Like most people I meet, up until about 8 months ago I had not heard of Fracking.
By chance I happened to meet someone at the funeral of the late great train robber mastermind Bruce Reynolds. This new acquaintance, Jamie, was very concerned about the lack of public knowledge surrounding the risks of Fracking in the UK. I have to say that at first I was very sceptical, thinking, “We need this gas, don’t we?” I watched a few documentaries about it, notably ‘The Truth About the Dash for Gas’ and ‘Gasland’. What I saw was pretty shocking and, I felt, somewhat unbelievable; “This cannot be true!”.
It grabbed my interest enough to research it further and try to separate the truth from the myths. My discoveries could not have been more shocking. This is an industry fraught with risk to our health and wellbeing. It does not seem to have any solid business case, will not reduce energy bills, could fracture our fragile economy with a collapse in property values combined with sky rocketing cost for insurance, and the irony is it’s a resource we don’t even need!
But on the face of it, we have a government that is pushing this through at breakneck speed, clearing our legal protections away so that the Fracking companies can drill under our homes, property and farmland using a very harmful toxic cocktail that is carcinogenic, radioactive and known to interfere with fertility, amongst other horrible medical conditions.
There doesn’t even seem to be a basic plan in place to safely dispose of this toxic waste. The process also involves the use of vast amounts of water, in a country that regularly has droughts and hosepipe bans. Recent research suggests that the geology of the UK has 400 times more fault lines than the United States, making accidents 400 times more risky. The methane leakage from the fracking process makes this technology worse than coal, with leakage rates of 3%. However, above all, let’s be clear that the government has no democratic mandate to do this. No one voted for this in David Cameron’s “greenest government ever”!
This combined with the fact that recent polls show that over 50% of the country still doesn’t know what Fracking is, is why we decided that it’s time for us to talk about it. That is why we have organised a series of regional debates where we can listen to the experts and hear the concerns of ordinary people, so we can decide for ourselves in the upcoming elections whether we want Fracking or not. I believe we have a duty of care for the sake of our children and future generations to inform ourselves and act before it is too late.
I started my career in the fashion industry, firstly working for my mother Vivienne Westwood. We started from one shop in London’s Kings Road and over a period of 10 years I helped to build her business. I left in the early 90′s to start my own business Agent Provocateur, again starting from one shop building to an international brand over 10 years, and then selling that business some 6 years ago. Since then I have formed another clothing label and a make-up brand Illamasqua and I also run a human rights and sustainability charity, Humanade.