WinACC does not support exploration for shale gas, or its extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), either within Winchester District or elsewhere. WinACC is a climate change charity. Therefore it focuses on the climate change implications of shale gas, whilst noting that shale gas is associated with other environmental concerns. These concerns include the consumption of large volumes of water and the risk of underground water contamination. 

Shale gas is not a “clean” fuel - it is a fossil fuel (mainly methane) which releases carbon dioxide when it is burnt. Further, a high proportion of global fossil fuel reserves needs to stay in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. In the UK, extracting shale gas is likely to have a larger warming impact than extracting the same amount of conventional gas for two reasons. It takes more energy to extract it; and potentially more of the potent greenhouse gas methane leaks into the atmosphere as shale gas is made pipeline ready . WinACC's view is therefore that exploration for, and extraction of, shale gas should not be pursued. 

If extraction does take place, regulations must be rigorously enforced to minimise methane leaks and other potential environmental impacts. Part of any revenue from shale gas should be invested in developing and implementing practical solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Taken together, UK energy policies must be designed to significantly and urgently reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions now, and to meet the UK's legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% between 1990 and 2050. 

WinACC position is reviewed as science and technology develop. The position above was developed by WinACC's Science and Technology Advisory Panel and WinACC Strategy and Policy Committee, informed by presentations at  "Fracking in Hampshire" on 8 October 2013.