Visual Impacts

What will it look like?

 

The appearance of a shale gas site will change throughout its lifetime:

When the wells are being drilled, there will be a lot of visible equipment, including a small crane and the drilling rig which could have a mast height of between 30 and 50 metres. But this is temporary, and once the drilling has been completed, this is all demobilised and removed.

During the fracking stage, there will be a series of large pumps, mixing equipment, silos containing sand, water tanks, a workover rig and something known as a coiled tubing unit. Fracking doesn't take very long at all, and so this equipment will also be temporary.

Once a shale gas well is producing gas to the grid, all that will remain on site are the wellheads (also known as 'Christmas Trees' in the industry) that stand about 6-8 feet tall, a small amount of pipework, a separator and some small tanks. They will look no different to the other producing gas wellsites that exist in the UK already, and are easily screened with shrubs and trees.

And, when all the gas has been extracted, wellsites will be fully decommissioned and restored back to their original condition so you'll hardly even know they were once there.

In many ways, it will resemble the sort of construction and civil engineering projects we see around us all the time, and could hardly be described as 'industrialising the landscape.'

Watch this time-lapse video of a fracking site being developed and put into production in Texas to get a feel for how it all might look.

The visual impacts of drilling and fracking are short-lived and not permanent.