Lifting of ban on fracking will ‘send shockwaves through local communities’

The government has today confirmed it will be lifting the ban on fracking to allow for shale gas production and has said it will push ahead with a new oil and gas licensing round.

This has been met with disappointment by several environmental groups and campaigners who say this move could increase carbon emissions and put communities at risk of earthquakes.

A moratorium was put on fracking in 2019 due to concerns over earth tremors, but now the government has said it will raise the limits on seismic activity.

They believe this could increase domestic oil and gas production and bring energy bills down.  

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The British Geological Survey (BGS) released a report alongside this announcement, which found the science has changed little since the 2019 ban.  

It’s thought the licensing round could lead to over 100 new licences, although the government has said it would only fracking ‘where there is local support’ but has not said how it would ensure this.

Friends of the Earth campaigner, Danny Gross, says lifting of the ban will do nothing to tackle the energy crisis and will only harm communities: ‘Ripping up the rules that protect people from fracking would send shockwaves through local communities.

‘This announcement suggests that the government is planning to throw communities under the bus by forcing them to accept “a higher degree of risk and disturbance”.

‘The government should listen to the science and develop an energy strategy fit for the future, not one stuck in the failings of the past. That means investing in insulation and the UK’s vast resources of cheap, clean and popular renewables.’

Friends of the Earth has set up a map where people can see if their area is covered by onshore oil and gas licensing and is at risk of fracking.

The group also revealed that 91 local authorities, out of a total of 333, and 143 parliamentary constituencies have oil and gas exploration licences, mainly concentrated in North England and the Midlands.

A site in Lancashire owned by oil and gas exploration company Cuadrilla had more than 120 tremors recorded in 2019 and the company’s owner, Chris Cornelius, has now said he doesn’t think fracking will work in the UK as the geology is too challenging.

Claire Stephenson from Frack Free Lancashire said: ‘Fracking is a failed technology in the UK and should absolutely be confined to the past. We’ve witnessed more than 10 years of attempts to jack gas out of the ground in Lancashire, with no progress. There have, however, been uncontrollable earthquakes and structural damage – almost 200 reported claims.

‘There’s also been colossal methane leaks, community disharmony, and most notable of all: zero commercial gas produced.

‘We’re in a climate crisis with a desperate need for a clean, green energy future. Fracking will not make any positive impact on the UK’s energy needs or fuel bills, and any attempt to suggest it will, is blatant spin.’

Photo by WORKSITE Ltd.


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