THERE is considerable hysteria regarding the issue of fracking and not much science, and this is not good. While it is important that there are safeguards when any new technology is to be introduced, a blanket ban on future developments is not a good idea particularly when with regard to electricity generation coal stations like Longannet are like likely to close in the near future. As this happens those who resist the novel extraction techniques should state where we are going to get our energy from in future, as they are also likely to oppose the development and building of new nuclear stations. They should also state their opinions on the likely increase in gas and electricity prices as more conventional sources of fuel dry up.

It is interesting to look at a particular point in time this week to see the sources of UK electricity:

coal 22 per cent, combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) 29 per cent (that is 51 per cent from fossil fuels), nuclear 23 per cent, wind six per cent (from an approximate maximum of 10 per cent) pumped hydro one per cent, standard hydro 1.2 per cent, biomass five per cent and approximately 12 per cent from the interconnectors from France, Holland, Ireland and the East-West connector (as a result of rounding the total is just short of 100 per cent).

When Longannet does shut down it will need to be replaced and the most likely replacement would be CCGT. If a station of the same output was to be built then the carbon dioxide emissions would be about 60 per cent of that from the existing station. The question is where is the gas to come from? Those who oppose fracking should give the answer. Carbon capture techniques when these are developed applied to a gas turbine system would reduce the CO2 output even further and there is less to store away.

As can be seen from the above figures wind energy is about six per cent of the total. During spells of little wind this total can be less than one per cent. Those who say “just build more wind farms” do not realise that there are technical issues when wind energy as a percentage of the total goes above around 20 per cent; 100 per cent is out of the question.

So let us wait for the science and engineering to determine the best ways of extracting gas which is locked in to shale and other sources and perhaps in another 50 years the work being done on nuclear fusion will have developed to the extent that we can really have zero emission power generation. In the meantime a mixed system is the best we can do.

Louie Macari,

42 Imlach Place. Motherwell.

ONE theme that continually runs through the arguments offered by those who oppose fracking in principle(Letters, July 29 & 30) is the suggestion that our environmental regulatory agencies (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland and the Environment Agency south of the Border) are either incapable of, or sufficiently competent enough, to ensure the environment is protected if fracking is approved. Do they really expect us to believe that this is the case? If it is, then surely both organisations should be disbanded immediately and replaced with something more adequate?

Or maybe this is just another red herring to deprive us of a cheaper source of “in-house” energy that would benefit our industries and the most vulnerable in our society? It would also preserve our stocks of North Sea oil for the future until its value improves.

John F Crawford,

4 The Breakers, Victory Boulevard, Lytham.