“Ministers have been advised to allow the controversial practice of fracking for shale gas to be extended in Britain, despite it causing two earthquakes and the emergence of serious doubts over the safety of the wells that have already been drilled.
“The experts say hydraulic fracturing, whereby a well is drilled hundreds of metres deep and pumped full of water, sand and chemicals in order to release methane gas, should be allowed on a wide scale, although they accept that two small earthquakes in Blackpool last spring were caused by the first stages of fracking activities in the only British plants operating.
The government’s own data revealed serious questions around the safety of fracking in areas of known seismic activity, such as the two wells in Lancashire, because of evidence that the resulting earthquakes have damaged the integrity of at least one well. There is also apparent confusion over which government agencies should be overseeing the process to ensure its public safety, with the responsibility shared among several bodies that appear not to be co-ordinating.
“Environmental groups are worried not just about the potential dangers from earth tremors caused by fracking, but about the effects on the UK’s push to tackle climate change. Last month, the chancellor, George Osborne, and the new energy secretary, Ed Davey, launched a new “dash for gas” when they announced measures to encourage the building of new gas-fired power stations across the UK. Green groups argue this will put carbon-cutting targets out of reach, by locking in high-carbon emitting infrastructure and crowding out investment in renewables. “We should be developing the huge potential of clean British energy from the sun, wind and waves, not more dirty and dangerous fossil fuels,” said Atkins.”
Read more: The Guardian