Bidding For New Fracking Licenses Set to Begin
For the first time in six years companies will have the opportunity to secure licenses to extract shale gas by the process of fracking. The latest government bidding round begins today.
The 14th on shore licensing round includes almost half of the UK, although ministers are expected to tighten planning rules to make it more difficult to drill wells in national parks or areas of outstanding national beauty. Companies granted licences will still need to apply for planning permission and gain a permit from the Environment Agency before any drilling works can start.
Fracking, which involves the blasting of water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into shale rock in order to release gas trapped inside is still a hugely controversial practice, with the public and environmental groups voicing concerns.
Last week a report by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) concluded that regulation of the industry in the UK was ‘inadequate’ and that the vast quantities of water needed for the process could mean existing public supplies would be unable to cope. CIEH chief executive Graham Jukes said: “The CIEH has consistently made the case for a full independent environmental impact assessment to be carried out on all shale gas extraction proposals before permission to drill is given. In the enthusiasm to exploit new sources of energy we must ensure there are no unacceptable adverse impacts on the environment or on the health of people.”
You can view a copy of ‘Shale gas and fracking examining the evidence’ here.