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Fracking – CHEM Trust’s position

** Update June 2015 – we have now published a new report and briefing on fracking, see the press release for details **

Fracking remains in the news – in the United Kingdom and also around the world.

Much has been written about the carbon balance of fracking, for example the risks of fugitive emissions of methane, and the simple reality that taking more fossil fuels out of the ground will simply increase the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

However, the potential pollution caused by fracking shouldn’t be forgotten – and it’s worth pointing out that CHEM Trust already has a position paper on fracking, (from January 2013) which concludes:

CHEM Trust has severe concerns about fracking in the UK, particularly because of its potential for intractable pollution of water resources. CHEM Trust’s focus is on the pollution aspects of the technology, as its mission is to protect humans and wildlife from harmful chemicals. Therefore, the potential long term environmental contamination and possible health effects of fracking are the focus of this briefing.

We conclude that widespread fracking in the UK would pose a considerable threat, particularly to water resources.

One of our Directors, Gwynne Lyons, also wrote a blog on fracking on the Green Alliance web site in October 2013, and called for:

  1. A moratorium on fracking in the UK, until there has been full public disclosure of all the chemicals used and the companies involved have provided adequate data on their hazard profiles, and undertaken a full assessment of all the potential health and environmental effects. Unfortunately, since full disclosure isn’t required in the US, there is a lack of information about the full range of dangerous chemicals which may be used.
  2. No fracking near potable groundwater sources, in National Parks, or on or near environmentally sensitive areas or sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs).
  3. Extensive air, land and water monitoring in the vicinity prior to and during operation, including vigilance for emerging health effects in residents, livestock and wildlife.
  4. Detailed and ongoing inspection of operations by experts in geology and ground water protection to ensure proper disposal of all chemicals, including contaminated water, muds and other wastes.
  5. Companies undertaking fracking should have to deposit bonds sufficient to cover any future compensation claims. Measures to enforce the polluter pays principle are necessary to ensure that the proper checks and balances are in place.

** Update June 2015 – we have now published a new report and briefing on fracking, see the press release for details **