Bidding process for fracking licences starts today
The government has announced the bidding process to obtain licences to extract shale gas via the controversial process of fracking is to start today…
For the first time in around six years companies will be able to bid for licences to extract shale gas from the earth via the process of fracking.
The controversial method of extraction has repeatedly come under fire by critics, who warn of the significant environmental damage caused by the process.
Fracking involves pushing water, chemicals and sand into shale rock formations at high pressure to release the gas held inside. It has seen significant opposition from the general public and environmental campaigners. Demonstrations took place last summer in Balcombe, West Sussex in opposition to a test site operated by energy company Cuadrilla.
However, the government sees shale gas as a major source of energy for the country, and its use forms a “key part” of the Coalition’s climate action plans.
Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Unlocking shale gas in Britain has the potential to provide us with greater energy security, jobs and growth.
“We must act carefully, minimising risks, to explore how much of our large resource can be recovered to give the UK a new home-grown source of energy.”
According to the British Geological Survey it is estimated that around 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas is located in the north of England. It is thought 10 per cent of this is recoverable.
Those in favour of the method state that fracking is a safe method of unlocking a huge resource of gas, if it is regulated properly.
However, critics argue that fracking for gas can cause contamination of water, earth tremors, and methane gas leaks. Furthermore, there are concerns that it could divert resources away from the development of clean renewable energy sources.
Around half of the UK will be eligible for licensing. This will include some parts of Britain’s National Parks. However, applications will only be accepted in “exceptional circumstances and in the public interest.”
Communities Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “Proposals for such development must recognise the importance of these sites.”
Friends of the Earth Energy Campaigner Tony Bosworth argued that: “By protecting national parks and other special places, ministers accept that fracking risks impacts on the local environment – this safeguard should be offered to communities too.
“The Government’s desperate obsession with shale gas will continue to send shock waves across the UK, with millions of people now facing the prospect of fracking on their doorstep.
“The benefits of UK shale gas have been seriously over-blown, and most experts agree that it won’t cut fuel bills.
“Fracking is not the answer to our energy problems. If we want to boost energy security, tackle rising fuel prices and cut carbon we should be investing in efficiency and renewable power.”