The government has permitted Cuadrilla to begin fracking at a well in Lancashire. The energy minister has issued the first permit for fracking since new regulations were introduced.
Yet, the site where fracking will begin has been the centre of 18 months of protest. Claire Perry, the energy minister, said shale gas was an important potential energy source. In a statement, she added: “Our world-class regulations will ensure that shale exploration will maintain robust environmental standards and meet the expectations of local communities.”
Campaigners have promised to continue fighting fracking citing the dangerous levels of air and water pollution, as well as its role in exacerbating climate change. Only 16% of the public support fracking mainly due to risks to water safety but the method also can cause earthquakes, like the ones seen in Blackpool in 2011.
Fracking has also been linked to increasing the risk of cancer and studies found babies are 40% more likely to be born prematurely if their mother lives near a fracking site.
Many environmentalists believe the government should be investing in renewable carbon-neutral energy sources to help combat climate change. Indeed, in an article from the Huffington Post, The Green Party co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, stated: “This week, they (the government) have firmly taken the side of the fossil fuel industries in the face of overwhelming public opposition and clear climate science.”
An application to frack a second well at Preston New Road is expected to be submitted shortly, and fracking both wells is expected to take three to four months.
Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief
governmental approval of fracking despite widespread popular disapproval for the energy source is an indication of who this government really serves. It’s a terrible and pollutive energy source which is finite and poses substantial health risks to the public. The government needs to realise that we require a long-term solution to both climate change and our energy demand. Fracking isn’t that solution. In a month when the Conservatives rejected tidal power, this is a shocking announcement. From this evidence alone, it is clear that fracking should not be allowed in the UK.