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BGS to monitor Yorkshire fracking site

A consortium led by the British Geological Survey (BGS) has been appointed to carry out an independent baseline environmental survey for a proposed fracking scheme in Yorkshire.

BGS will work with Public Health England (PHE) and the universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Loughborough, Manchester and York on the monitoring programme across the Vale of Pickering.

The project has been funded by a grant awarded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The monitoring in Yorkshire will include water quality (groundwater and surface water), seismicity, ground motion, air quality including radon, and soil gas. It will characterise the environmental baseline for each of these before any hydraulic fracturing and gas exploration or production takes place (in the event that planning permission is granted). The investigations will be independent of any monitoring carried out by the industry or the regulators and information collected from the programme will be made freely available to the public and also support peer-reviewed science.

“It is now widely acknowledged that undertaking baseline monitoring before fracking takes place is essential,” said BGS director of groundwater science Rob Ward. “BGS has carried out national baseline monitoring of groundwater and seismicity for many years but now, in partnership with other experts, we will focus on specific areas of the country where hydraulic fracturing is being planned and to measure the baseline in far more detail than has been done before.”

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