Victory on fracking
After 8 years of campaigning by local groups and NGOs, the UK government has announced a moratorium on fracking.
This is a huge victory for the climate, and shows what can be achieved when communities join together for a common goal.
Of course Friends of the Earth always has, and always will, call for a full fracking ban and for the government to stop supporting fracking overseas, but now is a great moment to celebrate what we have achieved.
What is fracking?
Shale rock has to be fractured to get to the gas or oil – this is known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking for short. A mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pumped down the well at very high pressure. This fractures the rock and when the pressure is released, the gas or oil flows back up the well.
You can be in favour of fixing the climate. Or you can be in favour of exploiting shale gas. But you can’t be in favour of both at the same time.John Ashton, former envoy for climate change at the UK Foreign Office
Fracking and global warming
Fracking is a process to extract shale gas or shale oil. Both are fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases when burnt, contributing to climate breakdown.
Here you can find out about the campaign to stop fracking – and what you can do about it. Together we can be a powerful force to protect our climate by keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground.
Fracking earthquakes explained
Fracking in the UK has triggered many small earthquakes.
Cuadrilla fracked at Preston New Road in Lancashire over 2 months in 2018. During that time, seismologists detected 57 earthquakes.
The rules state that fracking must stop if earthquakes reach magnitude 0.5. This is a problem for the fracking industry. Cuadrilla stopped operations 5 times because it triggered earthquakes bigger than the rules allow.
Now the industry is trying to relax the rules after years of talking up the UK's so-called gold-standard fracking regulations.
Why we don’t need fracking or coal
Almost all our energy can reliably come from the wind, waves and sun.
Renewables have been generating more energy than coal in the UK since 2016. The technology works and costs are falling at lightning pace.
Coal is due to come off the system soon – and renewables are ready to close this gap, without the need for fracking. We could have almost-fully-renewable electricity in the next decade.
Why is fracking so controversial?
Less than 15% of the public support fracking. And over a quarter of a million people signed a petition to ban it.
But the government has awarded more than 200 licences for potential oil and gas exploration, once planning permission has been given.
What are frack-free groups?
Local frack-free groups spring up wherever fracking is a risk.
The anti-fracking Nanas in Lancashire are an example of ordinary people defending their communities from fracking. Wearing matching headscarves, the Nanas are women of all ages.
They have fronted rallies and campaigns, gone to court and slowed down fracking operations.
Where could fracking happen?
The government has awarded licences for potential oil and gas extraction across England. To get the go-ahead, companies first need planning permission.
Use our map to see if your neighbourhood is at risk from fracking. You can also use it to locate your nearest anti-fracking group.
How can we stop fracking?
In November 2019 the UK government finally announced a moratorium on fracking. The decision followed 8 years of tireless campaigning by local people.
We now need legislation in place to put a permanent stop to fracking – and we need government to stop their support of fracking overseas.
You can help keep fracking at bay and achieve a safer climate for generations to come by taking action in your community.
"We've got enough clean energy alternatives, that will provide a whole lot more jobs than what this shale gas nonsense will ever do. The opposition is seen more across the country. I am feeling optimistic that it will be stopped once people realise that it's going to affect them, their families, their children, their environment."
John Tootil, nursery garden owner near Preston New Road fracking site.
Success against fracking
The Netherlands, France, Germany and Bulgaria have all halted fracking. Success is largely due to the resistance from local communities and campaigners.