Our Forth decided that it would prudent to ensure that there are adequate measures and resources in place to cope with any potential health implication brought of any Unconventional Gas developments in Scotland. Of course, we all hope these won't be needed, but if the government were to start to permit UGE, including test drilling, Health Boards and NHS Scotland need to be starting to think now about the implications.
Our Forth have put the following questions to NHS Lothian, and NHS Scotland. They suggest that all the groups should follow suit. Your relevant health board will have an annual review process, but this may be over. However, there are still opportunities to submit questions and to attend open meetings. Check your health board's website for details.
We have included a general question to ask from the floor if you attend a meeting, and more detailed questions to be submitted in writing in advance. We have also included questions for NHS Scotland, and we believe it would be good if all the groups of the Broad Alliance asked these questions.
Please send any replies to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will collate them, providing useful evidence.
Question to ask from the floor at a health board meeting:
What steps have you taken to protect public health against the risks associated with unconventional energy generation?
Questions to submit in advance to your health board
1) Health Board: What protocols do you have in place, or in development, to address the health risks and adverse effects resulting from the range of existing and emerging energy generation techniques? (Including, but not limited to, unconventional gas extraction (UGE), biomass and renewables.)
2) Health Board: What training is available to clinical and support staff who will need to respond to the chronic and acute health needs of people affected by unconventional gas extraction, such as fracking and UCG?
3)What systems, baseline measures and monitoring are
- in place already
- in development
to measure the prevalence and nature of health conditions (reflecting all body systems, including, but not limited to, respiratory, dermatological and oncological diseases and mental health conditions) caused by fracking, UCG and other forms of UGE?
4) Health Board: What steps will you take in the event of inadequate measures being taken by bodies such as SEPA, in order to protect public health?
5) Health Board and NHS Health Scotland: Given that prevention is much more cost effective that treatment or cure, to what extent does NHS Lothian’s/NHS Health Scotland’s budget invest in preventing ill-health resulting from unconventional gas extraction, biomass and other energy production technologies?
6) Health Board and NHS Health Scotland: Have impact assessments been undertaken to assess and negate the impact of unconventional gas extraction and other energy generation techniques, such as biomass and renewables? If so, are these impact assessments available in the public domain?
Questions for NHS Scotland
1) Unconventional fuel extraction is most likely to affect densely population parts of Scotland, and those with lower incomes will be least able to move home or take other steps to avoid the negative health effects of technologies such as fracking, including test drilling. What protocols and other measures do you have in place or in development to counter the health inequalities experienced by communities affected by fracking, other forms of UGE, biomass and other forms of energy generation, including renewables?
2)Have impact assessments been undertaken to assess and negate the impact of unconventional gas extraction and other energy generation techniques, such as biomass and renewables? If so, are these impact assessments available in the public domain?