What is fracking?

The government has given fracking the go-ahead at one of the two proposed sites in Lancashire, overturning the county council's decision on the scheme.

But what exactly is fracking and why do so many people object to it?

  • What is fracking?

Fracking is the process that involves drilling into the ground, then pumping in water and chemicals to release gas.

The video below is courtesy of the Department of Energy & Climate Change:

  • Why 'frack'?

The government believes that shale gas - or fracking - has the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs.

  • How much shale gas is there in the UK?

It is not possible to estimate exactly how much there is in the UK until there has been greater exploration and testing.

However, scientists from the British Geological Survey have estimated there is 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Bowland-Hodder shale in northern England alone.

Protesters in North Yorkshire had reservations towards the benefits of fracking in their area Credit: John Giles / PA
  • What are the concerns?

There are concerns the process may cause earthquakes, and the chemicals could contaminate local ground water – affecting what comes out of people’s taps.

Opponents also fear an increase in noise and traffic pollution, and the pursuit for a new source of gas - a fossil fuel - is not compatible with efforts to tackle climate change.

For more information, The Department of Energy and Climate Change have produced several guides on fracking.