Michael Fallon said that a study by the water industry, due to be released in a few weeks,
will conclude that fracking is safe.
Fallon, a conservative minister, who has posts in the business and energy departments, which might be why he knows the results of the study by the water industry before they have been officially published, said that Britain could emulate US states like Texas, in the extraction of shale gas.
Counties in the Conservative heartlands of southern England, such as Wiltshire, surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and Kent could become major centers for fracking, he told the Telegraph.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial method of extracting small pockets of gas trapped in rock by pumping in pressurized water and a toxic mix of chemicals. Supporters say it produces large amounts of cheap energy but critics say it’s dangerous, can pollute the water table and cause other environmental damage and earth tremors.
Water UK, which represents Britain’s water companies, was concerned about the pollution effects of fracking and began a study into its safety earlier this year. However, Fallon said that it will conclude that there is no risk of contaminating water supplies though fracking.
The report by the water companies will be seen as part of the wider government drive to dispel fears about shale gas.