1 Mar 2013 - by A4ID

Building evidence against shale gas exploration for WWF-UK

WWF-UK have fought the development of shale gas exploration due to concerns over water contamination caused by drilling. A4ID assisted in researching relevant laws, used to inform WWF-UK’s strategy.

The background

Shale gas is being increasingly used as a source of natural gas, used largely across the US, with interest now spreading to the UK, China and other parts of the world. Formed in the gaps between shale formations, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is now used to catalyse shale gas production and produce larger quantities for commercial use.

With increasing numbers of contamination reports and evidence of a significant carbon footprint, as well as concerns over seismic terrors caused by fracking, these profit-driven efforts are well deserving of debate. Many argue that finance and research should be invested into more sustainable alternatives, rather than another non-renewable resource; most agree that more evidence needs to be found before shale gas exploration goes any further ahead.

WWF and A4ID

WWF-UK have fought for a suspension of any development in shale gas exploration due to concerns over water contamination attributed to shale gas drilling.   They continue to push for this in light of the more recent findings of the effects of shale gas on the environment.

WWF-UK approached A4ID with a request for assistance in researching the laws relevant to shale gas exploration.  This could then be used to inform a strategy on how best WWF-UK could engage on this issue in the UK.

Thanks to the work of A4ID’s lawyers expectations were exceeded.  As well as being better informed of the main issues arising from shale gas exploration, WWF-UK has been able to decide the specific direction of campaigning and lobbying in this area, now they are aware of the regulatory gaps in the law.

Intended only to give a brief, generalised background of the various issues relating to shale gas, the completed paper has also provided a significant impetus for the development of a strategy, being shared across organisations in Europe as well as numerous NGOs across the UK.

Despite relating to only one project, the report has also proven impactful for the organisation internally, building their capacity and encouraging them toward their fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Specifically they are integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes, and ultimately aiming to reduce biodiversity loss by lowering CO2 emissions.  WWF-UK commented:

“The advice was comprehensive and extremely helpful for the purposes of enhancing its lobbying strategy and informing the advocacy work to be undertaken by WWF-UK in the future.”

Evidence against the use of shale gas continues to mount, with increasing numbers of organisations from a variety of disciplines vocalising concerns to the government.  With climate change high on the agenda, many are hopeful that 2013 will see a significant shift away from destructive fossil fuels towards the more sustainable renewable resources.