THE decision by Energy Secretary Ed Davey to open the way for fracking – extracting gas from porous rocks deep underground using pressurised water – leaves me aghast.
Aside from the environmental risks involved, fracking consumes vast amounts of energy in the extraction process.
Shale gas, like coal, like uranium, like all non-renewable fuels, are finite. This policy decision is short-termism at its worst.
No expert has so far confidently predicted that energy prices will be lower as a consequence. The visual impact of gas rigs will make the public animosity to wind farms seem trivial by comparison.
The UK coalition government wants independence of energy supply. We are an wind-swept island, surrounded by water. This is where our energy independence lies. Offshore wind farms and river estuary tidal turbines could transform our energy supply security, with the proper investment.
But we are locked into a cycle of narrow, conservative short-termism and vested interest.