Had a text today from a friend in the food retail business, who has experience of being informed by the local police that safety of her business and people who worked within it could not be protected from a large gathering of protesters - animal rights extremist campaigners. She had been very frightened for her safety at the time. While she was supportive of peaceful legal protest, she thought it wrong that businesses going about lawful work should be harmed or stopped from operating. It was the decision by the police in West Sussex to 'advise' Cuadrilla that they could not provide protection and should cease to operate while the protest continues that instigated her text. Must admit this sort of threatening behaviour transfers my sympathy from the protesters to the 'frackers'.
It seems that the Church of England's sympathies are headed in the same direction. A few days ago we learned of reports from the Diocese of Blackburn that 'fracking' is a threat to God's Creation. I thought at the time it was a bizarre comment, and was surprised that the BBC gave it any coverage at all. Charles Moore, in the Telegraph today recalls the very same Church condemning the Thatcher Gov't for 'tearing the heart out of communities' by closing uneconomic coal mines. Work that one out! By today it seems the Church of England has done an about-turn and is now in favour of 'fracking' - and compares those who oppose it as akin to those who scaremongered about the MMR vaccine which caused the recent Measles outbreak.
Personally, I want to know if 'fracking' for shale gas is environmentally safe before committing to it. But its worth lifting a couple of points from the Charles Moore article. As much energy is produced on 4 hectares of shale gas producing land as the entire British wind farm industry. And because of where the Bowland Basin is located, cities of past glories like Liverpool will be given a real opportunity of renaissance. The reason the Church of England is so supportive of finding out the potential of shale gas is the impact it may have on the cost of living, particular for the poorest in society, and the creation of employment and prosperity outside of the South East corner of England. I cannot help but feel that much of the antipathy to shale gas is the threat it represents to wind turbines and the infrastructure needed to support it, so illogically loved by the BBC and others. When I think of a legitimate business being forced by intimidation to cease operating, see the BBC pursuing its usual agenda of huge imbalance in reporting positive/negative aspects of the shale gas story, and learn that it may kill off the proposals to desecrate the Mid Wales landscapes with 600 turbines and 100 miles of cable, I feel my sympathy in this debate heading one way only!