Legal & Insurance
The affects on the legal and insurance business could be profound. There is no certainty as yet other then the statement by central government that they will NOT be the "insurer of last resort". Thus, departing from standard practice with the other major fossil fuel - Coal.
More and more estate agents are being asked about shale gas and its potential impacts on property values. Further, the fact that fracking is happening close by is coming up on surveyors searches too.
Much has been said about the health impacts of this industry for the local population. Initially, some ten years ago, there was little evidence to support the statements. Now there has been a huge number of studies executed in fracking areas with clear results.
Engineers are naturally cautious people and cautious too about claims regarding an industry that is dominated by engineers and engineering. However, engineers are also responsible people and naturally need to take responsibility for mitigating the risks when working in a self regulatory sector like oil and gas.
Academics are also cautious like engineers. Unlike engineers though they are very rarely at the "coal face" and so understand what is or should be happening in theory but not always what is happening in reality. Academics are very much in the media spotlight and so highly influential. It is very important that experts in their chosen fields help inform the debate and not, accidentally or otherwise confuse the public and decision makers.
The decision whether to frack or not to frack is always finally a political one. This has been seen with decisions regarding the only wells fracked in the UK (on the Fylde in Lancashire) being overruled by Sajiv Javid as Secretary of State. The problem comes when remote politicians are reliant on advice from advisors who are equally uninformed of the facts.