A letter has been sent to the United Nations, urging them to ban fracking to protect the health and wellbeing of women who are threatened by the extreme energy extraction practice in the United Kingdom. The letter, sent to The Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), has been co-signed by environmental groups and human rights activists, including Dame Vivienne Westwood, Food & Water Watch’s Wenona Hauter and the Human Rights Champion Of The United Nations Human Rights Office, American actress – Amber Heard.

In the Summer of 2018, CEDAW asked the UK government to provide information on the measures being taken to mitigate and address the health and environmental impacts of toxic substances on women and girls, in particular rural women, due to planned fracking activities.

The UK government replied in November 2018, that there is: “a robust regulatory system which provides a comprehensive regime for exploratory activities,” and “tough regulations in place to ensure on-site safety, prevent water contamination, and mitigate seismic activity and air pollution.”

Environmentalists have argued that the UK government’s measures are not sufficient to protect women.

Other signatories include environmental groups Food & Water Europe, Talk Fracking, #BreakFreeFromPlastic, Frack Free United; academics Dr Damien Short, Co-Director of the Human Rights Consortium, London; Energy Policy Professor Peter Strachan, Aberdeen, together with the Concerned Health Professionals UK and the National Union of Students.

The signatories strongly disagree with the UK government’s statement that its regulations are robust enough to protect women’s health.



Dame Vivienne Westwood stated:

“We want to highlight the harm fracking causes pregnant women. Pregnant women who live near active fracking operations in Pennsylvania were at a 40% increased risk of giving birth prematurely and at a 30% increased risk for having obstetrician-labelled high-risk pregnancies. This is an example of the virulent, poisoning effect of fracking to all life and we therefore want to support Amber and the group asking for CEDAW to demand that it stops.”


Wenonah Hauter, Founder and Executive Director of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe said:

“We’ve experienced the negative impacts of fracking on rural women in the US. The UK government still has the opportunity to prevent this and must ban fracking.”

You can download the new report submitted to CEDAW here.