01 Jan 1970 |





some facts about fracking

What is fracking ?
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a process used to extract fossil fuels locked in rock formations thousands of metres below the Earth’s surface.

A mixture of water, sand and chemicals is injected deep underground at high pressure to fracture the rocks and release the shale gas or shale oil.

Fracking can also be used to extract coal bed methane, another fossil fuel.

What are the dangers of fracking ?


Industry statistics from North America show that around 6% of fracking wells leak immediately.

We already know that 50% of conventional oil and gas wells leak within 30 years but fracking hasn’t been around long enough for this kind of data to exist for fracking wells.

Leaking wells lead to a risk of water contamination. Lord Smith, former chair of the Environment Agency, has said this is the biggest risk posed by fracking.


So it’s particularly concerning that the Government has now said it will allow fracking companies to drill through aquifers which provide household drinking water.

The Government now admits fracking presents risks to human health.

Fracking could also affect house prices.

Would fracking bring down energy bills ?

It’s very unlikely. Fracking company Cuadrilla has admitted that any impact on bills would be “basically insignificant”.
Claims that fracking would create a lot of jobs have also been overstated. According to Cuadrilla, each of its proposed 6-year projects in Lancashire that were recently rejected by the council would only have created 11 jobs.

Meanwhile the cost of renewable energy is tumbling. The price of solar panels has fallen 70% since 2009.

Don’t we face an energy crisis though ?

Fracking can’t help any short term or medium term energy crisis.

Even if the industry was able to move ahead as fast as it wants, we wouldn’t see significant production until about 2025.

The best thing we can do in the short term is reduce demand in our homes and workplaces by improving energy efficiency. Read our report on a green energy future for Britain