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Fracking can cause earthquakes and possible damage to property

Fracking is a hot topic at the moment, although many people are not clear about what it does and whether it will have any impact on their own lives.

Fracking (also known as hydraulic fracturing) is a technique designed to recover gas and oil from shale rock underneath the land. Using high pressure spouts, water is mixed with chemicals and pushed deep into the ground via vertical and horizontal wells. This releases the gas from within the shale layer of the ground. Drilling companies must apply to the government for a fracking licence if they wish to undertake fracking in any area. Reserves of shale gas have been identified across large areas of the UK, but most especially in the north of the country where there is concern as to the damage this may cause to the areas due to be targeted.

Environmental damage is a huge concern for people who are resident in the areas where fracking is due to take place, as well as causing concern regarding long term damage to the planet. In the USA, fracking has been carried out extensively for many years to harvest fossil fuels from inland reserves. There have been many environmental issues caused by the fracking process across the States. These include the use of huge amounts of water being transported to the fracking site and the potential for carcinogenic chemicals to escape and contaminate local water supplies.

However, for home owners, there is an additional worry and that is that small earthquakes can be caused by the fracking process. Two small earthquakes measuring 1.5 and 2.3 magnitude on the Richter scale affected Blackpool after fracking in 2011. Also, research shows that powerful earthquakes thousands of kilometres away can trigger lots of minor earthquakes near fracking sites. Scientists claim to have found evidence that even if earthquakes do not occur directly after water is injected underground, the damage they do to fault lines can lead to tremors being triggered by the shockwaves from large earthquakes on the other side of the world. This could then cause serious concern for homeowners in the UK as the possibility of earthquakes affecting them is not beyond possibility.

Home insurance policies generally cover a homeowner for damage caused by ground movement and natural earthquakes: the ground movement cause by fracking would have the same effect on a property as ground movement of a natural cause. At the time of writing this article, no UK home insurance company currently excludes cover for damage to properties caused by fracking. However, if you have any worries or concerns about your property, make one quick call to our professional and friendly team at Westhill Insurance Services. As an independent insurance company we will make sure we find the best insurance to suit your needs – and your budget. So if the earth moves, at least you have solid insurance in place to cover your home and commercial buildings.

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 6th September, 2013