A health probe into the effects of shale gas exploration in Lancashire has been dismissed as a “tick box exercise” by anti-frackers.
The county council is to spend £30,000 on examining the likely impact on residents should the controversial drilling process get the go-ahead.
But Eve McNamara, from the pressure group Ribble Estuary Against Fracking, accused the authority of “just paying lip service” to safety concerns.
“In the past, we have found that these Health Impact Assessments are just tick-box exercises to appease the community. This is not an industry we want onshore in the UK because, if they did a proper impact survey, they would realise the impact is substantial. Data from Australia and the United States suggests this is not safe.”
Cabinet members will be asked to approve a Health Impact Assessment of two proposed fracking sites near Kirkham – Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton. The investigation will look at possible contamination of land, water and air quality.
A report from the Lancashire’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, to be presented to the cabinet meeting at County Hall on Thursday, says: “It is proposed that work is undertaken to identify information about the full range of potential health impacts.
“It is an opportunity for LCC to demonstrate its role to improve the health and wellbeing of its residents in relation to the shale gas industry and highlight any potential risks at an early stage.”