ENERGY: Regarding a strategy, UKIP no different

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Regarding Holbeach Parish Councillor Paul Foyster’s letter.

You and your party (UKIP) continually knock the use of alternative energy systems and insist that the extraction of shale gas (fracking) is the only viable energy source for the foreseeable future.

What little fracking that has occurred in the UK has already caused structural damage plus there is increasing scientific opinion that the process could pollute the aquifer; we’ll have more gas but at the expense of drinking water.

The American comparison is spurious as their extraction sites are typically well away from population centres and water tables.

Shale gas extraction is hugely expensive, arguably more so than green alternatives despite their intermittent generation capability. Witness the tax breaks just given to oil companies to offset shale exploration costs – something that will cost the UK taxpayer billions.

There is no accurate estimate of our shale deposits or the amount of gas they could generate – at the moment it’s pure guesswork. So to compare them with the likes of North Sea oil is premature to say the least.

As to energy prices falling…

I’d love to believe Mr Foyster. Can he provide empirical evidence that leads to that conclusion? After all, 40 years of North Sea oil has seen fuel prices increase by a factor of ten!

The only thing we agree upon is that poaching perfectly good arable land for any other use has to stop.

Increasing energy generation, housing stocks, etc, at the expense of food production, is just plain myopic. Only a few days ago some of the major food producers and retailers announced that the days of cheap food will soon pass; one estimate was that prices will increase threefold within the next ten years. Home-grown food production can only reduce the impact.

What’s needed is a sensible, well researched, long-term energy strategy that balances all energy generation alternatives plus ensures that they don’t adversely impact our ability to feed and water ourselves. Something that successive governments since Ted Heath’s have failed to produce.

It appears that UKIP is no different.

Andrew MacDonald