“We didn’t expect we’d stand here again to demonstrate against fracking. But if we have to, we have to,” Danby sighs as he hangs a bright yellow banner on the iron fence of the Preston New Road industrial site.
Barbara Richardson is especially surprised, she can hardly believe that this topic is again on the table. She asks out loud, “Why do they want to do this?” “It’s not climate friendly at all. They know the residents are very against drilling here. How do they get it?”
Shale gas exploration is a controversial issue in the North of England. The well in Lancashire has been the subject of violent demonstrations for years by locals and activists. The site was closed after an earthquake in 2019. But the cement that was supposed to permanently shut down the exploration company Quadrilla’s well, did not come. And now, in the midst of an energy crisis, the British House of Commons is once again talking about resuming shale gas exploration.
Shale gas is extracted by cracking layers of rock deep in the earth with water, sand, and chemicals. According to opponents, this is polluted and leads to earthquakes. But proponents point to the success of hydraulic fracturing in the United States, where the extraction of shale gas has sparked a real energy revolution. Thanks to the local extraction of gas there, Americans’ energy bills are rising much less quickly.
The UK could have seen a shale gas revolution, some scientists claim, if drilling had continued. The British Geological Survey estimates that there are about 36 trillion cubic meters of natural gas (36,000 billion cubic metres) in the province’s soil. Only 10 percent of that was needed to keep the entire country warm for the next 50 years.