TOM Hanley (Letters, March 2) is concerned about the policing of fracking sites.

He feels that there are "alarming police numbers, fracking companies are being protected come what may and police employ aggressive and confrontational tactics etc".

All directed against "peaceful protesters".

I am not clear about the technical pros and cons of fracking, but I do know that each winter, hundreds of vulnerable people die from the inability to keep their homes warm.

I also note that in the same edition of The Bolton News that Tom's letter was printed in, there was a warning about a looming gas deficit which is pushing up gas prices leading to even greater fuel poverty among the vulnerable.

It has always struck me that in a society where we aim to "care for the many and not the few", the people who can evidently afford to pay their energy bills, and who can fill a shopping trolley weekly are the ones to protest against assured, low-cost gas provision, and against GM food production, when we are told that hundreds of African children die daily from starvation.

It seems that licences to carry out exploratory drilling have been issued by the government.

Protesters (who have a right to protest, but not to impede) have been to court to be allowed to carry out some protest activities which were deemed to be creating risk for site workers. The protesters lost.

The police enforce the law, they do not enforce a political view.

If you ratchet up illegal protest actions on a site, policing anywhere in the world will seek to match aggressive protest, otherwise it quickly gets out of control.

I have read that earthquakes can be caused by fracking. As a deep coal miner, we used to cause earthquakes.

There are places around Bolton/Wigan where huge areas have sunk over time as a consequence of coal mining — it is the price of extracting solid fuel.

Gas extraction will not leave huge underground voids which will collapse in over time as coal extraction did

Where slag heaps stood for more than 100 years locally, fracking sites will be restored in between 15 and 20 years.

Instead of protesting, get involved in designing the restored sites, and in how to spend the 1 per cent of fracking income which will be given to local communities.

Tom, unions were created by working people to support the many, not the few, better-off serial protesters against any relief from poverty or hunger.

Ron Shambley

Clough Avenue