Fracking Put On Hold in England

This is huge victory for grassroots groups.

Nov 21, 2019

The UK is known to be a renewable energy powerhouse. In 2018, renewables overtake fossil fuel production, a milestone that was unthinkable just a few years earlier.

In May 2019, the UK went an entire week without burning coal to produce electricity, but gas is still being used as an alternative. While coal is dirty and polluting, it is not the least popular energy source in the UK according to a YouGov survey. Shale gas is extracted by hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the clear winner here. Now, fracking has been suspended in England.

Fracking is a controversial process of injecting liquids, sand, and chemicals at high pressure into underground rocks or drilled holes to force open fissures to extract gas or oil from shale rock.  Fracking uses huge amounts of water, can potentially contaminate groundwater, and has been known to produce earth tremors.

In August 2019, fracking was suspended after a 2.9 earthquake shook Cuadrilla Resources' – the only company licensed – Preston Road site in Lancashire according to the BBC.

The earthquake potential is what led to the fracking suspension in early November 2019. The UK issued the Moratorium – but not an outright ban – after a scientific study by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said it was not possible to predict the probability or size of the tremors produced by fracking.

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom said during a BBC Channel 4 News interview that shale gas had “huge potential,” but the government was “no longer convinced,” it could be extracted safely.

"We will follow the science and it is quite clear that we can't be certain. The science isn't accurate enough to be able to assess the fault lines, the geological studies have been shown to be inaccurate. So therefore, unless and until we can be absolutely certain, we are imposing a moratorium," she said.

This decision has been hailed as a major victory by grassroots environmental  organizations that have been protesting fracking for years. In fact, it has been banned in Scotland since 2013, a moratorium was issued in Whales since 2015 and is being planned in Northern Ireland.

Fracking is still fairly common in the US and Canada, but it has been banned outright in many EU countries. With the UK's commitment to using only renewable energy and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, it is possible that the suspension will become an outright ban and that would be  a big win for the people of the UK and the planet.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.