A report commissioned by leading wildlife and countryside groups has found that fracking could devastate habitats across the UK.
The “Are We Fit To Frack?” paper was launched by the National Trust, the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the Angling Trust and the Salmon and Trout Association, and has claimed that attempts to get hold of shale gas would “not be compatible” with current targets on pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The report, which is backed by a range of MPs from across the parties, proposes ten methods to making fracking safer and raises concerns about the impact of fracking on populations of pink-footed geese, nightjars, salmon and barbastelle bats among other animals.
The report also mentions apprehension at possible water pollution as a result of fracking.
It agues that “no frack zones” should be set up around the nation in a bid to limit the intrusion on Britain’s national parks, countryside and wildlife.
It also suggests that full environmental assessments be carried out at every potential fracking site as well as the shale gas industry to be held pay for its regulation and any pollution clean-ups.
RSPB conservation director Martin Harper said, “The Prime Minister has been a great advocate for the shale gas industry. He has said we have the strongest environmental controls in this country and nothing will go ahead if there are environmental dangers.
“Our report puts a spotlight on these risks and reinforces the growing concern about the impact fracking could have on our countryside and wildlife.
“We argue that more needs to be done to ensure fracking rules are fit for purpose.”
The news comes after energy firm Cuadrilla announced two new potential fracking sites between Blackpool and Preston, Lancashire, back in February.
Earlier this month one group of protesters earned a stay of eviction at a site near Salford.
The British Geological Survey believes that there is around 1,300 cubic feet of shale gas beneath the ground in the north of England, with Cuadrilla, IGas and Dart Energy being granted permission to explore the possibility of extracting it.
Other sites in the rest of Britain are also home to areas of shale gas.
A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman said, “For any sort of on onshore drilling – conventional or unconventional, like fracking – the country is divided into blocks that could be ‘under consideration’.
“Companies would also need permission from the landowner and planning consent. There would also need to be Environment Agency permits, Health and Safety Executive notification and “finally a consent from us at the DECC.”