The UK urgently needs to regulate fracking, so that the country's economy can start benefiting from the opportunities created by shale gas, according to a new report released by the House of Lords' Economic Affairs Committee.
The report pointed out that if Britain was able to realize the full potential of its shale gas and oil resources, it could expect to achieve the same energy independence as the United States. Due to the enormous economic benefits that hydraulic fracturing could bring about, the government should prioritize regulation of fracking and speed up shale development, the committee said. The fact that exploratory drilling is not making any real progress was described in the report as "disappointing", according to BBC News.
The committee warned that if fracking is not developed soon and under simplified regulation, the country faces a serious risk of losing its petrochemical and energy-intensive sectors which are heavily reliant on energy prices and raw-material prices. Britain cannot afford to take that risk as these industries employ about 250,000 people, the report argued.
UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon stated that the report would receive careful consideration. The government welcomes the committee's conclusion that environmental and public health risks associated with fracking are minimal if the industry is properly regulated, he told BBC News.