A flood of PR pieces in the ‘serious’ press this morning about Blackpool’s prospect of becoming the Dallas of the North care of fracking – the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock by injecting chemicals and fracturing it (fracking). You can find them in the Torygraph (probably the worst example), the Indy, the Guardian (probably the most balanced effort) and even the WSJ.
While there’s much talk of prosperity and the Aberdeen effect – and God knows the town needs it – what Blackpool doesn’t need is drinking water that goes up in flames, or another round of earthquakes. While jobs are welcome – invaluable, indeed – they can’t come ay any price. This kind of high-profile PR offensive shouldn’t be allowed to gloss over the risks of fracking. Until some of the questions are answered, Blackpool needs to keep the door ajar – if not quite closed – on fracking.
One final point; the gas fields in Morecambe Bay have been pumping out their produce since the mid-80s. Just when does Morecambe get its Aberdeen effect?