If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately you may have heard a lot about the recent protests over hydraulic fracturing – or ‘fracking’ – in the West Sussex village of Balcombe.
Oil and gas giant Cuadrilla had hoped to begin drilling for shale gas, which those in the industry believe could amount to trillions of cubic feet underneath parts of northern England, but were disrupted by the protesters who are concerned over the potential dangers to the environment the process poses.
So what is ‘Fracking’?
The process of fracking involves directing a highly pressurised mixture of water, sand and chemicals at rock contained inside the earth to release the gas stored inside and let it flow to the head of the well.
The drilling can be carried out either vertically or horizontally, and it can be used to create new pathways or extend existing ones.
What’s the Controversy?
There are a number of reasons why fracking is considered to pose an environmental risk.
First and foremost it is feared – and in fact it has indeed occurred previously – that groundwater around the site could become contaminated by the carcinogenic chemicals used in the process. However the industry has argued that any incidents of fracking polluting local water supplies has been down to poor practice rather than an inherent problem with the technique itself.
Secondly it is feared that it could cause small earth tremors following earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2 magnitude in Blackpool following a period of fracking.
Environmental campaigners also worry that fracking is yet another distraction for energy companies and the government in terms of renewable energy investment, and that we should be focusing on new ways to produce power – such as solar PV technology – rather than extend our love affair with fossil fuels.
Here at SolarTech we are working hard to reduce Britain’s carbon footprint through the installation of energy saving technology such as solar panels and heat pumps. To find out more give us a call on 0845 838 2477.