Fracking: censored report highlights house price threat
Report also highlights environmental concerns but Defra dismisses these as 'conjecture'
The full text of a heavily redacted government report, published after a long Freedom of Information battle, has set out several risks associated with 'fracking'. These include the suggestion that house prices in affected areas could fall by up to 7 per cent.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) released the report late on Wednesday following a ruling from the Information Commissioner's Office. According to The Times a version of the study had been published last year with more than 60 sections redacted.
The Guardian points to evidence in the report based on experiences in Texas that homeowners in UK regions within a mile of a well could see the price of their house fall by up to 7 per cent. Those within five miles could also face additional insurance costs due to the heightened risk of damage related to explosions or tremors.
More speculative findings suggest that waste fluid leakage could pollute water supplies and contaminate agricultural products. BBC News Online highlights a separate section that states there could be an indirect increase in greenhouse gas emissions related to fracking.
The Government is a keen advocate of expanding fracking as it hopes to replicate an energy boom experienced in the US. The report highlights figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change and Institute of Directors that claim fracking could bring investment of £3.7bn to the UK and create between 16,000 and 74,000 jobs.
Defra sought to pour water on the negative findings, stating in a 'covering note' that the report simply gathers together information from other published sources, is incomplete and contains "no new evidence". A spokesperson told Sky News that "many of the conclusions amount to unsubstantiated conjecture".
Earlier this week New York State firmed up its ban on fracking activities, while in California new rules were introduced requiring greater monitoring of the effects of offshore drilling on water supplies. This, though, did not prevent the state from issuing nine new drilling permits last month.