“Numbers should be a light, not a crutch”

Unfortunately, the use of percentages (%) instead of hard figures is used within all Government departments including the NHS (National Health Service).  Even the Health Protection Agency HPA), in their reply to a planning application for a biomass incinerator in Davyhulme, Trafford.  Stated it was acceptable because it would only increase the local death rates by 0.06 per year.

 

application predicts that the particulate emissions from the plant would result in a 0.011% increase in deaths brought forward (paragraph 12.180). This is also expressed as 0.06 deaths brought forward per annum for this population. The applicant considers this impact “would not be noticeable”.

Of course, any increase in the local death rate is totally unacceptable.  And, yet we have a Government department, the HPA, supposedly responsible for the protection of human health finding it acceptable.  Though they put it as, ‘would not be noticable’!

We also have the use of percentages, when they talk about ‘fracking fluid’.  The highly toxic cocktail of water, sand and chemicals they use in high-pressure hydraulic fracturing of shale gas.  Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas is likely to involve the use of large quantities of clean water, typically 10,000 to 30,000 m3 water per well (10,000,000 to 30,000,000 litres).  Which is mixed with sand, around 5% and other fluids at around 2%.  Which makes it sound as miniscule amount, until you do the maths and 2% = 300,000 to 600,000 litres of highly toxic and carcenigenic fluidsbeing added.  Which has the potentail to seep into aquifers and pollute drinking water.

As the blog below ststaes, it is time the Government stopped hiding behind percentages, and gave clear figures that people can clearly understand.

“Numbers should be a light, not a crutch”.