In Europe, France and Bulgaria are the only two countries to have banned hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.
The process is currently temporarily on hold in the Netherlands while it conducts further research. Germany has also put its plans for shale gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing on hold, although it can still take place below 3,000 metres.
In addition to the UK, the EU countries currently exploring for shale gas are Ireland, Denmark, Romania and Poland. Poland is thoroughly exploring its shale gas reserves, thought to be the largest in Europe.
Professor Joe Howe of the University of Chester said: “It is important that the government and local authorities take all views into account. However, it is also essential that the debate is conducted on the facts and not under undue pressure from ideological opponents.”
Professor Richard Selley of Imperial College London, reflecting on the situation in Germany, told us that: “To fill the energy gap Germany is importing gas from Russia and coal from the USA. It is reopening its surface brown coal mines. Burning coal is a far larger generator of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere than burning gas. In the words of one press headline: ‘Germany has turned from green to black.’”