Fracking poses threat to countryside, warns National Trust (extracts from Telegraph article)

23 12 2012

fracking-national trust

The National Trust has joined the ranks of groups concerned by the Government’s support for fracking, the controversial gas-exploration technique linked to minor earthquakes in the North of England last year.
 Just days after the Coalition gave the green light for more fracking in the UK, the body widely considered a guardian of the countryside warned that the process represents “fools gold”.

Peter Nixon, director of conservation at the National Trust, said: “We have a presumption against fracking because of the threats it poses to the countryside and because at the end of the day it is a fossil fuel that will do nothing to arrest climate change.”

 “There is a very real danger that fracking is actually fools gold. It could easily distract attention away from what we really need to do: reduce consumption and pursue more renewable energy.”

In his Autumn Statement earlier this month, George Osborne outlined plans to introduce tax breaks for shale gas. He also created a new government office to oversee the industry.

However, have a range of concerns about the technique, which was blamed for minor earthquakes in Lancashire early last year. Campaigners also say the industry increases traffic to rural areas and can pollute water supplies.

The Campaign for the Protection for Rural England is also concerned by potential damage to the countryside by fracking.

Paul Miner, Senior Planning Officer, said: ‘Before commercial scale extraction happens, there must be a full and transparent planning process.

“The Government doesn’t appear to have recognised the potential for major landscape damage, or the need to properly consider this at the local level.

“If fracking is to happen, it must be with the support of local communities, who are most at risk if things go wrong, and without damaging the countryside.”

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