When Theresa May visited The Yorkshire Post in February 2018 when it appeared the region would become the first area where fracking would take place since test drilling was suspended in Lancashire in 2011 following earth tremors, the then-Prime Minister insisted the process would both reduce the country’s reliance on imported energy and be conducted in a safe manner.
While seven companies have licences for shale gas exploration work in Yorkshire, a series of factors have meant that Lancashire rather than Yorkshire is where UK work has restarted first with the support of the Government.
But those living near intended fracking sites in Yorkshire will have been watching with considerable interest - and undoubtedly anxiety - the events in Lancashire which have seen fracking suspended indefinitely after an earthquake last Monday stronger than the tremors recorded in 2011. The latest suspension follows several previous tremors at the site.
Property damage is reported to have been caused in the local area and site owner Cuadrilla has apologised to local residents for the “concern” caused while stressing the vibrations recorded were lower than what is permitted for construction projects.
Anti-fracking campaigners in Yorkshire say the situation has vindicated their stance and also believe it may well result in fracking never coming to pass in this region.
But safety fears are not the only problem for an industry that already has little public support. New research has suggested previous projections for the potential amount of shale gas under the UK may have been “significantly overestimated”.
Those findings are vigorously contested by the industry - but further shake the foundations of the Government’s continued support for the controversial process.