Fracking remains a highly emotive issue across the South East

Editor’s Blog Posted 25/11/13
Protesters raise continued concerns on the potential impact of drilling for shale gas

Having spoken to protesters, business leaders and Business Minister Michael Fallon regarding fracking shale gas extraction, it is clear this remains a highly emotive issue.

While the government appears intent on moving ahead with its undoubted potential for providing a multi-million boost to our energy sector, it is equally apparent there remain widespread concerns over such drilling practices.

Perhaps the inconvenient fact that recent shale gas exploration in the North of England near Blackpool caused minor earth tremors underlines the fact that a greater level of environmental impact studies on this method of energy extraction need to be conducted as an urgent priority.

Whether this will in fact happen in a meaningful way is hard to say – but one thing is for sure, that the protest movement that has galvanised around this issue is not going to go away in a hurry.

This goes far beyond a not in my back yard scenario - the fears raised over fracking have been based on experiences in the US, where a number of incidents surrounding shale gas extraction have caused justified concerns.

With an increasing population that demands ever-greater levels of energy, we have to explore alternative sources of power.

Schemes such as the recently-completed London Array offshore windfarm off the north Kent coast can contribute towards our requirements in a comparatively greener manner and are a step in the right direction.

But they are not the complete answer, so other sources such as shale gas may have potential in meeting our requirements - though exploring them without an enhanced range of industry-wide impact analysis could lead to significant environmental issues arising.

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