There is good news for the UK shale gas industry as the government has overturned the previous decision taken by Lancashire County Council to ban the extraction of shale gas in the area. As a result, the energy company Cuadrilla has been given the go-ahead to frack at their Preston New Road Site in Lancashire. A drilling rig will be installed and from April next year the first of several wells will also be drilled, with fracking due to take place from as early as next year. Fracking – or hydraulic fracturing – is the process by which water, sand and other chemicals are injected into shale rocks at high pressure in order to release the gas that is trapped in it.
Sajid Javid, the Communities secretary, has approved the plans in spite of fierce opposition from local residents. There are fears that fracking will take place under their homes, the amount of industrial activity and traffic will have a negative effect on the quality of their lives and there are potential impacts on the local environment. Many residents have felt that the decision denied the residents local democracy in having a say on matters pertaining to where they live and many plan to fight fracking in their area “peacefully and legally”.
The decision whether or not to frack in the United Kingdom is a controversial one, but the Chief Executive Officer of Cuadrilla has explained that fracking in this country would reduce the need to import gas and not to mention there are obvious economic benefits to the area including more jobs available to the local population. The government is highly support of fracking, whereas the Labour Party want to ban it. Not to mention that environmental impact assessments have been carried out, with the Environment Agency having no qualms about the plans.
This decision taken by the decision is a significant move for the shale industry as it is the first time horizontal fracking will take place in the UK, and for many people it cannot come soon enough. There needs to be energy security and supply here in Britain, and the best way for that to occur is to have obtain energy from our own sources rather than looking to be dependent on overseas supply. It cannot be the case where Britain will be importing a significant proportion of its fuel from abroad as this will only increase the uncertainty about whether we are able to maintain an adequate supply of energy based on our controls rather than by decisions from those we have not elected.
One cannot deny the short-term impacts on the landscape that industrial fracking will have for the local residents as well as an increase in the movement of traffic but Sajid Javid has taken the right decision in prioritising the long-term energy needs of this country, as well as the added financial benefits and economic growth that fracking will bring to the local area. Unfortunately some local campaigners may not get what they want but it is in the best interests of everyone that fracking has been given the go-ahead to start in the UK.
(Image courtesy of the Huffington Post UK)