A Collection of Essential Reports on Fracking


More Than 3/4 of Scientific Fracking Studies Found Hazards, Risks or Harm


PSE Healthy Energy have compiled a near exhaustive and evolving database of the peer-reviewed scientific literature on unconventional gas development.  This valuable resource now contains references for over a thousand papers, and anyone can access it here:

PSE STUDY CITATION DATABASE on Shale & Tight Gas Development

This study used that database and categorised the number of papers which showed impacts on health, water and air.  You can watch the author present the findings here.

Toward an understanding of the environmental and public health impacts of shale gas development: an analysis of the peer reviewed scientific literature, 2009-2015 – PSE Healthy Energy, April 2016


Concern over Shale Gas Development in the UK

We should learn from the US experience – this graphic summarises a peer reviewed article that covers 10 topics to be seriously concerned about.

We should decide what to do based on what actually happens (pollution and illness), rather than what the government hopes will happen (our regulations will somehow work better than everywhere else, so it will all be ok).

“Policy decisions should be informed by evidence generated on environmental and public health risks rather than purported best practices and tough regulations that lack empirical support as to their efficacy.”

“More quantitative epidemiological research is needed, but initial investigations in the United States suggest that shale gas development can and has likely adversely impacted human health.”

Shale Gas Development in the UK: 10 Considerations from the US Experience – PSE Healthy Energy, Jan 2015


DEFRA – Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts

This draft government report was heavily redacted (58 sections were blanked out) on its original publication.  After a Freedom of Information request by Greenpeace the government was finally ordered to publish it in full.

It warns that fracking could lead to increased CO2 emissions due to burning more fossil fuels, of decreasing house prices and increased rents, and increased insurance costs due to risk of explosions.  Also of pollution from surface water contamination, noise & light.

Local residents could be impacted by up to 50 truck movements a day over a period of weeks, and “noxious odours from venting gases can also impact on air quality for local residents”.  [Well the residents around West Newton well site in Holderness certainly know all about that – site making locals ‘sick from noxious smells’]

And it says, “regulatory capacity may need to be increased” at a time of severe cuts when the exact opposite is happening.

click to view pdf of the report

click to view pdf of the report

“Shale gas development may transform a previously pristine and quiet natural region, bringing increased industrialisation…”


British Medical Journal

“Although we can’t be certain about the scale of harm that shale gas production will bring to local communities and the immediate environment, it will exacerbate climate change. And on these grounds alone, the risks clearly and considerably outweigh any possible benefits.” – Fracking and health, Editorial June 2018.  Drill or Drop article here.


CHEM Trust

Chemicals from fracking could cause significant pollution and damage to wildlife


Recommendations:  full disclosure of chemicals; stronger regulation – EA cuts of particular concern; an absolute ban on wastewater re-injection; clean up bonds.


Scientists for Global Responsibility & Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

Regulation of the industry in the UK is currently inadequate
Shale gas and ‘fracking’: examining the evidence (click to read)

Shale gas and ‘fracking’: examining the evidence (click to read)

  • Confidence in the practice is undermined by a series of disingenuous claims made by both the Government and industry
  • Virtually all economic analysts refute the claim that fracking will reduce energy bills
  • job creation potential has been substantially exaggerated, and is also significantly less than that of the low-carbon energy sector
  • Community benefits have been exaggerated
  • the exploitation of shale gas is dangerous and unnecessary
  • use of shale gas will undoubtedly be in addition to, not instead of, coal, and will therefore result in an overall increase in emissions


Far From Gold Standard

The Flawed Regulatory System for Onshore Oil and Gas

“Oil and gas firms are regularly breaching the planning and environmental conditions placed on them with little consequence, despite repeated reassurances that ‘gold standard’ regulations govern the industry.”

  • includes a handy summary of definitions used for fracking, conventional/unconventional, and types of acidisation.
  • case studies of several sites, including West Newton

There is an Executive Summary on this page.