December 10th 2014
Dear Prime Minister Cameron,
We write to you on a matter of considerable public importance.
Your Government is promoting a fracking agenda and has stated its commitment to go ‘all out for shale gas’, but a significant proportion of UK citizens are opposed to fracking. There are currently over 200 residents’ anti-fracking campaign groups nationwide. Frack Free Sussex alone now has over 10,000 followers. These groups are made up of ordinary British citizens, and there are many more, in smaller village groups, who also resist fracking and who are deeply concerned about its potential future impacts on the environment, their health, the values of their homes and more besides. As you are aware changes to the fracking trespass law are opposed by 74% of the public. Support for fracking in Great Britain had declined to just 24% in August of this year.
Within a report published by the Government’s own Chief Scientific Adviser, Mark Walport, came the warning that fracking has the potential to be as damaging as thalidomide, tobacco and asbestos—a finding that places fracking alongside some of the most serious and scandalous failures to protect public health of the last 60 years or more. Yet despite this, and despite widespread public opposition, your 2
Government appears committed to the construction of a pro-fracking narrative. Launching the UK Energy Centre’s report on 12th November 2014, Professor Jim Watson (the UKERC Research Director) told BBC News that it is ‘extraordinary that ministers keep making these statements. They clearly want to create a narrative. But we are researchers—we deal in facts, not narratives. . . . Shale gas has been completely oversold’.
It is even more troubling, in the light of the above, that the human rights implications of fracking have been ignored by your policy narratives. To remedy this, a report commissioned by the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation was delivered to Downing Street on the 26th November 2014 for your personal attention. The report, entitled ‘A Human Rights Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing in the UK’, calls for a complete moratorium on all fracking operations until a full, transparent, industry-independent Human Rights Impact Assessment has been completed. Fracking endangers important human rights: the right to life and to security of person; the right to respect for home and private life—as well as centrally important international human rights such as the right to water and to health. This report—and its powerful message on behalf of ordinary people—was brought to the attention of the European Parliament by campaigner, Geza Tarjanyi, on Dec 1st. and is now receiving support from EU politicians.
We urge the UK Government to issue a moratorium on all fracking operations until such a time as a full, independent, evidence-led Human Rights Impact Assessment has been undertaken and placed in the public domain.
(for a list of the 205 UK resident groups who put their name to this letter see here).
For a full write up on the letter see Drill Or Drop.