UK Task Force on Shale Gas: Start fracking to determine its economic benefits

Jessica Morris
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Opponents worry about the impact of fracking on the environment (Source: Getty)

Britain should start exploratory fracking as a litmus test for how much it could contribute to the country's economy, according to the Task Force on Shale Gas.

The Conservative government has promised to drive forward shale gas in the UK. But projects often face opposition from local councils, due to concerns ranging from its environment impact to the effect on house prices.

However, the task force said today that shale gas can be produced safely in the UK. And, providing best practices methods are used, fracking poses no more risk to the public than other comparable industries.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, injects water and chemicals into rocks to release shale gas.

Read more: Fracking could help UK meet its low carbon targets

Its opponents say that the process has a potentially damaging impact on the environment, such as gas leaks and water pollution. But supporters believe these are overstated, and fracking offers energy security, more jobs as well as additional tax revenue.

John Loughhead, the chief scientific adviser for the energy department, threw his weight behind the report's key finding that it's safe to start shale gas exploration here in the UK.

"While some people are concerned about the safety of this procedure, the evidence shows that the shale gas industry can be taken forward safely."

"The UK has more than 50 years' experience regulating the onshore oil and gas industry, and additional measures implemented through the Infrastructure Act are in place to ensure stringent safety controls."

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