There are no scientific or technical grounds to ban fracking in Europe, European Science Academies have said.
And EU regulations and conventional gas extraction already provide a framework for minimising the impacts of fracking on health, safety and the environment, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) said.
But in a statement it warned that while shale gas “may have significant global potential, it is no simple ‘silver bullet’ to address energy security and climate change.”
The scale of shale resources and whether they can be extracted commercially in different EU states remained uncertain, the academies said.
Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure underground to fracture shale rock and release gas trapped in it. Wells can be drilled horizontally, leading to exploration under land around the site.
In the UK, the Government is pushing for the development of a shale gas industry, claiming it would create jobs, reduce energy prices and cut the country’s reliance on gas imports.
Opponents have raised fears that the process causes earthquakes, pollutes water supplies, leads to inappropriate development in the countryside and may damage house prices.