Latest Public Sector News

17.04.12

Fracking recommended, despite quakes

A controversial gas extraction method should continue under strict conditions, a Government-appointed panel of experts has recommended. Yet opponents highlight possible side effects of the practice, including water contamination and earthquakes.

Fracking involves pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas, a form of relatively cheap energy supplies. Test fracking by the Cuadrilla company near Blackpool stopped in 2011 when two earthquakes were felt at the surface.

Professor Peter Styles fromKeeleUniversity, a member of the panel, said: “[Cuadrilla’s experts] said there was a very low probability of other earthquakes during future treatments of other wells.

“We agree that [last year’s] events are attributable to the existence of an adjacent geological fault that had not been identified. There might be other comparable faults, (and) we believe it’s not possible to categorically reject the possibility of further quakes.

“There’s no record of a quake at this size doing any structural damage. But they would be strongly felt, and there is a possibility of superficial damage.”

The panel recommends four key precautions for future fracking; all injections must include a preliminary injection followed by monitoring, as well as monitoring growth of fractures in the shale and seismic events in real time. Additionally, a ‘traffic light’ regime should be followed, with quakes of a magnitude of 0.5 or above triggering a red light and immediate halt.

The panel’s report is now out for a six-week period of consultation.

David MacKay, DECC’s chief scientific adviser said: “If shale gas is to be part of the UK’s energy mix we need to have a good understanding of its potential environmental impacts and what can be done to mitigate those impacts.

“This comprehensive independent expert review of Cuadrilla’s evidence suggests a set of robust measures to make sure future seismic risks are minimised - not just at this location but at any other potential sites across theUK.”

However, Andy Atkins, director of Friends of the Earth UK, said: “We don’t need earth tremor-causing fracking to meet our power needs – we need a seismic shift in energy policy.”

Image c. jasleen_kaur

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

New rules to change the future of Social Value

05/06/2019New rules to change the future of Social Value

The government has announced the introduction of new rules to change the future of social value and make the way housing developers stump up the money for infrastructure both ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >