Letters: Fracking deal is breathtaking, cynical and idiotic

The following letters appear in the 18th December 2015 edition of The Independent 

Independent Voices
Thursday 17 December 2015 19:24 GMT
A placard depicting David Cameron at anti-fracking protest in Balcombe last year
A placard depicting David Cameron at anti-fracking protest in Balcombe last year

A flight over the fracking regions of North America or a look at satellite imagery makes clear the ruination of the landscape created by thousands of football-pitch-sized drilling pads and associated access roads and wastewater ponds to which our government is planning to condemn our most beautiful landscapes. (Fracking in National Parks, 17 December).

When fracking for oil and gas in the UK was first promoted the prices for these fossil fuels were approximately three times their current level. The entire American fracking industry is now collapsing because, even with their extremely lax environmental standards on low-value land, it is a high-cost industry which is clearly an economic disaster at today’s energy prices.

A number of studies, including one from Cornell University, have shown that the countless drilling of new wells demanded by the process results in the release of such large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas far more immediately dangerous than CO2, that over 20 years it is considerably more damaging to the climate than coal.

The cynicism and idiocy of a government which, just a week after signing up to a green agenda in Paris, turns its back on renewables and then plumps for this filthy, landscape-destroying, economically disastrous option which at best might last a decade, is breathtaking.

Aidan Harrison

Morpeth, Northumberland

After Paris, look at some of what the Conservatives are doing in power. Fracking allowed in national parks. Subsidies stopped to onshore wind farms. Solar power subsidies cut. The Green Deal scrapped. The Green Investment Bank to be sold off. Cancellation of lower road tax for lower-emission cars. Requirement for all homes to be zero carbon by 2017 scrapped. And the Swansea Barrage is still waiting for government support.

All these were policies pushed through by the Liberal Democrats as part of the coalition. But the demolition of their parliamentary party has allowed the Conservatives free rein to get rid of the “green crap”. However much they laud the Paris agreement in words, they are not acting in the spirit of those talks.

Isn’t it about time that the Lib Dems were given credit for what they did accomplish? And given the upheaval in the Labour party, isn’t it time for all good men to come to the aid of the Lib Dem party? We clearly need this sensible and green party more than ever before.

Alison Willott

Monmouthshire, Wales

Remember when the Conservatives helped formed the Government in 2010, they immediately announced they wanted to sell off Forestry Commission land. I wrote of my suspicion that it was because they were looking for sites for fracking. Indeed, I would not be too surprised if they had buyers in mind.

I am still not convinced that the waste from fracking, the chemicals used to flush out the gas, is safe. And where will that end up? What will replace the space left when the gas is extracted? As with nuclear, it is all extremely dangerous.

Richard Grant

Lifelong New Forest resident, Hampshire

The decision in favour of fracking our national parks and areas of natural beauty is a remarkable one. It is incredible to think this has been given the go-ahead despite previous claims, this year, that these areas would be protected.

To make this declaration so soon after the Paris climate agreement is astonishing and the bypassing of the House of Commons represents Tory greed. I can only think that this investment would be much better placed in the development of renewable energy technologies. This must face opposition from the public and the EU.

Kieran Roberts

Tyne and Wear

Migrants bring care into our communities

My dad reaches 95 at the end of this week. He lives at home with my Mum, 89, in David Cameron’s constituency. He fought in the war, was mentioned in dispatches for gallantry and worked as a modestly paid builder until retirement.

My dad has retained his full mental faculties but struggles to walk and remains always at risk of falling. His life is supremely enhanced by the twice daily visits of a carer who helps him to shower and dress in the morning and gets him ready for bed in the evening. His carer is a Romanian migrant who delivers a very high standard of care, with great empathy and kindness, in faultless English, of course. Without such care my dad couldn’t live in his home of 60 years.

Britain is a better place because his carer lives and works here. My dad, a lifelong Conservative voter, certainly thinks so. I have no idea if his carer receives benefits in support of his wage, I suspect he does given the monetary value we place on his role as a society, but can somebody tell me who is going to look after my dad if his carer is not able to live and work here anymore? I need no other reason to vote In.

Gary Howse

Stockport, Cheshire

As today is International Migrants Day, we have to ask why are asylum-seekers not allowed to work in the UK? We have skills to contribute: some of us are doctors, nurses, carers, teachers, builders. But these skills are wasted and deteriorate while we wait for a decision on our asylum applications. We want to contribute to the UK economy and to be part of this society. We should be given the right to work so we can support ourselves.

Name and address not supplied

I am a doctor from Armenia and came to the UK in 2004. I came to this country because I had to flee for my life – as are millions of Syrians now.

It is vital that we urge our governments in Europe and across the world to take action to protect refugees. In a world where there are now more than 51 million refugees, public pressure for hospitality and humanitarianism is more important than ever.

Yurik Darbinyan

London, W11 4TF

Austerity treachery from the SNP

Finance Minister John Swinney announced his budget, with its Scottish austerity cutback of 3.5 per cent on local authority funding, in the knowledge that it will have a severe impact on jobs and services throughout Scotland.

Over the past few years the SNP has condemned the Conservative Party in Westminster for austerity measures and this surprising right-of-centre budget from the SNP will be seen as an act of treachery to those who voted for a party claiming to be against any form of austerity.

Dennis Forbes Grattan


Recovering Addicts have a new freedom

Michele Kirsch (Section 2, 17 December) makes some telling points in her piece on seasonal excess and the addict, but she makes two claims which, for a recovering alcoholic like me, just aren’t true.

She maintains that for those in recovery “we can’t take drink or take drugs ever”. For most addicts this is a frightening prospect: but one of AA’s strong attractions is that the alcoholic striving for recovery chooses not to drink for 24 hours. It is literally “one day at a time”.

This leads to her second misconception. She says “I can’t drink”, Nonsense, of course she can. It is physically possible for me to walk out of the coffee-shop where I’m writing this into a pub and have a pint. The crucial thing is I choose not to. This element of conscious choice is the cornerstone of my recovery.

When I drank, I had no choice as to when and how much I drank. Now the freedom of recovery offers me the chance of a happy and fulfilling life – even at Christmas.



Why such a scrooge, Mr Kelner?

With more than 50 years of receiving Christmas cards, I’ve never had one from someone who felt they had to put their portrait on the front so I knew who’d sent it; the message and signature has sufficed.

A picture which conveys the season, place and a nod towards the sender’s character is always a pleasure to receive. So Simon Kelner’s mean-spirited carping about Jeremy Corbyn’s Christmas card tested my patience to its limit.

Day after day, Independent columnists put the boot into Mr Corbyn, and as a long-standing, loyal reader I’ve had enough.

It’s not the expressing of different political views that is is the problem – that is the point of The Independent – it’s the writers’ choice of petty, inconsequential topics that insults the intelligence of your readers.

For goodness sake Kelner et al, grow up, and concentrate on the important issues. Oh, and Merry Christmas, too.

Dinah Ellis

Weymouth, Dorset

Thatcher’s red box belongs to us all

Why was the Margaret Thatcher “red box” up for auction? Surely it was, and is, public property and should have been returned when she left office.

If nothing else the £242,000 it raised should be given to charity, not lining the pockets of her two offspring.

Graham Denny


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