David Cameron on the subject of Fracking: “International evidence shows there is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies or other environmental damage, if properly regulated. And the regulatory system in this country is one of the most stringent in the world. If any shale gas well were to pose a risk of pollution, then we have all the powers we need to close it down”. The New York Times reported that “fracking can be done safely – when regulations are followed”.

When regulations are followed” is a caveat most politicians seem to use as their disclaimer. Doesn’t this imply most probably the government is aware that human error is the cause of most of the fracking accidents, or fraccidents as they are now known?

But how can we trust the government to regulate this industry when it tries and fails miserably to regulate finance, indeed probably the most overly regulated industry which exists? The current LIBOR scandal just proves the government cannot regulate industry’s satisfactorily, not to mention the losses rogue traders rack up often. There’s the food industry too, we all remember the horse meat food recalls. While regulation is fine in concept, if it cannot be monitored properly accidents WILL happen. So expect them and don’t be surprised.

So for the government to proclaim it will regulate fracking just isn’t true. History clearly shows it fails at this job and in the meantime we will potentially be suffering from mini earthquakes beneath our homes. How long will it be till insurance companies add a clause in our insurance policies making them not liable for this risk?

The U.S. is far more advanced than the UK for fracking:

Huffington Post, 9/12/2012, ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has become the first major insurance company to say it won’t cover damage related to a gas drilling process that blasts chemical-laden water deep into the ground. The Columbus, Ohio-based company’s personal and commercial policies “were not designed to cover” risk from the drilling process, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, Nationwide spokeswoman Nancy Smeltzer said Thursday.

Health and environmental groups claim fracking can contaminate drinking water. The gas industry says it’s safe if done properly. Nationwide said risks involved in fracking operations “are too great to ignore” and apply to policies of commercial contractors and landowners who lease property to gas [fracking] companies.

“After months of research and discussion, we have determined that the exposures presented by hydraulic fracturing are too great to ignore. Risks involved with hydraulic fracturing are now prohibited for General Liability, Commercial Auto, Motor Truck Cargo, Auto Physical Damage and Public Auto (insurance) coverage.”

While new jobs and revenue are generally considered a good thing, many worry that we’re sacrificing future environmental health and natural landscapes for immediate gain. One of the major concerns stems from the chemicals within the fracking cocktail. Close to 600 chemicals can be used in the cocktail, some of which are considered highly toxic. Lead, uranium, methanol, hydrochloric acid, and formaldehyde are common ingredients pumped into the ground, and there have already been cases of these toxic chemicals contaminating drinking water in the U.S. So expect this to be coming to us too.

So who is going to protect us? Insurance – probably not. Does the government care? I think we all know the answer to this.  How will we benefit from fracking? Energy security will be/is the answer. But this comes at a very high cost whereas North Star will install solar PV on 100% of homes, both social and residential for free. Lets start a nationwide debate on this issue. It will affect us all, in all parts of the UK, it doesn’t matter where you live. Do you want the Blackpool fracking earthquakes coming to you?

The answer to this is vote no to fracking and vote yes for solar. Solar is free, abundant, green and completely safe. It is a resource which will never die out. And as mentioned we install rooftop solar PV for free. This isn’t a hard sell, it’s to point out that their IS an alternative to fracking. An altogether better one. You don’t have to have free solar installed by us, others offer it too.

Does fracking help save the planet? Not in a million years though one roof installed with solar PV saves one tonne of CO2 emissions each year – and meanwhile provides residents with free daytime electricity.

Peter Sermol

Managing Director

North Star Solar Ltd

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