Hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" is a method of extracting unconventional gas. A well is drilled but, unlike conventional gas which flows freely, the shale rocks have to be hydraulically fractured (or fracked) to get the gas. This is done by pumping down at extremely high pressure millions of gallons of water mixed with a small amount of often toxic chemicals which help the gas to flow more freely. About half of the water comes back to the surface and has to be treated. The other half stays underground where its movement cannot be controlled. (See this Friends of the Earth briefing note for more information.)
TCC is asking the Welsh Government to call a moratorium on fracking for the following reasons:
Fracking is dangerous
Industry figures from North America show that 6% of fracked gas wells drilled leak immediately, and 50% within 30 years.
Methane levels in US drinking water wells are 17 times higher in areas with gas drilling. Analysis of 350 chemicals known to be used in fracking shows a quarter could cause cancer and up to half could affect the nervous and immune systems.
Fracking is not the solution to Wales’ energy shortage. The Government's official climate change advisors say that plans to increase our gas capacity are incompatible with our mandatory targets to cut carbon emissions.
Fracking is expensive
Experts say it'll cost up to 50% more to produce the gas here than in the US for reasons including higher population density and no established UK onshore drilling industry.
Just because the gas is drilled in Wales doesn't mean it will be used in Wales or even in the UK - companies may well earn more by selling it abroad.
Local people don’t want it
The majority of the general public is against fracking; YouGov polling in August 2013 showed that people would rather the Government invests money in renewables than in fracking – 78% think the Government is right to spend money encouraging solar and tidal power compared to just 40% who back spending on shale gas.
TCC has a large membership in North East Wales, who are all saying no to fracking.