FRACKING continues to cause controversy - and latest scientific research confirms the harmful effects that the chemicals used have on fish.

A study on fracking has found that liquids released from fracked oil and gas wells can harm fish even at very low concentrations.

University of Alberta biologist Greg Goss conducted a study intended to consider how toxic they are by using water that flowed from an actual fracked well.

The researchers exposed rainbow trout to “sub-lethal” levels and even at dilutions as low as 2.5 per cent — 2.5 litres of process water to 100 litres of fresh water — fish showed significant liver and gill damage

Greg explained: “The real risk comes from the disposal process, where there is a danger of spills as they truck it or pipeline it to a new site and Alberta has experienced more than 2,500 such spills between 2011 and 2014.”

Martin Salter, campaigns manager of the Angling Trust, said: “We know from accidents in North America that the fracking process involves the use of a number of chemicals that are extremely harmful to fish.

“This is why the Trust has been working hard with other environmental organisations to try to ensure that in the UK we have the toughest possible regulations to guard against damaging pollutions which could be devastating for fish and other wildlife.”

Fracking protests have gathered momentum in many parts of the world.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We take the environmental risks associated with oil and gas exploration and production very seriously, including hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. We are committed to ensuring that people and the environment are protected.

“Our regulatory controls are in place to protect people and the environment and if the activity poses an unacceptable risk to the environment, the activity will not be permitted.

“We will not permit the use of ‘hazardous substances’ for any activity, including hydraulic fracturing, where they would or might enter groundwater and cause pollution,” he concluded.

So far the only English permits issued are to Third Energy in Yorkshire and two at Cuadrilla in Lancashire.

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