Monday, 12 May 2014
Frack Free Somerset and the ASA
Earlier this year I was contacted by a local Somerset resident. He'd attended a meeting hosted by Frack Free Somerset, and had concerns about the accuracy of the promotional materials they'd used.
The resident was intending to submit a complaint to the ASA regarding these materials, and got in touch with me for some advice about some technical details, which I was happy to provide.
The ASA began their investigation, but the issue has now been resolved as FFS have agreed to withdraw the offending literature without rebuttal (Informally Resolved Cases, Date 7th May 2014). By doing so, there is no requirement for formal investigation.
As far as I see it, this represents tacit acceptance that all of the original complaints are valid. However, by withdrawing rather than making a challenge, FFS have managed to avoid the media fanfare associated with a full ASA investigation.
There is an obvious comparison here with Cuadrilla's ASA investigation. Of the 18 complaints made by anti-fracking groups, only 6 were upheld by the ASA. In contrast, it would appear that FFS are not even prepared to try and defend the contents of their own promotional materials.
I have re-posted the original FFS brochure here, and the complaint from the local Somerset resident here.
The complaint cites a number of supplementary materials. These are as follows. Attachments 1a-e were data sheets taken at random from Barnett shale wells on the FracFocus website, summarised in attachment 1f. Attachment 2 was DECC's document about fracking and water. Attachment 3 summarised cancer incident rates in Barnett Shale counties (Denton, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant, Wise) taken from http://statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov. Attachment 4 detailed key health indicators for Denton County taken from Mickley and Blake. Attachment 5 was the DECC document on shale gas regulations and safety. Attachment 6 shows US natural gas prices and shale gas extraction rates (easily available just about anywhere), and Attachment 7 compares coal and CCGT power station efficiencies, Figure 6 in this EIA report.