Greenpeace’s Lawrence Carter today hit out at UK’s Prime Minster David Cameron following the announcement that UK government expect to see 20 to 30 new fracking wells in the north of England. Councils allowing the fracking will be paid a slice of the action
“This is a naked attempt by the government to bribe hard pressed councils into allowing fracking in their area” claimed Lawrence, and no doubt there will be lots of opposition to this controversial industry adding “Cameron is effectively telling councils to ignore the risks and threat of large-scale industrialisation in exchange for cold, hard cash”
So what is Fracking and why is it causing such a stir? And why is “Dodgy Dave” as he has been called by protesters so keen to get the local councils involved?
Fracking is a term used to describe a type of mining for Gas and Oil; Hydraulic Fracturing is the correct term is a technique used to recover Gas and Oil from shale rock. The ground is drilled from the surface into the shale rock underground then a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas or oil inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well. Forcing the high pressure liquid into the shale rock causes the rock to fracture and release the fossil fuels, hence the nick name of fracking.
(image courtesy of bbc.co.uk)
Fracking is causing a stir with protesters such as Greenpeace for various reasons, the process of fracking involves huge amounts of water being pumped into the ground to fracture the shale rock and release the fuels within, it is the transporting of water as well as the waste water being contaminated that causes concern, also recent fracking tests in Blackpool, Northern England was reported to cause earth tremors measuring 1.5 and 2.5 magnitude on 2011.
The issues has hit the headlines again after French company Total revealed that it is the first company to pledge funds up to £30m to help drill two exploratory wells in Lincolnshire in the North of England. It is the first major fuel company to pledge investment but no doubt others will follow with the UK government’s advisers claiming that an estimated 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present in the north of England this could be very lucrative investment indeed.
There will be many protests, not just from Greenpeace but local people too; David Cameron is trying to sweeten the deal for local councils that allow fracking to take place by offering them great incentives. The fracking company will pay local communities an estimated £100,000 plus 1% share of any potential revenues from the mining activity, on top of this Cameron expects that local councils could trouser an extra £1.7m per year by charging the fracking companies business rates etc. The UK’s Energy Minister Michael Fallon said local councils could benefit by up to “£10m per wellhead” if shale gas was successfully extracted in their communities, through the 1% levy on revenues alone, as well as it bringing many jobs into the areas. It is this that protesters feel is being used as a bribe by the Government.
Protesters feel that the government should be using money to invest into renewable resources; fracking just continues the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.