SENIOR health experts including academics and a former health minister have praised the Scottish inquiry into the health impacts of fracking and called for Westminster to mount a similar investigation.

More than a dozen experts have written to Dr Sarah Wollaston, the Tory MP who chairs the Commons Health and Social Care Committee.

The signatories include former Health Minister Norman Lamb and professors Peter Strachan, from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University and Andrew Watterson, from the University of Stirling.

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They call on the committee to undertake a comprehensive review of all current evidence on the health impacts of fracking as the most recent work was published in 2014 by Public Health England (PHE).

“However, this report was very limited in scope, and only provided advice on ‘the potential public health impacts of exposures to chemical and radioactive pollutants as a result of shale gas extraction’, and did not assess any other public health or social impacts of fracking,” they wrote.

“It has since become clear that the government and the oil and gas industry are determined to move towards commercial-scale shale gas extraction as soon as possible, despite overwhelming opposition from concerned local communities up and down the country, yet no further study of the wider health impacts of fracking has been commissioned, as was recommended in the PHE report summary.”

The group said there were now hundreds of scientific studies on the health impacts of fracking published around the world and there was “convincing scientific evidence that it is a danger to the health and wellbeing of people living near well-sites”.

While the UK Government continued to rely on “outdated” reports to justify its pro-fracking policy, the experts said other countries were taking action to protect their citizens.

And they praised the Scottish Government’s work on the matter, saying: “Last year the Republic of Ireland and Scotland undertook thorough reviews of current evidence of the environmental, economic and health impacts of this controversial technology, and have joined the growing number of countries and states that have effectively banned fracking.

“The Scottish inquiry was described in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health as ‘the first truly national assessment of the public health and related implications of unconventional oil and gas exploration’.

“The authors of the research paper praised the high level of public engagement in the inquiry, which received more than 60,000 responses to a consultation, and added, ‘Rarely have governments brought together relatively detailed assessments of direct and indirect public health risks associated with fracking and weighed these against potential benefits to inform a national debate on whether to pursue this energy route’.

“They also described the 2012 Royal Society review of fracking as ‘somewhat dated’ and criticised the 2014 PHE report for its limited scope.”

Watterson told The National: “There is a strong public health argument that the Scottish Government position on fracking should cover the rest of the UK because it has breadth – in terms of looking at a much wider range of impacts that fracking could have on health beyond the narrow PHE inquiry – and depth, looking at more extensive and recent studies across several public health topics than PHE or RSE were able to do with their reports completed a number of years earlier.

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“I think the committee will take careful note of the Scottish Government’s approach on both public health and public engagement linked to planning which the Conservative Government not only failed to do but, by ignoring local council wishes and proposing even more centralised controls over fracking, aims to weaken planning controls further. This is to the chagrin of some Conservative councillors as well as many communities and councils.

“One would hope the committee would be persuaded by the evidence to adopt the Scottish Government’s position. The Westminster Government, as it is driven by ideology, will likely continue to be far less receptive to the evidence.