Sunday 23rd October 2016                 Change text size:

Fracking debate: what the papers say


The government revealed yesterday that the controversial gas extraction technique, hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), would be restarted in the UK. Reaction has been mixed within the media, so here’s a round-up of the coverage.

It was widely expected that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) would be announcing the resumption of fracking operations in Lancashire yesterday, after drilling was temporarily suspended because of the feared effect on seismic activity.

The BBC were among the first to break the news that this decision had been made, with environment analyst Roger Harrabin writing how ministers had approved the shale gas extraction method.

In an effort to debunk some of the myths and unravel some of the misinformation, environment correspondent Matt McGrath followed up with a piece entitled Fracking: Untangling fact from fiction, asking, “How concerned should people be about the environmental impacts?

And for those still a bit puzzled as to how energy is extracted from the shale, the BBC also produced a handy video explaining exactly how fracking works.

The Telegraph reported how the coalition government was splitover whether restarting drilling in Blackpool would lead to lower gas bills for consumers across the UK. This came just a few days after Mayor of London Boris Johnson wrote a piece for the newspaper called Ignore the doom merchants, Britain should get fracking. It has since been uncovered that many of Johnson’s claims were in fact ill-informed and inaccurate.

Meanwhile, The Daily Express posed an important question this morning in a piece entitled, Will fracking destroy the countryside so we can get cheap energy bills?

The Guardian’s Damian Carrington warned against a dash for gas through fracking yesterday, saying “Shale gas may possibly offset the decline in the UK’s North Sea supplies. But David Cameron and George Osborne’s dreams of an energy revolution are a dangerous hallucination” in a piece called This fracking fantasy is the delusion of fossil fuel addiction.

Meanwhile, Mark Lynas and David Santillo – a climate change adviser and Greenpeace scientist respectively – combined to pen a joint-piece that asked whether fracking really was the right way forward.

And also on The Guardian, Leo Hickman’s regular feature – Eco Audit – also questioned whether the UK was right to give fracking the green light. His own view, for the record, was that it should be part of the mix but that we should “proceed with caution“.

The Daily Mail talked about the shale gas revolution while The Daily Mirror presented two arguments – for and against – from both sides of the debate, asking Is fracking the future of energy or a disaster that will wreck the environment?

Further reading:

Davey says fracking can resume in the UK

Responsible journalism needed in fracking debate

Davey lessens fracking importance as green campaigners call for halt

Environment Agency backs fracking

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy

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