The UK should “leave shale gas in the ground” rather than opening up the nation for drilling if it is to tackle climate change.
That’s the warning from environmental group WWF in response to the UK Government inviting bids for fracking firms to apply for licences to extract shale gas and oil.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of extracting gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth by injecting high-pressure water and chemicals.
Jenny Banks, Climate and Energy Specialist at WWF-UK said: “Tackling climate change means at least two thirds of the world’s fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground. The UK Government should draw a line and leave shale gas and other unconventional fossil fuels in the ground rather than opening up half the country for drilling.”
She suggests the UK Government should invest more in energy efficiency and renewables to boost energy security.
While Friends of the Earth welcomed the decision to tighten safeguards by allowing drilling in national parks and other protected areas only in “exceptional circumstances”, the group claims the benefits of shale gas “have been seriously over-blown”.
The UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG), however, said it should be seen as a positive sign for investors that the industry is “one of the heaviest regulated industries in the UK and acts as an exemplar for the rest of Europe”.
Chief Executive Ken Cronin added: “This new licencing round is all about focusing on the extraction of gas and oil at commercial rates in order to replace the UK’s growing dependency on imports and help balance the decline of the North Sea. Developing our domestic shale gas and oil reserves will help to secure Britain’s energy supply, create jobs and generate tax revenues.”