GovNews – April 2nd 2014 – What is the future of shale gas drilling in the UK?

GovNews is a brief round-up of a select number of the most interesting conversations happening on GovFaces. In today’s edition, the main topic is shale gas: what is the future of the method, and what can we expect in terms of regulation?

Shale gas and the UK

The topic of shale gas is a very sensitive one. On the one hand, there are concerns that this particular method of gas extraction may cause tremendous damage to the environment, particularly to water supplies. On the other hand, the method is touted as a technological innovation which could boost energy production considerably. The issue is further complicated by the tensions between Russia and the EU, since the former, as one of the main exporters of gas to the EU, is threatening to cut Europe off, should the Ukraine crisis escalate. In the midst of all this, reports are emerging that Britain, still in the early stages of exploring for shale gas, could begin extracting within four years, if the current situation deteriorates further. Geologists estimate Britain holds reserves sufficient for “several hundred years of demand.”

Since the method itself is very new, regulation towards exploration and extraction is still in its incipient phases. Asked by GovFaces user Oliver Rayburn about this matter and how regulation will affect the UK in terms of both environment and economics, MEP Catherine Bearder (UK) answered:

“We need to regulate at an EU level to protect the environment in the whole EU. Given the security issues that the Ukrainian situation is causing we will need more energy production in the EU that is sourced from the EU and I can see a big push for more Shale extraction which is worrying. I don’t think it is the best solution as it is still carbon based, but it is certainly better than coal as a fuel.” 

If you’d like to find out more about how your MEPs see the problem of shale gas regulation, and how they intend to vote on it in the future, we at GovFaces suggest you look them up on our platform and simply put the question to them. After all, the future of energy in Europe is a major subject which affects everyone, which is why we need to be in constant communication with our elected officials which will develop and implement policy.

Sustainable development and peri-urbanization: 

The phenomenon of peri-urbanization is a growing concern, often linked to the concept of sustainable development. The peri-urban is roughly defined as the space between the suburban and the rural (see below, image via UrbaBlog), and is often  hybrid landscape between the rural and the urban; it is host to roads, factories, airports etc., making for less than picturesque landscape.


Asked about the phenomenon in the Polish context, MEP Jan Olbrycht (Poland) replied that peri-urbanization is not necessarily negative, and that it serves as a means to highlight the relationship between cities and their surroundings, a relationship which ought to be defined by balance between the two.

Furthermore, on the topic of what Polish local authorities can do about peri-urbanization and sustainable development, MEP Olbrycht noted that they have begun to cooperate among each other, instead of each local authority focusing on their own area, which is, in his view, is a clear plus.