Government backtracks on fracking

Government ministers have now discovered what we in Fermanagh already know – that shale gas will do nothing to solve our energy needs or to reduce our fuel bills.  According to the Independent on Sunday,

The Government has rejected shale gas technology as a solution to Britain’s energy crisis, conceding it will do little to cut bills or keep the lights on.  The Independent on Sunday has learned that industry experts made clear at a meeting attended by senior ministers, including David Cameron and Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, that the UK’s reserves were smaller than first thought and could be uneconomical to extract. Now senior coalition figures have agreed that shale gas has the potential to be deeply controversial without securing major benefits in lowering carbon emissions or reducing energy costs.

Joss Garman, from Greenpeace, said: “The shale gas bubble has burst. Despite all the hype, even the energy companies now acknowledge shale gas isn’t the answer to Britain’s energy needs. Ministers are having to face up to the fact that there isn’t much of it, it won’t bring down bills, and it’s damaging to our climate.”

The Prime Minister convened the Downing Street summit to hear from companies including Shell, Centrica and Schlumberger, which have been working on shale gas projects in America and exploring the potential of supplies in Ukraine and China.

The ministers were told Britain was not in a position to exploit vast amounts of its own shale gas stores. “The reserves aren’t absolutely huge compared with the likes of America, Ukraine and North Africa,” said a senior government source. “And we are relatively densely populated. It is a question of how much we can get out, and at what cost. There is a not-insignificant amount of domestic supply, but not a game-changing amount.”

Mr Davey now rejects the idea that a rush to bring shale gas online will have the biggest impact on reducing household energy bills. Speaking after the Downing Street meeting, he said industry experts were “clear that it would take time for shale gas to be exploited in the UK” and cautioned that the reserves “are not quite as large as some have been speculating”.

Read the full article here Government backtracks on fracking – Green Living – Environment – The Independent. but remember that this does not mean an end to the plans for fracking in Fermanagh and elsewhere in Northern Ireland.  Licences for gas extraction have already been granted, and unless we speak out and act now, our communities will become test beds for this speculative and damaging industry, regardless of what government policy may be.  To find out how you can help, visit our What can I do? page now.