What is fracking?


Image: Richard Gaughan

Fracking is an extreme method of extracting gas from shale rock1. The government and the drilling companies are seeking to do it on an industrial scale across the north of England. This includes Driffield and the Wolds, where the entire area is already licensed for exploration.

A borehole is drilled vertically down, and then horizontally for several thousand feet. Explosive charges are used to fracture the rock before a water and chemical mixture is directed down at high pressure into the fractured rock to make the gas flow.2  This describes one frack of one well; there will be hundreds of wells, and all can be fracked multiple times.

In parts of the world where this industry is already in full scale production, communities have reported devastating effects.3 Vera S. from Pennsylvania posted the following on our facebook group on 1st October 2016:

My poor, gas industry-invaded, ravaged county is now getting its 48th gas compressor/dehydration station, its first compressed gas filling facility and another water treatment plant for gas  industry contaminated water. The footprint for this awful industry never ends and keeps expanding…more homes for sale near these facilities and more complaints, falling on mostly deaf ears. Very sad and upsetting…

There is absolutely no reason to believe that fracking in this country would be any less disruptive and damaging to this very special area we live in.

More Information

Get an in-depth description of the fracking process in this article.

This video provides an introduction to some of the issues…and features real people affected by the fracking industry in Lancashire.

(1) Charlotte Wilson. (2013). Fracking is just the beginning: the rise of extreme energy. Available: http://www.redpepper.org.uk/fracking-is-just-the-beginning-the-rise-of-extreme-energy/. Last accessed 7th Oct 2016.
 (2) BBC. (2015). What is fracking and why is it controversial?. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14432401. Last accessed 5th Oct 2016.
(3) Jareel, M. (2016). Rural Pennsylvanians Say Fracking ‘Just Ruined Everything’. Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pennsylvania-fracking-water_us_576b7a76e4b0c0252e786d5e. Last accessed 4th Oct 2016.


Home page quotation: New Scientist Oct 2016 https://www.newscientist.com/article/2108316-theres-no-good-reason-to-go-ahead-with-fracking-in-the-uk/

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All wildlife and landscape images on this website were taken in the Yorkshire Wolds.