On 17th February, Wakefield Council voted to ban fracking in the Wakefield area.
I have reviewed the discussion that took place in the council meeting and I would like to thank the Leader , Councillor Box, for reading out all the points I raised in my email to him during his address. It is a pity that none of them were taken on board.
The level of the discussion was shockingly uninformed and driven by fear.
Not one council presented the positive case for fracking. The councillors reflected the press releases and research documents produced by the anti-technology, anti-fossil fuel green lobby.
They didn’t consider the $1 billion raised by the State of Pennsylvania from fracking taxes at a time when Wakefield is cutting £10s millions from their budget.
They didn’t consider that US citizens have seen their home energy bills cut by 50% and that Yorkshire people might quite this too. or that energy-intensive businesses would benefit too.
They didn’t consider the UK-wide benefits of replacing declining North Sea oil with a boom in gas.
What did they talk about?
The councillors’ fear that that the continued use of fossil fuels will warm the planet and kill us; the use of chemicals will poison us; the noise and smells of industry will offend us. They quoted “possible links to..” and “may, in some cases cause..” and all the other weasel words used to scare, but not actually state facts.
They didn’t ask why 100,000s wells have been sunk in the US and they are now the biggest energy producer in the world .. and no-one has died. This is a better record than the UK coal-mining. Would they have stopped that too if their debate had taken place at the start of the industrial revolution?
Before future debates on such important issues, I would urge councillors to read more widely and think more critically. Given that human progress and increasing wealth is predicated on cheap and plentiful energy, these principles need to be at the centre of decisions energy production – at a national and local level. The Greens have been proved wrong on global warming as Malthus was on population growth. But you seem trapped by their gloomy view.
Read more. Think more. Be critical of the all-enveloping “environmentalist” fog of fear.
If you can make sense of all this for yourselves, you will lose your fear. Then you can provide leadership based on a progressive, positive view of the future. Why aren’t you working out how to drive the next industrial revolution in the north?
Without leadership to drive economic development, the UK will continue to bounce along the bottom and cities like Wakefield will see growth only in low paid, insecure jobs.
David Attenborough makes great documentaries, but he is wrong on extinction and catastrophic global warming (ask David Bellamy). Councillor Box, you needed to cut your lawn in December because of the cyclical El Niño weather event that has created un-seasonal weather all over the world, not because of fossil fuel use.
Provide leadership, not fear-mongering.
8th March 2016