Frack off

As mentioned earlier, I am a chemical engineer and a Partner in a small Consulting Engineering practice that does its best to develop eco-friendly solutions to various problems. Unlike many of my friends in the “green movement”, I am not ideologically anti-technology but, on the contrary, all my training and work experience directs me to seek rational engineering solutions wherever possible.

The problem we have in Cameron’s Britain is that decisions are made because powerful lobbyists have the ear of the Prime Minister and press for solutions that make them money – often regardless of the consequences for the environment. The recent revelations about Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind offering to arrange meetings with government decision-makers show how far down the road of corruption we have travelled with this government.

healthyeconomyI don’t subscribe to view that fracking is so bad that it is inconceivable that it can be made safe – with a serious effort to minimise all possible side-effects, almost any technology can be made safer (maybe at too high a cost). The problem is not technology as such but that vested interests push for money-making technologies and cut corners.

A classic example of this was at Fukushima where the design engineers knew full well about the risks of tsunamis but, to reduce pumping costs, lowered the base of the plant and increased the risk of damage from a tsunami.

However, living as we do in a real world where decisions are made to maximise profits rather than safeguard the environment, I do agree wholeheartedly that the fracking companies (and their friend David Cameron) should not be given a go ahead to proceed with their plans. They have been whittling away at our democratic rights, through the planning process, to object to eco-dubious proposals.*

So long as we have a government in power at the beck and call of big business, we are right and the green movement is right to be wary of any new technology that involves a potential threat to the environment.

* For example, in the fag end of the 2010-2015 Parliament (25th March) the government has asked parliament to extend the categories of “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs)” contained in the Planning Act 2008 to “geological disposal facilities to store radioactive nuclear waste”. This would remove the democratic right of the public to say no the dumping of radioactive wastes underground – whether under Cumbria or anywhere else.

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