SO Graham Evans believes that fracking can be carried out safely with appropriate legislation, specific engineering protocols and a rigorous inspection regime.

This is a surprising outcome given his government’s stance on regulation and inspection, an example being their significant changes to the way that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) operates.

These have resulted in a much reduced number of HSE inspectors with more limited powers, and consequently a workplace which is potentially less safe.

Let’s also not forget that the residents of large parts of west Cheshire have endured the need to pay a ‘salt search’ fee as part of the property conveyancing process, this need having arisen from the exploits of industries past whose activities have left significant scars both above and below ground, and even necessitated the construction of wooden-framed buildings on jacks to counter the effects of subsidence.  And who paid for the £28 million project to back-fill the caverns they left with grout? Was it the companies which made money from salt extraction?

We can discuss the engineering challenges of removing shale gas without causing minor earth tremors or polluting ground water with gas or the noxious chemicals used as part of the shale gas extraction process, and we can ponder the question of who might ultimately be left with the after-effects of gas extraction and the subsequent clear-up costs, but as always seems to be the case, this ignores the obvious elephant in the room – this being the question of whether we should be extracting this gas at all.

More than 98 per cent of the scientific research on climate change supports the conclusion that we are seeing a shift in global temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide content which is driven by the activities of mankind, specifically the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.

We don’t need shale gas, and it should be left under the ground where nature put it.

A truly responsible and forward-looking government would be putting all of its effort and resources into ensuring energy security for the UK based on sustainable renewables which do not impact on future generations.

Graham Evans claims to represent the views of his constituents, but I am certain that if there was an open public debate on the issue of fracking, he would see that his constituents don’t in fact want fracking because it will bring them no benefits.

I would love to see such a debate take place, and would relish the chance to argue against fracking with Mr Evans, if he does really want to know the views of his constituents.

Lee Jones Warrington