Our concerns are:
- The potential for direct and indirect negative impacts on wildlife and the wider environment, both during the construction and the operational phases of the unconventional gas extraction
- That unconventional gas extraction appears incompatible with the country’s climate change targets. While recognising that the carbon footprint associated with both unconventional and conventional gas extraction is similar, and that the carbon footprint for electricity generation from shale gas is lower than coal, it still significantly contributes to carbon emissions.
- If unconventional gas extraction goes ahead to the extent suggested, it could lead to the UK becoming gas dependent for decades, diverting attention from renewable energy.
Chester Zoo recognises that keeping down the cost of energy is a very important issue for UK householders and businesses and would therefore encourage government to ensure that there is a robust regulatory framework developed.
This would need to not only ensure environmental and biodiversity protection, but also set out a strategy of how unconventional gas extraction can contribute to the UK’s energy needs without compromising the climate change targets.
Due to concerns about potential unforeseen impact, Chester Zoo wrote to Cheshire West and Chester Council to request that an Environmental Impact Assessment be carried out before work commences.
Update – 22/01/16
As a major conservation charity, we have also made representations to IGas, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Natural England with regard to safeguarding the Great Crested Newt, a European Protected Species which we believe may be present on the land on Duttons Lane. We have also written to IGas to request assurances that there will be no adverse impact on the boreholes used for some of Chester Zoo’s water supplies.