On Thursday May the 22nd, election day, the coalition in the UK issued a report on the vast resources of onshore oil and gas in the south of England, Tory heartland.
Among all the comments about burying bad news on a big news day the facts remain simple and stark, we, the UK Government have 2 options; the environmental option or the pragmatic option.
The environmental is the most complex, we can’t use fracking because we have heard it causes all sorts of problems, earthquakes, polluted water aquifers and big noisy lorries on country lanes. We certainly can’t use nuclear as we all know the damage lasts for thousands of years, so we just have to hope the wind keeps blowing and the sun keeps shining and these nice countries we will be importing gas from; Russia, North Africa and Qatar keep being friendly and keep sending cheap supplies.
The pragmatic option is slightly less complex, even by conservative estimates we have enough unconventional fossil fuel in the UK to keep us energy secure for the next 20 years, the period most experts see as the most troublesome. Yes extracting these fuels will involve fracking and all the horrid things this methodology does to the countryside but the alternatives are potentially disastrous, because sadly oil and gas tends to be most plentiful in the more unstable parts of the planet.
We have said this before and will say it again, fracking in the UK will not be the cavalier free for all cowboy fest it is supposed to be in the US. It will be properly regulated, properly managed and will use all the techniques we have been using in the UK for 40 years to mitigate short term construction damage and long term aesthetic damage. Remember the UK countryside has thousands of oil and gas installations and they are a lot less obvious than wind turbines.
The extraction of onshore fuels in the UK will not deliver cheap energy, not if it is done properly, it will however deliver secure energy and as an added bonus will create jobs inject money into the economy and once again show the rest of the world what the UK can do and export the skills accordingly.