Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Fracking Gets Green Light in UK After Landmark Ruling

Energy

Overruling local authority, the British government gave the go-ahead on a new shale gas fracking permit in Lancashire County today, opening the door to a massive expansion of shale gas development in the UK. A second permit is likely to be approved.

Protestors respond to decision to allow fracking in Lancashire.BBC

Environmental groups, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, condemned the decision. This morning, protestors showed up in the area where the fracking project will commence. BBC North West environment correspondent Judy Hobson wrote, "This decision was never about fracking. For those against it, that argument has already been lost. The government wants a shale gas industry and on a big scale."

The Lancashire County Council had denied the permit last year, but Cuadrilla Resources, a local exploration and production company, appealed. The site on Preston New Road will be the first horizontal fracturing well in the U.K. Fracking is expected to start by the end of 2017.

Fracking was suspended in the U.K. in 2011 after test wells drilled by Cuadrilla triggered two small earthquakes. In the U.S., Oklahoma now has more earthquakes than California since it became a center of fracking operations.

UK shale resourcesOil & Gas Authority

Trillions of cubic feet of shale gas are believed to underlie parts of the U.K. More than 200 exploration licenses have been granted. The two sites in Lancashire are part of eight that Cuadrilla is exploring, according to the company's own website.

In a post published Tuesday on RenewEconomy by energy experts Peter Strachan and Alex Russell, the authors wrote:

"The continuing vision for the northern powerhouse seems to be predominantly based on fracking apart the shale beds of England. The prize is claimed to be: glittering new tax revenue; the transfer of oil jobs from the Jurassic North Sea oil and gas industry to onshore; and, cheaper and more secure gas supplies."

Reaction by residents in Lancashire has been angry.

Jackie Sylvester told The Guardian, "They've gone against the will of the people. I think the people of England don't realize that once this starts it's not going to stop and there's going to be hundreds of drills."

Another resident, Heather Speak, said, "I'm so, so angry that a government minister has turned their back on local democracy."

But stopping the Lancashire project at this point may be impossible. Opponents would have to prove that the decision was reached unlawfully.

"This fudged decision shows the government is struggling to force fracking on a reluctant nation," Greenpeace campaigner Hannah Martin said.

Greenpeace opens a fracking site in Parliament Square in February 2016 to "bring the local impacts of fracking to the heart of democracy."David Holt / Flickr

In March, a report by the independent Committee on Climate Change found that the exploitation of shale gas on a significant scale is incompatible with the U.K.'s carbon budgets. The report advises that production emissions from gas wells will have to be offset through emissions reductions elsewhere, and warns of the dangers of methane emissions associated with fracking.

"Left entirely unregulated, the emissions footprint of shale gas production could be substantial," the report states.

In making its decision, the Theresa May government said these concerns were irrelevant to its decision.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Refrigerated trucks function as temporary morgues at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 06, 2020 in New York City. As of July, the states where COVID-19 cases are rising are mostly in the West and South. Justin Heiman / Getty Images

The official number of people in the U.S. who have lost their lives to the new coronavirus has now passed 130,000, according to tallies from The New York Times, Reuters and Johns Hopkins University.

Read More Show Less
A man walks on pink snow at the Presena glacier near Pellizzano, Italy on July 4, 2020. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP via Getty Images

In a troubling sign for the future of the Italian Alps, the snow and ice in a glacier is turning pink due to the growth of snow-melting algae, according to scientists studying the pink ice phenomenon, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Climate activist Greta Thunberg discusses EU plans to tackle the climate emergency with Parliament's environment committee on March 4, 2020. CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2020 – Source: EP

By Abdullahi Alim

The 2008 financial crisis spurred a number of youth movements including Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. A decade later, this anger resurfaced in a new wave of global protests, from Hong Kong to Beirut to London, only this time driven by the children of the 2008 financial crisis.

Read More Show Less
A climate activist holds a victory sign in Washington, DC. after President Obama announced that he would reject the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal on November 6, 2015. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

The Supreme Court late Monday upheld a federal judge's rejection of a crucial permit for Keystone XL and blocked the Trump administration's attempt to greenlight construction of the 1,200-mile crude oil project, the third such blow to the fossil fuel industry in a day—coming just hours after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the court-ordered shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Read More Show Less
A forest fire in Yakutsk in eastern Siberia on June 2, 2020. Yevgeny Sofroneyev / TASS via Getty Images

Once thought too frozen to burn, Siberia is now on fire and spewing carbon after enduring its warmest June ever, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
The Colima fir tree's distribution has been reduced to the area surrounding the Nevado de Colima volcano. Agustín del Castillo

By Agustín del Castillo

For 20 years, the Colima fir tree (Abies colimensis) has been at the heart of many disputes to conserve the temperate forests of southern Jalisco, a state in central Mexico. Today, the future of this tree rests upon whether the area's avocado crops will advance further and whether neighboring communities will unite to protect it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Independent environmental certifications offer a better indicator of a product's eco credentials, including labor conditions for workers involved in production. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Jeanette Cwienk

This summer's high street fashions have more in common than styles and colors. From the pink puff-sleeved dream going for just €19.99 ($22.52) at H&M, to Zara's elegant €12.95 ($14.63) halter-neck dress, clothing stores are alive with cheap organic cotton.

"Sustainable" collections with aspirational own-brand names like C&A's "Wear the change," Zara's "join life" or H&M's "CONSCIOUS" are offering cheap fashion and a clean environmental conscience. Such, at least, is the message. But is it really that simple?

Read More Show Less