A BRITISH geologist is due to launch a report which will look at the impact of fracking in areas of former mine works in the UK.

Professor Peter Styles gave a recent presentation to the Yorkshire Society of Geologists on his work, which looks at the impact of hydraulic fracturing on underlying faults from historic mining works.

Prof Styles grew up in Northumberland and, after graduating from Oxford, completed a doctorate in plate tectonics at Newcastle University. The former President of the Geological Society of London also advised the UK government on underground storage of nuclear waste.

He told the website DrillOrDrop that fracking could lead to seismic activity by stimulating faults in geology already stressed by mining.

The retired academic said he thinks fracking should not be carried out within 850m of a fault in any area and says the risk in mining regions could be greater.

He said: “We have already changed the stress in these areas by removing the coal and allowing the ground above to subside.

“We have already preconditioned the faults. Even when mining stops it is still possible to have seismicity, as we have seen recently around Ollerton and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire.”

He said some faults were too small to be identified on geological maps or seismic surveys but were still big enough to cause the 0.5 magnitude earthquakes that under UK regulations would stop fracking.