Fracking Gassed Out

Big Oil, Energy Companies, Fracking

No shale gas potential in Weald

From the Guardian:

Government hopes that Britain can emulate the US by starting a shale-gas revolution have been knocked back after a long-awaited report unexpectedly concluded there was no potential in fracking for gas in the Weald region of southern England.

fracking gassed out

Anti-Fracking Protest Photograph: Tony Kershaw/Rex

Announcement timed to help Tory votes

The shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex told the Telegraph: “The timing of these announcements will strike many people as cynically and deliberately driven for a day when focus will be on election performance, and ahead of the count of the European elections.”

Friends of the Earth agreed. Its south-east England campaigner Brenda Pollack said: “These latest estimates will set alarm bells ringing across the south-east of England where fracking firms seem intent on punching holes in some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside in the search for profits.

Fracking is a flawed policy

The government’s enthusiasm for fracking sits in stark contrast to its erratic rhetoric and actions on solar energy. The solar industry has recently been ambushed by a fourth review in less than three years. Constant policy upheaval makes investment to reduce costs difficult, and the latest review is particularly ill considered. Usually governments offer a grace period to investors if they are going to change financial arrangements, but this one offers almost none – which means many emerging solar companies that invested in good faith are set for a financial hit. For all the rhetoric about a shift to rooftop solar, the government’s own policy framework actually limits this important market.

fracking gassed out

Anti-Frackers are many – Cameron needs to listen to the people not his friends in the oil industry. Photograph: David Ellison/Demotix/Corbis


Solar farms can be installed in weeks and then nothing really happens for decades: no noise, no smell, no waste. Yet benign solar farms have been labeled “monstrous” by ministers who have nothing to say about fracking’s “whiff of diesel” or its “thump of compressors that can be sensed up to two miles away” (Lord Howell again). Not to mention the regular heavy truck traffic or intensive water consumption, or the strict regulatory controls needed to prevent methane leaks on which its carbon-saving case depends.

The double standards here are rather extraordinary. The bias is hard to fathom when solar has delivered beyond the expectations of even its greatest advocates. Costs in the UK have dropped 30% in 18 months and large-scale solar is now our second cheapest major renewable energy source. But ministers must understand that they can’t wait for solar energy costs to fall, because most of the costs are not the technology – they are grid connections, infrastructure, planning, skilled staff and other “soft” costs.


It is time politicians listened a lot less to big polluting international energy companies, and a lot more to British entrepreneurs who are creating real competition and delivering a clean energy revolution through this extraordinarily benign and accessible technology.

They should also listen to the public. The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s own opinion poll tracker shows solar enjoys its highest approval ratings ever at 85%. It seems the country is firmly behind solar. Westminster must catch up.

Write to you MP now and stop this insanity!