“Fracking” or Hydraulic Fracturing is a process by which water, sand and chemicals are forced into shale deposits under pressure in order to break up rocks containing natural gas. The process gained popularity in America in 2005 and has grown to supply ¼ of the country’s natural gas, which has kept energy prices low through the recession. Its safety for the local environment and water supply, have been questioned with many reports of health problems and death of wildlife close to fracking sites; causing it to be banned in France and Bulgaria, however other countries are stepping up their interest, with South Africa lifting a moratorium on drilling.
David Cameron believes fracking is the way forward to bring business to the UK, however attempts to sink a well in Balcombe, Sussex caused protests which lasted for two months and cost the police £3 million. Similar protests have started in Manchester in response to two more wells at Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton near Blackpool close to a test site which caused a minor earthquake in 2011. The British Geological Survey estimates there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present in the north of England.