Here's what I said to the NYCC planning committee at Northallerton last Friday:
‘ I live in Knaresborough, but I’m speaking to pass on the views of the many people in Boroughbridge with whom I spoke whilst standing as a Green candidate for Harrogate Borough Council before the election earlier this month. The vast majority of those I spoke with are against fracking. It’s clear that if the precautionary principle were to be adhered to, the risks are far too high to go ahead, since cleaning up a contaminated underground water system is impossible when the chemicals used for fracking are carcinogenic at parts per billion.
To say we can trust regulation in the UK is laughable: I attended the Minerals and Waste Action Plan Joint Health and Transport scrutiny meeting here on January 22nd where elected members questioned the agencies responsible for regulation of fracking – agencies such as the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, and Yorkshire Water. What was completely clear at that meeting was that the ‘responsible agencies’ were not at all confident that they could regulate this secretive, dangerous, deep and dirty industry. Those ‘responsible agencies’ have been severely cut and do not have the capacity or scope to do the job of regulation – especially when they would be under immense pressure from a government determined to frack Yorkshire.
The image that came to my mind was of rabbits in the headlights – each pointing at the others – passing the buck. So much for much-vaunted regulation! ‘