Hydraulic fracturing in North Yorkshire

Sampling groundwater

The BGS, with partners from the universities of Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham and York (National Centre for Atmospheric Science), is carrying out a science-based environmental monitoring programme in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire, where a planning application to carry out hydraulic fracturing for shale gas has been submitted. The programme comprises monitoring of water quality (groundwater and surface water), seismicity, air quality, soil gas, radon in air and ground motion.

With planning permission being granted, the monitoring programme will become even more important as it will provide an independent measurement of the baseline against which any future changes can be compared. The monitoring will continue during the different stages of shale gas development at the site. It will provide the UK with a unique dataset for a shale gas operation over its whole life cycle: before, during and after hydraulic fracturing has taken place.

The BGS’s monitoring programme is independent of that being carried out by industry or regulators. It is designed to enhance the scientific understanding and knowledge of environmental baselines and identify any effects that shale gas operations might have on the environment. Information from the monitoring programme is being made publicly available and will also support peer-reviewed science.

Professor Rob Ward, BGS Director of Science and project director, said, "If hydraulic fracturing goes ahead then understanding the baseline is a critical first step in ensuring it is carried out safely. Our independent monitoring will enable this and allow more informed decisions to be made."

Read more details on the project and the results of the monitoring.


24 May 2016