Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 4 November 2015
As far as I can make out, there are two distinct groups of people who are in favour of Fracking today: the poor who would very much like to see the cost of basic power come down to a reasonable level (and not just set at the maximum the industry thinks it can extract without people freezing to death like the OAPs who cannot afford it), and the less poor who would like to increase their wealth by investing in it.
I fall somewhere in between the two, mainly because I don't know whose arguments to accept - one way or the other.
The Chairman of Bath City Council recently said that he is duty bound to be set against Fracking, simply because of the city's famous hot springs. I have a friend who is a geologist for the oil industry, and he is all for it, but why would he not be - especially since he lives high up in the Spanish mountains?
Nobody really understands the mechanics of Bath's hot springs, which have been gushing out of the ground at a constant and high temperature for thousands of years, but the little we do know makes the possibility of them drying up due to underground water-course changes a very real and scary possibility. It would be the end of Bath as a spa resort, at the very least.
It is thought that the source of the spring is about 30 miles away, high up in the Mendip Hills, but we know that other water-courses find their way into the main baths, because every now and then, dead leaves turn up in the mix, despite what John Wood the Elder said.
Nobody is 100% sure how the water is heated, but the generally accepted theory is that it gains a high temperature by being forced through narrow apertures at extremely high pressure, rather than relying solely on volcanic activity miles below the city. We know that it is slightly radioactive - which may explain its healing properties - but the lower areas of Bath have high levels of ambient radon gas, so it may just be contaminated by that. I had a friend who lived in an unventilated basement flat here, and she died of cancer caused by radon gas.
The little I know about the mechanics of Fracking is that it involves splitting deep, underground rock with chemically saturated water at inconceivably high, artificial pressures, to release the natural gas which is trapped down there, and I know that this procedure has caused many small and not so small earthquakes in the past.
I think I am with Bath City Council on this issue, especially since we do not have gas central heating in our compact but adorable city apartment.