Urgent Call For Fracking Moratorium Following Royal Society’s Announcement of New Shale Gas Report







21 June 2018 

For immediate release

 Frack Free United are pleased to learn that The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering will be reviewing their 2012(1) report on shale gas, for publication later this year.

However, due to the worrying fact that all of the government support and industry reports on hydraulic fracturing in the UK are based upon this pivotal 2012 report, Frack Free United are now calling for an immediate moratorium on fracking in the UK.

This would also halt any current fracking-related consultations on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project or permitted development until the review has been completed and a fuller evidence-based picture has been published, otherwise any consultation may be rendered invalid and legally questionable.

As reported in Drill or Drop today(2), the previous review by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering was written in 2012 and contained 10 main recommendations, including the creation of a single regulatory body for the UK fracking industry. Six years on, this has still not happened.

Another recommendation was to make priority, the public acceptability of the extraction and use of shale gas in the context of UK policies on climate change, energy and the wider economy. This is a clear failure, with only 18%(3) of the public supporting fracking. 32% of the public are against fracking and above 85% of the public back renewable energy.

Recommended critical points included mitigating induced seismicity risks. The latest geological report (4)from Professor Peter Styles has highlightedthat up to half of England’s license areas for fracking operations could trigger serious earthquakes, specifically, fracking within former coal mining areas. Professor Styles has suggestedthat the historical coal mining dataavailablehas been overlooked or worse, ignored.

Professor of Applied and Environmental Geophysics, Peter Styles, said of today’s news:

“These [National Coal Board] maps indicate that there are probably as many as 100 times as many faults of sufficient size to generate a seismic event of magnitude 0.5 Ml, which would trigger the Traffic-Light-Threshold and the subsequent operational constraints, than can be seen from even the very highest quality surface exploration.

“So, while warmly welcoming the return of the Royal Societies to the fray, I would urge that they take care to include appropriate existing UK mining data into their appraisal and do not rely too much on either USA analogies or numerical models no matter how sophisticated.”

A spokesperson from Frack Free United said:

“Whilst we welcome the news that the Royal Society is reviewing their desperately outdated report on fracking, we are concerned that this review appears to be taking place in secret, and all other academics, scientists and community groups are being prevented from submitting evidence for inclusion.

“This ‘behind-closed-doors’ approach is unlikely to win the trust of those communities currently threatened by fracking, and could allow the Royal Society to cherry-pick any reports to support the government’s pro-fracking agenda – as appeared to be the case when their first report was published in 2012 – while ignoring evidence that highlights the real and present dangers of shale gas production in the UK.

“We urge the Royal Society to open up the process and allow submissions of relevant research from other interested parties, or run the risk of their review being seen as another government-orchestrated fluff piece for the benefit of their friends in the fracking industry.”

Lib Dem Baroness Lynne Featherstone, spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change said:

“This is serious, the evidence that the Tory government currently relies on for justifying its pro-fracking viewport is being reviewed. This means the government could be relying on outdated science to prove that fracking is safe.

“It is not worth taking a chance on this. We no longer need fossil fuels to help us generate our energy. The government should halt its obsession with fracking and instead use the money to invest in more renewable projects instead.”




Notes to the Editor:

  1. Shale gas extraction in the UK: a review of hydraulic fracturing(2012) https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/projects/shale-gas-extraction/2012-06-28-shale-gas.pdf
  2. Landmark report on fracking to be updated and £7.6m shale gas research confirmedDrill or Drop 21 June 2018 https://drillordrop.com/2018/06/21/landmark-report-on-fracking-to-be-updated-as-7-6m-shale-gas-research-confirmed/
  3. Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker: Wave 25 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-and-climate-change-public-attitudes-tracker-wave-25
  4. Fracking and Historic Coal Mining: Their relationship and should they coincide?Professor Emeritus Peter Styles http://www.talkfracking.org/slider-3/talk-fracking-takes-new-fracking-earthquake-report-to-parliament/
  5. For further comment or more information, please contact Steve steve@frackfreeunited.co.uk- 07793 821242, or myself, as per below information.


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