Why we must unite in fight against fracking in Yorkshire – Yorkshire Post letters

From: Coun Paul Andrews (Ind), Malton Ward, Ryedale District Council.

Would coal mining be preferable to fracking in the event of an energy crisis?

IN response to recent correspondence on fracking, I am not advocating a return to the coal age. It is the oil and gas industry who are the real scaremongers.

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They would have us believe that conventional sources of gas and oil are in decline, that the supply of gas from the North Sea is coming to an end, that Europe will reduce its piped supplies, Vladimir Putin could turn the tap off, there could be revolutions in the Gulf, an unexpected meltdown of a nuclear reactor or two, and the production of renewable energy could suddenly stop as a consequence of a failure of the wind to blow or the sun to shine!

The proposed fracking site at Kirby Misperton - before the scheme was put on hold.

My point is that, in the most unlikely event of the realisation of these highly improbable scenarios, there will still be no need to frack for gas because the UK does have limitless supplies of coal which could be utilised.

I was also pointing out that deep coal mining is less harmful to residential amenity and business interests (particularly the visitor economy) than fracking. I visited a Selby mine years ago, and saw for myself how modern technology had transformed underground working conditions and extraction processes. I saw huge tunnels and galleries which stretched for miles from a single pithead.

An anti-fracking road sign in Ryedale.

I live within two miles of the KM8 fracking site. So I’ve witnessed the size of a mere test site. I attended the public examination of the North Yorkshire Minerals Plan. Reference was made to the paragraphs in the draft plan which accept grids of fracking drill pads, each pad two hectares in size and at a density of 10 to every 100 square kilometres (i.e. 10 to every 38 sq miles or one every one-and-a-half to two miles in every direction, if evenly spaced). Apparently this is what the industry representatives had asked for, but then they told the inspector that they wanted no restriction on density of drill pads at all.

So, I do know what I am talking about, and if the UK has to make a choice between fracking and deep mined coal, I know which I would choose.

I am not a thorough-going environmentalist, but I am persuaded by the evidence of man-made global warming.

I have no wish to live on a dying planet, and believe it is in the interest of everybody, everywhere, worldwide, to fight fracking in parliaments, councils, the courts and, if necessary, by lawful direct action. We must never surrender to this dirty and destructive industry.