UK Information Commissioner orders released unredacted, the secret government frac report on impacts to families living nearby

Government publishes secret rural fracking impacts study Press Release by Friends of the Earth, July 1, 2015

Responding to publication today of DEFRA’s secret report into the impacts
of fracking on the rural economy, including house prices, Friends of the
Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said:

“No wonder Defra sat on this explosive report until after the Lancashire
decisions – it shows that people living close to rural fracking sites can
expect to see the value of their homes fall by up to 7% and their insurance
costs rise.

“Businesses could also suffer as it reveals that fracking threatens
agriculture, tourism, organic farming, hunting, fishing, and outdoor
recreation businesses through increased industrialisation of previously
tranquil and pristine rural areas.

“Instead of hiding information and trying to force through fracking, the UK
Government should follow the lead of Wales and Scotland and put fracking on


Notes to editors

1. The Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts paper has been published in full. [1]

2. The Information Commissioner ruled that Defra must publish this paper in
full on 8 June. [2]

Redacted version released last year by the UK govt:

2014 08 12 UK Frac Report Named Redact2014 08 12 UK Frac Report Named Redact conclusions end

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) report reveals extent of impacts on people living near fracking wells by Christine Ottery, July 1, 2015 , Energydesk Greenpeace

People that live near fracking sites could be affected by health problems and financial hardships – and fracking might not even help climate change – a government report has revealed.

The report – which was initially heavily redacted but has now been fully published after the Information Commissioner ordered the government to do so – includes striking passages that were previously blacked out on the risks of living near a fracking well, most dramatically that:

“Properties located within a 1 – 5 mile radius of the fracking operation may also incur an additional cost of insurance to cover losses in case of explosion on the site.”

“Such an event would clearly have social impacts,” some genius notes.

There are also several other health impacts and financial impacts on local rural communities that have been detailed — and are now revealed.

… Energydesk put in the Freedom of Information request for the report last summer, and repeatedly asked Defra to fill in the blacked-out blanks in the back-end last year.

We’ve finally been able to properly scour the report — and here’s what’s come to light:

Health: Water, noise, light and air pollution

People could experience the consequences of surface water contamination from fracking —- not from drinking water but “it can affect human health indirectly through consumption of contaminated wildlife, livestock, or agricultural products”.

Noise and light pollution from rigs could also lead to problems, the internal Defra report acknowledges. It says: “Some residents may experience deafening noise; light pollution that affects sleeping patterns.”

“Noxious odours from venting gases can also impact on air quality for local residents,” it adds.

And if you have resulting health problems you might find your local services stretched with the additional demand from the influx of fracking workers.

The report says that it’s unclear whether the extra funding given to communities “will be sufficient to meet the additional demand if new schools or hospitals are needed to ensure service provision for existing rural communities is maintained”.

Money: Housing and jobs

So, your house might be worth up to 7% less if you live within a mile of a fracking site (though other estimates say 10% or even up to 70% of the value could be wiped off) — and you might have to pay more for your house insurance in case of an explosion on site.

And if you rent, rent prices are expected to rise as new workers come into the area.

Fracking is also a mixed bag for local economies — short term benefits belie costs in terms of industries including “agriculture, tourism, organic farming, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.”

The report also highlights concerns about what happens to local economies after the frackers leave.

In case local people were thinking of working in the fracking industry, there is also uncertainty over “how sustainable the shale gas investments will be in the future and whether rural communities have the right mix of skills to take advantage of the new jobs and wider benefits on offer”.

Regulatory uncertainty

And at a time of deep cuts to DECC, the Environment Agency and HSE – the people responsible for regulating the fracking industry – it is tricky that the report recommends that “regulatory capacity may need to be increased”. [Isn’t it lovely to see others in the world not conned by the “Alberta Deregulatory Lie, Frac ‘n Fool ’em Good Model” that “experts” and oil and gas propaganda entities (eg Synergy Alberta, CAPP, SPOG etc) push on communities?]

Read the UNREDACTED Defra report in its entirety here:
Shale Gas, Rural Economy Impacts
By [Name Redacted], Rural Community Policy Unit
March 2014
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Draft Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts paper

[Refer also to:
2015 03 11: Greenpeace appeals to UK Information Commissioner over redacted fracking report, Argues government is “cherry-picking” and misleading public by refusing to publish findings on how shale gas could impact house prices [Sound like the work done by the Council of Canadian Academies on their frac report?]

2014 08 24: Frac’ing ‘threat’ wiped £535,000 off home’s value; Valuation Office Agency (sets values for tax purposes): “any industrial or commercial development near homes, potentially including fracking, could reduce their value”

2014 08 12: A Government Frac Report Named Redact: UK government heavily censors state-sanctioned report on fracking

2011 jenkins-harper-and-his-dog-redact

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