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Crown Capital Eco Management (madisontaylor4) Team
Crown Capital Eco Management works with government bodies, international entities, private sectors and other non-governmental organizations in providing extensive information to the public, media and policymakers that are involved in addressing...
Team Members: 4
Team Goals:Quit smoking
crown capital eco management environmental risks gas boilers
SIR – Peter Foster argues that in Britain we should all pay attention to the story of shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania, where public fear centres on environmental pollution issues (“Now for the downside of fracking”, Comment, February 20).
I am chairman of a joint working group of The Royal Academy of Engineering and The Royal Society that published a joint review last year of the health, safety and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing. The report concluded that these risks can be managed in Britain, but only if operational best practices are implemented and enforced through strong regulation. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has now accepted all of the review’s recommendations, including making environmental risk assessments mandatory for all shale gas operations.
Environmental risks must be assessed across the life cycle of shale gas operations, including water use and waste disposal, seismicity, and the abandonment of wells after operations have ceased. Local communities must participate in these assessments from the outset.
Your article referred to the widespread concern in America about the environmental impact of fracking, and noted cases of improper operational practices. Poorly constructed wells could lead to instances of contamination. That is why our joint academies’ review also recommended improvements to Britain’s independent regulation of well design and construction to ensure the highest levels of well integrity.
The review also stressed that the current scale of operations in Britain is significantly smaller than those in America. None the less, Britain must monitor how risks would scale up should a shale gas industry grow nationwide. Britain’s regulators must be well co-ordinated and sufficient regulatory capacity be ensured so that environmental risks can continue to be managed effectively.
Prof Robert Mair
SIR – We are concerned about the environmental risks associated with fracking such as water contamination and radioactive radon gas, which is in shale gas, and which could be piped and released into our boilers, heaters and other domestic gas appliances.
The Government is so unclear about this risk it has asked the Health Protection Agency to investigate, and we urge no shale gas development until these health risks are fully considered. Our view is that shale gas, like new nuclear build, is an unwanted distraction which the British and Irish governments should avoid.
Green biogas and geothermal energy is a much better alternative, along with a wide range of renewables, energy efficiency and microgeneration. With shale gas, like new nuclear, there are so many unpleasant side effects that we should not go forward with it now, or in the future.
Councillor Mark Hackett
Chairman, Nuclear Free Local Authorities Manchester
Credit rating agencies
SIR – Why is every utterance of the credit rating agencies treated as if it had come straight from the Delphic Oracle (“Credit rating cut 'puts pound at risk’, report, February 25)? Furthermore, who, if anybody, rates the rating agencies?
SIR – Our politicians debate gay marriage while welfare spending is out of control, our energy policy is a shambles and our “progressive” tax system acts as a disincentive to hard work and enterprise.
The loss of our AAA credit rating should come as no surprise.
Mark W Wilken
SIR – George Osborne made the retention of our top credit rating one of the most important aims of his chancellorship.
Now we have lost this rating should not the Chancellor consider his position?
SIR – We seem to be obsessed with growth measured by gross domestic product statistics. As I understand it, GDP is greatly influenced by high street spending. Since a significant proportion of this is for goods produced outside Britain, it seems a poor measure of the health of the real economy.
Furthermore, we are encouraged to reduce personal debt and this has an effect on so-called growth. While all this is going on, we learn that there are one million more people in employment. Presumably these people are adding to the value of goods and services which are produced. A measure of this would appear to me a much more reliable measure of growth.
Are we forgetting the beneficial effect of the income tax paid by the extra one million employed people, and their move from welfare to work?
King Richard’s remains
SIR – From virtually time immemorial the bodies of those killed in battle have been buried close to the scene of the combat for practical reasons. The most recent examples can be found in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries.
To remove Richard III’s body from the area where he died (report, February 25) might set a precedent if descendants of those killed in past battles can now start demanding that their ancestors be returned for burial close to their places of residence or birth.
Denby Dale, West Yorkshire
Waving away pigeons
SIR – My flat overlooks the Thames. Prior to the Royal Jubilee river pageant, the balcony was plagued with pigeons (Letters, February 25).
For the Jubilee, I put two Union Flags in pots at the balcony corners. They are still there, and no pigeons have invaded since.
SIR – On top of my daughter’s home there is a gulley with a brick wall along the top, and at times we had up to 14 pigeons sitting there watching us down below in the garden. They left an awful mess.
We solved the problem by threading some string through a number of shiny old CDs and suspending the string above the wall using pieces of wood or whatever was handy. The sun would shine on the CDs which would move along with any breeze. The result: no more pigeons.
EU immigration policy
SIR – Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is right to require immigrants from EU countries to have resided here for a reasonable time before qualifying for benefits (report, February 18).
When Britain entered the EU it signed up to mobility of labour. What we have got is mobility of benefits, in some cases without the labour. The minister’s new proposals will be a step towards redressing this unsatisfactory consequence of freedom-of-movement laws in the EU.
SIR – Reports from Germany indicate that 150,000 Romanians and Bulgarians have entered Germany and its schools. The welfare and benefits system is struggling to cope. The immigrants are finding jobs hard to get in the sluggish German economy and far-Right anti-immigrant groups are growing in number.
The fact that our Government refuses to disclose its forecast on Romanian and Bulgarian immigration indicates that it is aware of the scale of the problems ahead.
NHS trade unionism
SIR – Charles Moore (Comment, February 23) rightly refers to the Royal College of Nursing as a trade union. There is also the trade union affiliation of the ancillaries, porters, kitchen staff and others who are generally forced to join Unison or its like.
This array of unionised staff is a major challenge that only the most able of managers can deal with successfully. Mediocre managers would flounder hopelessly with such opposition to improving efficiency, standards of performance or regular attendance.
The NHS is the last great bastion of obstructive trade unionism and it will only improve when the stranglehold is broken.
J R Ball
Let them eat cake
SIR – George Wedd (Letters, February 25) says that the monarchy and the Church of England are noted for very basic catering. However, the Queen does those invited to her garden parties proud, as I can testify.
The sandwiches, cakes and éclairs are small, but reports show that over two hours the average guest officially scoffs 14 items.
Crockham Hill, Kent
Trial by jury may not be perfect, but we need it
SIR – As a former Crown Court clerk, I observed hundreds of jury trials at close quarters and take the considered view that while it is not a perfect system it is better than any alternative (Letters, February 25).
At least with a jury you can say it is “our” justice. If trials were entirely run by judges and lawyers, I confidently predict that not only would common justice soon become remote from the people it is supposed to serve, but lawyers would use their skills to introduce complex legal arguments which only they, at great expense, could resolve.
Investigate improving trial by jury, but please do not seek to take this fundamental right away.
SIR – Two years ago I was called for jury service. At that time I was a lay magistrate. As such I had learnt to listen carefully to evidence and to take notes.
At my jury trial, I was the only juror who did, and this became apparent when we retired to reach a verdict.
In discussions in the retiring room I was able to show that the key witness for the defence, on whose evidence our verdict hung, was unreliable: he had contradicted himself on three occasions.
My fellow jurors decided to overlook this on the grounds that he seemed a nice chap. As a result, the accused, a man charged with a serious offence involving an act of extreme violence, was found not guilty.
SIR – People do not seek to serve on a jury; they are ordered to do so with scant regard to the inconvenience it may cause. The great majority will nevertheless do their very best to carry out their duty as conscientiously as they can.
The jury in the trial of Vicky Pryce may have had some shortcomings, but to be criticised by the judge in the way they were when they could not answer back leaves a nasty taste.
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