Fracking well in Colorado, USA. Photo: James Wengler via Flickr
Fracking well in Colorado, USA. Photo: James Wengler via Flickr

The extraction of shale gas using hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, has sparked an energy revolution in the United States. Inspired by this success, some politicians and energy companies, including Prime Minister David Cameron, wants to introduce fracking in Britain.

After years of testing and research in many parts of Britain, the first application to develop shale gas extraction an industrial scale has been submitted by energy company Cuadrilla for a field in Lancashire. Another company, Egdon Resources, has previously signalled interest to start fracking outside Gainsborough.

Anti-fracking  campaigner Biff Vernon warns that extracting shale gas carries great risks for the environment and local communities. He said:

“There is a great risk that gases and other pollution will spill into the ground water and contaminate both drinking water and soil.

“Industrial scale fracking will also destroy much of the countryside and good farmland. Villages and other small communities risk having their lives disrupted by the traffic such activity would generate.

To campaigners like Biff delight, falling oil prices have seen interest in potential British shale gas subside.

Councillor Colin John Davie (Conservative) is executive member for planning at Lincolnshire County Council. He says that there are currently no signals coming from energy companies about fracking in the county. Davie shares David Cameron’s view on shale gas as an important part of Britain’s future energy supply, but says it is still years into the future. He said:

“Just for starters I think they have years of environmental work to do just to prepare an application.  “This country needs a balanced energy policy, currently we pay far to high subsidies for renewable energy, and I see shale as a future part of that policy.

“We are not like America where you can connect many fields together for large scale production. I certainly think shale is predicated on a much higher price than is currently there in the global marked”.