Answering questions as part of BBC Radio 5’s Energy Day, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the controversial extraction technique was not “the evil thing that some people try to make it out to be”.
He added that Britain would hugely benefit from access to a secure, local supply of gas, particularly as gas production in the North Sea was diminishing.
‘Tough regulations’ to tackle environmental concerns
Recent protests at energy company Cuadrilla’s drilling site in West Sussex have sparked a public debate over the benefits and dangers of fracking.
Speaking on the possible dangers of extracting gas from shale rock, Davey said:”We are in the exploratory days.
“I wanted to make sure that as we go ahead with it that we have tough regulations to tackle things like methane emissions and any pollution to make sure that we have got things like water sustainability right.
“If we are going to do fracking we have got to make sure that it does not hurt our environment and local communities benefit from it.”
Will fracking lower energy prices?
Many of those who back the use of fracking in the UK claim the process will reduce energy bills.
Prime Minister David Cameron recently commented that Britain would be “missing out big time” on lower energy costs if the nation did not embrace fracking. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson agreed and spoke of a need for the country to ‘wake up’ to the benefits of fracking.
Lord Nicolas Stern, on the other hand, spoke out against what he described as “baseless” statements. In his opinion, the fact Britain is part of an integrated European gas market, means higher local production will only marginally affect prices.