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Lords Call to Fast-Track Fracking Despite Public Opposition

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Lords Call to Fast-Track Fracking Despite Public Opposition

Report calls to fast-track fracking, with 3/4 opposed to changes

Last week, a report from the House of Lords called for law changes to fast-track fracking, stating that selling the benefits of shale gas to the British public was an “urgent national priority”.

However, green campaigners accused the Lords of “cherry-picking the wafer-thin evidence” in order to support their case and that the UK should instead focus on supporting renewable energy.

Lord MacGregor, chair of the economic affairs committee (EAC), said a successful shale gas industry would be good for the economy, citing the economic benefits of fracking in the US:

The United States has raced ahead with the development of shale gas and oil in recent years, with enormous benefits to US industry and the economy generally.

“The committee strongly supports the decision to go ‘all out for shale’. But here in the UK we have not yet left the starting gate. Developing a successful shale gas and oil industry should be a national priority.”

The report comes just one week after a YouGov poll found 74% of the British public opposed law changes allowing shale gas companies to drill under homes without owner’s permission. Over 45,000 people have joined legal moves to block fracking under their properties, but changes in the trespass laws could allow shale gas exploration without their permission.

It is hard to see how the government can continue to push shale gas exploration with the survey results demonstrating how toxic this policy is for the conservative party.

Adding to the controversy, Greenpeace discovered at least five members within the committee have interests and investments within the shale gas industry.

Why is fracking so controversial?

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure underground to fracture shale rock and release trapped gas. Opponents have raised fears that the process can cause earthquakes, pollute water supplies, ruin areas of countryside and damage house prices.

Exploiting shale gas could also harm investments in renewables and undermine efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions to tackle climate change.

Fracking no “get out of jail free card”

While action needs to be taken to create energy security within the UK and to reduce household bills, a report from Bloomberg found that shale gas is no “get out of jail free card”. According to the report, bridging the gap to eliminate UK gas imports would require the drilling of around 10,000 wells over a 15-year period.

There are many differences between the UK’s landscape and the US’s too, meaning the cost of extracting the gas would be far higher, significantly reducing the financial benefits.

Further Reading

House of Lords committee calls for fracking to be ‘national priority’ – www.theguardian.com

Lords: Fracking should be ‘urgent priority’ for UK – www.bbc.co.uk

Fracking trespass law changes opposed by 74% of British public, poll finds – www.theguardian.com

UK shale no “get out of jail free card” – about.bnef.com


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