Fracking isn't going to ruin our beautiful countryside

It's very common to see fracking opponents share photos like this in order to imply that this is what we can expect in the UK if shale gas goes ahead at scale in places like Lancashire and North Yorkshire. 


They refer to it as the "industrialisation of the landscape".

But there are some very important points to keep in mind when trying to visualise what it may look like. 

Firstly, that particular photo is an aerial shot of the Jonah gas field in Wyoming. Look it up on Google Earth and you'll quickly find that it's literally in the middle of nowhere in a dry, barren and empty landscape that's always looked like that - it's not like it was all lush green meadows before, that have been somehow destroyed by drilling for gas.

Secondly, it's important to note that it looks worse because you're looking down on it, but that's not how most of us see the world around us - it wouldn't be anywhere near as noticeable at street level. And because it's so barren, there's no tree cover to provide natural screening or break up the landscape, and it's pretty flat.

But thirdly, and most importantly of all, the Jonah field is a tight sandstone reservoir and has been tapped using lots of closely spaced vertical wells - the exact opposite of what's been talked about here, where the industry is proposing to drill and frack multiple wells on a smaller number of individual sites.

Cuadrilla's exploration and production licence (PEDL165) extends to around 1,000 square kilometres in total, and it has been suggested that it may one day host 100 shale gas sites, with opponents arguing that it would "industrialise" the landscape. Below, we've superimposed 50 (fifty) shale gas pads identical to the one that Cuadrilla has built at Preston New Road in Lancashire in a surrounding area of just 18 square kilometres. That's nothing like the sort of pad density that anyone is realistically talking about, but we've done it to show just how even at this extreme, shale gas can be accommodated in the local landscape quite easily. The image from Google Earth was grabbed at an altitude of 9 kilometres in case you want to have a play around yourself.


To get a better feel for how it's likely to look here in the UK, watch this short video.

Fracking in the UK isn't going to wreck the countryside. 

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