Negligible water risk from fracking

Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.
Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.

Mr Oliver (Letters, January 28) has nothing to fear from fracking to develop shale gas in Northern Ireland.

It is supported by the UK Department of Energy and Climate, by the Royal Society and by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Durham University, with Cardiff University and the University of Tromso in Norway, have produced a report which said, and I quote, “the likelihood of contamination of drinking water in aquifers due to fractures when there is a separation of more than a kilometre is negligible”.

Dr R Davies, director of Durham’s Energy Institute, has said that as long as the depth is in excess of 0.6km there is little risk.

In one state alone in the US, 2,000 wells have been sunk, with not one case of water contamination.

The development will also bring down the price of expensive electricity.

In the US, it has brought down the price of electricity by a half.

Would Mr Oliver deny the people of Northern Ireland this added bonus of cheap electricity when we know that hundreds of elderly people are dying each year because they cannot afford to heat their homes?

As for earth tremors, which were common place with coal mines, they are no greater than a bus passing a house.

Shale gas development requires no tax payers’ subsidies, while wind turbines get £1 billion a year in taxpayers’ subsidies.

The chemicals used are exactly the same as used for domestic applications, perfectly safe.

The derricks used would only be in place for six weeks and then they would be mostly removed, unlike the hideous wind turbines which remain in place for nearly 20 years.

For economic development essential to bring many out of poverty, shale gas development using fracking is a perfectly safe method which has been in existence since 1940.

Terri Jackson

Retired head of energy course
Belfast Metropolitan College