What is fracking?

Induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a process used to extract shale gas from solid rock. Fracturing fluid (a mix of water, sand and chemicals) is pumped into the well. The pressure causes the rock surrounding the pipe to crack. A solid proppant (typically sand or man-made ceramic) holds open these cracks to allow the trapped natural gas to escape and flow back up the well to be collected.

Concerns and regulation

Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing wildlife and society. Therefore every possible step should be taken to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and to invest more in renewable alternatives (further details at the end).

Tougher regulation can make the industry safer, but not safe. The United Nations Environment Program has concluded that “fracking may result in unavoidable environmental impacts even if [gas] is extracted properly”

Potential issues for wildlife

Insufficient protection for areas designated for their nature conservation importance – (further details at the end)

  • Risk of groundwater contamination
  • Climate change
  • Waste – including radioactive substances
  • Landtake and resulting fragmentation of habitats and ecological networks
  • The use of large amounts of fresh water
  • Local communities:

Fracking is also not popular with the UK public. The latest government research shows public support for fracking slipping away, with just 16% supporting the extraction of shale gas for use in the UK, the lowest level since the Department of Energy first polled people on the issue in 2013.