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In total disagreement with Public Health England’s report, on the unconventional extraction of gas in the UK, which had mistaken best practice for actual practice in regards to safety assessments, a draft report from PSE Healthy Energy (below) shows that more research and safety checks need to be carried out for both environmental and health impacts, and they say PHE were wrong to characterise the threat to public health as low.

Back in January we contacted the BMA to alert them to the fact that Public Health England’s report into the health effects of the industry was totally lacking in its failure to regard the latest research around Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in fracking fluid. PHE’s excuse for not doing so was that there was no evidence chemicals used in the USA will be used in the UK.  We noted with extreme concern that the bias in that statement was entirely against their ethical responsibility to societal health as a whole and were concerned that overlooking the latest scientific studies would mean no proper assessment on impacts on human health would be made, facilitating accountability when serious and widespread damage is inevitably caused to local populations. We are very pleased that the below draft report finally acknowledges that fracking places a significant risk to the population and that the initial report was lacking in assessing this fairly and accurately.

Public Health England’s draft report on shale gas extraction

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2728 (Published 17 April 2014)
Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2728

Adam Law, clinical assistant professor of medicine 1,
Jake Hays, program director2,
Seth B Shonkoff, executive director 3,
Madelon L Finkel, professor of clinical public health1

Author Affiliations

hays@psehealthyenergy.org

Mistaking best practices for actual practices

Global interest in developing unconventional natural gas reserves continues to increase, despite the paucity of empirical evidence on risks to the environment and human health. The operations required to produce natural gas from hydrocarbon reservoirs such as shale are spatially intense and sometimes occur close to human populations. Although research has been conducted to understand the potential impacts of gas development on public health, for the most part these efforts fall short. In addition, efforts to summarise the existing public health science tend to focus on regulations and engineering solutions, rather than on health outcome data and pathways of exposure. A focus on mostly hypothetical regulatory and engineering solutions may mistake best practices for actual practices, and supplants the empirical with the theoretical.

To the extent that they are technically and economically feasible, risk reduction technologies that mitigate adverse health outcomes should be deployed. However, reviewing the public health aspects of the development of the shale gas industry requires more than merely gesturing to technological improvements that lack empirical data on their effectiveness in the real world. The optimism that fail-safe engineering solutions can ensure safe shale gas development may result more from a triumph of marketing than a demonstration of experience.

Public Health England’s draft report thoroughly assesses the peer reviewed scientific literature on the public health implications of extracting shale gas.1 It accurately presents the problems of air and water quality,2 3 4 5 and it correctly recognises that many uncertainties surround the public health implications of extracting shale gas. The review was rigorous in its presentation of the evidence, but there are problems with its conclusions.

The review appropriately acknowledges differences in geology and regulation between the United States and the United Kingdom. Yet, in a leap of faith unsubstantiated by scientific evidence, its authors suggest that many of the environmental and public health problems experienced in the US would probably not apply to the UK. Unfortunately, the conclusion that shale gas operations present a low risk to public health is not substantiated by the literature. The correct conclusion that Public Health England should have drawn is that the public health impacts remain undetermined and that more environmental and public health studies are needed.

Furthermore, the report incorrectly assumes that many of the reported problems experienced in the US are the result of a poor regulatory environment. This position ignores many of the inherent risks of the industry that no amount of regulation can sufficiently remedy, such as well casing, cement failures, and accidental spillage of waste water.6 There is no reason to believe that these problems would be different in the UK, and the report provides little evidence to the contrary, despite repeated assertions that regulations will ensure the safe development of shale gas extraction.

The report also has other shortfalls. More attention should have been paid to drilling in areas that are densely populated. In the US, much of the extraction of shale gas occurs in rural sparsely populated areas. This would not be the case in the UK. Studies suggest that health risks are modified by geographical distance of residences from active shale gas extraction.7 Recent evidence suggests a higher prevalence of some adverse birth outcomes for those living in closer proximity.8

Public health is an evidence based discipline, and findings from well designed studies should form the backbone of public policy. There is also a need for an assessment of the public health infrastructure and the ability of healthcare professionals to respond to the risks presented by the development of the shale gas industry.9 Rigorous, quantitative epidemiological research is needed to assess the risks to public health, and data are just starting to emerge.10 As investigations of shale gas extraction in the US have continually suggested, assurances of safety are no proxy for adequate protection.

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2728

Footnotes

Competing interests: We have read and understood the BMJ Group policy on declaration of interests and declare AL, JH, and SBS all have roles within Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE). This organisation’s mission is “to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to identifying reasonable, healthy, and sustainable energy options for everyone.” It works to “help empower citizens and policymakers by organizing and supplying objective, evidence-based information.” PSE did not receive any funding for the preparation of this manuscript. MLF has no competing financial interests to declare.

Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

References
01.↵Kibble A, Cabianca T, Daraktchieva Z, Gooding T, Smithard J, Kowalczyk G, et al. Review of the potential public health impacts of exposures to chemical and radioactive pollutants as a result of shale gas extraction. Public Health England, 2013. http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317140158707.
02.↵Colborn T, Schultz K, Herrick L, Kwiatkowski C. An exploratory study of air quality near natural gas operations. Hum Ecol Risk Assess 2012;20:86-105.SFX@King’s
03.↵Pétron G, Frost G, Miller BR, Hirsch AI, Montzka SA, Karion A, et al. Hydrocarbon emissions characterization in the Colorado front range: a pilot study. J Geophys Res Atmos2012;117:DO4304.SFX@King’sCrossRef
04.↵Osborn SG, Vengosh A, Warner NR, Jackson RB. Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A2011;108:8172-6.SFX@King’sAbstract/FREE Full Text
05.↵Warner NR, Jackson RB, Darrah TH, Osborn SG, Down A, Zhao K, et al. Geochemical evidence for possible natural migration of Marcellus formation brine to shallow aquifers in Pennsylvania. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A2012;109:11961-6.SFX@King’sAbstract/FREE Full Text
06.↵Rozell DJ, Reaven SJ. Water pollution risk associated with natural gas extraction from the Marcellus shale. Risk Anal2012;32:1382-93.SFX@King’sCrossRefMedlineWeb of Science
07.↵McKenzie LM, Witter RZ, Newman LS, Adgate JL. Human health risk assessment of air emissions from development of unconventional natural gas resources. Sci Total Environ2012;424:79-87.SFX@King’sCrossRefMedlineWeb of Science
08.↵McKenzie LM, Ruixin G, Witter RZ, Savitz DA, Newman LS, Adgate JL. Birth outcomes and maternal residential proximity to natural gas development in rural Colorado. Environ Health Perspect 2014. http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1306722/.
09.↵Goldstein BD, Kriesky J, Pavliakova B. Missing from the table: role of the environmental public health community in governmental advisory commissions related to Marcellus shale drilling. Environ Health Perspect2012;120:483-6.SFX@King’sCrossRefMedlineWeb of Science
10.↵Kovats S, Depledge M, Haines A, Fleming LE, Wilkinson P, Shonkoff SB, et al. The health implication of fracking. Lancet2014;383:757-8.SFX@King’sCrossRefMedlineWeb of Science

Public Health England’s draft report on shale gas extraction | BMJ
http://www.bmj.com
NotesCite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2728

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GMP Vigil-22nd March-12pm Vanda Violently Assaulted and Remanded

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Update:18th March 16:30
Vanda has been remanded into custody for seven days following an accusation from GMP she had allegedly assaulted a police officer. Footage clearly shows Vanda, herself BEING assaulted and yet one of the officers involved in her arrest in back on the front line at Barton moss this morning.

Mainstream Media-listen up! You NEED to start reporting the TRUTH.

After the shocking footage of Vanda’s assault yesterday at Barton Moss reported here by Salford Star. Which I can verify shows a police officer punching her in the stomach, smashing her head into the floor, applying illegal pressure holds and strangleholds on her. Please try and attend this vigil on Saturday at 12pm midday outside Swinton Police Station.

Please sign this petition requesting an enquiry into the policing at Barton Moss: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59765

The appalling assault can be seen here:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kjxtrt2BGgY

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lMoCLAyDW5g

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Frack Free Tameside offer their support to the Barton Moss Protection Camp ahead of the high court ruling on their eviction brought by Peel Holdings

We at Frack Free Tameside fully support the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp and feel strongly that the camp should be allowed to remain. The protectors there have worked bravely, peacefully, and tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of fracking locally and nationally, providing a service to the community that – in a better world – would fall within the scope of our elected representatives.

Alas, it is left to brave citizens such as those at the Barton Moss Camp to make people aware that their water, air and environment are at risk of irreversible contamination from fracking – that will have devastating affects on their health and the health of future generations to come.

We have attended the camp on many occasions to support and spend time with the brave protectors there and have always been treated with the utmost respect by them. Indeed, their behaviour has been exemplary in the face of increasing violence, hostility and provocation from the Greater Manchester police who seem to have torn up and thrown out the human rights protections afforded to peaceful demonstrators.

The Barton Moss Protection Camp should not be underestimated as a symbol of peaceful resistance that is an example to the nation as a whole. We therefore request that the high court should uphold the recognition of the verge which they are occupying as part of the public footpath, and not of privately owned land, and therefore out of the civil jurisdiction of those who have vested interests in moving them on. We, the public, are very happy for them to stay as long as they are willing to, they are not obstructing pedestrian’s rights of way – unlike the fleet of 35,000 ltr tankers which are using a public footpath illegally.image

UPDATED-Mother and Ex-Serviceman Unlawfully Arrested on Peaceful Childrens Day walk

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A mother and a Fireman and ex-serviceman have both been unlawfully arrested in a spate of new arrests on the footpath at Barton Moss Protection Camp. Today was designated ‘Childrens Day’ due to the half term holiday and a range of activities to include the children in the march and enable families to support the camp. It seem GMP have taken this opportunity to make an example of peaceful protest and arrest the quiet and vulnerable.

frackfreechildren

After speaking to the arrested man, Steve,  following his release from Swinton Police Station where a vigil is held by protestors each evening, we correct the misquote from previous version below-

The words our ex-serviceman and local fireman said to the police as he was waiting for a prison van were ‘I feel like I am doing more to protect my country now than I ever did in the army Armed Forces

I know Steve personally and he asked me to post this to clarify his background –

“I served nine and a half years in the Military, the first six and and a half were with the Royal Navy and the last three were with a specialist Army unit called 148 Commando Battery, who’s main role was Naval Gunfire Support in small forward observation teams, my role was as radio operator. I completed All Arms Commando Course run by the Royal Marines in 1996 to earn my Green Beret and Commando Dagger, followed by a ‘Jumps’ course at RAF Brize Norton to earn my Parachute Wings. So, in a sentence – I was a sailor, working as a soldier, trained by the Royal Marines and the RAF. Not a lot of people know about 148 Battery, hence all the confusion (even amongst my friends, as I rarely talk about my time in the military). I did an operational tour of Bosnia as a peace keeper just before I left the military, hence the Former Yugoslavia medal, and I’m proud to have never fired a shot in anger during my whole service. The two jubilee medals were for public service, everybody got them ‘just for turning up’. I have never worn my medals on my uniform. Barton Moss was the first ever time, and I honestly do not and care not for the order in which they should go, nor how untidy my 18 year old army T-Shirt is. I’m quite ambivalent about what the Military has become due to the poor way in which our injured soldiers are treated on return and also the devastation it causes to the lives of innocent people around the world. It’s very hard to say that today due to the jingoistic discourse from our leaders and the main stream media, but I am not, and never have been afraid to stand up and be counted. I’m currently a firefighter and the gold medal was won at the World Police and Fire Games (A kind of Police and Firefighters Olympics). I have two more golds and a silver but thought it would be ‘showing off’ to wear them all. My choice of dress and medals on display at Barton Moss was purely symbolic, hoping to raise more awareness of the Anti Fracking Campaign and also to show how diverse the group of people are, who give up their time and exercise their right to protest against this abomination, that has the potential to poison all our water courses, just as it has done in the USA and other countries around the world. I would like to think that I have raised the profile of the Anti Fracking Movement, but it has come at a personal cost to me and I still may have to face some, as yet unknown consequences for my actions. I’ve also copped for a bit of stick, but I suppose that goes with the territory. I am who I am, I’ve done what I’ve done and I’ll continue to do what I do – Stand up and be counted, with my integrity intact”.

See the story unfold hereImage

GMP Aggression-Barton Moss LIVE- Petition

Live streaming on Barton Moss Footpath has proved to be driven by force from Greater Manchester Police again, as on Saturday where a woman was violently attacked and arrested. Here ar three of the live streams available from this morning.

LIVE NOW! 17 Feb 2014 CLICK HERE

Live Now Stream 2 CLICK HERE

Live Now Stream 3 CLICK HERE

 CLICK HERE TO SIGN PETITION-

WE DEMAND A PUBLIC ENQUIRY INTO THE POLICING OF BARTON MOSS CAMP SALFORD  Responsible department: Home Office  We urgently call for a public enquiry (judge led) into the way that the Greater Manchester Police have policed Barton Moss Community Protection Camp Irlam.

Woman assaulted and arrested whilst injured at Barton Moss

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More police atrocity as a women is chased and mowed down, then attacked and restrained whilst visibly injured and appears to be having a seizure. Despite pleas from her to stop, GMP officers continue the assault whilst on the field adjacent to Barton Moss Road which has been declared a Footpath by Judge Khalid Qureshi, which now means more than 50 protectors may walk free of false allegations and trumped charges of obstructing a Highway. The arrested woman was taken to Hope Hospital where she was dearrested and no charges brought against her.

See the video here

Cuadrilla Announce Two New Fracking SItes in Lancashire

Cuadrilla Announce Two New Fracking Sites in Lancashire

It is clear that Fylde are already on the ball with their campaign and support from local residents, consultation will be well prepared for in light of this new announcement.

Cuadrilla Resources is to apply for permission to drill at a site at Roseacre Wood, near Wharles and at a site near the A583 at Little Plumpton.

The company wants to explore each site to see if natural gas trapped in the shale rock layers 6,000ft below the surface can be got out economically.

Cuadrilla has promised full consultation with the people living in both areas and has organised meetings with the community at two locations tonight, together with further consultations throughout the process.

It said with environmental impact assessments to be carried out on each site, plus up to nine permits to be cleared with the environment agency, and planning permission to be granted by Lancashire County Council, the process is likely to take many months.

DEADLINE-Wednesday 05 February 2014! Write To Your MEP!

>>>>>Please!!!! A little 2 min job to help The Cause that’s all! Your MEP (yes you have a European MP too!) is voting on fracking THIS THURSDAY !!!! Cut and paste this text, and stick it your postcode in the link below …scroll down to find MEPs YOU WILL NEED TO PERSONALISE THIS RESPONSE A BIT, AS THEY DON’T ACCEPT DUPLICATE RESPONSES, SO PLEASE USE AS A TEMPLATE
Thankyou <<<<<
Dear…..
On Wednesday 5 February, you will vote on the Delvaux/Szymanski report on the 2030 climate and energy package.In this context, I am asking you to support• amendment 27 which urges local and regional authorities not to authorise fracking• three binding targets on energy efficiency, renewables and greenhouse gas emissions (paragraph 4 of the original Delvaux/Szymanski report)And I ask you to reject: Amendments 6 and 14:

Amendment 27 reads:

“On the basis of the precautionary principle and taking into account the risks and the negative climate, environmental and health impacts involved in unconventional hydrocarbon exploration and extraction (e.g. of shale gas), and the gaps identified in the EU regulatory regime for such activities which the Commission has yielded to pressure not to regulate on, urges local and regional authorities not to authorise any unconventional hydrocarbon exploration or extraction operations in the EU, and urges Member States to refrain from preventing such decisions”(emphasis added)

Going hand in hand with our opposition to shale gas and other fossil fuel extraction is a desire to see Europe to make significant energy savings, and for there to be a greater percentage of renewables in Europe’s energy supply. This is why we, as citizens, ask you to support three binding targets on energy efficiency, renewables and greenhouse gas emissions (paragraph 4 of the original Delvaux/Szymanski report) and ask you to reject amendments 6 and 14 which represent a backtrack of our current energy policy.

Europe deserves a clean, green future, not the toxic legacy afforded by continuing to use fossil fuels. It is in your power to support this, I respectfully request that you please find it in your heart to do so. The latest research on shale gas extraction by academics in USA, where hydraulic fracturing has been used prolifically, shows that the impact on population includes that of heightening the chances of a child suffering from neural tube and heart defects. Whatever political party you support, whatever their strategy, please look at the ethics here and ask yourself, ‘How can I possibly support the destruction of a baby in the womb for profit?’ There can be no greater crime against human decency than this. You have a duty to protect us as citizens of the UK, please do everything within your power to stop this criminal industry.

Best regards,

Public Enquiry Needed-Barton Moss Protectors vs GMP

Helen Chuntso Barton Moss Protector

>>>>People need to be aware of the truth of the policing at Barton Moss. Enough of these trumped up charges, violent arrests and bail conditions which are annoying even the judges!
GMP are operating outside the law at Barton Moss and there is video evidence to prove it.
Any suggestion that they are “facilitating peaceful protest” is laughable. 1500 marched this sunday with NO police intervention. As soon as its delivery day- out come the apparent arrest quotas and TAU in extremis.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that their orders are to destroy the camp by use of intimidation, arbitrary and groundless arrests, physical assault and fabrication of evidence.

They are doing this to peaceful protesters who have NOT ONCE acted in violence towards them.
If they can do this to them, they can do it to anybody.

They can do it to you. Sign the petition<<<<

Mavis McDuff 29 January 2014-Barton Moss Visitor

I have just returned from Barton Moss and once again am in awe of the protectors who remain on site week after week. The moss is wet through, the rain is often lashing down in a horizontal direction and the cold is draining. Most people sleep under canvas and try to keep themselves as warm as possible. In the large dark kitchen which is also under canvas people heat water in gas boilers to wash pots and pans and others chop vegetables to make nutritious soups and other dishes to keep body and soul together. With so many people in and out of the camp constantly, and in these conditions, keeping the kitchen area organised and tidy is a full time job in itself. Local people donate food, wood and water and without their help it would be very difficult to look after the protectors daily needs. The days are full of the work it takes to survive, keeping fires burning, fetching wood, cleaning toilets, and keeping the area tidy often in driving wind and rain. Most of the protectors who have made barton moss camp their home, have no income at all, they have opted out of the benefit system and work selflessly every day to protect the environment for every one of us for nothing. They have sacrificed the comforts many of us take for granted and rely totally on the generosity of mainly local people and businesses who recognise the bravery and courage of these heros who are attempting to prevent the poisoning of their land, air and water supplies. As if all that were not enough for anyone to deal with, twice a day the camp is invaded by an army of trained thugs known as the TAU (Tactical Assaut Unit) masquerading as police who are sent in by the (generally known to be) corrupt Greater Manchester Police force. A convoy of lorries comes through every morning down the public footpath to the gates of the drilling rig, carrying tankers of many different hazardous chemicals which are injected into the ground during the drilling process, and at the same time pollute the earth, air and water supplies. The protectors aim is to prevent these chemicals and toxic materials reaching the site. So the TAU whose remit seems to be to totally disregard the law and assault innocent people at will, line the route directly in front of the protectors homes, ie their tents and living areas. The protectors who are able due to their depleted health caused by their living conditions and many of those who are not along with many local people congregate at the top of the leafy lane of the footpath and several of the toughest thugs line up behind them and force them to start walking. They do this by shouting and threatening people, pushing people, digging their knuckles into peoples spines and twisting them and basically inciting fear and terror into people who know that if they dont comply they are very likely to be severely assaulted, have their feet kicked from under them, get punched, kicked, have their faces rammed into the road and then be parceled into a van and locked up in a police station for several hours at the mercy of the corrupt GMP. They are then brought before the magistrates on feeble charges, such as obstructing the highway (the track is not a highway it is a footpath) which are invariably is thrown out of court with no case to answer. People are bailed until the hearing with conditions that they may not set foot on the footpath to return to their homes on the moss, which for many is the only home they currently have. The magistrates court has had an immense amount of time and money wasted with bail hearings, where they have removed all bail conditions placed on protectors by the GMP. It seems that the logic behind the frequent arrests and unnreasonable bail conditions applied by the GMP is to deplete the numbers of protectors at the site forcing the protectors efforts to collapse. Many people come and go at the site from all walks of life but many can not be as involved as they would like to be due to work and other commitments or even downright fear. The courage and self sacrifice of those who have made it their lifes work to protect us and our earth is remarkable and can only be greatly applauded. To live with this stress and fear twice every day, of the possibility of this scenario happening to you is emotionally nerve wracking and leading to stress related illness in people. Local people who attend are often elderly and opt to walk behind the younger protectors, in the hope that they can protect them from the very violent assaults which happen. Having spoken to many local people, who attend the regular Sunday marches, it seems there would be many more assisting at the protector site, but because they already know the brutality of their local police, (the corrupt GMP), they dare not. When court appearances are necessary many protectors make their way into Manchester city centre and wait with people who are on charges all day in order to offer support to each other. Furthermore there is a small camp in front of the Civic building adjacent to Swinton Police Station and protectors gather inside and outside of the police station when they have people in custody again to offer as much support to people who have suffered assaults and unlawful arrests by the thugs in the TAU. I hope this gives some idea of a day in the life of our heroic protectors and if any minor indiscretion is sensationalised by the mainstream media, who are also in the pay of the large corporations, as are the GMP in the pay of Igas, or if any protector is provoked so severely by these thugs that they lose it a little and maybe raise there voice or even swear, just ask yourself could you put yourself in their position, would you live out on the moss for the sake of your neighbours children and your own children and even for the sake of the peoples children who are assaulting you, to ensure you have clean agriculture, clean air and CLEAN WATER to drink. To my good friends on the moss you have my ultimate love and respect and thanks. Keep safe, keep warm and may the universe provide abundance for you.

Mavis posted on Facebook page Say No to Fracking on Barton Moss this morning to air her views about what was happening as she saw it, the eyes of a local woman, supporting the campaign.