The government has called a halt to fracking in England with immediate effect in a what is perceived as a landmark victory for environmentalists and community activists.
The decision came after new scientific evidence concluded it was not possible to rule out “unacceptable” consequences for those living near fracking sites. The same report (produced by the Oil and Gas Authority) also warned it was not possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes fracking might trigger.
Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, involves pumping water, chemicals and sand underground at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release trapped oil and gas.
The government will not agree to any future fracking “until compelling new evidence is provided” that proves fracking could be safe.
The UK’s only active fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire was brought to an immediate halt this summer after fracking triggered multiple earth tremors that breached the government’s earthquake limits.
Ministers also warned shale gas companies it would not support future fracking projects, in a crushing blow to companies that had been hoping to capitalise on one of the new frontiers of growth in the fossil fuel industry.
Craig Bennett, the chief executive of Friends of the Earth, said: “This moratorium is a tremendous victory for communities and the climate. For nearly a decade local people across the country have fought a David and Goliath battle against this powerful industry. We are proud to have been part of that fight.”
Tom Fyans, from CPRE, said the countryside charity would “celebrate alongside the local communities, campaigners and environmentalists who have been campaigning valiantly to stop fracking for many years”.Q&A
“This is a fantastic win for local democracy and everyone who cares about protecting the countryside from climate catastrophe and mass industrialisation,” he said.
Rebecca Long Bailey MP, the shadow business and energy secretary, said the moratorium was a victory for local people and the government owed them an apology. She said: “When the Tory government overruled local democratic decisions to halt fracking, communities did not give up. When fracking protesters went to jail, communities did not give up. And now they have forced the government to U-turn.
The government revealed its fracking ban in tandem with a major review of the UK’s transition to a green economy. The Treasury will assess how the UK can make the most of the economic green shoots which are expected to emerge while moving towards a carbon neutral economy by 2050.
Original Article available here.