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What the ‘frack’ is shale gas and what has it got to do with me?

news release

With concerns mounting over the environmental impacts of ‘fracking’ and shale gas exploration in the North West, Manchester Friends of the Earth are inviting people to a meeting to learn more about ‘fracking’ and shale gas exploration and what it could mean for people in Manchester. [1]

Speakers will include Colin Baines, Co-operative Campaigns Adviser, who will talk about the Co-operative’s Toxic Fuels campaign:

* what tar sands and shale gas are,
* the climate implications of developing these high carbon unconventional fuels,
* the local environmental and social impact of their extraction,
* and campaign activities to halt their expansion. [2]

There will also be a speaker from the Tyndall Centre at University of Manchester who will give an overview of their findings from their continuing research on the Climate Change impacts of shale gas extraction. [3]

Shale gas is being promoted as a safe, clean energy source that can help the UK in the transition to a low carbon economy. But there are serious environmental concerns around shale gas drilling including climate change emissions, threats to groundwater quality and water resource needs.

Widespread ‘fracking’ in the North West region could have serious impacts on the water and food supply for Manchester and other urban areas across the region. Currently, the waste water generated from the Presse Hall ‘fracking’ exploration site is being transported to the Davyhulme waste water site for treatment. [4]

Friends of the Earth believes that until these issues are satisfactorily addressed, there should be a moratorium on shale gas exploration and drilling in the UK.

Colette Humphrey, Manchester Friends of the Earth co-ordinator said:

“Drilling for shale gas raises serious safety concerns and risks polluting water supplies – and it could take vital funding away from the clean energy solutions we know are safe and will work. There should be no more fracking in Britain until safety and environmental concerns have been properly addressed.”

The Manchester Friends of the Earth meeting will be held at the Green Fish Resource Centre, 46-50 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LE, at 6.45pm on Tuesday 8 November. Contact for further details and questions.



Colette Humphrey, Manchester Friends of the Earth Co-ordinator. Mobile: 07754 042716.

Catherine Thomson, Manchester Friends of the Earth Co-ordinator. Mobile: 07956 577206.

Notes to Editors:

[1]  See Friends of the Earth Briefing, October 2011, Shale gas: energy solution or fracking hell?  and  What is fracking and why is it controversial?

[2] For more information on the Co-operative’s Toxic Fuels campaign at

[3] See also the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research report  “Shale gas: a provisional assessment of climate change and environmental impacts”, January 2011, available at

[4] Environment Agency: Shale Gas North West – Monitoring of Flow back water, 3rd November 2011.  “The flow back water produced to date from the Preese Hall exploration site has been stored in double skinned tanks on site. It was then transported to a waste water treatment works at Davyhulme.” [Page 1] Where does the flow back water go?].

[5] Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations.  Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website:  Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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