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An Open Letter to David Cameron

August 12th, 2013

I was going to mail this letter today privately, in the remote hope that the message actually might get through to our PM who would then have a sort of ‘Road to Damascus’ moment! Reading his article in the Telegraph yesterday I now doubt this very much, so I’m still posting it, but I’ve also posted it as a comment on his article. (You can ‘like’ the comment by clicking to show the PM’s press people who read these things that others agree – if you do of course!)


11th August 2013

Dear Mr Cameron,

I can quite understand the apparent advantages of encouraging fracking, but I do urge you to consider the following points:

1. Your government seriously misjudged the concern people have for their environment when the public woodlands sale was mooted. It was very wise to back off from that project quickly.

2. The same story is repeating itself with fracking. Although people like money, when the chips are down they don’t want their countryside ruined, their roads clogged with lorries, their water and air risking pollution. They want to protect their country – if necessary from the government who promised to be the ‘greenest ever’. Remember your party has 130-177,000 members, the National Trust has 3.8 million. People really care about the countryside.

3. Offers of a million, or more correctly a hundred thousand pounds, do not seem attractive to most people. They smack of desperation, and the need to bribe a community. If you will forgive the image, it looks like a man offering sweets to children while his friends nip round the back and tip chemicals in the soil.

4. The tax breaks for fracking companies – from a PR point of view this is a disaster. The public associates tax breaks with attempts to shore up ailing industries. It gives the wrong signal, and people are starting to realise that this highlights the investment risks – that profitability is not guaranteed. Its timing is also disastrous – just as people are becoming aware of the tax-dodging by big corporations, they see that the tax payer will be effectively funding the degradation of their environment.

It’s not too late to back away from this. If you do, saving face by saying ‘We have listened to concerns’, setting up enquiries etc., and then ensuring it never happens, the British people, and history, will perceive you not as weak, but as a champion, a defender, of the landscape of Britain. If you continue to support fracking, your popularity will wane, at the first sign of problems – earth tremors, chemical spills, damage of any kind – you will lose support massively, will lose the next election, and be remembered as the man who was so weak he gave in to financial interests and the man who didn’t care about the land he was supposed to be governing.

Do please assure me that you will be taking the former rather than the latter course.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Carr-Gomm


50 Responses to “An Open Letter to David Cameron”

  1. Thank you Philip Carr-Gomm for such a succinct and honest open letter. You echo the views of thousands, if not millions of UK citizens. It is my hope too that the Government finally listen

  2. We have the same problem looming here in South Africa, with companies wanting to frack in our precious Karoo. I cannot understand why *anyone* could possibly think it is a good idea to pump a bunch of toxic chemicals deep into the ground – and into our Mother Earth, who gives us life, nourishes and sustains us. We should be trying to find more sustainable solutions and to encourage (and fund) earth-friendly sciences. Why are we deliberately poisoning our environment? Human beings – and all the other life forms with whom we share this planet – need clean air, clean water, good soil and healthy food to survive. The Earth is not ours to ravage and exploit, but to look after and protect for future generations. I wish that our elected leaders – in the UK and in SA – could finally understand this. Wishing you the best of luck, Philip.

  3. Though I’m not British however I do belong to The Commonwealth of Nation of Canada I beg you reconsider your approach of groveling to the corporate masters and for once in your pitiful life as a politician heed what your country men and women command you to do look out for their best interests. It seems this fracking business has a sinister ploy to the whole plot.

  4. Excellent letter. I can’t believe they are even considering this. Lets hope Cameron will start to come into alignment with the feelings of Britain as a whole and not with a minority who are way behind the times in how they think, act and speak.

  5. I am against wind farms just as much as I am against fracking, both are unsightly on the landscape, I would prefer to see legislation brought in so that all new builds would have to have solar panels and micro wind turbines, I would also like to see grants being offered to those that cannot afford to buy solar panels or micro wind turbines for their property. For me this is the sensible route to take.

  6. Thanks for speaking up. I’ve just come back from Barrow in Furness on a geomantic pilgrimage and felt devastated by the lack of elementals on Walney Island . . The ancients didn’t have social media but “we” do and must use it along with the more traditional ancient wisdom techniques to avert even more ghastly environmental horror stories. /

  7. There is an interesting article on fracking in this week’s New Scientist: NS, 10th August 2013, p 36.

  8. Dearest Philip,
    Many thanks for making my Monday morning great.The points you have made make it clear that Fracking is the new ‘nuclear'(expensive, risk to our health and our wealth). I will post this on all my media pages. Catherine Lawrence Adams for Kingston Green Radio

  9. Geological resources have been exploited in the midlands, north & Scotland, even Kent, for the duration of the industrial revolution. Gas continues to be extracted from the coal measures in many old mining areas (& helps prevent this methane escaping into the atmosphere to worsen global warming. Now that shales [Kimeridge Shale basin] containing trapped gas have been identified at accessible depths in Lancashire, Lincolnshire & southern England etc i’m sure the residents of these areas will want to help the UK’s balance of payments at minimal inconvenience to themselves (& be paid handsomely for this inconvenience). Opponents are talking about hundreds of wells to be drilled but most of these will be side-track wells & wells will be directional from one small central cluster, Surface impact will be minimal once in use, there are already many producing oil wells across southern England. And we will be less reliant on the Russians & the Middle East for our energy supplies, never a safe position to be.

    • Charles Blanchard, a specialist in gas industry finances at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, spoke today on BBC Radio 4’s ‘You & Yours’. He believes we will need drill 1,000 wells a year before we notice any change in gas prices.

  10. Excellent letter Philip. The same type of things are happening here in the U.S., unfortunately, what ‘they’ do not realize is that when they have destroyed the earth, the environment, and the atmosphere, all the money in their coffers will not save them when mother earth decides to vomit humanity from her graces. Sad, very sad /|

  11. Its not just about gas prices, its about UKs balance of payments. If this fracking exploration (under controlled conditions) does not go ahead then its more likely that the Russians will forge ahead with developing the Arctic Ocean for Oil, Gas & minerals. Do you think they will want to respect environmental considerations ? Then, once developed the Russian will have an even larger stranglehold on European energy supplies, etc..


  12. Bad enough that this is taking place within my own county. Even worse that it’s proposed throughout the country. Shameful!

  13. Good letter although I suspect you overestimate Tory party membership. Interesting that subsidising unprofitable mines was anathema to the Tories but subsidising big business to frack … well that’s different isn’t it ..isn’t it?

  14. Thank you, Philio Carr-Gomm, for writing just the sort of reasonable and persuasive letter I would have liked to if I could have kept my temper long enough!..

  15. Phillip,
    I live in the USA. If you think my signature would help with your PM, I’ll give it gladly. Either way, I fully support what you’re saying.

  16. An interesting approach.

    I think the trouble is that this is a lot of money and energy independence which means more power.

    We can not afford the co2 that fossil fuels produce, sooner or later there will have to be global limits on how much we can burn, the rich developed nations are doing what serves their interests best we are burning it as quick as we can before it becomes worthless because of co2 caps.

    Were it not for this then there is a good case to say that in the longer term as energy becomes more scarce these resources will become much more valuable, that waiting a couple of decades and buying the relatively cheap fuels in the global market is a better strategy.

    Sitting on your assets whilst they appreciate in value is never as attractive as selling off the silver now for a quick fix.

    Personally I think we need to be dealing with the cause and reducing consumption, and that means not just stopping economic growth but planing its decrease and yes it means we will be poorer financially, we need a seed change to look at what we, the population really need, because money is not the only measure of wealth.

  17. I have also heard, not sure whether it’s true or not but certainly a possibility, that fracking can cause a Tsunami on the other side of the world if the cavern being fracked collapses. If this is true, once again the rich oil barrons grow richer while the poor die for it!

  18. You have my 100% backing too. This government have absolutely no idea what they’re doing.

  19. No UK government will pass up the chance of developing this shale gas resource (under controlled conditions), offering improving balance of payments, paying down the National Debt, & energy independence, nor should they. If we all help to conserve this re4source by using less energy that will help as well but we need gas for power generation ‘just to keep the lights on’. (wind energy helps but it’s intermittent & four times as expensive).
    …………………………………………………………….It is possible for more people to benefit financially from this development : :companies with shale gas reserves include Igas Energy [IGAS] & Egdon Res [EDR]. A company that is capturing potentially damaging methane & generating power with it is Alkane Energy [ALK]. All these cos are listed on the AIM London market, & even ISA able. Be careful though these are volatile stocks, need careful research & DON’T go investing your life savings in these, it’s too risky. In case of query contact Meerkat-Mits.

  20. My thoughts and sentiments are well expressed here. The People of Britain are making it plain. We do not want to risk the hazardous outcomes that have occurred elsewhere, as in America, by having our green and pleasant isle Fracked. We are not a few, fringe minority, we are many. We aske you to lisrten, to reconsider , and to put an end to this long term nightmare in the making.

  21. Thank you Philip for taking the initiative. And for putting your points across in your typically courteous way.

  22. I’ve worked pretty hard to help get this petition out and onward, and take up my own process of raising awareness through my own outrage. . . . . . looking to the facts on a broad basis. . . . ***surely, surely, surely the government really needs to conduct a referendum around Fracking if there is such a great percentage of land being licensed in the UK against such widespread discontent?*** How do we get that into place? What do we do? I am not a political animal (but maybe becoming one), but simply as an ordinary citizen – on moving into my new home am now very proudly 100% sustainable in my energy usage. Or at least as far as my supplier leads me to believe. I pay over the odds for that. It is important that I do if necessary. I think if the vote was cast – it may well show it is a gross assumption that the British people would prefer ‘cheap’ gas bills against what it would cost environmentally. IS there anything we can do to get a referendum in place? I don’t know the process – so please enlighten me. <3

    • Hi Rowan, Thanks so much for supporting this. Sadly as we’ve seen with how hard it is to get a referendum on other issues I think this is not the way to go…In Switzerland they do them all the time. Not in the UK. Can you remember when there was one in the past? The craziness of the cheaper energy bills argument is that most people don’t even think this will be the case… We just have to hold on to the belief that the majority of people will see the light and oppose it as they did with the woodlands sell-off fiasco.

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