Fracking in Lancashire ‘may affect mental health’, report by head of Public Health finds by Elaine Dunkley, November 7, 2014, BBC
Living near fracking sites could affect mental health and wellbeing, according to a new report. The report, by head of Public Health Lancashire Dr Sakti Karunanithi, looked into the potential health impacts if fracking was permitted in Preston.
Energy firm Cuadrilla has applied to frack at two sites: Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton. Chief executive Francis Egan denied drilling for shale gas posed a health risk to local residents. “Our activities themselves will not cause people to have health problems though I understand the stress [people are feeling] because they are hearing lots of scare stories about what we are doing.”
Lancashire County Council, which has already delayed its decisions on the applications, discussed the report’s findings on Thursday.
The report cites a lack of public trust and confidence, stress and anxiety from the uncertainty which could lead to poor mental wellbeing and noise from drilling could have health implications for nearby residents.
Dr Karunanithi, said: “While there is a lot of focus on the environmental health, it isn’t actually a statutory requirement through our planning and regulatory regime to consider health and wellbeing holistically.
“Lancashire County Council is responsible for protecting the public’s health, so amidst lots of concerns there was a need for us to understand what the potential impacts on health and wellbeing could be.”
Council planning officials want the decision deadline to be put back until 31 December for the proposed site at Preston New Road in Little Plumpton and until 31 January for the site at Roseacre Wood. [Emphasis added]
Potential Health Impacts of the Proposed Shale Gas Exploration Sites in Lancashire by Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi MD MPH FFPH, Director of Public Health Lancashire County Council October 22, 2014
Having completed the HIA for each of the two sites the DPH has concluded that the key risks to the health and wellbeing of the residents who live near the two proposed sites in Lancashire include:
• Lack of public trust and confidence, stress and anxiety from uncertainty that
could lead to poor mental wellbeing
• Noise related health effects due to continuous drilling, and
• Issues related to capacity for flowback waste water treatment and disposal.
… In particular:
• There is also a need to be vigilant during the operations, and in emergency
• A robust baseline and long term monitoring of environmental and health
conditions is required in order to reassure communities and to understand the
cumulative and long term effects.
• Local communities should be actively involved and the risks should be
communicated in a transparent and reliable manner that is proportionate to
the exploratory phase of the industry. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
2014 09 04: Court ruling: Local government has a constitutional charge to protect the environment and quality of life for its citizens, Gorsline case rejects gas operations in residential neighborhood
“By any responsible account,” [Pennsylvanian Supreme Court] Chief Justice Castille wrote, “the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction.” ]