October 5, 2022

Liz Truss set herself up for a brand new combat with environmental teams and inexperienced Tories final week, as she confirmed she is lifting Boris Johnson’s ban on fracking.

The Prime Minister informed MPs the moratorium in place since 2019 might be lifted in areas the place native communities assist the expertise.

Fracking is the method of drilling down into the earth earlier than inserting a high-pressure water combination to launch pure gasoline.

Nonetheless, it’s proved controversial as a result of its use of chemical compounds, groundwater contamination, noise, air air pollution and even earth tremors. 

MailOnline has answered all the important thing questions on fracking, together with whether or not it actually causes earthquakes and if it’ll make your power payments cheaper.

Fracking is the method of drilling down into the earth earlier than inserting a high-pressure water combination to launch pure gasoline. Water, sand and chemical compounds are injected at excessive stress into underground boreholes to open up cracks within the rock, which permits trapped gasoline to movement out to the floor

LIZ TRUSS ON FRACKING 

On September 8, new Prime Minister Liz Truss introduced the reversal of the fracking ban. 

‘It is important we take steps to extend our home power provide,’ Truss stated in Parliament. 

‘We are going to finish the moratorium on extracting our enormous reserves of shale, which may get gasoline flowing as quickly as six months, the place there may be assist for it.’

Native assist for fracking could also be arduous to search out; in keeping with a current authorities survey, simply 17 per cent of Brits assist fracking, in contrast with 45 per cent who oppose it. 

WHAT IS FRACKING?

Fracking is a course of used to extract pure gasoline – one of many UK’s essential power sources – from underground shale rock. 

Fracking includes the injection of greater than one million gallons of water, sand and chemical compounds at excessive stress into wells.

The pressurized combine causes the shale to crack, and these fissures are held open by the sand in order that gasoline from the rock can movement up the properly. 

When pure gasoline flows out of the properly, it’s stored in storage tanks after which piped to the market for use as an power supply. 

Fracking as a method has been broadly used within the US, a rustic with broad open areas, however some worry it’s unsuited to a smaller nation just like the UK. 

This is because of geological variations between the 2 international locations, in keeping with Professor Stuart Haszeldine, a geologist on the College of Edinburgh.

‘The British Isles are geologically sophisticated, by many a whole lot of thousands and thousands of geological historical past,’ Professor Haszeldine informed MailOnline.

‘Which means there are various faults and fractures already current – which could be reactivated by injection of fracking waters at extraordinarily excessive pressures. 

‘The a lot less complicated geological historical past of the US and Canada means that only a few faults and fractures are current and that enormous deposits of layered shale gasoline supply rocks stay undamaged.’ 

WHY IS FRACKING CONTROVERSIAL?

Fracking includes drilling, gasoline extraction and flaring – the burning off of pure gasoline byproducts, which releases natural compounds, nitrogen oxide, and different chemical compounds and particulates into the air.

Moreover, every fracking properly requires the fixed transportation of apparatus, water, and chemical compounds, in addition to the elimination of waste water from the fracking course of, additional contributing to air air pollution ranges. 

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Fracking wells stay in operation for a number of years, prolonging publicity to individuals who work on the properly websites and those that dwell close by. 

A examine from earlier this yr discovered fracking-related chemical compounds together with harmful unstable natural compounds are making their means into groundwater that feeds municipal water techniques within the US. 

One other examine from final yr discovered individuals who dwell in areas with a excessive focus of fracking wells are at increased danger for coronary heart assaults.  

New Prime Minister Liz Truss is reportedly set to announce she is scrapping the ban on fracking as she unveils her long-awaited plan to guard Britons against crippling costs while boosting the country's energy security. Pictured, a worker at the Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire

New Prime Minister Liz Truss is reportedly set to announce she is scrapping the ban on fracking as she unveils her long-awaited plan to protect Britons in opposition to crippling prices whereas boosting the nation’s power safety. Pictured, a employee on the Cuadrilla fracking website in Preston New Street, Little Plumpton, Lancashire

FRACKING HAS INCREASED GLOBAL METHANE EMISSIONS: 2019 REPORT 

Fracking for shale gasoline has ‘dramatically elevated’ international methane emissions prior to now decade, a 2019 examine warned.

A lot of the speedy rise in ranges of methane, a major greenhouse gasoline has been attributed to cows, tropical wetlands and rice fields however fracking additionally performed a task.  

Researchers from Cornell College regarded on the ‘chemical fingerprint’ of methane within the ambiance and located a 3rd of methane emissions prior to now decade got here from shale gasoline.

Examine creator Professor Robert Howarth stated the current enhance in methane ‘is huge’.

‘It’s globally vital. It’s contributed to a few of the enhance in international warming we’ve seen and shale gasoline is a significant participant.’

Learn extra  

However maybe the largest criticism of fracking is that it causes earth tremors by inflicting faults within the rock to slide. 

In accordance with British Geological Survey (BGS), fracking is accompanied by ‘microseismicity’ – very small earthquakes which can be too small to be felt.

In October 2018, Cuadrilla, an oil and gasoline exploration firm, restarted fracking operations at its website in Preston New Street, Little Plumpton, Lancashire after a seven-year suspension.

Following the resumption, 18 earthquakes have been detected within the house of 9 days, though these had a magnitude of solely as much as 1.5 on the native magnitude scale (ML), in keeping with BGS.

‘Earthquakes with a magnitude lower than 2 should not often felt and if they’re felt then solely by a couple of folks very near the epicentre,’ BGS stated. 

Nonetheless, the two.9 seismic occasion occurred in August the next yr, resulting in a moratorium (a ban) in England by the federal government. 

In accordance with environmental teams, fracking causes air, water and sound air pollution, in addition to earth tremors and muddy eyesores within the pure land. 

Fracking has angered protest teams for its results on the atmosphere, leading to bodily demonstrations at fracking websites. 

‘Fracking is disruptive and deeply unpopular with communities in every single place it has been proposed,’ stated Danny Gross, power campaigner at Pals of the Earth. 

WHY DID BORIS JOHNSON BAN FRACKING? 

In November 2019, Boris Johnson’s authorities introduced the moratorium on fracking, on the premise of a scientific report revealed by the Oil and Gasoline Authority. 

The report concluded that it’s not potential with present expertise to precisely predict the likelihood or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking.  

It additionally adopted a seismic occasion brought on by fracking that registered 2.9 on the native magnitude scale (ML) on August 26, 2019. 

Pictured, the Cuadrilla hydraulic fracturing site at Preston New Road shale gas exploration site in Lancashire

Pictured, the Cuadrilla hydraulic fracturing website at Preston New Street shale gasoline exploration website in Lancashire

The occasion, which stemmed from Cuadrilla’s Preston New Street fracking website, prompted injury to property reported by 197 households. 

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BGS informed MailOnline {that a} 2.9 ML is giant sufficient to be felt strongly at distances up to a couple kilometres from the epicentre however wouldn’t often trigger any injury. 

Fracking has prompted bigger earthquakes together with earthquakes larger than magnitude 4 in Canada and larger than magnitude 5 in China, BGS stated. 

WHY HAS LIZ TRUSS LIFTED THE FRACKING BAN?

The brand new PM has lifted the moratorium as a means of accelerating home power manufacturing within the face of hovering payments.

Truss stated she hopes to get gasoline flowing from onshore shale wells in as little as six months the place there may be ‘native assist’. 

Nonetheless, native assist for fracking could also be arduous to search out; in keeping with a current authorities survey, simply 17 per cent of Brits assist fracking, in contrast with 45 per cent who oppose it.  

The PM believes that tapping England’s hidden sources of gasoline by fracking will cut back the necessity for costly imports throughout an power disaster, which may lower buyer power payments. 

Prime Minister Liz Truss said: 'We will end the moratorium on extracting our huge reserves of shale, which could get gas flowing as soon as six months, where there is support for it'. The PM is pictured leaving Downing Street on September 8

Prime Minister Liz Truss stated: ‘We are going to finish the moratorium on extracting our enormous reserves of shale, which may get gasoline flowing as quickly as six months, the place there may be assist for it’. The PM is pictured leaving Downing Road on September 8

Cuadrilla welcomed the choice as it might make use of the UK’s home power provide.  

‘I’m more than happy that the brand new Authorities has acted shortly to carry the moratorium,’ stated Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan.

‘That is a completely wise resolution and recognises that maximizing the UK’s home power provide is significant if we’re going to overcome the continued power disaster and cut back the chance of it recurring sooner or later.’   

WILL FRACKING REDUCE ENERGY BILLS?

Professor Chris Hilson, an knowledgeable in environmental legislation on the College of Studying, additionally stated ‘it is vitally unlikely’ that fracking will cut back power payments.

‘Any gasoline that outcomes from profitable fracking operations might be bought into the world market – and we’re by no means going to be a big sufficient producer of gasoline to shift the dial on world costs,’ he informed MailOnline.

‘It’d presumably decrease payments for native communities round websites if district heating schemes with low-cost gasoline could possibly be labored out, however the logistics of that appear unlikely to learn greater than a small variety of households.’ 

In accordance with Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng, hovering power payments should not as a result of a shortage of gasoline, however reasonably excessive costs. 

‘The scenario we face is a value concern, not a safety of provide concern,’ the previous Enterprise Secretary tweeted earlier within the yr.  

Fracking has angered protest groups for its effects on the environment, resulting in physical demonstrations at fracking sites. Pictured, protesters at the fracking site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, near Blackpool, on September 8, 2022

Fracking has angered protest teams for its results on the atmosphere, leading to bodily demonstrations at fracking websites. Pictured, protesters on the fracking website in Preston New Street, Little Plumpton, close to Blackpool, on September 8, 2022

‘Further UK manufacturing gained’t materially have an effect on the wholesale market value. This contains fracking.’ 

This contrasts with an announcement from Ofgem chief government Jonathan Brearley, who beforehand stated the UK’s gasoline storage ranges are ‘traditionally low’. 

When he was enterprise secretary, Kwarteng was sceptical concerning the velocity and extent of the influence on gasoline costs.

In March, he wrote in The Mail on Sunday: ‘Even when we lifted the fracking moratorium tomorrow, it might take as much as a decade to extract enough volumes – and it might come at a excessive price for communities and our treasured countryside.’  

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In accordance with Professor Haszeldine on the College of Edinburgh, fracking will take ‘a number of years’ to considerably enhance oil and gasoline manufacturing, however is not going to cut back total power costs.

The new PM has lifted the ban on fracking as a way of increasing domestic energy production in the face of soaring bills (file photo)

The brand new PM has lifted the ban on fracking as a means of accelerating home power manufacturing within the face of hovering payments (file photograph)

‘All oil and gasoline is often bought on worldwide markets at worldwide costs,’ he informed MailOnline. ‘That won’t lower UK costs and payments for shoppers. 

‘If authorities is ready to create a nationalised buy system, which makes UK producers promote to the UK at lower than the worldwide value, then power payments can lower. 

‘However the purpose UK payments have elevated way more than many others in Europe is as a result of political decisions imply the UK units all power costs on the highest worldwide value.’  

Ian Paton, constructing accomplice at property consultancy Cluttons, which specialises in power and sustainability, additionally identified that pure gasoline that’s launched from fracking is a fossil gasoline, not a renewable power supply. 

Utilizing renewable power sources as an alternative of fossil fuels is essential to the UK reaching web zero – the place carbon emissions are balanced by schemes to offset an equal quantity of greenhouse gases from the ambiance. 

Fracking wells operate around the clock and the process of drilling, gas extraction, and flaring - the burning off of natural gas byproducts - release organic compounds, nitrogen oxide, and other chemicals and particulates into the air. Pictured, fracking protesters at Preston New Road in Lancashire in 2017

Fracking wells function across the clock and the method of drilling, gasoline extraction, and flaring – the burning off of pure gasoline byproducts – launch natural compounds, nitrogen oxide, and different chemical compounds and particulates into the air. Pictured, fracking protesters at Preston New Street in Lancashire in 2017

‘Eradicating the ban on fracking is a knee jerk response and isn’t the best answer,’ Paton stated.

‘Apart from it being largely untested, fracking remains to be counting on fossil fuels and isn’t a long run answer even when it was a dependable and confirmed technique of extracting extra inexpensive power.’ 

Danny Gross at Pals of the Earth Moreover stated any influence fracking has on power safety or gasoline payments might be ‘negligible’. 

‘UK power payments are hovering as a result of we’re very depending on costly gasoline to warmth our houses. 

‘The federal government can cut back our reliance on gasoline by introducing a council-led, nationwide street-by-street residence insulation programme and by investing in our enormous potential for renewables.’

‘The federal government also needs to do way more to take away the boundaries to onshore wind and photo voltaic. They’re fast to construct, well-liked with the general public and produce electrical energy many instances cheaper than gasoline.’ 

RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES 

Photo voltaic – mild and warmth from the solar. 

Wind – by wind generators to show electrical mills. 

Hydro – captured from falling or fast-running water. 

Tidal – power from the rise and fall of sea ranges. 

Geothermal – power generated and saved within the Earth.

Biomass – natural materials burnt to launch saved power from the solar.

Renewables distinction with the extra dangerous fossil fuels: coal and gasoline.  

Though nuclear power is taken into account clear power its inclusion within the renewable power record is a topic of main debate.

Nuclear power itself is a renewable power supply, however the materials utilized in nuclear energy crops – uranium – is a non-renewable.

Supply:  EDF Power /Stanford College