Fracking for energy gets go-ahead

The controversial drilling method used to extract shale gas from underground has been blamed for two mini-earthquakes near Blackpool last year, but a new report by the Department for Energy and Climate Change says that work may begin again.

Fracking involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into beds of shale at very high pressures to release reserves of natural gas.

It is a lucrative alternative to importing fossil fuels from abroad, and towns have been rejuvenated through their association with fracking in the past. Several towns in the USA, where the practice dates back several years, have parallels to towns in northern Scotland which benefited from the discovery of North Sea oil.

Estimates on the impact on Lancashire by UCLan’s Professor Joe Howe say as many as 1,600 jobs may be created to service the industry.

On the other hand, earthquakes and the possible pollution of the water table have caused groups such as Friends of the Earth to take a stand against it. As a result, a new set of guidelines has been introduced by DECC for operators to abide by in the future.

Cuadrilla Resources, the company behind the fracking, now plans to move its operations into the Preston area to search for shale resources.