Fracking no panacea to energy costs or our rural decline

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From: Adrian Palmer, Milton Avenue, Malton.

LORRAINE Allanson (The Yorkshire Post, August 11) suggests that fracking presents a panacea to the twin evils of fuel poverty and rural poverty. She talks of thousands dying from cold and suggests that “our dying rural economy is crying out to be resuscitated by fracking”.

Fracking protesters outside County Hall, Northallerton.

Fracking protesters outside County Hall, Northallerton.

Fracking, though, is not a kiss of life for our countryside, and it will not have any meaningful impact on fuel poverty. How could it when even the shale gas operators themselves admit that its impact on energy bills will be “basically insignificant”?

Of course rural poverty and migration from the countryside do need addressing, but densely peppering an area with shale gas wells is not going to provide an environment that stops our youth migrating towards the towns in search of something better. Quite the opposite in fact.

Fracking will of course create a small number of jobs, but not – if the evidence in Lancashire is anything to go by – for many local people. With the main pad contractor in Lancashire coming from outside the county and haulage contractors coming from far and wide, the myth of the industry having some sort of preference for local suppliers has been exposed by the reality on the ground. We also need to look at the net impact on employment. A few dozen jobs on a pad is not a local benefit if, as a result, jobs are lost in other sectors like tourism and agriculture.

“People” are not, as she tries to claim “anti-development”. They are, quite rightly, anti-inappropriate development. Anti-development which will have a negative impact on the amenity value of their local area. Anti-development that will reduce the value of their houses. Anti-development which will have a negative impact on their local environment. Anti-development which poses a threat to our global environment.

From: Steve Phillips, Thompson Drive, Strensall, York.

THE article by Lorraine Allanson (The Yorkshire Post, August 10) on how fracking will benefit rural economies ignores one huge factor. Lorraine herself runs a B&B business in Ryedale. I assume that a lot of her customers are tourists, visiting North Yorkshire.

Will those people still choose to come if Yorkshire is covered in fracking wells, with the associated lorry movements trundling through villages every day? Tourism is the lifeblood of many parts of North Yorkshire, and that is the very reason that the owners of FlamingoLand, Castle Howard, and other attractions have voiced their opposition to any fracking.