Environmental campaigners have called on the Scottish Government to ban a controversial technique for extracting gas deep underground after an industry report concluded it was the “highly probable” cause of earth tremors in Lancashire earlier this year.

The report by shale gas firm Cuadrilla Resources found that the technique is likely to have triggered earth tremors near Blackpool earlier this year. Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, involves injecting water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into shale rock or coal beds to release trapped gas.

Friends of the Earth Scotland campaigner Mary Church said:

“The findings of this report add to an increasing list of the devastating impacts of fracking. Communities near fracking sites in the USA can’t drink their tap water, but they can set it alight due to the amount of methane being leaked. On top of this, the climate change emissions from fracking could be even higher than from coal. Now to add to these dangerous and disruptive impacts, it has been revealed that fracking also causes earth tremors.

“Scottish communities living near numerous identified fracking sites across the central belt will be rightly alarmed to hear of this. It is quite clear that the Scottish Government should step in and place an immediate ban on fracking until the industry can prove to regulators that the process is safe and the climate change implications are fully understood.”

As traditional sources of oil and gas dry up, energy companies in Scotland are increasingly targeting coal beds and shale rock. Australian company Dart Energy are currently experimenting at a site in Airth, near Stirling, and have secured permits to explore a number of sites across the central belt.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
 t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

1. Full report commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources:
bit.ly/w3SWQk

2. Friends of the Earth’s briefing ‘Shale gas: energy solution or fracking hell?’
www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/shale_gas.pdf

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent. www.foe-scotland.org.uk