Fracking is over for the time being, says business minister

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng has said fracking "for the time being is over" in the UK.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 5:00 pm

In November, during the general election campaign, the Government called a halt to fracking following research from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) which raised concerns over the ability to predict fracking-linked earthquakes.

In August, fracking by Cuadrilla led to an earthquake in Lancashire measuring 2.9 on the Richter scale, which rattled doors and windows, and several other tremors have been recorded at sites across the country.

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An aerial view of the Cuadrilla shale gas extraction (fracking) site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Responding for the Government during business questions, Mr Kwarteng said: "Yes, absolutely," adding: "What I would like to say about fracking is the moratorium is what it says.

"We're stopping it. The only way it can be resumed is by compelling evidence which so far is not forthcoming.

"So the moratorium stays and fracking, for the time being, is over."

More properly known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking is a process in which liquid is pumped deep underground at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release gas or oil trapped within it.

Environmental groups are critical of the process, which they say is encouraging the development of a new fossil fuel industry at a time when the Government is committed to cutting emissions.

In the US, fracking has led to cheaper domestic oil and gas prices and reduced the reliance on foreign imports, but the burgeoning industry caused concern around contamination of water sources.