Almost everybody has heard of fracking. Most people know it might be dangerous, but it is difficult to untangle the competing claims of the drilling companies, a pro-fracking Tory government, scientists and campaigners, and the people who live and work just metres away from fracking sites.
Brian Davey and Dennis May from campaign group Frack Free Notts came to Attenborough, Chilwell and Toton Labour Party’s branch meeting on 6 March to explain why fracking is bad news.
They explained that fracking pressurises cavities deep below the ground using a mixture of water and chemicals to obtain natural gas. Pressure builds up in the shale rock, which breaks up and releases the gas. The fluid mixes with whatever was in the surrounding ground at the time, including any hazardous substances. The process releases highly toxic and flammable fumes and produces high levels of the greenhouse gas methane. It can also leave the land above unusable for farming and forestry.
People living near fracking sites have reported bleeding noses and sore throats and the British Medical Association says allowing fracking to take place is “a leap of faith”. But our ability to regulate the industry has been scuppered by Tory cuts to safety regulators like the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
“I knew very little about fracking and so I was really pleased to have not one but two excellent speakers about this subject at my own packed branch meeting,” said Broxtowe Labour member Claire Lawrence. “No claim was left unsupported by high quality evidence and the result was a much fuller appreciation of the real damage fracking might cause to Broxtowe.”
Seventy percent of Nottinghamshire is earmarked for potential fracking and the Tories’ 2015 Infrastructure Act allows companies to frack in and under Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) like Attenborough Nature Reserve.
“Fracking is an issue on our doorstep and an issue we can win on the doorstep,” says Broxtowe Labour activist Matthew Curtis. “In contrast to Anna Soubry’s wholehearted support for fracking in Broxtowe, Labour Party policy is to ban it. The best way to stop fracking is a Labour government.”
More information on the case against fracking can be found at: frackfreenotts.org.uk