Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing (fracking)

Health, safety, environment

The process to secure permission for shale gas development is strictly controlled in the UK. The Government has set a framework for any company to follow which requires licences and planning permission for each of the three stages of development:

  • Exploration
  • Appraisal
  • Extraction

Planning permission is required from Warrington Borough Council at each of these stages. However, some site testing may be able to be carried out without the need for planning permission.

Checks are made by the regulatory bodies involved at each of the three stages involved in the shale gas development process.  There is also a requirement for the operator to introduce their own well examination scheme and appoint an independent competent person to further scrutinise activity on the well.

Public Health England assessed the risk to human health of extracting shale gas in an October 2013 report. They evaluated available evidence on issues including air quality, radon gas, naturally occurring radioactive materials, water contamination and waste water. They concluded that “the risks to public health from exposure to emissions from shale gas extraction are low if operations are properly run and regulated.”