Half of Britain will be open to fracking, Government report reveals

A new report released by the UK government on Tuesday suggests that close to half of Britain might be ready for shale gas drilling, energy companies getting the chance to bid for rights to drill across more than 37,000 square miles, stretching from central Scotland to the south coast.

Furthermore, the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report, produced by AMEC, suggests that as many as 2,880 wells could be drilled, generating up to a fifth of the country’s annual gas demand at peak and creating as many as 32,000 jobs.

On the other hand, the SEA paper also suggests that local economies would benefit from receiving an initial contribution of £100,000 per hydraulically fractured site, while also being eligible for a further 1 per cent of the revenue of each well over its lifetime. In fact, almost £1 billion could be paid out across the UK under a ‘high activity’ scenario.

Nevertheless, shale gas production could adversely impact the environment and communities, including an increase in traffic congestion, emissions and more pressure on water resources, and for this reason, the SEA notes that existing regulatory controls, including the planning system, should ensure that any adverse impacts are minimised.

Energy Minister Michael Fallon said:

“There could be large amounts of shale gas available in the UK, but we won’t know for sure the scale of this prize until further exploration takes place. Today marks the next step in unlocking the potential of shale gas in our energy mix.

“It is an exciting prospect, which could bring growth, jobs and energy security.

But we must develop shale responsibly, both for local communities and for the environment, with robust regulation in place.”

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