Is it your fracking problem?

With the prospect of fracking becoming more common in the UK, there is a concern on how it will affect house prices.

A couple claimed that fracking rumours in the area cost them £50,000, as their house failed to sell once the prospective buyers read up on fracking. With the prospect of fracking becoming more common in the UK, there is a concern on how it will affect house prices. It has been claimed that operations to extract shale gas in Britain could cause nearby house prices to fall by 7%. If, let’s say property prices were to decrease by just 2%, the cost to the up economy would be around £75 billion. Other experts have raised the fear that prices could drop by as much as 30% in areas affected by this type of drilling.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the technique of drilling down into the earth and injecting fluid (a mixture of water, sand and toxic chemicals) into the ground, at a very high pressure. This allows the shale rocks to release the natural gas and oil inside and let it flow out to the head of a well. By drilling horizontally into the rock layer, fracking allows drilling companies to access hard to reach resources of oil and gas and the possibility of shale gas.

Securing these energy supplies will significantly contribute to the UK’s energy needs in the future. The oil and gas industry claims the development of a successful fracking industry is essential to reduce the UK’s dependence on overseas energy. The UK is dependent on approximately 50% of its oil and gas consumption from overseas, rising to 75% in the next 15 years. Towards the end of last year, the Government handed out new licences for onshore gas and oil exploration in 159 blocks. Several well-known companies won the right to explore the possibility of operating in a series of blocks around England.

There are environmental concerns with fracking which is causing apprehension amongst many. In order to create the fracking fluid, a mixture of water and up to 600 chemicals must be mixed together. These chemicals include lead, radium and mercury. During the process of fracking, methane gas and toxic chemicals leak out from the system and could contaminate the nearby groundwater. Furthermore, it has be alleged that only 30-50% of fracking fluid is recovered, leaving the rest as non bio-degrable waste in the ground. The recovered waste is left to evaporate into the air, creating contaminated air, acid rain and ground level ozone.

Earthquakes and sink holes are another issue. In 2011, energy company Cuadrilla suspended test fracking operation in Lancashire after two earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2. magnitude hit the area. A subsequent study found it was highly probable that fracking caused the tremors, though they were too small to do any damage above ground.

As with the couple above failing to sell their property at their asking price, it poses the question of whether people are comfortable having fracking occurring close to their property. Contact us to obtain a search, to determine whether your client’s property is within 25 km of a current or licensed fracturing site.

This article was submitted to be published by Conveyancing Data Services as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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