An open letter part 2

An open letter from members of Coal Aston & Dronfield Against Fracking to residents of S18.

Part 2 of 4 (intended in part as a response to the contents of Natascha Engel’s letter in the Dronfield Eye/on-line)

Local impacts of the drilling at Marsh Lane.

Lorry movements
Natascha Engel’s letter to the residents of S18 stated that her main concerns were the lorry movements, and the route they will take through Coal Aston to Marsh Lane. Indeed, it should concern us, as the route is badly planned and clearly lacks local knowledge of traffic issues. However, to suggest that the lorry movements involved in fracking are comparable to those supplying a supermarket is disingenuous to the extreme. Supermarket lorries are not carrying large amounts of hazardous industrial waste through residential areas and over long distances to be processed.

Proximity of housing
The planned drilling site is less than 300metres away from residential properties. Over 3 months of 24 hour light pollution and considerable noise pollution from the site is indeed a concern, but they are certainly not the only factors to consider here. What about other forms of pollution such as dust, exhaust fumes, radioactive materials? In addition, routine venting of wells releases large volumes of noxious compounds, including toxic hydrogen sulphide. This has been clearly demonstrated at Horsehill in Surrey and West Newton in East Yorkshire.

Add to that the ongoing stress and anxiety caused by the threat of drilling and fracking to the local community. It is recognised that fear and anxiety about possible public health impacts is capable of being a material planning consideration.

Instead of looking for ways to minimise the impact on local housing, we should be asking WHY does the well have to be sited so close to residential properties. If it was sited further away, then the noise and light impacts would be reduced. John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw has said that these processes should not be carried out within 2 kilometres of a village or town. And why are communities not consulted until after the deal has been done with landowners? Imposition is NOT consultation.

Local jobs created by HVH Fracking are likely to be low number, low in income, short term jobs in the service industry, which will disappear as soon as the gas flow starts to slow down, essentially after the first few years. As for Ineos buying the drills from PR Marriott, there is a large company in Poland that is selling off its drilling rigs as it has withdrawn from the market, and rumours circulating that there is an interested buyer from the UK. Ineos will always put their corporate interests before those of local people.

Socio-economic impacts
It seems that Ms Engel has not considered the adverse socio-economic impacts that are already being felt by her constituents in Marsh Lane. Similar impacts can also be seen around the site of the Preston New Road site in Lancashire, where installation of a drilling rig is currently being imposed on the local community – average house prices have dropped by 13.2% between Nov 2016 and Jan 2017, against a national average of 1%.

Add to that the impact on tourism, upon which many local businesses depend. How will the visitors to the Peak Resort at Unstone feel when they find out about the potential for NE Derbyshire to be turned into a gas field? Dronfield and the surrounding areas have a mining past, but their green spaces have recovered well from the heavy industry that once polluted the air, water and land. Why would we want to turn back the environmental progress, and put agricultural and recreational economies at risk?

Parts 3 and 4 follow.

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