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Fracking chemicals pose pollution and wildlife threat

Words: Huw Morris
Lancashire moorland

Chemicals from fracking sites risk causing significant pollution damaging sensitive ecosystems and killing wildlife.

An analysis by CHEM Trust, a chemicals charity, warns that a number of important UK wildlife sites are threatened, which could harm a range of species such as butterflies, dragonflies and bats.

It says a moratorium on fracking in Europe should be imposed until effective monitoring is in place, with regulators given adequate resources, a particular concern in the UK where the Environment Agency is facing substantial budget cuts.

The charity calls for all chemicals used in fracking to be disclosed with no provision for commercial confidentiality. It demands stronger European regulation of the process to ensure that environmental impact assessment are required for all sites, with an absolute ban on disposal of wastewater by re-injection into the ground.

Regulations should also protect the environment and people even when fracking wells are no longer used.

“Widespread fracking will threaten many of our valuable wildlife sites as this technology has a high potential to pollute sensitive aquatic ecosystems and harm human health,” says CHEM Trust executive director Michael Warhurst. “We don’t want to look back in the future to realise that we have damaged our precious countryside in a headlong rush to extract fossil fuels.”