Thursday, 20 February 2014

Sink Holes and Shale Gas Extraction - two birds with one stone

Now that sink holes have gone mainstream, The Daily Mail has published a handy map showing the most "at risk" areas:

It strikes me that there is a pretty high overlap between those "at risk" areas and areas which would be suitable for shale gas extraction:

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but people don't want to live in a house which might be swallowed by a sink hole and neither do they want to live near where shale gas is being extracted. And as a society, we are better off building houses on solid ground and extracting the shale gas.

So great - we can relocate people away from the sink hole/shale gas overlap areas, build new house for them elsewhere (using recycled materials we get from carefully dismantling their existing homes) and then let the shale gas people get on with extracting the stuff, safely away from where people live.

(I'll refrain from explaining how the resulting land and natural resource rents could be collected for national benefit, let's get the basics right first).


A K Haart said...

Without even checking, I bet there are loons who link sinkholes are due to fracking. Your idea should put their minds at rest.

Leg-iron said...

Hmm... link shale gas to sinkholes. Then you can say 'Well, you know, if we don't get the gas out, this is just going to keep happening. Best we move you off the gas bubbles that are causing these holes, eh? Then we can use special equipment to get rid of the gas.'

Oh, they'll believe it. Then they'll start demanding fracking stations in theie backyards.

Mark Wadsworth said...

AKH, LI, you're both scientists, is it reasonable to assume that porous soil = bad for sink holes, good for shale gas, i.e. that this is not a coincidence?

AKH, people link fracking to burning taps and earth quakes, they'll link anything with anything.

LI, if people fell for that, that would be brilliant.

DBC Reed said...

The best places for fracking are Bath,The Weald, Oxford, Wessex. So its not going to happen is it?

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, aha, but all you have to do is frighten people away with tales of spikes in sink holes, and then when their backs are turned, get drillin'.

DBC Reed said...

There is the substance of a serious discussion on this, but things have taken a silly turn right early on.( I know I should be the last one to complain ...)