Infrastructure Bill

Written evidence submitted by James A Coghlan (IB 11)

Dear Committee,

What are the legal implications on insurance for private homeowners after Fracking has occurred under their properties that they presumably bought prior to any planning application for Fracking in their area? How sustainable is a diverse wildlife and river systems that is put under further pressure due to chemicals injected that are known to be toxic and hazardous to both the air and also wildlife. What other environmental triggers have been identified in those areas and how will they be managed in future after interaction with those chemicals? What specific areas of the UK were tested by Igas etc. and what issues were identified and catalogued in these respective regions by drilling teams? What wildlife areas were categorized as most at risk from these planning applications over the next 5 years and what inventories of evidence have been accumulated for future comparisons of subterranean disturbances created by high pressure injection? What is the gross economic impact on local business, councils and homeowners calculated at from the proposed fracking schemes in each county? Who will be held liable for the impact? The local council, central government or each Fracking company?

Yorkshire for example is an area of outstanding natural beauty. With a mining past, there are plenty of mapped and unmapped tunnels where injected chemicals may escape and leak into local river and water systems. What economic benefit to locals is derived from Fracking? The success rate of reclaiming chemicals varies from 25-50%. Assuming the top line of 75% is left behind in orphaned sites, what long term measures will be used to control any environmental impact? Who will be responsible and what financial provision will be made to fund such monitoring over a 20 year base?

Is it worth sacrificing the health of locals in Yorkshire and other areas of the UK for the sake of the energy that is limited in both its quality and quantity? Historically 3 years seems to be the average extraction limit for wells. Under such considerations what areas have been shown to yield higher extraction and what areas have been shown to yield lower extraction potential? Presumably as companies are operating independently what independent Agency exists to monitor the colocation of site data from participants?

Fracking is promoting not green, but brown energy. For instance in Scotland injecting high pressure jets between the 2 fault plates will result in increased tremors as have been already recorded in the USA. One can only speculate on the impact of Fracking by companies who have little supportive data on mainland EU to provide reassurance when discharging increased levels of pollutants into the environment.

The Infrastructure Bill has no ecological report of any credibility. There is no supporting data or evidence concerning the uptake of each chemical by different species and what impact these will have upon their health directly. Further, there is much unattributed comment by the industry and little substantiated comment.

Putting aside to one minute the obvious reaction from those opposed to these measures and merely applying scientific and economic principles where is the supporting evidence of how Fracking will be stopped from entering underground caverns, former orphaned mining tunnels and other natural pockets? How does long term fracking impact on the sound levels in each area and how does that impact on humans and animals? The equipment is known to be noisy at it is also known to produce high levels of vibration. When applied to underground areas where there is space presumably the echoes will amplify such noise for subterranean wildlife and others in the area.

What level of compensation will be offered to locals and businesses impacted directly by fracking companies? What money will be put aside to avoid future black holes should such companies collapse and leave behind them hazardous chemicals for councils and others to clean up?

Compared to all other rivers in the south west of Scotland, the Doon is an ecological gem with populations of rare and protected species such as freshwater pearl mussels, sea lampreys, salmon, otters, kingfishers and saucer bugs. Suggestions that Fracking is relatively harmless and will improve local economies are misguided and misleading. What tax rates will such companies pay?

A scientific assessment of Fracking in areas that are naturally beautiful and have protected wildlife groups must surely show impacts that cannot be measured financially. Such as how much does the level of pollutants increase over 5 years and over what time period will such damage be repaired? What percentage of pollutants currently exist in different parts of the Fracking industry and what specific case study have been conducted in the UK to show how the altered levels acidity will affect the food chain in those specific areas, if the Bill is successful? What percentage of pollutants cause death in humans and wildlife? Will profiling of chemicals be used to ascertain blame for any deaths or will liability be removed as in drilling presumably beneath properties and thus public safety be put in jeopardy?

Any proposed changes to the environment from Fracking must address all these issues to warrant being scientifically credible in any way. Suggestions that Fracking will improve the ecological status of Yorkshire are misguided and misleading and from what has been stated by others and even the Media in the USA, clearly lacking full environmental analysis.

In consideration of trees, what are the absorption rates on a species by species consideration of the injected chemicals? What evidence do companies have to show at what level trees will start to die? Different tree species live in Yorkshire and each absorbs water at different rates. What case study has been done to show the impact on the local trees reliant on water in the ground and the likely cross-contamination rate from Fracking? What specific changes in species of trees have been identified and are proposed by Fracking companies to replace those that are polluted? It is clearly not just the Fracking area that will be affected as previously explained above - due to hidden and hard to detect underground water channels.

Such proposals for Fracking only work if the pyramid is inverted and local consultation supports the findings of the Bill in each area. To treat each respective environment as identical would be like comparing central London with Hampton Court Maze. Local acceptability is the key to the success of the Fracking proposal. Further environmental research is clearly needed if Fracking is to avoid permanent and irreversible damage of each county. It is not just landowners who will be affected as such chemicals when airborne travel a great distance. What is the maximum distance measured for the distribution of chemicals beyond each Fracking site? Where are the reports by each company that show these figures?

December 2014

Prepared 19th December 2014