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If you are a regular reader of the Landscaping Solutions Blog you may remember back in January of last year we did an article covering the preposterous plans to commence fracking in Sherwood Forests.
One of the world's largest chemical companies Ineos, were leading the charge at the time and had gone as far as to obtain all the relevant licences to begin searching for shale gas beneath the ancient woodland.
Fortunately, after a great deal of protesting and negative media attention these plans were subsequently dropped.
Sadly there’s no time to breath a sigh of relief just yet. With Ineos busy eyeing up their next target. Companies like Cuadrilla Resources are already busy at work.
Following years of protests, demonstrations and debate Cuadrilla Resources have sadly begun fracking for shale gas at their site in Little Plumpton, Lancashire on the 15 October.
This marks the first time fracking has been carried out in the UK since the process was linked to earthquakes, caused by Cuadrilla Resources, back in 2011.
It comes as no surprise then when you hear the news that the Little Plumpton site is already in trouble. At the time of writing this article the site had triggered 37 earthquakes in only three weeks.
Worryingly, two of those earthquakes were powerful enough to breach regulatory limits and be categorised as "red" events by the Oil and Gas Authority monitoring system, meaning work had to stop completely for a minimum of 18 hours. On a third occasion an earthquake came so close to a “red” event that Cuadrilla Resources themselves voluntarily ceased operations.
Some organisations are concerned that these repeated breaches of regulatory limits already suggest Cuadrilla are in way over their heads. Yet shockingly, only last week the chief executive of Cuadrilla urged the government to relax the shale gas exploration limits currently imposed on fracking. The energy minister, Claire Perry, thankfully rejected such requests.
The reality though is that the Government shouldn’t be giving projects like this the go ahead in the first place. We should be shifting away from fossil fuels, not looking at ways to make it easier for companies like Cuadrilla Resources and Ineos to dig up more.
Fracking is by no means a long term solution and at best can only serve to extend the supplies of current fuels for a limited time. In fact, it’s sustainability has already been called in to question by countless studies with the most recent study concluding that fracking is one of the least sustainable methods of producing energy.
Renewable energy solutions are truly the only way forward, offering a long term solution, to the long term problem of maintaining energy supplies but also reducing carbon emissions.
However, until the Government is prepared to listen to the environmental scientists and the growing concerns of the public, councillors and MPs, Theresa May’s recent promise of a healthier environment for the next generation, is unlikely to be one she can keep.
One of the world's largest chemical companies Ineos, are leading the charge in the search for shale gas under the ancient woodland that served as the legendary home of Robin Hood.
Ineos, who recently relocated their headquarters to the UK have been in talks with the Forestry commission regarding Sherwood Forests potential for shale gas exploration.
According to Friends of the Earth, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal Ineos now have the relevant licences to allow them to conduct a number of seismic surveys in the area.
The surveys would determine whether or not shale gas is present in rocks beneath the forest and if so would result in fracking work commencing.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth and injecting high pressure water, sand and chemicals into subterranean rock to release gas trapped inside.
The reason fracking is so controversial is because its not without its environmental concerns. Chemicals used in the process can escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site.
Fracking also requires vast amounts of water, which has to be transported to the sites, at significant environmental cost.
In 2011, energy company Cuadrilla had to quickly suspend fracking operations in Lancashire, after two earthquakes measuring 1.5 and 2.2 struck the area. A study conducted after the incident concluded it was "highly probable" the fracking operations had triggered the earthquakes.
Understandably a number of prominent campaign groups such as 38 Degrees and Friends of the Earth are outraged by the proposal and are calling on the government to block any possible surveys or future fracking.
Putting aside for a moment the historical importance of the woodland, the forest itself is also home to countless wildlife, including rare bats and other protected species.
To avoid an incident like the one seen in Lancashire, 38 Degrees plan to battle the Sherwood Forest bid by gathering a 500,000 signature petition and submitting it to the Forestry Commission. The hope is that a public outcry of this magnitude will bring a stop to the Ineos proposal, protecting the wildlife and preserving the forest for future generations.
Further information regarding the 38 Degrees campaign and petition is available via their website.