• Ministers approve fracking for shale gas in Lancashire

    13th December 2012 | News | Claire
  • Conditions have been imposed to minimise the risk of seismic activity.

    Fracking involves creating little explosions underground, then injecting water and chemicals to release gas trapped in cavities in shale rocks.

    The firm, Cuadrilla, was stopped from fracking after two small earthquakes.

    In the US, exploitation of shale gas boom has sent energy prices tumbling, and the Prime Minister has expressed hopes that the UK can enjoy a similar boom.

    But government advisers warn today that shale gas may be unlikely to bring down energy prices much in Britain.

    In fact, the Committee on Climate Change warns that relying heavily on gas for future electricity supplies would leave households vulnerable to higher bills in the long run as the price of gas on the international market is volatile.

    The UK won’t benefit from substantially lower prices unless the rest of Europe decides to back shale gas too, as Europe has a gas grid that allows gas to be traded to the highest bidder.

    The CCC has examined the potential impact on bills of different energy systems and predicts that subsidies to renewables and nuclear would put about £100 on household bills by 2020, but that by 2050 a gas-based electricity system might cost people as much as £600 extra.

    Today’s fracking decision has created political excitement as the Prime Minister the Chancellor and some business leaders have spoken enthusiastically about shale gas.

    Environmentalists are more cautious following incidents in the US in which fracking has been associated with pollution of water through the chemicals involved in the process, as well as leakage of methane – a powerful greenhouse gas as well as a local air pollutant. They say fracking will generate much more opposition in the UK than it has in the USA as it involves turning green fields into industrial sites.

    They also worry that an abundance of domestic gas will tempt politicians to abandon targets for cutting greenhouse gases, which are rising inexorably globally to the alarm of scientists.

    A poll suggested that people would prefer to have wind turbines on the horizon than gas rigs.

    Steve Radley, Director of Policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said the UK should do whatever possible to keep energy costs down: “This is a major threat that needs to be addressed now as we cannot continue to load industry with costs which are in excess of our competitors.,” he said.

    Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary, said: “Labour has always said that fracking should only go ahead if it is shown to be safe and environmentally sound. If the Government believes that this is the case then we will look carefully at their proposals.

    “But the idea that this form of gas extraction can have the same impact here in the UK as it has had on gas prices in the United States is considered wishful thinking by most experts.”

    ………………………………………… BBC story ends –

    The Autumn Statement

    Last week’s Autumn Statement gives the impression that the practice of fracking, or mining for shale gas is being fast-tracked by the government. See an extract from the statement below:

    1.83 To maximise economic production from UK natural gas resources, the Government will also establish an Of?ce for Unconventional Gas. This will join up responsibilities across government, provide a single point of contact for investors and ensure a simpli?ed and streamlined regulatory process. The Government will also consult on the tax regime for shale gas.

    The link to the Autumn Statement is below:

    http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/autumn_statement_2012_complete.pdf

    An link to an alarming article about how fracking is affecting the environment in the US, from this week’s journal Scientific American is below.  Thank you to the resident who forwarded the article to me.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=poisoning-the-well-how-the-feds-let-energy-and-mining-companies-pollute-underground

    The eastern part of Devon is in the area designated by the Dept of Energy and Climate Change as suitable for licensing of shale gas drilling operations.

    ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
    • Send a letter to your County Councillor (Ottery Rural’s County Councillor is Roger Giles (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) OR Christine Channon covers Aylesbeare (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) asking them to sign up to “Frack Free Devon”.

    • Send a letter to your MP – East Devon Hugo Swire (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) or Neil Parish – Tiverton and Honiton (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)), to ask them to sign up to the anti-fracking Early Day Motion 2159 (sponsored by Caroline Lucas and Michael Meacher).

    For more information about Frack Free Devon click here – http://www.facebook.com/groups/249305518500431/permalink/343269625770686/