Vivienne Westwood stunt ‘deplorable’ says SME trade body

The Onshore Energy Services Group, the trade association for small businesses in the onshore oil and gas supply chain, has today branded a publicity stunt by fashion designer, Vivienne Weswood, as ‘deplorable’.

The designer took part in a photocall in Central London cradling a limbless baby covered in ‘radiation scabs’, to suggest that this is the future that awaits communities in the UK should fracking for shale gas go ahead.

Vivienne Westwood

Lee Petts, chief executive at the OESG, said: “Alarmist stunts like this add no value to the important debate about how Britain should meet its future energy needs.”

Westwood, and campaigners at TalkFracking, claim that ‘the chemicals used in fracking and the poisonous heavy metals and radiation that are released from the ground are known to cause birth defects in children in addition to a large swathe of acute health issues including respiratory disease and brain cancer.’

The stunt was used to mark the launch of TalkFracking’s mock Conservative/Labour Party election billboard.

“We would remind people that whilst there are risks associated with the processes of extracting natural gas from shale, they are well understood and appropriate measures exist in the UK to protect the public from harm.

“People have a far greater chance of exposure to radiation, for instance, when visiting the dentist for a dental x-ray.  But these exposures – even though they occur at doses much higher than those encountered in shale gas and other forms of onshore energy extraction – do not result in ‘radiation scabs’.  We also encounter a whole host of chemicals in every day consumer products and medicines, but they pose limited risks to us too.

“As we’ve pointed out before, workers in the onshore oil and gas sector are the most exposed population group but we have been unable to find any evidence of chronic ill health among them.  There is no reason to suspect that members of the public would be at greater risk,” concludes Petts.