J BEISLY’S letter of January 16, contained several points about fracking that I wish to address.

Regarding the cost of energy, although it was reduced in the US, circumstances are different here.

According to Lord Stern, the claim by David Cameron that fracking can drive down domestic gas prices is ‘baseless’. Even the drillers Cuadrilla say the effect on the price of gas will be “basically insignificant”.

Enormous amounts of our fresh water will be needed. This water is then mixed with hundreds of different chemicals (a quarter of which are carcinogenic and half of which are known to cause nervous and immune system disorders). Once blasted into the earth, this will also absorb radiation from the rocks. The resulting toxic sludge will then need storing, transporting and treating. A varying percentage will be left in the ground.

This risky and potentially catastrophic process will be self-regulating, as it is in the US.

Regulation may be tougher here, but this can only make it safer, not safe.

Given that six per cent of wells leak immediately, and 50 per cent will leak in the following 30 years (industry figures), why on earth would anyone in their right mind not consider renewable energy the rational option?

This year could see up to two-thirds of the country licensed for oil and gas exploration. Widespread opposition has already helped to stop fracking in countries such as France.

This industrialised process is one of the biggest threats to the people, animals and environment we have seen.

It is essential that we leave these fossil fuels where they are and use the renewable energy technology we know to be safe, effective and non-polluting.

Helen Whitehead, Vanbrugh Drive, York.


• IN response to Tina Duke’s letter in The Press, January 16, I agree wholeheartedly. I believe that France apparently is a no-go country for this fracking exploration, but it is okay for the UK to welcome it.

I live in a village 18 miles from York, five miles from Helmsley, my nearest gas-piped town.

In the 1960s and 1970s, it was deemed far too expensive and not cost-effective to pipe mainstream gas to small communities in the Ryedale area.

Amazingly, fracking surveyors have found large amounts of gas in the Ryedale area, so not being a customer of mains gas and not having the luxury of push-button heating, how am I, and thousands of people like me living in this rural area, going to benefit of their hard-sell of lowering the cost of mains gas?

Pam Reeve, Station Cottage, Gilling East.