Public Health England: Fracking Health Report Outdated
We have created a petition over Public Health England’s 2014 narrow ‘Review of potential public health impacts from shale gas extraction’. It is now grossly outdated and hundreds of critical studies have been published since.
Public Health England must produce a new report on the potential health impacts on fracking in the UK.
Until risks have been properly assessed, there should be an immediate ban on shale gas exploration and development in the UK.
Why is this important?
In 2014, Public Health England published their final version of a health report on fracking. The report was narrow in its contents and missed out some significant health evidence that indicated hydraulic fracturing impacted upon public health.
Since that report, hundreds of other health reports have been published with critical evidence that now needs to be taken into account before any shale activity should proceed within the UK.
Medact have released two reports into public health and fracking, both of which have been ignored by the Conservative government.
Medact said they have “called for a moratorium on fracking because of the serious risks it poses to public health. Fracking has already been suspended in Wales and Scotland because of health and climate risks and New York State has banned fracking because of the ‘significant health risks’.
“The [Medact] report highlights the limitations of Public Health England’s report on fracking, including the fact that it was narrow in scope and failed to critically assess the adequacy and reliability of the regulatory system.
“Working with various experts in energy policy and climate change, Medact’s report also describes how shale gas produces a level of GHG emissions that is incompatible with the UK’s commitments to address climate change.”
A letter published in the British Medical Journal stated:
“The arguments against fracking on public health and ecological grounds are overwhelming. There are clear grounds for adopting the precautionary principle and prohibiting fracking.” This letter was signed by 18 academic and medical professionals.
In Lancashire it was left to the county council’s own director of public health to assess health impact. He advised that there was no regulatory system in place, in that health outcomes are not part of the regulatory bodies’ agenda. He could provide no assurance of baseline or any ongoing monitoring of health.
More recently, an important study has been released by Johns Hopkins University linking fracking to an increased likelihood of developing asthma.
Public Health England’s mission is: “to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities”
If Public Health England are to fulfill their public duty and mission statement, then to not acknowledge and act upon the wealth of contraindications towards hydraulic fracturing, they could be in breach of their position and may face legal challenge.
A full and concise article by Alan Tootill, with references on this subject, can be found here.