Following the heady days of the introduction of the Infrastructure Act 2015, which gave companies the right to frack under other people's land provided that they were operating at deep enough levels, the tide seems to be turning against "frackers".
In particular, in the last month we have seen the government's shale gas commissioner resign due to a "de facto ban" resulting from the government's requirement that fracking activity cease whenever there is a "micro-tremor". Also, the Court of Appeal has recently overturned a wide-ranging injunction obtained by one of the leading fracking companies against protestors that were getting in the way of operations - Boyd v Ineos Upstream Limited  EWCA Civ 515.
The net effect of these restrictions, together with a currently heightened awareness of environmental issues, caused by the actions of individuals such as Greta Thunberg and groups like Extinction Rebellion, means that the social and political climate does not favour a reversal of the recent trends any time soon.
Is this the beginning of the end of fracking in the UK? We think it's too early to say. However, the honeymoon period (if ever there was one) is now very much over.
In the short term, it is likely that legal and ethical boundaries will continue to be tested by this new and evolving technological frontier, and that public opinion will remain divided.
Ashfords has experts who are familiar with advising on all matters that relate to this industry. If you would like to talk to us about an issue, please contact Sian Gibbon.