I HAVEN'T had time to write in recently having taken the advice of the eco diversity tsar and built a pond to save all the animals disrupted from Archer terrace, it's been a great success. I got up one morning to discover what I thought was a hippopotamus had taken up residence, turned out to be an unusual pig that escaped from the city farm some years ago.

Anyway, have we found an answer to our prayers? Unaffordable house prices for first time buyers, youth unemployment, the gypsy camp, the Cog development, rising energy prices and Mr Putin.

Back in the 70s while doing geology at St Cyres the potential of energy trapped in shale was known but the technology was not available to access it. Now we've got it. In terms of environmental damage it's minuscule, and might not even cause any, compared to coal mining.

Gas extraction from shale doesn't cause spoil heaps, slag tips or cavernous underground seams, all that comes out is the gas.

I'd sooner see drill sites instead of some of the locally proposed developments, they'd be less intrusive and if they held back energy and property prices to give first time buyers a chance and provided employment for local youngsters - great. Plus with events in eastern Europe we'd be less reliant on external supplies. Seems like a winner all round.

The argument about environmental damage? Nobody took any notice of our complaints when Penarth's tribute to the Torrey Canyon oil disaster was foisted on us, the black tide of asphalt mending its way from the station. So if gas extraction can provide local benefits, lets give it a go with a couple of test sites, we could become the Dallas of Europe and all be living like the Ewings.

Tim Hodgson

Westbourne Road