After a day off to celebrate Easter with my family, I've been back out and about meeting members across the city. A few times now, the issue of fracking has been raised with members expressing their concern about the issue. It's a subject I care passionately about and have written about it in the past (http://chrislucas.focusteam.org.uk/2012/05/24/fracking-dangerous/). Despite the charm offensive and the almost increasingly desperate actions of the government to try and sell fracking to a sceptical public (including financial inducements), my view hasn't changed: fracking in the hills around Bath could damage the fragile eco-structure that creates Bath's unique natural springs and gives us the waters that Bath is famous for the world over.
Fracking uses a high powered chemical laden liquid delivered under extreme pressure to crack open fissures in the rocks to release shale gas (methane). I believe however that this whole process leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions:
1) What happens to the cocktail of chemicals once it has been released into the ground?
2) Could this pose a risk to the water table?
3) Could this pose a risk to the food chain?
4) Could the releasing of gases affect the mineral content and water pressure of Bath's famous springs?
5) Is it possible to collect ALL the methane without releasing any of this dangerous greenhouse gas into the atmosphere?
6) What can be done about all the radiation that is released as a result of the procedure?
I believe that until these vital questions are satisfactorily answered, all fracking licenses in Bath and surrounding areas should be withheld pending further impact assessments to establish the risk to our most precious commodity and the wider community.