The National Trust and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have released a report claiming that fracking will risk polluting our waterways and harming threatened species.
The report, authored by Veronika Moore, Alison Beresford and Benedict Gove, all from the RSPB, claims that fracking risks polluting the water supply, putting unreasonable demands on the UK’s water resources, disturbing wildlife and causing habitat loss and fragmentation.
Warning of damage to the UK’s water resources, the report says: “Overall, rainfall per person in the UK is on a par with that of Spain and significantly less than Greece or Portugal, with the east of England receiving, on average, as little as 700 mm of rain a year – about the same as Ethiopia.
“Even where rainfall is considerably higher, the water is subject to competing demands from power generation, industry and public water supply.”
The report also claims that shale wells could destroy large areas of habitat, thus threatening endangered species. It recommends that no shale drilling wells be placed on protected land, and calls for the industry to be heavily regulated, with drilling companies paying for the costs of regulation and pollution clean-up
The report’s findings have been challenged, however. Speaking to Breitbart London, Dr Benny Peiser, Director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation said the report is “not very credible” and shows a “strong bias”.
On the claim that fracking will affect water resources, Dr Peiser said, “It is of course over the top. In the U.S. there are over twenty thousand shale wells and we know there is no water problem whatsoever.
“Most of the water is recycled and reused, so the water impact is very limited. The environmental impacts have been studied very carefully by many environmental agencies in the US and in other places.”
He said that the general consensus is that “evironmentally speaking [shale gas is] a very low risk energy, compared to other forms, like nuclear energy, coal, and wind farms, all of which have a much bigger environmental footprint.”
Dr Peiser said he found the report’s failure to mention the impact of other energy sources “astonishing”.
On the report’s claim that fracking will cause habitat loss, Dr Peiser said: “That’s ridiculous because shale wells are comparatively small, like a football field, and most of the activity occurs underground.”
“If you compare the energy generated by natural gas to what energy is generated by solar farms or wind farms, then the impact is negligible. You would need tens of thousands of wind turbines to generate the energy that a few shale wells can generate.
Dr Peiser added: “I think this is an attempt to stall shale development further and it’s really coming at the wrong time. We need to get on with developing this much faster, not least because of the mess in Ukraine.”