In 2013, the press were touting the UK as the ‘leader in the shale revolution.’ Three years on and little progress has actually been made. Marred in controversy, fracking has failed to hit off in the UK, although there is still hope that support for it could grow within Parliament. Supporters claim it could lead to an energy and economic boom, similar to the effects of North Sea Oil. Sceptics claim it could lead to earthquakes and contaminated work, having a dire effect on our environment. Who is right? We’ll have a look in the upcoming paragraphs.
As North Sea Oil starts to wane, the country is in desperate need of a new cash cow. What better than fracking to help generate economic return? Reserves in Lancashire is estimated to be valued at around £140 billion alone, which highlights how much wealth could be generated if it is rolled out nationwide.
A huge economic boost to areas such as the North West of England will help the region catch up with London and rebalance our economy. This huge splurge of wealth will help create a sovereign fund, replicating the model that has been so successful in Norway. This fund can help protect the nation during tough economic times as well as potentially funding an infrastructure boom. Communities that are affected by fracking will also be in for a cash bonanza too. Besides receiving £100,000 for local projects, they will receive 1% of fracking profits, estimated to be up to £10 million. Fracking can also help boost employment figures, with the first 100 fracking sites expected to increase employment by 74,000. In the petrochemicals industry alone, shale gale could safeguard 100,000 jobs. These new jobs will not be sucked into London but in places where unemployment is high, with fracking seeming like a huge lifeline. With the Northern Powerhouse just starting to kick off, fracking could play an instrumental part in this huge regeneration project.
If the UK introduces fracking we will have the opportunity to power our nation for the next 50 years. In recent years, our nation has had only six hours of gas left before we ran dry. As our population grows, we will need more and more energy to help keep our lights on. Fracking is a viable and realistic alternative to help Britain become energy sufficient. As our population grows so does our reliance on imported energy. This exposes us to the risks of volatile energy prices, especially in uncertain times in Russia and the Middle East. Investing in fracking will allow us to safeguard against these risks.
The reason that such little progress has been made regarding fracking is that there has been a wave of opposition on environmental grounds. Contaminated water. Small earthquakes. Increased traffic congestion. The list of environmental issues surrounding fracking goes on and on, with various green groups coming out against introducing it. Governments in France and Germany have also completely banned fracking, both on environmental grounds. Environmental issues have also popped up in the home of fracking; the USA. Fracking is linked with contaminated water in various states, with there being over 150 incidents. There are also several reports of earthquakes occurring due to fracking but we don’t need to look over the Atlantic to investigate that. There has already been two reports of earthquakes in England due to fracking, with a magnitude of up to 2.3. Mix this in with increased air pollution due to a rise in traffic and you realise the damage of that fracking may cause on our environment. Furthermore, as part of the G7, the UK has committed to scrapping fossil fuels by 2100. With shale gas being a fossil fuel, we will need to break this vital pledge if we go through with fracking.
Despite this environmental concerns, fracking could actually be good for our environment. Although the USA is relying more on shale gas, carbon emissions have dropped to their lowest level in twenty years. As the UK moves away from coal, fracking could be viewed as a less harming alternative. Moving away from coal should be our nation’s biggest priority and fracking will allow for a cleaner and seamless transition. Scientific evidence from both the UK and the USA indicate there is no real risk to the environment or citizen’s health due to fracking. Public Health England have declared that the small emissions which are caused by fracking are harmless to the population. Regulators in Britain have declared that we could be protected against contaminated water, with most American incidents down to careless mistakes. A study by MIT claim that the environmental impacts of fracking are more than manageable as long as there is tight regulation. As we move towards cleaner energy, our country should carry through its commitments to scrap coal and dedicate to the cleaner alternative of fracking.
As our population and energy demands grow, we will need a viable alternative. As we move away from dirty coal to help the environment, we will need a viable alternative. As the North Sea oil industry deteriorates, we will need a viable alternative. Fracking can be that alternative. By extracting just 10% of shale gas in the UK, we can generate our country for the next 50 years. A move to fracking will allow a seamless transition from coal, benefiting our environment, not harming it. By kick-starting the exploration of shale gas we can expect a huge boost to our nation’s wealth, with fracking playing a huge role in redeveloping industrial areas. Let us commence fracking; Britain’s new cash cow.