Independent monitoring urged for shale operations

15th July 2015


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Water ,
  • Prevention & Control ,
  • Control

Author

IEMA

An independent body should be established to monitor data from shale gas operations if and when they are established in the UK, according to the government's adviser on shale gas.

The recommendation came in the second report from the Taskforce on Shale Gas, which covers potential local environmental and health impacts.

A national advisory committee could provide an independent analysis of actual and potential impacts on public health to both policymakers and the public, it says.

Health watchdog Public Health England (PHE) should follow up on its 2013 report on shale gas once wells have been established and sufficient data is available, the taskforce said. PHE’s report concluded that the public health risk from shale gas operations is low as long as it is properly regulated.

The taskforce concludes that many problems associated with shale gas derive from historical poor practice in the US, rather than the process of fracking itself.

The report states: “It is worth noting that, in the taskforce’s opinion, current regulations in the UK are more rigorous and robust than those in operation in the US.”

Responsible shale gas operators should welcome strong regulation because it will prevent “cowboy” operators from entering the market, it adds.

Other recommendations in the report include:

  • Full disclosure by shale gas operators of the chemicals being used in their operations, with onsite monitoring by the Environment Agency.
  • Baseline monitoring of groundwater, air and soil to be established at the moment a potential site is identified, with oversight by community representatives and results made public.
  • Mandatory minimisation of onsite fugitive methane emissions.
  • The disposal of wastewater by deep injection should be avoided in the UK in line with current Environment Agency practice as it has been associated with earthquakes in the US.

The chair of the taskforce, Lord Chris Smith, said: “The evidence shows that many of the concerns associated with fracking are the result of poor practice elsewhere in the world, such as poorly constructed wells.

“It is therefore crucial that stringent regulations are established in the UK, as set out in our recommendations, in order to meet these legitimate concerns.”

UKOOG, the trade body for the onshore oil and gas industry, said that many of the recommendations are either already commonplace or will be introduced by the sector.

Its chief executive, Ken Cronin, said: “The tone of the report is geared towards creating a better understanding of hazard and risk which I think will be invaluable for those coming to this subject for the first time.”

But Daisy Sands, Greenpeace head of energy at Greenpeace said that the task force on shale gas is funded by shale gas companies including Cuadrilla, Centrica and Total and its recommendations should be “taken with a truck load of salt”.

The first report from the task force covered the regulatory process and planning. It will publish further reports covering the impacts of shale gas on the economy and climate change, with a final report due in spring next year.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

Interview: Andrew Winston on the many reasons for hope

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

A project promoter’s perspective on the environmental challenges facing new subsea power cables

3rd April 2024

Read more

Senior consultant, EcoAct

3rd April 2024

Read more

Around 20% of the plastic recycled is polypropylene, but the diversity of products it protects has prevented safe reprocessing back into food packaging. Until now. David Burrows reports

3rd April 2024

Read more

IEMA presents a digital campaign to share knowledge and inspire action in sustainability

2nd April 2024

Read more

Tom Harris examines the supply chain constraints facing the growing number of interconnector projects

2nd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close