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Peter Jones, Daphne Comfort and David Hillier

Fracking, the exploitation of shale gas reserves, has become one of the most contentious energy-related issues in the world. New technologies have made once-unprofitable fields open to exploitation. This chapter examines fracking in the UK, a case study that illuminates the technology and politics of the procedure in many places. It situates British fracking within changing manifolds of global energy supply and demand as well as wider debates about energy security. It also explains the technical dimensions en route to understanding why many regions have adopted fracking. In the British context, it focuses on potential shale gas reserves. The environmental risks are explored at length, from local footprints to climate change. It also discusses fracking’s poor reputation and why so many people are fearful of it, which has resulted in heated opposition. Such controversial processes invite government regulation and planning, which are also summarized.