The Fracking Controversy

As part of our Engaging Sociology initiative, in November 2014, we hosted a public debate on fracking.


The event attracted over 200 members of the public, who were able to take part in a lively and sometimes heated debate. Indeed, there was some controversy in the lead up to the event as local police asked the University to provide a list of members of the public who were due to attend.


With David Cameron announcing 'we are going all out for shale gas', fracking (or hydraulic fracturing) is likely to happen in large parts of the UK, including the South East. Though it has the potential to tap significant onshore fossil fuel reserves, this method of energy extraction is highly contentious. Its supporters say it can be safely regulated while its detractors say it is harmful to the environment and human health.


The event was chaired by the then-Dean of the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser, and included the panellists:

  • Ian Driver, Green Party Councillor at Thanet District Council.
  • Michael Hill, Expert Adviser to the EU on Shale Gas.
  • Dr Nick Riley MBE, Director of Carboniferous Limited.
  • David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at the University of Glasgow.
  • Prof. Paul Stevens, Distinguished Fellow at Chatham House.
  • Julie Wassmer, freelance writer and environmental campaigner.
  • Gerwyn Llewellyn Williams, Chartered Engineer, and member of the Energy Institute.

The debate

Twitter reaction

Students, staff and members of the public added to the debate on twitter, and provided some fascinating live commentary on the debate as it unfolded.

You can follow some of the Twitter reaction to the event by seeing tweets that used the hashtag #cccufrack


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Last edited: 15/12/2018 13:35:00