The UK should stop shale gas development until its environmental impacts are better understood, says the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.1 Drilling of the UK’s first exploration well was completed in December; others are planned (ENDS Report 430, pp 38-41).
The Tyndall report argues that growing global energy demands mean shale gas is more likely to add to emissions than substitute for more polluting fuels. It could also discourage investment in renewables. The scale of fugitive gas emissions during exploration and production is still unknown.
The UK’s dense population means that land demand, noise pollution and traffic would be serious concerns, says the report. Around 450 shale gas well sites would be needed to supply just 10% of UK gas demand.