Outcry as fracking vote goes through

Fracking rigs like this one are a common site in America.
Fracking rigs like this one are a common site in America.
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Labour has called for a moratorium on fracking in the UK after MPs approved proposals to allow the controversial process under national parks and other protected areas.

The move to allow fracking to extract shale gas three-quarters of a mile (1,200m) below national parks, world heritage sites, and areas of outstanding natural beauty was passed by a majority of 37 in a vote yesterday.

Shadow energy and climate secretary Lisa Nandy accused the Government of sneaking the rules through without proper parliamentary debate, labelling it “frankly shabby”.

“Ministers had previously conceded that there should be the tougher safeguards that Labour has been calling for to protect drinking water sources and sensitive parts of our countryside like national parks. Now they’ve abandoned those promises.”

Rose Dickinson, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said the new rules, which also allow fracking in certain groundwater areas, put drinking water and national parks at risk from fracking.

“People will rightly be concerned that the Government is not following through on its commitment to have strong regulation on fracking.

“It is time for us to follow in the footsteps of Scotland and Wales by halting all plans for fracking, which is completely incompatible with tackling climate change and the agreement reached in Paris.”

The environmental group said it was campaigning for a full ban on fracking because 80 per cent of fossil fuels have to remain in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change.

Cuadrilla is applying to frack at two sites in Lancashire . A public inquiry will be held next year but the Gobernment will make the final decision.

Meanwhile shale gas supporters were holding a candlelit vigil outside County Hall in Preston today.

Organised by Backing Fracking, the vigil will mark that 200 years ago saw Preston become the first provincial town outside London to get piped gas.

Ellie Rylands, a MSc geoscience graduate and Backing Fracking member, said: “Despite its long history with gas, it seems Lancashire has lost that early pioneering spirit.”