UK shale regulation inadequate to ensure safety, report says
LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Shale gas exploration in the UK lacks adequate regulation to protect public health and the environment, according to a report by scientists.
Exploitation of the resource may also undermine efforts to tackle climate change, according to the document published by the Scientists for Global Responsibility and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
The hydraulic fracturing process, which pumps water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to release fuel trapped in underground shale rock, may cause water shortages in many parts of the country. It may also cause house prices to drop, according to the report.
“There is widespread concern that, even with strong regulation, the safety of fracing for the UK is in doubt,” according to the report.
The government is offering tax breaks to drillers to spur development to counter declining North Sea oil and gas and rising energy imports. An area in northern England known as the Bowland basin may hold 1,300 Tcf of gas, enough to supply the country for almost half a century, even if just 10% is extracted. Opponents fear earthquakes, water contamination and an industrialization of the English countryside.