Parts of UK 'too dry for fracking'

Reports that shale gas fracking may be impractical in parts of the UK due to the scarcity of local water supplies feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports
that in a memorandum of understanding published on Wednesday, the water trade body Water UK and the UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG), which represents fracking companies, agreed to cooperate on expanding the number of fracking sites in the UK. But the newspaper says that in their agreement, noting "the pressure on local water resources", Water UK acknowledged: "The quantities of water needed vary by site and throughout the gas exploration and production process, but the demand could have an impact on local water resources". They added: "… where water is in short supply there may not be enough available from public water supplies or the environment to meet the requirements for hydraulic fracturing."

The Independent reports that a new anti-fracking "conflict zone" has opened near Eccles in Greater Manchester. The newspaper says that yesterday "50 demonstrators offered noisy resistance" to police as they cleared the path for a drilling rig that next week "will begin drilling 10,000ft down through the former peat bog and into the coal bed methane and eventually reaching shale in search of natural gas".

The Guardian reports that London mayor Boris Johnson has called for his "pet project", a new airport in the Thames Estuary, to be named the Margaret Thatcher International Airport. The newspaper says that Johnson made the call last night at speech during which he also declared that inequality is essential to fostering "the spirit of envy" and hailed greed as a "valuable spur to economic activity".

The Telegraph carries more complaints from opponents of the controversial High Speed Two (HS2) rail link over the amount of time they have to respond to a government consultation on the environmental impact of the scheme. The newspaper says campaigners have branded the 24 January 2014 consultation deadline as "the worst Christmas present ever", claiming it is an attempt by the government and HS2 Ltd, the company developing the project, "to prevent activists from finding time or manpower to object to its plans".  

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