A series of new reports published by the Scottish Government into the potential health effects of fracking found there was “sufficient” evidence to suggest that a number of “air and water-born environmental hazards” would be likely to occur should the operations go ahead.
Workers could also be at risk from breathing in dangerous crystalline silica during operations, the report found, a risk to health that could also affect those living near to fracking sites. Energy and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse emphasised the importance of remembering that shale gas and coalbed methane resources are located in the most densely populated part of country. Increases in traffic could also result in more noise and emissions in the affected areas. However, the report found that there was “inadequate” data to determine whether the development of shale oil and gas or coal bed methane would pose a risk to public health overall. He told MSPs that a “precautionary, evidence-based approach” would continue.
Also, analysing the impact fracking could have on climate change, experts from the Committee on Climate Change concluded that developing unconventional oil and gas (UOG) would make it harder for the country to meet environmental targets. Left entirely unregulated, the emissions footprint of unconventional oil and gas production could be substantial,” the report warned.
Researchers reported it was “unclear” if the fracking industry was “commericially viable”, with current low oil prices providing a “challenging” financial climate. The industry would contribute an average of 0.1 per cent GDP.
Friends of the Earth Head of Campaigns Mary Church said: "Fracking is bad for the climate, bad for public health and won't do much good for the economy. That's the damning verdict of the independent studies published by the Scottish Government today, echoing the concerns of communities across the country.