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Britain gets fracking

Posted by: Lauren Cox 25 May 16  | Sustainability

It’s a solemn day for anti-fracking campaigners across Britain. Cast your eyes back to 2015 when the pro-fracking force was fought off in Lancashire and all was well in the world of sustainability.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t to last for long, as the first fracking tests in five years were approved in North Yorkshire last night.

The Great British Frack Off

So why so controversial?

Well a ban was implemented in 2012; fracking projects were quickly abandoned in 2011 after tests on the coast of Scotland were found to be the instigator of minor earthquakes in the area. 

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing if we’re talking mechanical terms, is the process of drilling into the earth and a high pressured liquid is then directed at rocks in order to ‘fracture’ the rocks and release the gas inside.

This may sound simple enough, but ‘anti-frackers’ suggest that it causes water contamination, with scientists in America highlighting dangerous water contamination from a fracking operation earlier this year.

In addition to this, they also believe that fracking is a cause of noise and traffic pollution, or at least a key contributor.

Frack Off , an anti-fracking campaign group said: "These plans could pave the way for thousands of fracking wells to spread across Yorkshire and many other parts of the country if not stopped.”

The Shale Revolution

So with opposing opinions leaving a heavy imprint on the hearts of environmentalists everywhere, why is fracking supported in the first place?

Well, the US have seen great success in exploiting shale gas from fracking over the years, showing that it can not only boost tax revenues, but create new employment opportunities and bring household bills down dramatically. Does this also mean that our energy security will improve as we rely less and less on imported energy?

With a number of appeals made for the previously declined fracking operations across Britain and the South of England subject to a whole host of fracking sites, the North Yorkshire approval may have been the first but it certainly isn’t the last.

While it’s a triumph for the shale industry, is fracking the answer to meeting our legally binding renewable energy targets by 2020? Or is this one step forward, two steps back?

 

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