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CIEH issues recommendations on fracking

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) newly-created policy position on fracking includes: a policy statement and a briefing paper. The policy position was prompted by the seminar HEAL organised immediately after last year’s Annual General Assembly in November 2011.

The papers have been prepared by CIEH Northern Ireland Director, Gary MacFarlane. The briefing describes the different impacts on health as a result of water and air pollution with the help of case studies. The policy statement includes the following considerations and recommendations for the UK government.

“There are a number of potential impacts that fracking could have upon both human health and the environment. These include:

  • Impacts on drinking water supplies
  • Impacts on air quality and consequent associated respiratory disorders
  • Geological impacts (seismic activity)
  • Noise impacts
  • Release of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMS)"

CIEH, whilst recognising the economic and energy benefits potentially associated with the technology, nonetheless believes that there is insufficient current evidence to confirm that all these potential risks can be suitably reduced and/or managed within acceptable levels. We therefore advocate that

  • 1: The precautionary principle must remain the overriding principal for the UK at present.
  • 2: The evidence base as it relates to potential and actual environmental and human health impacts should be kept under regular review and must inform policy and decision making.
  • 3: That a full, independent environmental impact assessment must be carried out prior to any initial exploratory operations commencing.
  • 4: That full land remediation must be a non negotiable condition of any such approvals. “

Additional information on the CIEH-website:

Last updated on 13 March 2012

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