Natural gas is contained in rock lying beneath our soil here in the UK. Drilling companies are able to extract this gas through a process known as fracking. They do this by drilling down into the earth and then injecting a high-pressure liquid mixture into the rock to release the gas inside. The liquid they inject is a cocktail of hundreds of chemicals including radioactive material and acids.
There are a number of reasons why it is controversial. The first is that fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the fracking site at significant environmental cost and cannot ever be allowed back into the natural water cycle. The second is the worry that potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site. The fracking process can also cause small earth tremors. Two small earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2 magnitude hit the Blackpool area in 2011 following fracking.
Fracking has been banned in many countries, as well as a number of towns and states in America including Denton in Texas – one of the most heavily fracked towns in the US, and New York State. Countries which have banned or paused fracking pending further investigation into the risks include Canada, France, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Here in England and Wales it’s a different story. To quote David Cameron, the government are going ‘all out for fracking’
What you can do
Contact your MP and express your views about fracking.
Join a local anti-fracking group. You can find local groups listed on the Frack Off website
Click here to read more about making contact with your MP.