Fracking Could Threaten Hot Springs in UNESCO-listed City of Bath, England

roman baths city of bath photo

photo: Nigel Swales/CC BY SA

Coming on the heels of news of 'vast reserves' of shale gas in England, opponents of fracking are highlighting the potential threat the natural gas extraction method could pose in another area of the nation--this time to the a UNESCO World Heritage Centre-listed city of Bath. The Independent quotes Paul Crossley, leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council:

There is great concern that the process of fracking will result in the water courses leading to the natural hot springs being contaminated with pollutants from this process, or for the waters to adopt a different direction of travel through new fractures in the underlying rocks. The council has obtained the very best expert advice on this matter and there is little to suggest that any though has been given to the potential for damage to the deep-water source that supply the springs in Bath. The hot springs are a crucial part of the tourist attraction that sustains thousands of jobs in the city. The council must stand up against these drilling proposals in the strongest possible terms.

The hot springs at Bath have been used since pre-Roman times, with the Romans establishing a spa there. The current architecture of the city largely is from the 18th century. UNESCO says the the baths "are amongst the most famous and important Roman remains north of the Alps."

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