Theodora Filis | October 11, 2011 4:45 am
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is used in most parts of the world by an industry that has run amok.
As news of vast reserves of shale gas in England broke, opponents of fracking highlighted the potential threat that natural gas extraction methods pose to their land and drinking water. One site has been given particular interest by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. The city of Bath, England. Paul Crossley, leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council in the UK said:
“There is great concern that the process of fracking will result in the water courses leading to the natural hot springs being contaminated with pollutants from this process, or for the waters to adopt a different direction of travel through new fractures in the underlying rocks. The council has obtained the very best expert advice on this matter and there is little to suggest that any thought has been given to the potential for damage to the deep-water source that supply the springs in Bath. The hot springs are a crucial part of the tourist attraction that sustains thousands of jobs in the city. The council must stand up against these drilling proposals in the strongest possible terms.”
Currently, the County of Avon Act requires council consent for any excavation below certain depths, and the council wants tighter controls over potentially damaging activities near the hot springs.The controls currently do not cover activities outside specific geographical areas, including the Mendip district council area.
The hot springs at Bath have been used since pre-Roman times, with the Romans establishing a spa there. Most of the current architecture of the city is from the 18th century. UNESCO says the baths “are amongst the most famous and important Roman remains north of the Alps.”
“Understandably the act approved by Parliament in 1982 didn’t foresee the levels of protection required to protect the hot springs from fracking. This leaves these ancient waters at the mercy of another local authority’s planning processes, the protection of which they are not duty-bound to consider when coming to a decision.” said Crossley
Theodora Filis is an environmental journalist, consultant and college instructor. She is a regular contributor to UK Progressive.co.uk, Examiner.com, and a Moderator for sub-group CLIMATE on LinkedIn. Theodora's articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines worldwide, including The San Francisco Chronicle, KOBE News, World Farming, United Nations Association, UK and World Tech News. You can view her blog at http://www.dfilis.blogspot.com