Hydraulic fracturing is safe when done properly, according to the UK Government’s top scientific advisor.
In a recently published interview with the Guardian after a speaking tour of Britain, Professor Sir Mark Walport (pictured) said the risks involved with fraccing were manageable.
His comments come as the UK Government is seeking to encourage shale gas development.
Professor Walport told the Guardian that while the evidence from scientists and engineers showed that fraccing was safe, science was only one part of a much larger debate.
“It’s not up to scientists. It’s a political decision and a societal decision. One thing we cannot do is turn off our power supply. Advanced societies depend on it,” Walport said.
The UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor used the Guardian interview to urge the scientific community to speak out about the risks and benefits of strategies for tackling climate change, including new energy sources.
“We can only have a good conversation about this if we have good communication from the scientists,” he said.
Professor Walport’s comments should serve as a timely reminder to policy-makers here in Australia where anti-gas activists are mounting increasingly hysterical scare-campaigns based on exaggerated claims about hydraulic fracturing.