“The UK has gold-standard fracking regulations.”
The regulations that would govern fracking were created for the conventional oil and gas industry, not fracking, despite the very different – and in the UK, untried – technology that would be used.
“These controls were designed pre-fracking and their application leaves a number of gaps, which may risk harm to human health and/or damage to the environment. Under the current regulatory system, the uncertainty and risk associated with fracking is not justifiable.” – Environmental Law Review
“We’re in the situation in the UK where we’re going to have unregulated fracking… so you shouldn’t be doing it at all… It’s a completely weird and absurd situation – the industry is less pro fracking than the government… so it’s dangerous; it’s dangerous for the people of Yorkshire.” – Mike Hill, Oil & Gas Engineer Reference
A report by the Royal Society and the Royal Institute of Engineering back in 2012 made 10 recommendations for safe extraction, but only one has been implemented in full.
The Environment Agency (EA) is the main body responsible for policing the fracking industry, and have been on the government’s hit list for cuts over the last few years. In 2013 the EA cut 1,700 jobs when they lost 15% of their budget, and DEFRA, which funds the EA, is suffering budget cuts of up to 30% over the next four years. How could they possibly cope if there were thousands of new fracking wells to monitor?
“Making fracking safe is simply not possible.” – Louis Allstadt, former Vice President of Mobil Oil
In fact, the government keeps slackening the regulations. They recently amended the law to allow fracking under National Parks. Also:
“The UK Environment Agency has released new guidelines contradicting its prohibition of waste water disposal following fracking. Allowing large volumes of chemically contaminated flowback water to be disposed of by injection underground has, in the USA, led to groundwater contamination, and to hundreds of significant earthquakes, not minor tremors.
There is currently no evidence to assure that subsurface injection of flowback water is safe in the UK.” – UK failing to learn U.S. lessons on fracking waste water, Professor Haszeldine et al, Edinburgh University
More details and references can be found here.