Shale gas fracking: call for Welsh Government policy

Shale gas drilling Up to £70bn worth of shale gas reserves may lie in the rocks below south Wales, research suggests

Related Stories

The leader of Vale of Glamorgan council has urged the Welsh Government to form a policy on shale gas exploration.

Research suggests reserves comparable to those of North Sea gas may be stored in rocks deep underground south Wales.

But concerns have been raised over the environmental effects of extraction - also known as fracking - amid fears of water contamination and earth tremors.

The Welsh Government said it would welcome working with the UK government on a policy framework for shale gas.

Fracking involves injecting sand and fluids into underground hard shale rocks to force them apart and release gas trapped inside.

The process has caused controversy in the US, where some householders claim that shale gas leaking into their drinking supply causes tap water to ignite.

In Lancashire, fracking began earlier this year. They are the first wells in western Europe dedicated to shale gas alone.

Start Quote

We're looking at a regional issue for about six different Welsh counties - it is a matter the assembly should look at.”

End Quote Counciillor Gordon Kemp Vale of Glamorgan council

But the operation has had to be put on hold over fears of a link to recent earth tremors in Blackpool.

Research suggests shale gas worth up to £70bn may lie in the rocks deep below south Wales.

Bridgend-based Coastal Oil and Gas has been granted planning permission for exploratory drilling north-west of Maesteg in the Vale of Glamorgan. But the applications are for drilling purely for sampling and testing in the lab.

The firm would have to submit further applications if it wanted to exploit the reserves commercially

However, Louise Evans, of the Vale Says No campaign group said: "People are certainly worried about it. It's a very short-term fix with very long-term consequences.

The drilling rig of Cuadrilla Resources explores the Bowland shale for gas, four miles from Blackpool on January 17, 2011 in Blackpool, England. Drilling for gas in the UK has been suspended due to earthquake concerns

"The risks involved in this practice are huge. We're not calling for a halt. We're calling for a moratorium, for the (UK) government to undertake necessary environmental and economic impact studies so that they know what they are letting themselves in for."

A cross-party group of MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee recently rejected safety concerns and recommended that drilling should be allowed in the UK.

But there are concerns the planning system in Wales is not geared up to cope with a proposal on such a scale.

Vale of Glamorgan council leader Gordon Kemp said: "This is a matter that should be looked at and possibly determined by the National Assembly.

"The assembly issue advice on virtually every other planning matter, but there's nothing on this at the moment.

"We're looking at a regional issue for about six different Welsh counties. It is a matter the assembly should look at."

A spokesperson for Welsh Government said it would "welcome the UK government working with devolved administrations to put in place a policy framework for shale gas but the case for a moratorium rests with Westminster".

Infographic showing shale gas extraction

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

* May require registration or subscription

More Wales stories



  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Woman with closed eyeStrange light show

    What do you see when you close your eyes?

  • Sony WalkmanLost ideas

    What has happened to Japan's inventors?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.