No activity is 100% risk-free, but fracking for shale gas will be safe as long as the appropriate regulations are adhered to. Fortunately, in the UK, we have very stringent regulations, designed to ensure that the process of shale gas extraction is safe for the people working on sites and the communities who live nearby. Furthermore, the UK has one of the best health and safety records in the world and is seen as a world leader in the regulation of the petroleum industry.
Good on-site management and appropriate regulation of all aspects of the process – including exploratory drilling, gas capture, use and storage of hydraulic fracturing fluid, and post-operations decommissioning – are essential to minimise the risk to the environment and public health1.
Public Health England has carried out an assessment of the currently available evidence which indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to the emissions associated with shale gas extraction will be low if the operations are properly run and regulated2.
They also say that contamination of groundwater from the underground fracking process itself is unlikely. If it does occur, is most likely to be caused by leakage through the vertical borehole3. Therefore it is very important indeed that the Government works with industry to ensure that the risks of this happening are kept to the absolute minimum.
Another way of looking at this question relates to the health and safety of workers on site. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plays an important role here as it “scrutinises the working practices adopted by operators to ensure operators manage and control safety risks, conforming to the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.4”
Thank you to everyone who submitted questions similar to the one above. Questions we have received which are similar are shown below:
- How safe is fracking?
- Has the technology been tried and tested at the depths they are planning to drill at? If not, what are the potential consequences of it going wrong? Is the gas and oil going to stay in the UK? If not why risk everything on unproven technology?
- Is fracking for shale gas truthfully safe?
- If shale is not 100% safe, why do it?
- Will it damage the planet? Is it really necessary?
- What is fracking and is it safe? What is shale gas and what is it used for?
- What is fracking? Will it be cheap? Is it safe? Will nature be protected?
- Have all the safety issues been sorted?
- How safe is it
- How will fracking make it chepaer for the UK customer as the gas is sold onto the open market? How safe is it?
- Is it safe enough not enough info
- Is it safe?
- How safe is shale gas?
- How safe is fracking in England compared to USA and Australia?
- How's it going to affect other similar industries? Is it really safe? And healthy?
- I've heard that it's dangerous. How true is this?
- What is fracking? Are you taking all precautions to keep it safe?
- Are your theories based on 'real' environmental experiments or laboratory experiments?
- Why are you continuing with fracking when quite clearly it is unsafe and will cause major pollution
- How safe is this process in all aspects?
- When fracking has been banned in so many countries and states - and deemed unsafe - how many it's any different here in the UK? How come so many local politicans can
declare interest? This reeks of corruption - convince me this is safe.
- I am extremely concerned that my house won't be safe.