shale gas, are more sustainable – from both an economic and environmental standpoint – than renewable energy like wind and solar power.
And given how the number of opponents of fracking here appears to outnumber supporters by a considerable margin, the onus is back on the industry – even more so after a series of tremors in recent days – to prove that such operations are not only safe but in the public interest. They’ve yet to do so.