What is fracking?

A worker at the Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire. Credit: PA

An environmental campaigner is to go to the High Court in a bid to stop energy firm Cuadrilla from fracking the UK’s first horizontal shale gas well pending a legal challenge.

Bob Dennett, who claims Lancashire County Council’s emergency response planning and procedures in relation to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site are inadequate, will attempt to win a blocking order at a hearing in London on Thursday.

  • 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.

  • 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.