I'm rather late to this story, but it seems that the Royal Society is to prepare a report on shale gas and fracking:
The Royal Society is carrying out a short review jointly with the Royal Academy of Engineering of the major risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (also known as ’fracking’); including, geological risks, such as seismicity, and environmental risks, such as groundwater contamination.
The extraction of shale gas in the UK has been the subject of recent debate, with many concerned over potential risks associated with the process. This review will review the scientific and engineering evidence to provide a clear indication of where any potential risks are well understood; where there is general agreement but continuing debate; and where more significant uncertainties remain. It will also consider how these risks can be managed.
The review will not be an exhaustive analysis of all the issues associated with shale gas, nor does it promise to make any judgements on the appropriateness or otherwise of shale gas extraction being undertaken. The hope is that this review will be a valuable contribution from the scientific and engineering community to a wider debate on the future of shale gas extraction in the UK that should also encompass societal and economic issues.
The review is to be headed by Professor Robert Mair of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
In unrelated news, here is an article Professor Mair wrote in 2011 about the ways we must mend our ways to deal with climate change.
There's also this letter he wrote to the Guardian a few weeks ago. In it he says this:
[Apart from seismic impacts] There are other important engineering and scientific issues, such as the potential for groundwater contamination, that we are now in the process of evaluating. There are also economic and social considerations.
I wonder if our national academy is about to hold forth on the "economic and social considerations" of fracking. That would make for a good blog post.