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Gas Fracking Can Go Ahead In UK Despite Causing Earthquakes, Say Experts

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Fracking faces large-scale opposition due to environmental concerns
Fracking faces large-scale opposition due to environmental concerns

The controversial method of drilling for gas, known as "fracking", has been given the go-ahead despite causing two earth tremors in the UK last year.

Two minor earthquakes near Blackpool in 2011 prompted an investigation into the cause, which concluded the drilling into rock by a shale gas company was "highly probably" responsible for the tremors.

After the incidents in Lancashire, Mark Miller, the chief executive of the company responsible - Cuadrlla, turned his attention to Sussex, Kent and Surrey in the search for shale gas. But Miller faced a series of protests by the "No Fracking in Sussex" group who demanded reassurance the quest for gas in the area would not have any environmental impact.

But despite local and national opposition to the controversial method of drilling for shale gas, an independent government-commissioned panel ruled on Monday the extraction method should go ahead throughout the UK - albeit under strict conditions.

In order to comply with the new recommendations, energy companies using the fracking method will have to devise a system to detect warning tremors in the rock.


Engineers take a look at the Cuadrilla shale fracking facility on October 7, 2007 in Preston, Lancashire.

Fracking is so controversial as it has been previously linked to the contamination of water supplies, air pollution and a higher risk of earthquakes.

The procedure involves injecting a combination of water, chemicals and sand at very high pressure into shale beds in order to release natural gas reserves.

The report written by professor Peter Styles, independent fracking expert Christopher Green and Brian Baptie, from the British Geological Survey, called for an effective monitoring system during any future operations.

"The similarity of the seismic events [in Blackpool] suggests this is a highly repeatable source," the report also warned.

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