Monday, 6 October 2014

The CIEH and me: full discussion


A few months ago, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) released a report into the impacts of hydraulic fracturing and shale gas extraction in the UK. You can read the original report here. Of particular concern was that the report's lead author had already taken a leading role in protests outside of unconventional gas drilling sites in the UK: hardly the best place to start if you are looking for a balanced report.

In my opinion, the quality of the report was very very poor, ranking as little more than scaremongering and with little understanding of the oil/gas extraction process. I was infuriated enough to write a rather outspoken blog post criticising the report, which some readers might remember.

In the days following the report's publication, I ordered my thoughts a little from my original post, and sent a more moderate and thoughtful criticism to the CIEH. The CIEH provided an initial response to my criticisms.

Incidentally, the CIEH made their response public, without actually stating my criticisms alongside their response (or informing me that they had done so). I can only assume that they weren't comfortable seeing their response alongside my original criticisms.

This wouldn't surprise me given the weakness of the response. In some places their is direct and/or tacit admission of error, while in others the authors manage to contradict themselves. I was originally prepared to let sleeping dogs lie and "agree to disagree", especially since I had a busy fieldwork schedule over the summer. However, the quality of the response was so poor that I couldn't help but write a further comment to the CIEH. I have not now received a response to those comments (nor do I expect to, if I'm honest), so I have decided to make public the full extent of our discussion for all to see.

I should add a warning, these are fairly lengthly documents, but hopefully make for an interesting read if you have a few minutes to spare and a cup of tea to hand.

My first critique of the CIEH report is here.

The CIEH response to my critique is here.

My comments on the CIEH response is here.








23 comments:

  1. Perhaps a letter to your MP, requesting his/her assistance in addressing the inaccuracies & bias made by a registered charity which also has a profit-making trading arm might help.

    It may not be wise to hold your breath though - their President’s Message is:-

    "As your professional body, we are using every weapon in our arsenal to fight for a fairer and healthier society."

    Fighting for a healthier society is laudable; who though, decides what is 'Fairer', and, for whom?

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  2. Your usual excellent analysis of what is clearly a flawed paper. This biased work alas is being used by the anti people to claim respectability. A Chartered Society, they must be right. Pity all of the other bodies that had access to the various papers have come to different conclusions, ie, it can be done safely if its done properly.

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    1. The same happens with the BMJ. They have no problem with a letter written by an electrician (Mike Hill) about fracking being used as a sign of authority by anti's. The anti's mention it as if it was a peer reviewed article.

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