This government will press the button on shale. Key issues are what goes down the hole, what strata is drilled through and what comes out of the hole. Whatever the technology, many of the outcomes, directly or indirectly, involve soil. There is a professional responsibility on the part of the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) to be involved.
One calculation is that if the drill cuttings were trucked out from each drill site, there would be 20 to 60 million truck movements over a ten year period. There is British technology which can dramatically reduce many of the risks. A case study is detailed of a tried, tested and Environment Agency supervised alternative to put the cuttings and spent fluids to proximity farm land.
Whatever monitoring and controls government puts in place, there is no organisation more competent, independent and trustable than the BSSS. There is a professional responsibility to take a lead and be actively involved, and a major commercial opportunity for the BSSS and for UK plc to take a lead.