With last year’s failed attempt in Co. Fermanagh to allow fracking to take place in NI, is it just a matter of time before this becomes a real issue? Fracking’s legality does nothing to detract from its controversy - environmental groups and the UK media continue to scrutinise its impact on the environment. Less examined is the impact on surrounding businesses. What happens when fracking takes place near your workplace?

The Environmental Effects

Businesses near a fracking site may worry that their properties will suffer adverse effects.

For many employers, business interruption and adverse environmental effects stemming from fracking is a huge worry. Neighbouring businesses fear their groundwater could be contaminated or their buildings’ foundations could be compromised.

Thankfully, the risk of water contamination is very low provided operations follow industry standards and obey regulations, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Before any drilling even takes place, the environmental regulator assesses the risks and decides whether groundwater contamination is likely. Based on this assessment, regulators approve or deny activity. Seismic activity is similarly controlled—following the 2011 ban, operators must now assess the location for any relevant faults before planning fracking operations. They must submit this assessment to the Department of Energy and Climate Change for approval.

Protect Your Business’ Foundations

Environmental and social risks, such as heightened industrial activity in a previously rural area and potential loss of business due to the fear that your proximity to a fracking site jeopardises your land and water, can be avoided by working closely with fracking crews throughout their procedures.

Make sure your insurance policy covers possible fracking damage to your property. Most policies will cover fracking damage, but traditional policies may not define ‘covered property’ as the land or water on your property. This could mean that you are not covered for damage to your underlying water sources or your building’s geological foundation.

Work with the insurance professionals at Willis IRM to protect your business’ foundation and ensure that any future fracking will not harm your business.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Galway

Business Development Director

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