MYTH #6: DEBUNKED “Fracking will not affect house prices.”
Link to FFR http://frackfreeryedale.org/myth6houseprices/
This relies heavily on a DRAFT report from DEFRA, that showed that the author had very little idea of what was going on. This was published after a Freedom of Info claim and it came with this disclaimer.
Covering Note This paper is an early draft of an internal document; it is not analytically robust. Work on it has since been discontinued. The draft paper was intended as a review of existing literature. It includes early, often vague, assumptions which are not supported by appropriate evidence. These were never intended as considered Defra positions or as statements of fact. Containing no new evidence, the paper simply refers to data from overseas studies which cannot be used to predict impacts in the UK with any degree of reliability. The author of the paper was not asked to consider, and did not have an in-depth knowledge of, the UK regulatory framework. In June 2012, the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report concluded that environmental (and health and safety) risks can be managed effectively in the UK if operational best practices are enforced through regulation. The UK has a rigorous and robust regulatory regime which is fully capable of preventing and managing any risks. This paper has been released further to a Decision Notice issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on 8 June 2015. The ICO accepted that the paper was an incomplete draft. (my emphasis)
A study was commissioned in the area surrounding the only well to have been fracked in Lancashire, and property price experts JLL produced this report. It indicated that house prices INCREASED more than surrounding areas! (data based on completed sales from the Land Registry)
Meanwhile, in the US, this recent report shows that in areas where people have mains water (like over 99% of the UK) prices have INCREASED. The only properties to be affected are those that get water from privately drilled wells.
But how much have house prices been affected in Roseacre, at the centre of the ‘battle’.
(Data from Zoopla, which bases its prices on COMPLETED sales with the land registry.)
You can check up the latest data and check the current situation using this link
Lets first look at Elswick, which is just outside the ‘affected’ area
Over 10% growth in 5 years. ((0.6% in the last year)
Roseacre. Over 10% growth in 5 years, (0.6% in 12 months)
Its a similar story for Inskip(11.5% over 5 years, 1.5 over 1 year)
and Wharles(10% over 5 years, 0.6% over 1 year)
The figures are the same for the other small villages around the Preston New Road site.
So we can say that in the UK, there is currently no evidence of fracking plans affecting house prices.
It has however been reported that windfarms could affect house prices (link)
Yet wind industry sources claim there are few concerns here. However with industrialisation of the countryside, and persistent long term noise and visual intrusion for 25+ years, it seems reasonable that there could be an effect. Shale gas is much less intrusive, amounting to a silent hidden wellpad, after drilling.
Property insurance, yet more scaremongering, (and bad journalism)
There is no exclusion from any company regarding fracking, and coverage in the unlikely event of a minor seismic event occurring. One company highlighted was Hiscox, and you can see their policy. It states ‘Hiscox home insurance provides cover for damage due to earthquake, subsidence, heave and landslip and our policies do not exclude damage related to fracking. On the same basis we do not decline cover for properties in areas of fracking.’
Its not surprising really. There is no evidence that any home or property, anywhere has ever been damaged by fracking. The very few cases that have in the US that have been blamed on fracking have been due to fluid disposal wells, which get rid of contaminated water from oil production, (and some from fracking). That is not currently permitted in the UK.
Regarding chemical pollution, there has never been a case of fracking itself causing pollution.Poor fluid control and leaking wells have caused issues in the poorly regulated US. However, drilling companies would be liable for any chemical pollution in the UK. See UKOOG statement. This liability would apply up to abandonment, many years in the future. It is difficult to see how chemical pollution could occur, as wells are always situated hundreds of meters away from houses, and the chemicals (which are non hazardous) cannot magically rise up against the force of gravity.
Pollution in the event of flooding would be sewage, and farm effluent. The chemicals used in fracking are non hazardous, and the wellsites are assessed for flood risk, as part of the Environmental Risk Assessment.
The drilling process is a closed loop and will contain all drilling fluids and chemicals.
As usual, when these matters are looked at rationally, the concerns turn out to be baseless.
Click this link for the next FFR Myth 'Will Fracking affect water'?
Click here for a link to the creative writer Tim Thornton, a Ryedale District Cuncillor. A graduate of the University of Google, he claims to be 'open minded' but gives talks on fracking as an expert when I understand he has never visited a drilling rig, and he certainly has no knowlege of drilling, regulation, or UK practice.