The Royal Academy of Engineering welcomes  today's report  by Professor David Mackay FRS assessing the potential greenhouse gas emissions associated with shale gas extraction and use. This follows the Academy’s  joint report (5.29 MB)  with the Royal Society in June 2012 on the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, which concluded that the health, safety and environmental risks could in principle be managed effectively in the UK providing that operational best practice is implemented and enforced through strong regulation.

Dr Martyn Thomas CBE FREng, Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says:

"Professor David Mackay’s report clarifies the impact of shale gas extraction on greenhouse gas emissions and makes a valuable contribution to the wider energy debate of balancing the need to reduce carbon emissions with the imperative to keep the lights on. At the Royal Society today, the Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey argued that the UK will need secure supplies of gas to meet energy demand as we make the transition to low carbon forms of energy.

“The Academy agrees that gas is likely to play an important part in energy generation in the coming years and that with good engineering of the wells it can be an important, lower carbon alternative to coal. For this reason, we are concerned that in fact many UK gas-fired plants are being underused or mothballed. Shale gas is an opportunity that can’t be ignored. Progress must be cautious but, if managed correctly, shale gas can contribute to lowering carbon emissions in the short to medium term and balancing increasing amounts of variable renewable electricity.”

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering Tel: 020 7766 0636; email: Jane Sutton