What’s Going On Here?

On Friday, the government announced that they were banning fracking in the UK, effective immediately, to the delight of curious.earth and other green beans and environmentalists nationwide.

But, it’s not a ban – it’s a halt

What Does This Mean?

Let’s start with the basics – what actually is fracking? It’s been in the media so much over the past few years that it’s easy to forget what it actually is…

Also called hydraulic fracturing, fracking is a method used to obtain natural gas from hard-to-reach shale rock. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and despite our transition towards low-carbon energy sources, it remains a primary source of fuel for heating, electricity generation and the manufacturing of plastics and other organic chemicals.

Shale rock is porous, with little pockets within the rock that trap natural gas. Fracking involves fracturing the shale rock using high amounts of pressure by pumping sand, water and chemicals into the rock. This causes the gas to leak out to the surface where it can be collected.

We found this diagram super useful to get our heads round the process ….

The only active fracking site in the UK was operated by Cuadrilla near Blackpool. The moratorium (halt on all fracking-related frivolities) was made after scientific reports warned that it was not possible to rule out “unacceptable” consequences for those living near fracking sites. This was following a number of earthquake-tremors that were triggered in the summer as a result of fracking in the area.

Why Should We Care?

Because fracking is not in any way helping us to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels! Land-based hydraulic fracturing has only being pursued on UK soils because it is getting more difficult to find natural gas in the ocean bed. This really isn’t solving the problem – if we are to reduce carbon emissions to prevent further global warming and climate change, we really need to move towards low-carbon alternatives.

The news was also of great delight to the fracking nanas – our new favourite protest group. This quieter but very effective group of mothers, grandmothers and older women (they’re not all actual nana’s FYI) base themselves at the entrance to the Cuadrilla drilling site near Blackpool – , singing, dancing, reading poems, knitting and generally obstructing activity where possible. They’ve garnered support from local residents and have been engaging in activism for over 1,000 days! The group’s dedication to the cause is a shining example of environmental activism.

Do not be fooled and think the fight is over – Cuadrilla announced on Monday that it hoped “to address concerns so that the moratorium can be lifted” in order to further develop their site in Northern England…. There are also concerns that this latest move by the government is purely to win more votes in the upcoming general election – particularly as the ban is not permanent. So celebrate with caution – fracking may not be banned forever….

Be Curious!

  • Support the anti-fracking Nanas – check out local anti-fracking movements in your area and vocalise your views on this important matter. It may be banned temporarily, but it needs to be permanently banned in order to be certain fracking activities won’t resume in the future!   
  • Switch to green energy – it doesn’t cost more and it means your home is being fuelled  by more renewable, low/zero-carbon energy sources. The main energy and electricity providers to look into IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER (L) include Bristol Energy, Bulb, Cooperative Energy, Ebico, Ecotricity, Good Energy, Green Energy UK, Pure Planet, Octopus Energy, Ovo Energy, So Energy and Tonik Energy, to name but a few…