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To Frack or not frack?

Fracking - the process of obtaining gas and oil from underground shale by forcing high pressure water through it - is a controversial way of obtaining resources. Critics say it can pollute water supplies and damage the environment and doesn’t address the need to find cleaner energy alternatives. Enthusiasts counter that it’s a way of making Britain fuel-sufficient for decades and can be made to work safely. The truth is we don’t know what damage fracking may cause because we haven’t done enough of it. Today on these pages we ask two Sheffield experts for their views so our readers can start to make up their own minds. There are strong arguments for and against but one thing stands out clearly - we need to know more before we create an industry that is sure to boom if approved. Cheap energy is in everyone’s short-term interests but not at any price. The Government needs to take a lead and insist that proper research and risk analyses are done before any licenses are granted. This area knows more than most about getting energy out of the ground after 200 years of coal mining experience. We also know that mistakes cost lives and livelihoods. Before we industrialise our landscapes again we need to know that the work is in everyone’s interests and not just that of politicians and big oil companies.

praise their hard work

City students are celebrating the best ever A-level results and we should share their joy. Never mind the tiresome bleating that will inevitably follow about exams being too easy and standards dropping. Make no mistake, the students who have got top grades did so because they worked hard. The dedication required to get top scores remains the same – as is the truism that hard work pays off. So before we get carried away with yet more exam meddling, let us not forget the effort put in by today’s success stories. They prove that the youth of today is gifted and can rise to the challenge.