Fracking for shale gas – the UK needs this and we can do it safely while protecting the environment

Britain’s £50 Billion chemical industry has stated fracking for shale gas is of economic importance to the country, will protect jobs and can be done in a safe way that does not damage the environment.

Steve Elliott, the Association’s Chief Executive will say in a briefing to chemical businesses in Newcastle later today: “The more we look at this the more we can appreciate there is an economic, social and environmental case for starting work on extracting shale gas. Rather than rely on imported gas, the UK’s own shale reserves will contribute to more secure gas supplies and support jobs and growth.   Without this, gas imports are projected to reach 75% of needs by 2030.  UK shale gas will help to keep the lights on while the UK makes its transition to a green economy.”

Elliott will add “In my industry this will retain current jobs in areas of the country where frankly communities need more employment (the chemical sector provides direct and indirect employment for 500,000). The shale developers will also provide benefits to local communities, based on what they can produce. We have already seen proposals from leading chemical company Ineos”.

On the transition to a green economy he will say: “Gas is also better for the environment. It’s a low carbon energy source relative to the other conventional sources of hydrocarbon like coal and oil which are being phased out as fuels for electricity generation.  Gas will be needed to help to fill the gap and back-up intermittent renewable power for some time.  Gas also provides the main source of heat in our chemical processes. Alternatives will take some time to develop.  In the meantime the UK chemical industry continuously seeks to save energy and has improved its energy efficiency by 35% since 1990.  And our products and technologies also provide carbon reduction solutions in other sectors like insulation and double glazing for homes, materials for wind turbines, and light-weight materials for cars.”

Continuing on the environment, Elliott will point out “it is vital that communities can be confident that shale gas can be developed in the UK in an environmentally safe way.  But there is reassuring evidence from government and independent expert bodies like the Royal Society and Committee on Climate Change which addresses concerns on key issues including seismic activity, water use, impacts on ground water and emissions, and the use of chemicals in fracking fluid.  The UK has a strong regulatory framework for shale gas development and can learn from the experience in the US. ”

On the latest developments in advance of decisions by Lancashire County Council, Elliott will say ”We should all fully respect the role of local Councillors and their democratic accountability, and I hope Lancashire and the people of the county will benefit from the huge benefits fracking will bring to communities and to the country.”

Notes to Editors

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