Ian Payne 4am - 7am
A little gas trouble
10 February 2018, 20:50 | Updated: 10 February 2018, 21:01
British shale gas companies have said the business will finally begin in earnest this year, after last year passed without any serious fracking going on.
Industry insiders insist this year will mark that start of the process of hydraulic fracturing to extract gas trapped underground in shale rock.
In other news...new research suggests fracking is linked to breast cancer.
A US study found that chemicals used in the high-pressure extraction of oil and gas cause mutations in adult mice's mammary cells.
It is the same uncontrolled cell division that causes cancerous tumours in humans.
You may be thinking that they probably made the mice swim in a concentrated soup of the stuff to get those results, but no - the cell division happened when mice were exposed to the equivalent level of chemicals found in the drinking water of areas affected by fracking,
You may have seen the documentary footage of Americans lucky enough to be in fracking areas setting fire to their kitchen tap water. Who would have thought that drinking a flammable liquid could be bad for you?
Fracking involves drilling down into the earth before squirting a high-pressure mixture of poisonous chemicals into it to release all that delicious gas and oil stored in the rocks.
Campaigners say the use of potentially cancer-causing chemicals in fracking may contaminate local water supplies.
Concentrating selfishly on the health aspects of the process shows that they clearly do not appreciate the important point about this, which is how much money the frackers can make from it.
The protesters are wasting their time.
You know they are going to start fracking, no matter what, because according to the British Geological Survey, Britain is sitting on shale gas deposits that could supply the UK for 25 years.
There's a pile of untapped money you could fill a gasometer with in a swathe of land from Lancashire to Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
They will probably be eyeing up locations near you, if they haven't already.
The public aren't keen – just 13% totally support it, but I bet 100% of those 13% don't want it happening anywhere near them.
Fortunately, the government will step in and protect us, just like they did with the car emissions scandal.
Oh, that's right, they didn't.
To prevent a repeat of that outrage, car manufacturers that cheat emissions tests are to face multi-million-pound fines in the future.
The key words in that sentence are the last three.
The government has leapt into action to protect us and punish wrong-doers by saying that they have no laws to prosecute the car giants for one of the biggest public health scandals of all time.
Apparently there is no law to prevent companies from poisoning the public deliberately in order to make more money.
If only there was, the government would definitely do something about it, don't you worry.
The Americans seem to have found a way – they have fined Volkswagen $4.3bn for their deeds.
We have fined them nothing at all.
Still, that same British government says that fracking is completely safe and there is nothing to worry about.
That's good enough for me!
I might buy a fire extinguisher for the kitchen sink though, just in case.