Shale-gas extraction in the UK should be halted immediately as it risks contaminating ground and surface waters, says a report from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change.

Extraction of shale gas, which is natural gas that is found in shale formations, is an expanding industry in the US and a UK shale-gas industry is now beginning to emerge.

Cuadrilla Resources has sunk the fi rst well in the UK near Blackpool, from where it hopes to begin extracting shale gas within a few years.

However, the Tyndall report says that further research is needed on the potential for hazardous chemicals to enter groundwater via the extraction process before any expansion of the industry in the UK is considered.

In response, Cuadrilla rejected the call for a moratorium and said its Blackpool project fulfils all regulatory requirements, and that the extraction process, known as “fracturing” and which has been negatively depicted in the fi lm Gasland, is a proven and long-standing technology.

“The potential risks associated with shale gas exploration are not unique and are common to all hydrocarbon exploration,” said a company statement.