Comment on ruling on Government’s fracking policy

Published:06 March 2019

Commenting on the news that elements of the Government’s policy on fracking have been ruled unlawful by the High Court today, Dr Jonathan Marshall, Head of Analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said:

"Natural gas is not a low-carbon fuel, therefore the ruling to call into question governmental claims that it is make sense. With the UK’s electricity system almost free of coal, natural gas is now effectively the most carbon-intensive major source of power.

Official advice from the Committee on Climate Change concluded that fracking was only compatible with national decarbonisation targets if the gas produced replaced higher carbon sources of energy. There is little space for this in the power sector, and with transport clearly moving towards electrification rather than LPG, little scope for gas use to expand there either.

“Proponents of fracking argue that it makes sense to produce gas here rather than import it from abroad. However, a recent study from the British Geological Society found high methane concentrations close to a fracking site, indicating that the industry still has some way to go in refining processes to the standard we might expect."

The British Geological Survey said that they had found enhanced methane concentrations in the air east of Cuadrilla’s shale gas operations at Preston New Road, Lancashire, which BGS said was ‘due to the emission of non-combusted methane from the shale gas site.’