Potential Social Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing and Shale Gas Development in the UK

Reckart, Kelsey (2015) Potential Social Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing and Shale Gas Development in the UK. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of David Rutherford from Public Policy Leadership, The University of Mississippi.

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Abstract

Hydraulic fracturing has been responsible for revolutionizing the oil and gas industry in the US, and has since gained increasing popularity as nations across the globe look for new energy sources. The United Kingdom (UK) has recently taken steps to use hydraulic fracturing to develop their own shale gas industry, although thus far the industry is still in the initial exploratory stages of development. There has been much debate over the benefits and risks that hydraulic fracturing and shale gas development pose to UK communities and this thesis will investigate the potential social impacts that hydraulic fracturing may have on communities in the UK. This thesis uses the experiences of the US to predict what may occur in the UK as the shale gas industry grows. A literature review was conducted on the current social impacts in the US and UK, as well as current regulatory regimes and mining community characteristics in each respective country. Comparisons were then drawn between each country and predictions made according to the degree of similarity between communities, regulatory processes, and current social impacts. This thesis finds that, although the growth of the shale gas industry in the UK is likely to be slower and less of a game-changer for the UK than it was in the US, communities surrounding drill sites are likely to see many of the same impacts currently experienced by shale gas communities in the US. Communities may experience the boom-bust cycle characteristic of all extraction industry growth as well as varying degrees of social disorganization and fluctuating crime rates. This thesis also found that much of the public pushback against hydraulic fracturing and shale gas development in the UK comes as the result of environmental justice (EJ) issues. These (EJ) issues should be addressed through greater involvement of local communities in the planning and siting process for shale gas wells. This thesis concludes that due to the wide array of potential social impacts of shale gas development in the UK, greater access to data and literature on these social impacts needs to be made available to the public and local community governments. This information will be vital to the planning process and determining the local community’s ability to capture benefits and mitigate risks.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Reckart, Kelsey
Student's Degree Program(s): Public Policy Leadership
Thesis Advisor: David Rutherford
Thesis Advisor's Department: Public Policy Leadership
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Depositing User: Kelsey Reckart
Date Deposited: 06 May 2015 19:49
Last Modified: 06 May 2015 19:49
URI: http://thesis.honors.olemiss.edu/id/eprint/347

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