Labour MP Bill Esterson investigates impact of 'fracking' on For

Bill Esterson

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has asked the Secretary of State what risks Sefton and Formby faces because of 'fracking'.

Fracking – the process through which chemicals, sand and water are pumped underground to release the gas trapped in shale rock – has been conducted in areas of Lancashire, just north of Sefton.

Opponents of the practice say the process is damaging to the environment.

It has also been blamed for causing two small tremors in Lancashire in April and May last year, prompting a freeze on drilling until safety concerns were addressed.

Bill Esterson has submitted a question to the government to find out what impact fracking would have on Sefton

Bill asked: "What assessment he has made of the potential risks to public health in Sefton of hydraulic fracturing taking place in the North West of England?"

He said: "Fracking has been hitting the headlines recently because of the potential damage it does to the environment and also to public health.

"I have been contacted by a number of people, particularly from Formby, who are concerned about the potential impact on this area.

"There have been a number of concerns raised about the impact of hydraulic fracturing on a local community.

"This is an issue which has been raised in the United States where the practice has been quite widespread.

"These concerns include pollution to the water system and the ensuing health implications, as well as the potential environmental damage and loss of valuable agricultural land which is being dug up for drilling."

Bill said he will continue to push for assurances from the government that there has been a risk assessment for Sefton.

Bill said: "I have heard the concerns, now I want to know what the government is doing to allay any of the fears which people still have in relation to the fracking.

"Drilling was halted last year because of two mini-earth quakes in Lancashire. That isn't too far away.

"As companies recognise the potential to make money from shale gas, so other areas along the North West coast could be identified as potential drilling sites.

"We need to know the facts before decisions are made." 

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