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Fracking

Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) of rocks to release shale gas has produced a significant supply in some countries, and particularly in the USA.

In the UK the government has set a limit of 0.5ML (local magnitude) on the strength of earth tremors caused by fracking. These limits have been exceeded during test fracking on earlier occasions, but most notably in August 2019 when a tremor of 2.9ML was recorded near Blackpool. Strong local resistance to fracking has increased since this tremor.

There is also increasing resistance to fracking in the UK, as reported in the National Grid FES documents.

Most major political parties in the UK are in favour of a complete ban.

There are a number of other arguments against fracking, including:

  • Shale gas is not zero carbon.

  • Fracking tends to contribute to air pollution and noise disturbance.

  • It is by no means certain that it could be economically viable in the UK.

  • It is possible that fracking can cause methane to leak into local groundwater.

At present there is no use of shale gas for electricity generation in the UK.

In November 2019 the UK Government announced an indefinite suspension of fracking.