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Anti-fracking protest
Image: Ron F.

Fracking undermines public health… even before it gets the go-ahead

Fracking has made people stressed, divided communities and undermined public trust in police, government and the political process, according to Dean Kirby in i-News:

“Residents near two proposed fracking sites in Lancashire have been ‘profoundly impacted’ by the plans even before a final decision on whether to approve them has been made… Lancashire residents reported conflicts with neighbours, disillusionment with politics, distrust of the applicants and officials, and changed perceptions of the police.”

Kirby cites research into the impact of the planning process by Dr Anna Szolucha, a social anthropologist at the University of Bergen, Norway:

“In Lancashire, fear and stress have been considerable. Community cohesion has been adversely affected and social relations disrupted. A range of social processes have led to the creation of an atmosphere of intimidation and surveillance in the area.

“Some of the residents have changed their perception of the police, which is now characterised by a deep lack of trust, but many of them trust the local Lancashire Police.”

Although Lancashire County Council refused permission for fracking, the decision is expected to be overturned by a UK government that is determined to pursue an all-out dash for gas at apparently any economic or social cost in order to replace the UK’s dwindling supply of North Sea gas.  For many Lancashire residents, it is just another example of the way in which the UK state puts the profits of the elite ahead of the needs of ordinary people.

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