The impact of fracking on Human Rights

With the debate on fracking in the UK continuing to rage on, a new report has been released looking at the impact of the process on peoples human rights.

The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation released a new report last week that has looked at the human impact of fracking, which has revealed how the ‘dash to frack’ is endangering people’s most cherished rights – to health, water, security and life.

The issue of fracking has been widely publicised in the media and there is a general growing public concern about the practice, which uses high pressure water to release natural gas caught in rocks.

There also seen widespread public resistance to the forthcoming change in the law of trespass to allow fracking under homes without the owner’s consent.

This new report says that the Government has a duty to fully investigate the human rights implications of fracking before authorising any exploratory or extractive fracking operations.

It identifies a number of potential rights violation under both the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

These include the rights to life and to security of person, to water and to health, to respect for home and private life and to public participation in decision making processes for environmental matters, as well as the rights of future generations.

It goes on to say that the current UK Government has expressed a strong commitment to a pro-fracking stance but that, to date, “there has been virtually no consideration at the policy level of the human rights dimensions of fracking.”

It concludes by saying that a moratorium on fracking operations should be imposed until a full, industry-independent, publicly funded human rights impact assessment has been completed and made available to the public.

One of the report’s authors, Damien Short, Director of the Human Rights Consortium at the University of London, has said that “the disappointing failure of the government so far to produce a full, industry-independent and evidence based analysis of the human rights implications of fracking represents a serious misstep.”

This report opens the potential for homeowners and environmentalists to challenge the UK Government on a number of issues regarding human rights and will it may not prevent fracking from going ahead it may provide some legal recourse.

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