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Letter calls on Prime Minister to ban fracking


letter, Theresa May, ban fracking, ‘…we consider a complete and outright ban the only responsible decision’.

In a letter delivered to the Prime Minister earlier this week, a group of 143 doctors, nurses and health specialists has called on Theresa May to ban fracking in her final fortnight in office.

The group – Concerned Health Professionals of the UK – warned the prime minister that her government’s support for fracking puts the health of communities at risk and called for an immediate ban on fracking.

Copies of the letter have also been sent to the Conservative leadership contenders, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, as well as environment and business ministers and the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The scientific evidence, the letter says, ‘overwhelmingly shows that permitting fracking in England would pose significant threats to the air, water and the health and safety of individuals and communities here’.

And there were ‘fundamental data gaps’ in health evidence on fracking and the ‘best imaginable regulatory frameworks fall far short of protecting our health and environment’.

The letter concludes by saying: ‘Given the lack of any evidence indicating that fracking can be done safely – and a wealth of evidence to the contrary – we consider a complete and outright ban the only responsible decision.’

In England, fracking commenced in October for the first time since 2011. Large parts of England are currently facing fracking. It is not permitted in Scotland or Wales.

Last month, however, Concerned Health Professions of New York published the sixth edition of their Compendium of scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking.

That document is based on 1,500 reports – and concluded that fracking “poses significant threats to air, water, human health, public safety, community cohesion, long-term economic vitality, biodiversity, seismic stability, and climate stability”.

The UK government however continues to quote the finding of a 2012 report by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, and refers to a review from 2013 by Public Health England of evidence on air quality radon gas, naturally occurring radioactive materials, water contamination and waste water.

The UK group, inspired by Concerned Health Professions of New York, said: “In the UK it appears we have no structure or will to consider studying and monitoring the health impacts on the communities where fracking takes place.

“We will not be able to detect harms until it is too late.

“Given the lack of any evidence indicating that fracking can be done safely – and a wealth of evidence to the contrary – we consider a complete and outright ban to be the only responsible decision.”

The Concerned Health Professionals UK campaign was launched in November 2018.

Speaking at the launch event, Carol Hutchinson, a former Senior Nurse responsible for Clinical Governance and Clinical Risk, said: “Evidence clearly indicates that the health of people living and working within 1.5km of a fracking site will be most at risk, in particular, that of women of child bearing age and those with chronic health conditions.”

“Is our government willing to take these risks with our health?

“Personally, I find it entirely unacceptable that there are no acceptable minimal set back distance’s imposed on the industry through regulation, within the much trumpeted ‘Gold Standard Regulations’.”

To read the letter, click here.

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