Fracking Report Changed To Include ‘More Negative Effects’ Following Lobbying From Green Groups

  • Date: 19/12/13
  • Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph

Estimates of environmental impact of shale gas exploration were increased after energy secretary Ed Davey includes Friends of the Earth in consultation

A government-commissioned study into the effects of fracking was revised to increase estimates of the negative impacts on the environment, in response to lobbying from green campaigners.

Green groups were invited to influence the scope of the report at the request of Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, while no shale gas industry companies or groups were consulted.

The estimate for the maximum amount of water that could be used in each well was more than doubled, in direct response to a suggestion from fracking opponents Friends of the Earth.

As a result, the report produced what the industry says are unrealistically high estimates of the volume of waste water that could be created and the potential number of lorry journeys needed to transport water to and from sites each day.

The report by consultancy Amec, published this week, said residents near fracking sites could face up to 50 lorries going past every day, while the amount of waste water that would flow back out of wells could put a strain on existing treatment facilities.

Amec was legally obliged to consult certain statutory bodies, incuding Natural England and the Environment Agency, on the scope of the “Strategic Environmental Assessment” report.

This looked at the potential impacts on the environment and jobs of licensing a vast new area of Britain for fracking to search for shale gas.

But Mr Davey decided that green non-governmental organisations Friends of the Earth, the World Wide Fund for Nature and Greenpeace should also be consulted, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed. The NGOs had asked Mr Davey to be included.

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