Controversial ‘fracking’ should not be given the go-ahead until a safety case can be proved, a senior MP has said.
Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint said there was “no evidence” to back up claims the gas extraction could revolutionise the UK’s energy market.
She sad there also needed to be more investigation into the environmental impact of the process which has been proven to cause earth tremors and been linked to water pollution in the United States.
The process of hydraulic fracturing involves high pressure pumping of water and a chemical into shale rock to release natural gas.
Mrs Flint said: “Is it worth the investment in terms of the benefits we might receive? No-one knows at the moment.
“What worries me is the Government is charging head-long into this as if it were some silver bullet when we really do not know enough about it.”
The Labour shadow cabinet member said there needed to be more focus on market reforms being introduced in the Energy Bill currently going through Parliament before issues such as fracking were addressed.
She added: “I do not want a situation where our strategy (on fracking) is based on supposition, we must make decisions knowing all the facts first.
“We are not even making decisions about our energy supply on facts we know about, so we need to act on those first.”
Cuadrilla Resources, the company leading exploration work at four sites in Lancashire, has said it is putting its plans to fracture wells on hold until 2014 to undertake an environmental impact assessment.
It has wells drilled at sites at Singleton, Preese Hall, near Weeton, Anna’s Road, near Lytham, and Banks, near Preston.