SCOTLAND has a world-leading “comprehensive” approach to assessing the hazards and health risks of fracking and has set a precedent for other countries, according to a team of experts. A University of Stirling team considered how the Scottish Government analysed the potential impacts of unconventional oil and gas extraction (UOGE), which includes fracking for shale gas, coalbed methane extraction, and underground coal gasification. In the first study of its kind, they compared the approach to 14 assessments worldwide, including the US, Australia, and Germany, and found that Scotland carried out the most extensive assessment focussing on key factors including public health, climate change and economic impact. Their report concluded: “In terms of breadth, depth and scale, this approach appears more detailed than any undertaken to date globally.” One of Scotland’s leading energy experts, Professor Peter Strachan, of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, told the National: “What I found particularly revealing is that the UK case for fracking is based entirely on outdated reports and arguments. “It has been overtaken by a phalanx of public opinion in Lancashire and Yorkshire and elsewhere, and further by high quality academic research that challenges the proposition that onshore fracking can be regulated safely.” Supporters believe that UOGE is a major source of global energy that can boost economies and employment and generate greater tax revenues without any significant risk to public health. However, opponents argue it is an immediate and long-term threat to global, national and regional public health and climate, and highlight the potential for air, water and soil pollution, seismic activity, noise and radiation hazards.
The National 11th April 2018 read more »