Experts fear fracking could damage Bath’s famous hot springs

Experts fear fracking could damage Bath’s famous hot springs by Western Daily Press, November 03, 2012
Fracking, the controversial gas exploration technique proposed near Bath, has potential to cause significant environmental impact, leading water industry experts have warned. UK Methane Ltd has lodged an application to drill a test borehole on land at Keynsham to discover if extracting methane by the hydraulic fracture or fracking of shale rock is viable. The hot springs of Bath have helped to make it a World Heritage city and draw thousands of visitors. Now, many people, including the city council and Bath MP Don Foster are voicing concerns that the hot springs could be contaminated or harmed in other ways as a result of fracking. The Department for Energy and Climate Change has granted drilling licences to Eden Energy and UK Methane Ltd. UK Methane maintains the fracking procedure, used world-wide, is safe. Somerset County Council as minerals authority will also decide whether to grant permission to drill at a site within its authority.

The Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has warned the Government to proceed with caution over fracking. In a new policy position statement Hydraulic Fracturing Of Shale In The UK the institution said: “Fracking for shale gas has the potential to cause significant environmental impacts from induced seismicity, degradation of landscape and amenity, water contamination and the release of fugitive emissions of methane. Robust regulation would see these risks minimised. In addition to the regulatory controls proposed, CIWEM is calling for environmental risk assessment to be made mandatory for proposed shale gas operations.”

It continued: “CIWEM believes shale gas from fracking should not be encouraged as a part of our energy mix until there is more evidence that operations can be delivered safely, that environmental impacts are acceptable and that monitoring, reporting and mitigation requirements are comprehensive and effective.” [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to: Halcyon hot springs vanish after B.C. quake ]

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