Thursday, 20 March 2014

Review of recently published shale gas evidence report

There has been some comment in recent days regarding the role played by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in reviewing a shale gas evidence report published on 10 March 2014.

The report ‘Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in the UK - Examining the evidence for potential environmental impacts’ was produced by a partnership of the Angling Trust, the National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Salmon & Trout Association, The Wildlife Trusts and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT). The opinions expressed in the report are solely those of the report authors and their respective organisations. CEH was not involved in the partnership.

Dr Andrew Singer, a soil, water and air pollution scientist from CEH was contracted by the consortium partnership responsible for the report to spend four days to review its scientific content. His role was to provide an independent peer review of the science case put forward in the evidence report’s’ literature review; this was not a systematic review. Dr Singer evaluated the evidence in the report in a similar manner to that used for many literature review papers in scientific journals.

Dr Singer did not examine, or review, the ‘Are we fit to frack?’ summary report published alongside the evidence report. This summary report made ten recommendations related to the potential environmental impacts from the shale gas industry which have been widely reported including on BBC Online.

CEH is the UK's Centre of Excellence for integrated research in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere. The organisation provides impartial, independent scientific expertise and analysis in many areas, including potential impacts from new activities within the wider environment.

Prof Mark Bailey, Director, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK

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